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Old 04-02-2012, 01:12 PM   #1
skysailor OP
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Will The Bonnie Work For Me?

I'm seriesly considering trading my Bandit in on something with "character", if you get my drift. I owned a '69 Bonnie and loved it. I'd like something for the street. Got the gravel covered. Looking at an R1200R or the Bonnie. Huge difference, I know. Any Bonnie drivers out there who ride fair distances? I'm always solo. I'd like to do 1500 mile round trips, pretty much the max. 3-500 mile days would be the outer limits. I'll NEVER attempt an Iron Butt! Both have good warrantees. I know there's lots of "contenders" out there...these two just "talk" to me. Thoughts?
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:33 PM   #2
SomethingClever
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There are plenty of folks who cover great distances on the modern Bonnies. The two biggest concerns that most people have with touring are the stock seat and the lack of a windscreen.

You can easily swap out the seat if you don't like it (I personally think it's fine, although I also have an aftermarket seat that I swap in to carry more luggage), and you can add a windscreen. I hate windscreens so I just deal with the wind.

As far as performance, the Bonnie will happily take you where you want to go, all day long every day. They're very reliable and easygoing. However, they do have far less oomph than the R1200R as I understand it, so you'll want to make sure the bike feels powerful enough for you. You can get 20% more torque and power relatively cheaply with a few mods, but after that it starts to get pretty expensive.

I also really like the looks of the R1200R, not sure why it stands out to me so much, but I also (obviously) love the Triumphs since I own one.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:33 PM   #3
Mista Vern
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Huge difference in choices, but since Triumphs tend to hold value pretty well it would cost you much less to try one out and use part of the money you save on aftermarket stuff once you figure out if you'll keep it or not.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:03 PM   #4
No False Enthusiasm
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Mista Vern is on target, but I'd also suggest upgrading shocks... great return for a reasonably small investment.

Start with the Bonny then upgrade to the R1200R if necessary.

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Old 04-03-2012, 04:43 AM   #5
Bugtussle
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I just replaced an R1100R with an 09 Bonneville. I ride two up all the time. The Bonnie has plenty of power and feels like a lightweight compared to the BMW. For me the BMW was a bit over powered for my riding. Guess Im getting older and slowing down. Ive been getting 55 mpg riding two up, thats easy riding on back roads sometimes touching 70 mph. The bike is rock solid and feels like a real motorcycle. Its as simple to work on as a lawn mower. Ive got 4 seats for mine from the King/Queen for touring to a solo seat. The seats can be changed in two minutes. Also in an hour I can go from a touring set up with rear rack, small screen and luggage side racks to a solo seat and bar end mirrors for a cafe look. Very versatile bike! I really recommend taking one for a test ride.

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Bugtussle screwed with this post 04-03-2012 at 04:55 AM
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:20 AM   #6
Grainbelt
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The new bonnie doesn't have character like your '69 did. Highly recommend a test ride - I've ridden a couple and came back underwhelmed. I need to ride a V7 classic for comparison's sake, they seem like a better executed retro concept, on paper.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:43 AM   #7
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The new Bonnie's with stock exhaust are really quiet, the bike is a little bit on the "sewing machine" side of character. Definitely test ride one if old-time Bonnie character is a selling point. I have a King & Queen seat, and it's a joy (never had the original - bought used). For the distance you are going, I would suggest a windscreen. I have just a very small Givi and it adds a lot to the comfort. Highway speeds are no problem, plenty of speed, plenty of torque. Great handling on curves - surpringingly nimble, and I found the stock shocks to be quite decent.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:52 AM   #8
Worroll
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http://www.triumphrat.net/ride-trip-reports/

Just look thru the ride reports on this site, you'll see quite a few newer bonnies going the distance.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:09 AM   #9
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About this character thing. I had one of the first '01 Bonnie's delivered to NJ. Those that did not know thought it was a restoration. The geezer's (I am one) that did know told me $#!+ about how much better the originals were. Bull !

