Triumph presents a new generation of Bonneville sport classics
As promised a few days ago, Triumph Motorcycles lifted the curtain on its 2016 Bonneville by introducing five brand new variants. Powered by two new liquid-cooled engines in three different versions, the rejuvenated sport classic family extends from the basic Street Twin 900 roadster to the race-spec Thruxton R 1200.
We were given ample warning as the new Bonneville motorcycles have repeatedly been sighted while testing, and Triumph served us a proper preview when the new Thruxton starred in a short film with David Beckham as early as past September. Initial reports on a new 1,100 cc engine set us up for a pleasant surprise, as Triumph confuted them with two adaptations of a brand new two-cylinder in line engine that stretch up to 1,200 cc. As expected in a market that come 2016 will be governed by the new Euro 4 standards, liquid cooling has been introduced throughout the engine range in an effort to offer competitive performance levels under stricter emissions rules.
The new engine is timed to 270-degree firing intervals, coupled with a six-speed gearbox and a set of basic electronic controls that include ride-by-wire throttle, traction control and ABS, as well as a slip assist clutch for lighter and more accurate feel.
The basic model, Street Twin, is powered by a 900 cc twin, as Triumph opted to equip the other four models of this family with a 1,200 cc twin engine in two different performance levels.
Every model in the family has its own dedicated tubular steel frame, specifically tailored to each model’s philosophy. In terms of styling, Triumph didn’t veer far from the familiar design of the current Bonneville. Faithfull to the original 1959 model that started it all, this distinctive motif has played a pivotal role in the model’s success in global markets and it’s highly unlikely that Triumph would want to change that.
A lot of attention went into concealing the liquid cooling system in an effort to retain the classical air-cooled styling that has marked every Bonneville since the very first model. The slim and long radiator is discretely placed between the frame’s downtubes and painted black, while the hoses have been tucked completely out of sight. Triumph even redesigned the throttle bodies’ camouflage, masking the modern fuel system as a carburetor from the past.
Let’s view the new members of this emblematic motorcycle family in all the detail Triumph allows us – as their full technical specifications have not been released yet.
Thruxton and Thruxton R
Named after the Thruxton race series that Triumph dominated back in the day, the new edition of the café racer model is equipped with the new 1,200 cc liquid-cooled twin-cylinder engine in the more powerful Thruxton-spec guise. Dubbed as a game-changing high power unit, it produces a hefty 112 Nm (82.6 lb-ft) of torque at 4,950 rpm. Horsepower figures are not available, presumably retained for EICMA in November where we expect to get our hands on the complete technical specs of the new models.
In Thruxton-spec, the new engine features a lighter crankshaft, higher compression and a dedicated airbox compared to the same engine as used in other models of the Bonneville range. These are the elements that offer the extra power it produces.
Styled as the archetypal café racer, the Thruxton retains the basic design elements of the Bonneville family, coupling them with modern performance. Commanded through ride-by-wire throttle, it features Triumph’s variable ABS, switchable traction control and a selection of three ignition maps, relating to the Road, Rain and Sport riding modes.
Its equipment also includes LED lights front and rear, as well as a USB socket on the headstock that enables the rider to charge compatible devices on the go.
The R version is based on the same platform as the Thruxton, enriched with Showa’s superbike-spec Big Piston fork, Öhlins rear shock, Brembo monobloc calipers and Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tires. A rear seat cowl is standard on this version, but can optionally be ordered for the basic Thruxton model.
Triumph offers several inspiration kits, starting with the Track Racer kit that includes a cockpit fairing and lower clip-ons, a shorter rear mudguard, Vance & Hines slip-on exhaust and several tidbits to complete the image. The Café Racer kit includes a similar set of upgrades with a short screen instead of the fairing.
For the Thruxton R there is also a Performance Race kit, specifically designed for track use and promising lower weight and higher levels of power and torque.
Bonneville T120 and T120 Black
The T120 model is actually the most faithful replica of the original 1959 Bonneville roadster with the spoked wheels, straight saddle and peashooter mufflers.
Powered by the basic version of the 1,200 cc engine, it outputs 102 Nm (75.2 lb-ft) of torque at 3,100 rpm and enjoys the same level of electronic support as the Thruxton models.
It will be available in four color options – a Cranberry Red and Aluminium Silver combo; a Jet Black and Pure White combo (both combos with hand-painted coach lines); Jet Black; and Cinder Red.
Triumph also has on offer a Black version that differs only in colors, with everything on this version painted black except for the brown leather seat. Ironically enough, the Black version will also be available in Matt Graphite color.
The accessories’ line for the T120 Bonneville includes a Prestige inspiration kit that adds an authentic chrome tank badge, black seat , chrome Vance & Hines peashooter silencers, barrel-style grips and chrome covers for the alternator and throttle bodies.
This is the only model of the 2016 Bonneville lineup to make use of a new 900 cc inline two-cylinder engine with liquid cooling. Triumph calls it high torque, marking a peak value of 80 Nm (59 lb-ft) at just 3,200 rpm, 18 percent more compared to the previous model. Apart from compliance with the latest euro-norms, the new cooling system also assists towards an alleged 36 percent better fuel efficiency.
Behind the classic appearance, the Street Twin sports most of the electronic gadgetry that is incorporated on the other Bonneville models, namely the ride-by-wire throttle control, ABS, switchable traction control and USB port on the headstock – but not the riding modes.
Available in five color schemes – Cranberry Red, Aluminium Silver, Matt Black, Jet Black and Phantom Black – it will be complemented with three inspiration kits that transform the base model to a Scrambler, a Brat Tracker or an Urban roadster. These kits include different handlebars, exhausts, wind screens, panniers, seats and all the paraphernalia to appropriately suit each styling case.
Visit our gallery section for a comprehensive photo collection of all five new Bonneville models in detail and all the color schemes on offer.
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They may be able to make an electric powertrain that is as fast, but not at the top end. The range would be half. The bikes would cost twice as much. Just about the only improvement would be in long term maintenance costs.