From a "fast" bike to a Bonneville?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Av8rPaul, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Get the Bonnie. It is a much more satisfying bike to " just ride" than any of those others. You don't feel like you have to compete with something, you just get on and ride and enjoy yourself.

    I see speed in two ways, and only one of them means anything to me. The Bonnie has neither. One is top speed, and is completely meaningless on the street, and not much fun anywhere else. The wind blast tries to rip you right off the bike.

    The other is acceleration, and can be great fun, but you have to be careful with that on the street too, if you value your license. Very few things beat the thrill of winning a stoplight race, until those red and blue lights come on in your mirrors. The old style V-Max was KING here. I never got one because I knew I would never be able to keep my license.

    I now find that plodding along on a backroad at 55-65 mph on a bike with some rumble down there is very satisfying. You may need new pipes to get that "rumble"
    #21
  2. Av8rPaul

    Av8rPaul Have bike will travel

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    Excellent replies to one and all. Most of my riding will be in the twisties of the Sierras, and after all you guys have shared your experience on both side of the fence I believe the Bonneville is right for me. The mag wheel model with some Thruxton length shocks, highflow mufflers, flyscreen.... I can see it now.:D
    #22
  3. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

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    Wow....delighted to see this thread. Infact, last few weeks in my free time I have just been doing google image searches & Youtube videos of the Triumph Bonnie (with saddlebags, exhaust, windshield etc etc). Having ridden the R1200GS, RT and the K1600GTL on long trips, and specifically at the fag end of our recent 7 day ride aboard the fabulous R1200RT in New Zealand, I took the Bonnie T100 for a small 15 odd km ride on the country side and this bike immediately started talking to me. I am madly in love with it. It was unadultrated fun. With Triumph planning to set up their new factory in India this year, I think I will be there for a Bonnie. Maybe more of solo rides on the Bonnie with soft saddlebags etc, while the GS will still be on duty for the bigger 2-up rides with Shad hard cases.
    #23
  4. 0ldhippie

    0ldhippie Been here awhile

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    I guess I'm the odd man out but I find the new Bonnies just boring. I grew up a Triumph guy and really want to love them but just can't. Really heavy and underpowered! Reminds me of my old 883 sporty?? You will really miss passing motorhomes in the sierras!
    #24
  5. YJake

    YJake Roaming

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    Yes!

    I have a Naked Bandit 1200 I use for touring and hooliganism on occasion but ride my Ninja 250 more than it and after sitting on a Bonneville in Daytona yesterday I must say that I have been smitten. I would keep my other 3 bikes but if I could raise the thing slightly for leg room I'd be sold.

    Still need to ride one to get a feel for the engine but it seems to be "just right" for the riding that I do.

    -Jake
    #25
  6. GoonerYoda

    GoonerYoda Hot Dickens Cider

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    Get a higher seat made for you.
    #26
  7. surly357

    surly357 Cochetopa dreamin'

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    motorhomes in the sierras must have a lot more 'giddyup' than motorhomes in the rockies....:D
    #27
  8. vicster

    vicster Long timer

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    What he said. I rode British 650s back in the day and lusted after a modern Scrambler until I rode one. I personally was disappointed. Heavy, not much power or leg room and kinda boring. Maybe the 360 crank is different?
    I recomend a test ride and a real close perusal of fit and finish. Lower powered bikes are fine on the street (I often leave my Rocket III at home for my DR or my daughter's 250 Ninja), but only a test ride IMO will tell you if the character you want is there on the Bonnie.
    Or wait and see what the new Street Tracker is all about. Lord knows the potential is there.
    #28
  9. Av8rPaul

    Av8rPaul Have bike will travel

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    I'll definitely do a test ride. I know I'm going backwards in the power game, but I rode an R100/7 all over the country including finishing 5th in the Iron Butt Rally one year and it had what, 50 or so rwhp? I do have a 34" inseam so a taller seat is in order, but it's got to have more legroom than my Buell did, over at cycle-ergo.com it shows almost 10 degrees less knee bend.
    #29
  10. KingOfFleece

    KingOfFleece SplitWeight(tm) waterproof seat covers

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    I never find mine lacking power in the hills of PA or WV where I have about 500 feet to pass, at the good spots, no less!
    Ride one to be sure, though.
    #30
  11. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I have had a number of old Triumphs, as well as many other bikes over the years and I was not happy with the new Bonneville.
    Power was low for the engine size but more then enough, but the bike was uncomfortable, heavy, and handled much worse then the old bikes.
    If you are used to the old bikes, the new ones look a bit goofy and sound like a sewing machine.
    Trouble free though...
    #31
  12. MotoRacerGabe

    MotoRacerGabe Adventurer

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    I went from traded my Vulcan 2000 for the sportster while I still had my Honda Blackbird. I ended up selling the blackbird a few months later because I didn't ride it. I kept letting it sit for so long and the battery died a few times. I don't miss the bigger bikes one bit.

    Like one dude said, it's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.

