Ask a kid to draw a motorcycle and they'll draw something like the Triumph Bonneville. Since it came out in 2001, the bike's marriage of modern functionality with 1960s lines that evoke Dennis Hopper and Steve McQueen has accounted for huge sales. and have released their own retro-styled bikes, too. Something about vintage and motorcycles just kinda works.
So it's a big deal that Triumph is making a new version of its heritage staple, the Bonneville, and its variants, which were just unveiled. Update a modern classic the wrong way, and you'll have a mob at your gates.
The details: five new models in total, all liquid-cooled (instead of air-cooled), with more power over their antecedents and a new frame and body. The two engine options are 900 and 1200cc. Triumph hasn't disclosed the weight or horsepower, but says that the 900cc will have 80 Newton-meters (Nm) at 3200 rpm, and the 1200cc will have 105Nm at 3100 rpm. (Nm is the metric unit for torque; it works out to about 60 and 77 foot pounds, respectively.) You won't dust a , but if the weight is modest, that's plenty of power for a highway merge. Six-speed transmission, standard ABS, traction control—all the traces of modern motorcycling accounted for on all models.
Overall, the untrained eye won't notice many differences between the new and old Bonnevilles, and that's probably deliberate. You don't mess with lines that are arguably impossilbe to improve, and the Bonneville, and variants the Thruxton and Scrambler, account for about of the bikes Triumph sells in the United States.
Here's the breakdown of specific models:
• The Street Twin is 900 cc, has a stainless steel exhaust, and single dial on the dash. The look is spartan, like a bike.
• The T120 is 1200cc, has peashooter exhaust pipes, and brushed aluminum engine covers. The tank has been streamlined, too.
• The Thruxton, specifically the Thruxton R, is the most desirable of the three. It has the lines of a 1960s British café racer, with the low-slung handlebars and flip-top gas cap. As other journalists have noted, it resembles the . The Ohlins suspension means it'll actually handle well, Brembo brakes mean it'll stop when asked, and Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsas tires mean it'll hold the road -- all qualities that can't always be said of homemade café racers.
Triumph says it has a 470-page accessory catalog coming out, as well — exhaust, bikini fairings, tank straps. You can also buy packages like a Prestige kit to make a T120 look even more old-fashioned, something like the different trim levels for the Ducati Scrambler. It's all in the name of making yours different from the others that'll inevitably be parked in front of the coffee shop.
They go on sale in early 2016. Put us down for a Thruxton R.