Triumph Bonneville Models Compared
April 10, 2018
Many can say that the Bonneville stood the test of time. First manufactured in 1959 in Meriden England by Triumph Engineering, the brand continued production up to 1988 despite a brief hiatus from 1983-1985. Most thought that this was the end of the line for the Bonneville, but in 2001, it rose back to life when Triumph Motorcycles in Hinckley, Leicestershire, started making the iconic bikes again.
At the present time, there are quite a number of Bonneville models to choose from. Whether you’re after its sleek design or a piece of history, you’re sure to find a bike that’s worth the investment.
The T120 model was inspired by the 1959 Bonneville, and now features the same carburetor and inlet camshaft as the Triumph Tiger T110. Before its release, the engine managed to reach 185km/hour but there was still room for improvement. In 1963, it featured a more compact look and had stronger bracing for its swing arm and steering head.
2017’s T120 has a liquid cooled, two-cylinder 1200cc engine with a 6-speed transmission and torque of 105 Nm at 3100 rpm. More modifications were made to make it stiff and new forks were installed to ensure the steering angle is just right.
This Bonneville first released in 1970 has undergone so many modifications during it's production. In the beginning, it had a 724cc engine, five-speed transmission, drum brakes, and a kick-start. Then, its engine was changed to 744cc and the position of its gear change lever was moved to the left for the American market. Front and rear disc brakes were eventually installed and its kick-start changed to electric.
There was a lull when Bonneville halted production in 1983 but everything went in full swing again in 1985 through John Bloor’s acquisition of Triumph Motorcycles and his licensing of the Devonshire’s Racing Squares to manufacture the model again. The T140 was sold in America in 1988 - unfortunately, that was the same year the company ceased creating these mean machines.
The New Bonneville
In the 2000s, Triumph Motorcycles tried to mix the old with the new when they launched the New Bonneville. Their first release, the Bonneville 800, was fitted with a 790cc parallel-twin engine and was sold along with the T100 with an 865cc engine. From 2007, 865cc engines were installed in the New Bonneville range that included the America, Scrambler, Speedmaster, T100 and the Thruxton models.
To meet stricter emission requirements, bikes in Britain were fitted with electronic fuel injection that gave its tank a bigger appearance. The bike's brakes, on the other hand, had always been praised for its efficiency—something the British are known for.
Though most of the models have had the same engine throughout their production, the T100 got a 900cc liquid-cooled SOHC 270 parallel twin engine with a torque of 80Nm at 3,230 rpm in 2017. In the same year, the Thruxton also received a 1200cc engine.
See the bikes up close
If you’re an enthusiast interested in the newest releases and the maintenance of vintage bikes, going to a showroom would be a field day. But if you’ve got your heart set on taking one of these bad boys home, talk to the team at Money Centre. We can arrange pre-approved motorbike finance and help you get the Bonneville of your choice, so you ride around town like the king of the hill.
Images courtesy triumphmotorcycles.com.au