    I thought about keeping my Blackbird but, I still have many years left in me and can get another fast bike down the road if I want.
    #32
  13. mr openroad

    mr openroad Target Fixated

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    I went from a ZX12 to a DR650 with no regrets. Bonnevilles are fine machines.
    #33
  14. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    As the former owner of a '66, I don't think the new ones compare favorably to the originals at all in character. But they don't break down. I'm sure a set of decent pipes would get some sound out of them. But it is hard to believe that engine has a 360 degree crank. Besides the Bonnie, I've also had 2 Yamaha XS650s, and all 3 were shakers. You could watch the forks jump up and down at a stoplight. I thought for sure Triumph had put a counterbalancer in there, but cannot find any reference to one. They definitely need to put some of the vibration back.


    Remember when the Japanese first came out with v-twins? The Japanese, being engineers, and realizing that a v-twin close to 45 degrees was not going to be smooth, solved the problem by using offset crankpins. The result was a v-twin that felt and sounded like a 180 degree parallel twin, and it just didn't sell well. It wasn't until the Japanese started to de-engineer their v-twins and give them some character that people started buying them.

    The Bonneville is definitely NOT a performance bike, either in power or handling. It's not about trying to see how fast you can take the next corner. It's about just getting on and riding, letting the bike take you where you want to go, while you just sit back and relax. It's not a cruiser as in Harley copy, but it is a cruiser, by today's standards. Back in the '60s it was just called a motorcycle.
    #34
  15. Scrivens

    Scrivens Been here awhile

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    As I've mentioned before on this site, I've had a long association with Brit twins and also own a Kawasaki W800. I've had a look at the Bonnevilles on and off since their first release but I could never bring myself to buy one. I have friends who own them, and while I quite like the engine, the rest of the bike bears little resemblance at all to a 'classic' Brit twin. It is way larger physically than a Brit twin, feels too heavy, the seat is too low, handling is not the sharpest and the engine doesn't have much of what is usually called "character". The W800 on the other hand is smaller, feels about 50lbs lighter (it is actually only 15 pounds lighter), and has a very similar ride and feel to my BSA Thunderbolt - torquey, smooth, but with that 360 degree throb always there.

    I find the W800 (or W650) a lot more fun to ride than my friends' Bonnies, but saying that, the new Bonneville is still a very good ride in itself and well worth having one in the garage. It's just not at all like the originals, and a bit of a disappointment to us old guys. Perhaps they should have left the Bonneville name/legend alone and called it the Saint.
    #35
  16. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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    To be fair I doubt Triumph was that worried about the faithful with the real Bonnies and Tigers.

    Look at the product placement after Bloor took over the show

    Speed Triple and Daytona 955i in Mission Impossibile2, there was some Mattew Mcconaughey movie that he was riding a Scrambler, the Street Triples in that Angelina Jolie flick.

    They aren't aiming at the old gaurd, they needed them to get off the ground, but they are looking more for a younger demographic.
    #36
  17. Scrivens

    Scrivens Been here awhile

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    Quite true - and it's far better that they didn't just re-hash the old bikes using its final development in the 1980's Triumph T series as the basis.

    I love old Brit bikes, but I also have many terrible memories of them and the amount of time and money spent in keeping them on the road - even when new - is horrendous. That is true of just about everyone who owned a BSA, Triumph or Norton back in the day. While a lot of new bike riders/buyers are in their 40's and 50's the old Brit bikes were well and truly on the way out in their youth (1970s-80's effectively) and would have had little widespread 'saw one, want one' appeal. The real faithful are too old to be a marketing target and anyone younger, whose entire experience has been with reliable modern Japanese bikes, would not be in the least interested in buying a genuine 100% copy of a late 60's Bonnie given the upkeep involved. There would always be a few of course, but nothing like the huge market Triumph tapped with the 2001 Bonnie. Even the W650/800 series Kawasakis and the Guzzi V7s have not gone much beyond a niche market in comparison. My current Sportster is a much more developed, refined and reliable bike than my old XLCH, and while I appreciate old Harleys there is no way I'd ever buy a 'new' ironhead again.

    I think it was a great decision to risk building a standard twin so soon after the success of the triples in the late 90's as it could have gone very wrong indeed and put a lot of financial strain on the company as development and approval is an expensive business. What that has left us with is the ability to readily buy what is one of the few decent basic 'big' bikes available, and with just enough character to give an impression of what riding the old ones was like - without the pain. If I couldn't have bought the W800 here I'd probably have ended up with a T100 or Thruxton eventually.
    #37
  18. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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    I owned a couple old problem children, a 68 bonnie, 74 iron head, and 76 FLT....

    The Bonnie I sold the second time I blew the ring off of it stomping on the shifter like it was the rear brake.....for some reason the tranny was a little banged up to when I looked. :lol3

    The modern classics certainly aren't 70s Trumpets, but they like work, so they have that going for them.

    I have a Speed Triple and a Daytona 675, the tripple is the "slow bike" :deal
    #38
  19. Scrivens

    Scrivens Been here awhile

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    Ah yes, like winding a bike with rearsets out in 2nd, changing to 3rd and forgetting it has a racing pattern box. Valve bounce passing through neutral and detonation in 1st... BTDT.
    #39
  20. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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    Yup, right now my bike are one standard shift, and the other GP shift....
    ...luckily newer triples take that abuse well :lol3
    #40