Bonneville Reborn – Los Angeles

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.

THRUXTON R

thruxr_3The 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.

STREET TWIN

street_twin_1I couldn’t get many shots of either of the Street Twin or the T120 (must have been too busy eating free food and ice cream). But of the two, I actually liked the Street Twin a little bit more.

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.

T120

Both T120s were quite poorly lit and in areas of high foot traffic, so I only managed a pair of photos.

T120_1Similar 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.

ATMOSPHERE

atmo_4It 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:

6 thoughts on “Bonneville Reborn – Los Angeles”

  1. Nice write up,I’ve been looking for the list if cities on the tour and can’t find it on Triumphs website…saw your review on ADVrider..Good job

  2. How cramped did the 120 feel compared to your T100? I’m your size and I can’t sit on a T100 without feeling like Andre the Giant. My R75/5 by comparison seems the perfect size, but then the seat is at least two inches higher.

    1. The T120 felt markedly larger and taller than my T100 (when it was stock). However, both of the display T120s were on rear stands, so the suspension didn’t compress at all of course. Even so, the overall size of the T120 felt bigger, I felt I had a little more leg room as well. And the new engine, of course, puts a little more heft in between the legs. T120 seat might be a big wider too.

      Just a note, I changed the suspension on my T100 which raised it by 2 cm, and while that of course didn’t change the distance to the pegs, I don’t feel quite so oversized on it. Handles better now and the mildly sluggish steering is gone.

  3. Great write up on the event, I agree with your thoughts on the Street Twin. My wife is considering one for her first bike, but I’m a bit hesitant. Your thoughts?

    1. Thanks, Kevin. As for the Street Twin as a first bike, I think it’s highly dependent and personal. Everyone’s situation is unique. My wife just learned to ride, and she has stated that anything over 400 pounds feels too heavy for her to confidently maneuver at low speeds, or even just moving it around the driveway or a parking lot. I hear a lot of people advocate the “you’ll grow into a bigger bike” philosophy, and while I’m sure that’s worked for some folks, my wife is gunning for something that she feels completely confident upon from Day 1 as she learns the muscle memory of shifting and braking. So a Grom, CB300F, or SR400 will likely be her first ride. Once that becomes automatic for her, she’ll think about something bigger (she too likes the Street Twin, also the MG V7 Stone, maaaybe a Duc Scrambler).

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