Modern Triumph Bonnevilles - opinions?

#22
No 1 son purchased a few weeks ago his first "proper" bike after an unwise dalliance with a Japanese offering that didn't suit. Result?

A Triumph Bonneville which is a couple of years old thus 865cc engine (now being sold as the Street Twin) but only 1200 miles and previous owner had put a lot of nice toys on such as aftermarket pipes that are not obnoxious but give it a very definite and thunderous presence, the teardrop mirrors and other bits and bobs, all quality kit.

It is such a nice bike that he had a lot put into that he had to wonder why the guy was selling it.

The answer was quite depressing. A born again 50+ biker whose wife started having full blown panic attacks every time he went out on it.

So he had bought one of the utterly bonkers versions of the Ariel Atom
 
#23
Keep your money in your pocket and, get as many test rides as you can.

The reason their are so many different makes to choose from is...............subjectivity.

Only you will know the 'right' bike, a test ride will cost you nothing!
 
#24
Don't get cringe making bags with studs and fringes, go for Kriega.
Agreed on the studs/fringes, that's not happening. But there's a certain style of saddlebags that look right on the cruisers, as far as I can see. Plain black leather, couple chrome fasteners and I'll be good.

@Egg on Leggs - A bit of both, mate. I was using my brain (at least I think I was) by getting something that's not a widow-maker by virtue of its power, like the big Supersports. I was using my heart, because a few weeks ago, a couple cousins and their mate stopped in here on a long ride between Ohio and Florida and back. They had Harley cruisers, two Softails and a RoadGlide. I hear (from others) they're apparently barges to ride, and perhaps some quality issues. However, the one thing those bikes had was presence, in abundance. To say I was jealous was an understatement. So I really wanted a cruiser, but ideally not a Harley. The reviews of the Bonneville America seem to be unanimously 4 or 5 stars, with the last star sometimes being reserved because a bit more power would be ideal. Well, as a first bike, that's just fine by me. It's got plenty enough power for me, at least for now. I'm not going racing, I'm going cruising.

If I get a different bike in future, unless this one shits the bed, my plan is to just keep it, for what it cost me. Maybe get a little collection of different types of bike. Maybe an adventure bike, and/or a BMW RT. We'll have the space in the new house, so we'll see. Only had this one less than 24 hours, so not looking to run before I'm walking properly. But I did at least consider the future potential scenarios.

It so happened that (entirely unconnected) I bought an enclosed motorcycle trailer a few weeks ago. Needed to store and then move some furniture a couple hundred miles and came across a motorcycle trailer for not much moolah, so that came very handy yesterday.
 
#25
Dunno about the Bobber. I prefer the chrome look, but those Bobbers seem to the same basic bike as the Speedmaster, which although I like (a lot!), I'm not sure I'm ready for. Might be wrong, but a 1200 4-pot for a novice seems like putting a novice car driver in a V8.

At $5K for a 2014 used America, I'm not going to lose my shirt if I don't get on with it. But don't want to lose my life. Shirt would be fine, under the circumstances...
Enjoy your new toy!

I test rode a Bobber last year, it looked superb and every aspect of the ride was too. I couldn't fault it. Apart from the tiny fuel tank.

Picked up a new TR Scrambler on Saturday. very chuffed. The sensible choice for the 'mature' rider is a Bonnie T120 or the new Speedmaster.
 
#26
Agreed on the studs/fringes, that's not happening. But there's a certain style of saddlebags that look right on the cruisers, as far as I can see. Plain black leather, couple chrome fasteners and I'll be good.

@Egg on Leggs - A bit of both, mate. I was using my brain (at least I think I was) by getting something that's not a widow-maker by virtue of its power, like the big Supersports. I was using my heart, because a few weeks ago, a couple cousins and their mate stopped in here on a long ride between Ohio and Florida and back. They had Harley cruisers, two Softails and a RoadGlide. I hear (from others) they're apparently barges to ride, and perhaps some quality issues. However, the one thing those bikes had was presence, in abundance. To say I was jealous was an understatement. So I really wanted a cruiser, but ideally not a Harley. The reviews of the Bonneville America seem to be unanimously 4 or 5 stars, with the last star sometimes being reserved because a bit more power would be ideal. Well, as a first bike, that's just fine by me. It's got plenty enough power for me, at least for now. I'm not going racing, I'm going cruising.

If I get a different bike in future, unless this one shits the bed, my plan is to just keep it, for what it cost me. Maybe get a little collection of different types of bike. Maybe an adventure bike, and/or a BMW RT. We'll have the space in the new house, so we'll see. Only had this one less than 24 hours, so not looking to run before I'm walking properly. But I did at least consider the future potential scenarios.

