2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber First Ride
Associate Editor Nic de Sena took to the streets of Madrid, and the surrounding hills, to test the new 2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber—the latest addition to the Bonneville family. In creating the Bobber motorcycle, Triumph had some large shoes to fill—satisfy purists, while creating something uniquely its own. That is a tall order, and one that Triumph has fulfilled. Let’s get to the Fast Facts.
1. The impressive Bonneville 1200HT vertical twin from the T120 returns. The Triumph Bonneville Bobber uses highly regarded 270-degree crank, liquid-cooled, six-speed, vertical twin, 1197cc engine. Featuring 78 ft/lbs of torque at 4000 rpm, power delivery is flawless. With no missteps in fueling or dips in the power band, riders of a wide variety of experience will be pleased with incredibly tractable engine.
2. The 2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber comes equipped with a full package of electronic aids. Bobber owners get ABS, adjustable traction control, and two riding modes (Road & Rain).
3. The engines found in the Bonneville T120 and the Bobber are mechanically identical, but there are some differences. The Bobber makes use of a revised, dual air intake system, exhaust system and new fuel map, to focus on low-end and mid-range power. The Bobber pulls, until you hit the rev-limiter (not recommended), full stop.
4. The T120 and Bobber have vastly different personalities. The Bonneville T120 is the refined, educated statesman, while the Bobber roars down the twisties in defiance.
5. Effortless handling is one of the 2017 Triumph Bobber’s greatest strengths. The Bobber requires an infinitesimal amount of input in order to get it tipped into a corner, with due credit to the Avon Cobra tires. With an ample wheelbase of 59.4 inches combined with a moderate rake of 25.8 degrees, the Bobber handles superbly. It’s balanced, stable, predictable, and most importantly, the Bobber is forgiving.
6. The Bobber’s KYB suspension is tuned for all kinds of riding. A pair of 41mm forks with 3.5 inches of travel and a single, non-adjustable shock with three inches of travel handle the suspension duties. Despite the lack of adjustability, the Bobber does a remarkable job in this department. Sprung between comfort, and performance, the suspension is firm yet forgiving. The rebound and compression damping reacts just as it should. Cobblestone roads and deep potholes can be found throughout the streets of Madrid, and the Bobber negotiated them without issue. Under heavy braking, the front end didn’t dive, making it a well-rounded package.
7. If the Bobber has a sore spot, it’s in the braking department. The Triumph Bobber makes use of a single 310mm disc with a Nissin dual-piston caliper in the front, plus a 255mm disc clamped down on by a single piston caliper in the rear—the same combo as on the smaller Bonneville T100. Feel at the lever is firm and linear, delivering adequate stopping power for casual riding. Where it disappoints is when riding aggressively, and that 1200cc motor will certainly encourage more than your fair share. At high paces, the front brake lacks the bite, and that response an experienced rider desires.
8. The Bobber has custom looks without custom pain. The 2017 Bonneville Bobber features a 27.2-inch seat height, mid-controls, and a 31.5-inch wide handlebar. I stand at 5’ 10’’ with an inseam of roughly 32 inches, and experienced no cramping or binding in my legs. The Bobber doesn’t have a true cruiser riding position, as I was still able to direct weight through the footpegs; I found the Bobber to work incredibly well with my dimensions.
9. It’s not a tourer, but you can ride it all day. After a full day’s worth of riding in the saddle, I wasn’t left sore—just with the usual amount of fatigue after a hard day’s work riding a motorcycle in a foreign country, eating tapas, and appreciating architecture. Of course, if a rider isn’t happy with the seating position, the Bobber’s highly stylized saddle can be adjusted to fit your preferences.
10. A redesigned 2.4-gallon fuel tank feeds the Bobber. Though the Bobber’s fuel tank is highly comparable to other Bonneville models, it has been slimmed down. The result is a tank that makes for a wonderful anchor, whether you’re attacking a corner, or doing some heavy braking. Fuel mileage is claimed to be roughly 69 mpg; however, it’s all in how you nurse the throttle.
11. The 2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber is one of those bikes that has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. Between the painstaking brass, brush, and various other finishings found throughout the bike, not a bolt or cover is left untouched. Get up close to the Bobber, and you will be hard pressed to find someone who won’t nod in approval. However, if you disagree, we can settle the dispute with fisticuffs.
12. Bobbers were born from the custom world, so the Triumph Bobber is ready for customization. Triumph is boasting over 150 components in order to help the owner build an ideal Bobber. To get an idea of what can be done, just take a look at two inspiration kits that Triumph is offering—the ape hanger adorned Old School Bobber, and the café-esque Quarter Mile Bobber.
I openly admit to being so thoroughly pleased with the 2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber. From handling and power, to the absolute charm the Bobber exudes, this motorcycle embodies what I find compelling about riding.
- Helmet: Nexx X.G100 Devon
- Jacket: RSD Sonoma
- Gloves: iXS Carson II glove
- Jeans: Saint Unbreakable Slim Fit
- Boots: TCX X-Blend WP
2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Specs
- Type: Vertical twin w/ 270° crank
- Bore x stroke: 97.6 x 80mm
- Displacement: 1197cc
- Compression ratio: 10:1
- Maximum power: 77 horsepower @ 6100rpm
- Maximum torque: 78 ft/lbs @ 4000rpm
- Valve train: SOHC, 4 vpc
- Fueling: Multipoint sequential EFI
- Cooling: Liquid
- Exhaust: Brushed stainless steel 2-into-2 w/ twin stainless steel silencers
- Transmission: 6-speed
- Clutch: Wet, multi-plate assist clutch
- Final drive: X-ring chain
- Frame: Tubular-steel twin-cradle
- Swingarm: Tubular steel
- Front suspension: Non-adjustable 41mm KYB forks; 3.5 inches of travel
- Rear suspension: Linkage-assisted KYB shock; 3.0 inches of travel
- Front wheel: 19 x 2.5; 32-spoke wire w/ steel rims
- Rear wheels: 16 x 3.5; 32-spoke wire w/ steel rims
- Front tire: 100/90 x 19; Avon Cobra AV71
- Rear tire: 150/70 x 17; Avon Cobra AV72
- Front brake: 310mm floating disc w/ Nissin 2-piston floating caliper
- Rear brake: 255mm disc w/ Nissin single-piston floating caliper
- ABS: Standard
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 59.4 inches
- Rake: 25.8 degrees
- Trail: 3.5 inches
- Seat Height: 27.2 inches
- Tank capacity: 2.4 gallons
- EC estimated fuel consumption: 69 mpg
- Dry weight: 502 pounds
2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Prices:
- $11,900 (Jet Black)
- $12,150 (Morello-Red; Ironstone)
- $12,400 (Competition Green).