I had a Triumph from the "good old days". Need I mention, Lucas. Or how about the trail of vibrating parts like crumbs in the woods. I was lucky I lived on a hill, tickle the carb and roll that sucker down.

The modern Bonnie is much better today. It starts, it lights, it stays running. The Beemer is built to a higher price point and is faster. But with very little money the Bonnie can be built up a bit to handle like a Brit bike should.

I'm 5'11" and found that my old knees needed a bit more room but that can be fixed. Great mileage and one of the easest to ride bikes made. Feels lighter than it is and very light to a Beemer. Stock it does sound like a sewing machine.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:37 AM   #10
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2 of my favorite bikes. Several posts have noted that the Bonnie is (or seems) lighter. From Motorcycle.com, the wet weights for 2012 models:

R1200R = 491 / 223

Bonneville T100 = 506 / 230

I want a cast wheel SE with a thicker seat and the headlight nacelle windscreen like this:

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Old 04-03-2012, 10:02 AM   #11
skysailor OP
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I would have bet good money that the R12R would heavier than the Bonnie! Tipping point might be price. But BMW probably has the better dealer support network? Really love that green two tone though! Local dealer has a black and gray that looks great. He also is the BMW dealer closest to me, but he can't get the R. It's a sport bike in Manitoba?!??! So he didn't order any. I'm looking at an '09 R vs. a new Bonnie. Pretty much the same price and warrantee. I'd have to take the used bike to the same guys for any issues. Neither has ABS. I don't feel that's an issue. The used Beemer has 3700 km.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:31 AM   #12
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I got rid of my bonnie five years back and have gone through 5 bikes.. The Bonnie I had went to the new owner and he toured North America on it. I sold it with 38000. Now has well over 90000.
Reason Im posting here is: Ive thought of a lot of bikes from R1100S to Sportsters and everything in between. I keep coming back to a Bonneville.. I should have just kept the one I had and bought different seats and suspension.. Kinda dial it in for the days riding...
So Im back in the Triumph market... T 100 most likely.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:39 AM   #13
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I'm not a BMW guy (just boring and complex) but the r1200 is a much better motorcycle than the bonnie (power/handling/braking/comfort). The Bonnie is very Kool looking and reliable, but heavy & underpowered (built to a price point). I would take the bonnie over the r1200 just because I don't like bmws, but the ninja 1000 is the bike I'd get before either.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:35 AM   #14
SomethingClever
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devin View Post
The new Bonnie's with stock exhaust are really quiet, the bike is a little bit on the "sewing machine" side of character. Definitely test ride one if old-time Bonnie character is a selling point. I have a King & Queen seat, and it's a joy (never had the original - bought used). For the distance you are going, I would suggest a windscreen. I have just a very small Givi and it adds a lot to the comfort. Highway speeds are no problem, plenty of speed, plenty of torque. Great handling on curves - surpringingly nimble, and I found the stock shocks to be quite decent.

This is absolutely true, but if the stock sound doesn't do it for you, it can easily be improved (and you'll see other benefits as well). See if the dealer has a bike with Predators, Arrow, Norman Hyde or any other number of aftermarket pipes installed so you can take a listen.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:06 PM   #15
JerryH
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As the former owner of a 1966 Bonneville, I totally agree about the "character" thing. The modern ones have almost no character at all. They are very much like a modern Japanese bike. I took one for a test ride, and decided right then not to buy it. It's not just the lack of sound, there is no vibration either, and the ride is just too smooth for me. To me riding a motorcycle should be a very visceral experience, and the new Bonnie has all the soul of a toaster. A 1983 or older Yamaha XS650 has lots more character than the new Bonnie. The look is wrong as well. It seem fat and out of proportion compared to the original. I don't like the looks of the cast wheels on such a bike, but would not want one with wire spoke wheels either, as they no longer have centerstands. I still don't understand why all manufacturers can't make wire spoke wheels for tubeless tires. BMW does, and Honda did way back in '86 with the 450 Rebel.
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