It so happened that (entirely unconnected) I bought an enclosed motorcycle trailer a few weeks ago. Needed to store and then move some furniture a couple hundred miles and came across a motorcycle trailer for not much moolah, so that came very handy yesterday.
He's got one and he's already building a collection.:)

Welcome to the club mate, enjoy.:)
 
#27
One Hunter S Thompson summed up proper bikes in "The Song of the Sausage Creature"...

There are some things nobody needs in this world, and a bright red,
hunchback, warp-speed 900cc cafe racer is one of them — but I want
one anyway, and on some days I actually believe I need one. That is
why they are dangerous.

Everybody has fast motorcycles these days. Some people go 150
miles an hour on two-lane blacktop roads, but not often. There are too
many oncoming trucks and too many radar cops and too many stupid
animals in the way. You have to be a little crazy to ride these
super-torque high-speed crotch rockets anywhere except a racetrack —
and even there, they will scare the whimpering shit out of you…. There
is, after all, not a pig’s eye worth of difference between going head-on
into a Peterbilt or sideways into the bleachers. On some days you get
what you want, and on other, you get what you need.

When Cycle World called me to ask if I would road-test the new
Harley Road King, I got uppity and said I’d rather have a Ducati superbike.
It seemed like a chic decision at the time, and my friends on the superbike
circuit got very excited. “Hot damn,” they said, “We will take it to the
track and blow the bastards away.”

“Balls,” I said. “Never mind the track. The track is for punks. We
are Road People. We are Cafe Racers.”

The Cafe Racer is a different breed, and we have our own situations.
Pure speed in sixth gear on a 5,000-foot straightaway is one thing, but
pure speed in third gear on a gravel-strewn downhill ess turn is quite
another.

But we like it. A thoroughbred Cafe Racer will ride all night through
a fog storm in freeway traffic to put himself into what somebody told him
was the ugliest and tightest decreasing-radius turn since Genghis Khan
invented the corkscrew.

Cafe Racing is mainly a matter of taste. It is an atavistic mentality,
a peculiar mix of low style, high speed, pure dumbness, and overweening
commitment to the Cafe Life and all its dangerous pleasures…. I am a
Cafe Racer myself, on some days — and many nights for that matter — and
it is one of my finest addictions….

I am not without scars on my brain and my body, but I can live with
them. I still feel a shudder in my spine every time I see a Vincent Black
Shadow, or when I walk into a public restroom and hear crippled men
whispering about the terrifying Kawasaki Triple…. I have visions of
compound femur-fractures and large black men in white hospital suits
holding me down on a gurney while a nurse called “Bess” sews the
flaps of my scalp together with a stitching drill.

Ho, ho. Thank God for these flashbacks. The brain is such a wonderful
instrument (until God sinks his teeth into it). Some people hear Tiny Tim
singing when they go under, and others hear the song of the Sausage
Creature.

When the Ducati turned up in my driveway, nobody knew what to do
with it. I was in New York, covering a polo tournament, and people had
threatened my life. My lawyer said I should give myself up and enroll in
the Federal Witness Protection Program. Other people said it had
something to do with the polo crowd.

The motorcycle business was the last straw. It had to be the work of
my enemies, or people who wanted to hurt me. It was the vilest kind of
bait, and they knew I would go for it.

Of course. You want to cripple the bastard? Send him a 130-mph
cafe racer. And include some license plates, so he’ll think it’s a
streetbike. He’s queer for anything fast.

Which is true. I have been a connoisseur of fast motorcycles all my
life. I bought a brand-new 650 BSA Lightning when it was billed as “the
fastest motorcycle ever tested by Hot Rod magazine.” I have ridden a
500-pound Vincent through traffic on the Ventura Freeway with burning
oil on my legs and run the Kawa 750 triple through Beverly Hills at night
with a head full of acid…. I have ridden with Sonny Barger and smoked
weed in biker bars with Jack Nicholson, Grace Slick, Ron Zigler, and
my infamous old friend, Ken Kesey, a legendary Cafe Racer.

Some people will tell you that slow is good — and it may be, on some
days — but I am here to tell you that fast is better. I’ve always believed
this, in spite of the trouble it’s caused me. Being shot out of a cannon
will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why
God made fast motorcycles, Bubba….

So when I got back from New York and found a fiery red rocket-style
bike in my garage, I realized I was back in the road-testing business.

