I managed to secure an invite for the “Bonneville Reborn” event in Los Angeles last night, so I fueled up my T100 and rode to the Ace Theater/Hotel in downtown L.A. Skip to the bottom for all the photos.
First off, if you’re looking for specs on weight, hp, pricing etc. you’ve come to the wrong place. I have zero concrete information to pass along. I spoke to three different dealers who were in attendance, and all three had the same uncertain data (“specs in early December” “specs on December 7” “specs the first week of December”). Two of them stood in line in front of me as we waited to get into the theatre/hotel, so I eavesdropped as they spoke to each other. I became convinced that they don’t know much more than the public.
Perhaps someone else in attendance acquired more concrete data, but I’d be wary of whatever the source was. This was an event to get the public excited, not to cater to the enthusiast crowd (we’re a small group, people, accept this reality) who care as much about specs/performance as we do about looks.
For what they were hoping to achieve, they achieved it. People were excited to see the bikes, I am sure the Triumph display will be jammed this weekend at the Long Beach Motorcycle Show.
It was hard to get any decent photos with all the people, but I snapped a few. Don’t expect any startling revelations that you haven’t already seen in the official release photos. I did sit on each bike, so I’m now qualified to do a 2000 word “First Ride Review” on all the models, since that’s apparently the only qualification one needs to be an moto-internet journalist nowadays. Oh, and I’m just over 6’2″ with a ridiculous inseam of 35″, so I’m definitely outside the norm both for my height and for the average rider.
The Thruxton R was, as one might expect, the darling of the event. It was in the theater all by itself, with that horrid Beckham short film playing on the screen behind it. It’s a looker, no doubt, though I wish they’d had the new regular Thruxton on hand for comparison (an omission made on purpose, my cynical former-journalist alter-ego suspects).
No matter, the R is a real beaut, if you’re excited by the photos, you’ll likely love it in person. When I sat upon it, I was very surprised by how light it felt, given that I expected all of the new bikes to feel heavier. I’m not saying it’s going to be lighter than the outgoing model, but the oft-stated “comparable weights” to the air-cooled models are probably accurate. Sitting still, it felt reasonably nimble for its size, and definitely more enthusiast-oriented than the previous generation.
When I sit on a bike, I try to ignore my own aforementioned overly long legs and imagine what the regular rider will feel. I think the Street Twin is a cool, smaller package that may just outsell the new T120. Diehard enthusiasts will likely opt for the larger bike, but my suspicion is that the Street Twin will have a much broader appeal. It’s also the kind of bike that elicits a slight smile, foretelling misguided adventures, mischief, and fond memories.
I could never fit on one, mind you. But I really like what I saw and felt from sitting on it. It somehow felt more manageable than the outgoing Bonnie SE. I’ll be fascinated when the specs come out in another couple weeks.
Both T120s were quite poorly lit and in areas of high foot traffic, so I only managed a pair of photos.
Similar to the Thruxton R, the T120 is a great looking bike (imo). When one considers all the mandates that the modern motorcycle designer is forced to deal with, the whole new line is a real testament to Triumph’s dedication not to mess up a good thing. I think they’ve marvelously captured the feel and heritage of the Bonneville name.
Of all the bikes, the T120 felt the biggest and heaviest (undoubtedly because it is). I rode my 2014 T100 to the event, so I had a good basis of comparison. The T120 has a higher seat, feels a bit portly, and overall just larger (a 1200cc mill will do that, of course). With all the limitations that come from merely sitting on a bike versus actually riding it, this bike felt a bit more cruiser-ish than the T100. I wouldn’t trade my bike in for one of these new ones (I really wanted one of the last air-cooled models), but I was a bit envious of the twin front rotors on the T120.
It was an event to get people excited. It succeeded. I don’t get the “Triumph dropped the ball” remarks from other posters here, simply because the specs/pricing weren’t released. These models were revealed less than 30 days ago. If the specs are indeed released on December 7, that’s six weeks from official photos to official specs. That’s totally reasonable and consistent with new product roll outs. Sheesh, ask the new Honda Africa Twin fans how long they waited.
Sole gripe: it was a ridiculous 25 minute wait to get in the door, as every guest had to offer a thumbprint, retinal scan and voice recognition to confirm identity (or so it seemed). Sheesh, it’s not like they were announcing specs and pricing, right?!
Click images to enlarge: