I picked the Labour Party for the Triumph only because of the British connection, so there’s no hyper-strained political analogy this time. Doesn’t matter, because the Bonneville is in this election for just one reason.
On the day I went to Bert’s Mega Mall (actual name) to check out the FZ-09, there was a Triumph Thruxton blocking my path through the showroom floor. I was immediately and inescapably smitten by the pure, beautiful expressions of motorcycling that are the Triumph Classics.
Sitting on the Thruxton, with its low bars and funky rearsets, was a pretzel-like experience for my long-legged frame, and the magic was momentarily dispelled…. until I realized that the nearby Bonneville was much more comfortable, and could easily be Thruxtonized in its appearance. Bam, right back into love.
The Bonneville is so easily customizable, it can become anything I want. It can be the cafe racer look that originally captured my imagination…
Or it can become the Great Escape-inspired Steve McQueen wannabe that begs to be loaded up when you’re ready to check-out of your personal POW camp…
Reference (as if you needed it)…
The Triumph’s simplicity, stunning looks, and long heritage are difficult to ignore for riders like me who spend half their waking hours day-dreaming of dangerous adventures in distant lands. Visually, the bike retains a remarkably close link to its 50 year old predecessor, yet it benefits from modern (albeit simplistic) engineering.
865cc and only 68 bhp? Who cares. If I want a hooligan bike I’ll get the FZ-09, yet the Bonnie will still embarrass most cagers (which never gets old on ANY bike). The Triumph is a definitive reminder that it’s not the destination, it’s the getting there and the places you see along the way. Which in this case will include lots of gas stations; the Triumph’s range is a puny 150-160 miles.
Significant problems here in the legroom department. Would have to get as high a seat as possible and perhaps even lower the pegs. That being said, it’s not uncomfortable by any means, but I got spoiled when riding the other three candidates. And, the Triumph weighs in at an Uncle Buck inspired 495 pounds, wet. I will say that the tonnage is cleverly disguised, as it feels much more nimble than the scales would indicate.
Now we’re really in trouble. Gotta get a 2:1 exhaust to drop 35 pounds from the aforementioned heft, gotta get the associated ECU flash. Gotta get the aforementioned seat(s), one for the cafe look, one for the McQueen look. Gotta get the air box removal kit. Maybe Norman Hyde M bars, certainly bar-end mirrors. And we haven’t even talked about the rear shocks yet. $2000-$2500 without breaking a sweat, on top of the Bonnie’s $8800 sticker.
The Triumph would make me smile every time I looked at it, and that is very often my guiding light when purchasing bikes, cars, outdoor gear, whatever. But take away my love affair with its looks, and there are few reasons to consider this candidate.