The brand-new Ducati 900 Campione del Mundo Desmodue
Supersport double-barreled magnum Cafe Racer filled me with feelings
of lust every time I looked at it. Others felt the same way. My garage
quickly became a magnet for drooling superbike groupies. They
quarreled and bitched at each other about who would be first to help
me evaluate my new toy…. And I did, of course, need a certain
spectrum of opinions, besides my own, to properly judge this
motorcycle. The Woody Creek Perverse Environmental Testing
Facility is a long way from Daytona or even top-fuel challenge sprints
on the Pacific Coast Highway, where teams of big-bore Kawasakis
and Yamahas are said to race head-on against each other in
death-defying games of “chicken” at 100 miles an hour….

No. Not everybody who buys a high-dollar torque-brute yearns to go
out in a ball of fire on a public street in L.A. Some of us are decent
people who want to stay out of the emergency room, but still blast
through neo-gridlock traffic in residential districts whenever we feel
like it…. For that we need fine Machinery.

Which we had — no doubt about that. The Ducati people in New
Jersey had opted, for reasons of their own, to send me the 900SP for
testing — rather than their 916 crazy-fast, state-of-the-art superbike
track racer. It was far too fast, they said — and prohibitively expensive
— to farm out for testing to a gang of half-mad Colorado cowboys who
think they’re world-class Cafe Racers.

The Ducati 900 is a finely engineered machine. My neighbors
called it beautiful and admired its racing lines. The nasty little bugger
looked like it was going 90 miles an hour when it was standing still in
my garage.

Taking it on the road, though, was a genuinely terrifying experience.
I had no sense of speed until I was going 90 and coming up fast on a
bunch of pickup trucks going into a wet curve along the river. I went for
both brakes, but only the front one worked, and I almost went end over
end. I was out of control staring at the tailpipe of a U.S. Mail truck,
still stabbing frantically at my rear brake pedal, which I just couldn’t
find…. I am too tall for these New Age roadracers; they are not built
for any rider taller than five-nine, and the rearset brake pedal was not
where I thought it would be. Midsize Italian pimps who like to race
from one cafe to another on the boulevards of Rome in a flat-line
prone position might like this, but I do not.

I was hunched over the tank like a person diving into a pool that
got emptied yesterday. Whacko! Bashed into the concrete bottom,
flesh ripped off, a Sausage Creature with no teeth, f-cked-up for the
rest of its life.

We all love Torque, and some of us have taken it straight over the
high side from time to time — and there is always Pain in that…. But
there is also Fun, in the deadly element, and Fun is what you get when
you screw this monster on. BOOM! Instant takeoff, no screeching or
squawking around like a fool with your teeth clamping down on your
tongue and your mind completely empty of everything but fear.

No. This bugger digs right in and shoots you straight down the pipe,
for good or ill.

On my first takeoff, I hit second gear and went through the speed limit
on a two-lane blacktop highway full of ranch traffic. By the time I went up
to third, I was going 75 and the tach was barely above 4,000 rpm….

And that’s when it got its second wind. From 4,000 to 6,000 in third
will take you from 75 to 95 in two seconds — and after that, Bubba, you
still have fourth, fifth, and sixth. Ho, ho.

I never got into sixth, and I didn’t get deep into fifth. This is a
shameful admission for a full-bore Cafe Racer, but let me tell you
something, old sport: This motorcycle is simply too goddamn fast to
ride at speed in any kind of normal road traffic unless you’re ready to
go straight down the centerline with your nuts on fire and a silent
scream in your throat.

When aimed in the right direciton at high speed, though, it has
unnatural capabilities. This I unwittingly discovered as I made my
approach to a sharp turn across some railroad tracks, saw that
I was going way too fast and that my only chance was to veer right
and screw it on totally, in a desparate attempt to leapfrog the curve
by going airborne.

It was a bold and reckless move, but it was necessary. And it
worked: I felt like Evil Knievel as I soared across the tracks with
the rain in my eyes and my jaws clamped together in fear. I tried
to spit down on the tracks as I passed them, but my mouth was too
dry…. I landed hard on the edge of the road and lost my grip for
a moment as the Ducati began fishtailing crazily into oncoming
traffic. For two or three seconds I came face to face with the
Sausage Creature….

But somehow the brute straightened out. I passed a school bus
on the right and then got the bike under control long enough to gear
down and pull off into an abandoned gravel driveway where I stopped
and turned off the engine. My hands had seized up like claws and
the rest of my body was numb. I felt nauseous and I cried for my
mama, but nobody heard, then I went into a trance for 30 or 40
seconds until I was finally able to light a cigarette and calm down
enough to ride home. I was too hysterical to shift gears, so I went
the whole way in first at 40 miles an hour.

