|Triumph Bobber 2017|
Bobbers are quite possibly the original performance custom motorcycles. Riders have been stripping extraneous parts and “bobbing” fenders since knickerbockers and straw hats were in fashion. The idea is simple: take an ordinary motorcycle, remove anything not related to going fast, including rear shocks, side covers, and passenger seats and pegs, chop off the fenders to their most minimal size (or better yet, toss them in the bin with the other bits you’ve removed) and soup up the engine. Voilà, instant speed machine/hooligan bike/cool ride.
When Triumph first unveiled the new Bonneville Bobber, it was met with strong reactions from people around the globe. Some enthusiasts took huge issue with an OEM creating a production bike that imitated the style of things only available to the custom market, while others, including nonriders, were drawn to the aesthetics like mosquitoes to the light. Triumph says that, when it started designing the Bobber three years ago, it gave its design teams a couple of required deliverables: The bike had to be based on the Bonneville T120 and have its DNA; it had to have premium finishes and detailing that rivaled anything else in the Triumph line; it had to have an exciting power delivery and exhaust note; it had to be a good blend of ergonomics and riding characteristics; and it had to be a platform for customization.
|Left: Standar version, Right: Factory customize version|
The Bobber is a brand-new bike, brimming with subtle sophistication and technology, but it differs from other modern motorcycles because its shadow suggests you’ve travelled back in time. Going by that shadow, you wouldn’t know the difference. Discs are the only giveaway. The shadow also confirms that, of any manufacturer, Triumph has given us the most faithful interpretation of the bobber genre. Painstakingly so. Consider other so-called factory bobbers and how they stack up in their design execution.
|Sleek and clean look|
Of the Bobber’s four-year development time, involving an all-new frame and suspension, two were spent achieving simplicity from complexity. Specifically, sourcing the smallest electronic components then hiding them for a clean, custom look. Think ABS module, ECU, traction control, ride-by-wire and an immobiliser all crammed in a small space behind the airbox, which had to be split in two to accommodate them. Thus, like a hot rod, what is intended to be on display is proudly presented as simply and cleanly as possible. Everything that isn’t is concealed. Brake fluid reservoirs? Radiator coolant bottle? All hidden. Even the ignition has been relocated beneath your right thigh to keep things clean up top. Triumph also did a really nice job of hiding the catalytic converter required in the exhaust system. Its new "slash cut" brushed, stainless steel peashooters appear to run straight from the heads with no diversions, and they're both shorter and lighter than those on the T120.
|Retro look 1200 cc engine|
The Bonneville Bobber is based on the Bonneville T120 in that it uses the same "high torque" variant of Triumph's new 1200cc motor. Both are eight valve, liquid-cooled, single overhead cam parallel-twins with a 270-degree crankshaft, and both are mated to the same six-speed gearbox. The Bobber has a new, twin airbox system with different intake and exhaust system and its own tune, which bumps horsepower and torque figures in the lower rev range. More specifically, the Bobber makes 77 horsepower at 6,100 rpm, with the biggest gains around 4,500 rpm, where it has a 10 percent bump over the T120. Similarly, peak torque comes in at 78.2 pound-feet at 4,000, also 10 percent more than the T120 makes (peak torque is only 2 percent more).
The Bobber’s ride-by-wire throttle offers two riding modes (road and rain, both of which access the bike's full power but deliver it differently), and fuel economy is said to be 57 mpg. The six-speed gearbox is silk-smooth and positive-shifting, and the slip-assist clutch has a light and predictable take-up. The retro-style Avon Cobras, measuring 100/90-19 and 150/80-16 front and rear respectively, were developed specifically for the Bobber and give plenty of grip thanks to their modern radial construction.
In order to achieve an authentic hardtail look, Triumph uses a classic ‘cage’ swingarm with a non-adjustable monoshock under the seat, which is essentially an upside-down version of the system found on a Harley Softail, but with a linkage for better control. One of the biggest debates among Triumph’s engineering team was apparently over the amount of rear suspension travel the bike should have, with the group divided over form versus function – bobber authenticity versus modern capabilities. The resulting unit offers 80mm of travel for a rigid feel, but it’s also reasonable given the limited travel in the name of the desired aesthetics. Meanwhile, up front features a basic air/oil fork with 90mm travel for a squat stance.Source:
Motorcycle Trader magazine, issue 319
Twist the throttle and enjoy the ride