Whoops! What am I saying? Tall stories, ho, ho…. We are
motorcycle people; we walk tall and we laugh at whatever’s funny.
We shit on the chests of the Weird….

But when we ride very fast motorcycles, we ride with immaculate
sanity. We might abuse a substance here and there, but only when
it’s right. The final measure of any rider’s skill is the inverse ratio
of his preferred Traveling Speed to the number of bad scars on his
body. It is that simple: If you ride fast and crash, you are a bad rider.
If you go slow and crash, you are a bad rider. And if you are a bad
rider, you should not ride motorcycles.

The emergence of the superbike has heightened this equation
drastically. Motorcycle technology has made such a great leap
forward. Take the Ducati. You want optimum cruising speed on
this bugger? Try 90 mph in fifth at 5,500 rpm — and just then, you
see a bull moose in the middle of the road. WHACKO. Meet the
Sausage Creature.

Or maybe not: The Ducati 900 is so finely engineered and
balanced and torqued that you can do 90 mph in fifth through a
35-mph zone and get away with it. The bike is not just fast — it is
extremely quick and responsive, and it will do amazing things….
It is a little like riding the original Vincent Black Shadow, which would
outrun an F-86 jet fighter on the takeoff runway, but at the end, the
F-86 would go airborne and the Vincent would not, and there was
no point in trying to turn it. WHAMO! The Sausage Creature strikes
again.

There is a fundamental difference, however, between the old
Vincents and the new bred of superbikes. If you rode the Black
Shadow at top speed for any length of time, you would almost
certainly die. That is why there are not many life members of the
Vincent Black Shadow Society. The Vincent was like a bullet that
went straight; the Ducati is like the magic bullet that went sideways
and hit JFK and the Governor of Texas at the same time. It was
impossible. But so was my terrifying sideways leap across railroad
tracks on the 900SP. The bike did it easily with the grace of a
fleeing tomcat. The landing was so easy I remember thinking,
goddamnit, if I had screwed it on a little more I could have gone
a lot further.

Maybe this is the new Cafe Racer macho. My bike is so much
faster than yours that I dare you to ride it, you lame little turd. Do you
have the balls to ride this BOTTOMLESS PIT OF TORQUE?

That is the attitude of the New Age superbike freak, and I am one
of them. On some days they are about the most fun you can have
with your clothes on. The Vincent just killed you a lot faster than
a superbike will. A fool couldn’t ride the Vincent Black Shadow
more than once, but a fool can ride a Ducati 900 many times, and
it will always be bloodcurdling kind of fun. That is the Curse of Speed
which has plagued me all my life. I am a slave to it. On my tombstone
they will carve, “IT NEVER GOT FAST ENOUGH FOR ME.”
Chrome and saddlebags? Might as well get those arrseless chaps as well.
 
#28
He's got one and he's already building a collection.:)

Welcome to the club mate, enjoy.:)
Actually two, technically. The lad's CBR is in my name :)

It pays to be old, it seems. The insurance on his bike (in my name, just me named on it because he doesn't have a license, just a permit) was a very reasonable $99/yr. This is third party only, but with the maximum coverage. No point paying a grand a year for a $4/5K bike for fully comp. Anyway, to add my bike to the policy resulted in an additional premium of exactly $0.

I might put theft coverage on the policy since mine cost absolutely nothing, and I was expecting to pay at least a little bit more.
 
#29
One Hunter S Thompson summed up proper bikes in "The Song of the Sausage Creature"...

</snip>

That is the attitude of the New Age superbike freak, and I am one
of them. On some days they are about the most fun you can have
with your clothes on. The Vincent just killed you a lot faster than
a superbike will. A fool couldn’t ride the Vincent Black Shadow
more than once, but a fool can ride a Ducati 900 many times, and
it will always be bloodcurdling kind of fun. That is the Curse of Speed
which has plagued me all my life. I am a slave to it. On my tombstone
they will carve, “IT NEVER GOT FAST ENOUGH FOR ME.”

Chrome and saddlebags? Might as well get those arrseless chaps as well.
Exactly what I was afraid of. I'm no speed merchant at this point in my riding career, so if that requires arseless chaps, make it so, with knobs on. Get me one of those studded leather caps too, if it saves my life by not being a wånker on a too-powerful machine. I am painfully aware of my limitations, and from my perspective, that's not a bad place to be starting out from.
 
#31
FWIW I know two guys who have bought new Triumphs in the last 18 months, and both were very poorly put together. Neither a Bonneville, to be fair, but perhaps indicative of build quality across the marque? Dunno.

The guy who bought the Street Triple eventually rejected the bike. Among other things (barmy instruments, poor paint, bit of an oil leak) it had a dreadful vibration in the front end from about 40/45 MPH and it got worse the faster you went. The dealer never figured it out either, and a deal was done for a Kawasaki Z1000 instead.
Sounds like an original to me
 
#32
Actually two, technically. The lad's CBR is in my name :)

It pays to be old, it seems. The insurance on his bike (in my name, just me named on it because he doesn't have a license, just a permit) was a very reasonable $99/yr. This is third party only, but with the maximum coverage. No point paying a grand a year for a $4/5K bike for fully comp. Anyway, to add my bike to the policy resulted in an additional premium of exactly $0.

I might put theft coverage on the policy since mine cost absolutely nothing, and I was expecting to pay at least a little bit more.
I'm going off to do the course [again] with my lad next month once school has finished for the summer. The Mrs will not let him have a bke till he has some road experience in a car under his belt and I have told him his first motorised two wheeler will be a Yamaha Zuma.............you should have heard the bleating.
 
#36
Cruisers aren't really my thing but the Speedy and the America have the 270 degree crank which gives a lovely exhaust note. I would be looking to get some short pipes on there to make the most of the sound.
deffo a good choice as a first bike. Easy to maintain, good tank capacity and good for loading up.
 
#37
Cruisers aren't really my thing but the Speedy and the America have the 270 degree crank which gives a lovely exhaust note. I would be looking to get some short pipes on there to make the most of the sound.
deffo a good choice as a first bike. Easy to maintain, good tank capacity and good for loading up.
I'll definitely agree on that, it sounds the part, for sure. Dunno about aftermarket pipes, the stock ones sound alright to me.

I have two neighbors here, one has a CBR1000, which I think he got as his first bike. He keeps it outside under a cover (despite having a 2-car garage with no cars in it). Occasionally, he pulls the cover off, revs the tits off it on the stand for 10 minutes, and then has a wobbly 5 minute ride. Next time he does that, I'll get mine out :)

The other one has just moved in. Knowing the dïck next door, it put a nice smile on my face as he introduced himself as the Chief of Police in the next town over :)
 
#38
Keep your money in your pocket and, get as many test rides as you can.

The reason their are so many different makes to choose from is...............subjectivity.

Only you will know the 'right' bike, a test ride will cost you nothing!
A test ride cost a potential customer nigh on £1000 some years back.

I was having a mooch, when this guy turned up for a pre booked test ride on a Fireblade demonstrator.

He filled in the paperwork, had his licence photocopied and off he went - for all of 10 minutes, when he limped back into the showroom carrying some bits of plastic and wing mirror.

Apparently he gave it a glove full and it spat him straight off and creamed in just outside the shop.

"Well Sir, how would you like to pay for this insurance excess?"

"Credit card? That'll do nicely, Sir".
 
#39
@Egg on Leggs - A bit of both, mate. I was using my brain (at least I think I was) by getting something that's not a widow-maker by virtue of its power, like the big Supersports. I was using my heart, because a few weeks ago, a couple cousins and their mate stopped in here on a long ride between Ohio and Florida and back. They had Harley cruisers, two Softails and a RoadGlide. I hear (from others) they're apparently barges to ride, and perhaps some quality issues. However, the one thing those bikes had was presence, in abundance. To say I was jealous was an understatement. So I really wanted a cruiser, but ideally not a Harley. The reviews of the Bonneville America seem to be unanimously 4 or 5 stars, with the last star sometimes being reserved because a bit more power would be ideal. Well, as a first bike, that's just fine by me. It's got plenty enough power for me, at least for now. I'm not going racing, I'm going cruising.
Sounds like you have it nailed.:dance:
 
#40
A test ride cost a potential customer nigh on £1000 some years back.

I was having a mooch, when this guy turned up for a pre booked test ride on a Fireblade demonstrator.

He filled in the paperwork, had his licence photocopied and off he went - for all of 10 minutes, when he limped back into the showroom carrying some bits of plastic and wing mirror.

Apparently he gave it a glove full and it spat him straight off and creamed in just outside the shop.

"Well Sir, how would you like to pay for this insurance excess?"

"Credit card? That'll do nicely, Sir".

Similar story from a Mitsubishi dealer in Cirencester. Bloke went for a test drive in an Evo type thing with the salesman in the passenger seat. Closing in on an HGV on the dual carriageway, the driver dropped a gear, floored it and then checked his wing mirror. As he did that there was a colossal impact as the car slammed the back of the truck- he just wasn't prepared for the acceleration.
 
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