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Triumph Bonneville T 120, first look

6th Nov 2015 3:42 pm

Amongst Triumph’s 2016 Bonnevilles is the T 120, an upgrade to the iconic T 100, which holds performance at the top, with classic styling.

Triumph has gone to great length to reinvent the it’s quintessential classic motorcycle, the Bonneville. Not only has the more basic model Street twin been brought in for 2016 with a more powerful 900cc motor, but you also now have the T 120 and a pair of exciting new Thruxtons. These more up-market Bonnies have now been granted a bigger 1200cc heart, but for now let’s talk about only the T 120.
The new Bonneville T 120 marks a very thorough upgrade over the previous T 100. In fact, barely any parts are shared with the outgoing motorcycle. Despite it looking so retro, it actually has oodles of technology hidden under its skin, and overall attention-to-detail has taken a noticeable step forward. Look at the fuel-injection, for example, which on the outside has throttle bodies designed to look like old-school carburettors, keeping the retro appeal of the motorcycle intact. Then there are wire-spoke wheels that always add charm, generous splashes of sparkling chrome, and bright, shiny ‘peashooter’ exhausts that bring their unmistakable old-school shape to the party.
The Bonneville T 120 deploys a classic round headlamp, with an LED powered daytime running lamp included. Above sit twin-pod instruments, with an analogue speedo and tachometer. The fuel-tank and seat are designed in an evergreen shape that harks of a motorcycling era that’s long gone, and adds balance to the T 120’s styling quotient. Triumph has also worked to improve ergonomics for all 2016 Bonnevilles, as we sat on and found evident on this one.
The T 120 offers a big leap in terms of performance, thanks to its four-stroke, 8-valve, 1,200cc parallel-twin powerplant, that sounds pleasantly gruff and grunty to the ear. The latest T makes a hefty 10.7kgm of maximum torque, at an astonishing 3,100rpm. There’s a 270 degree firing order, with torque output a 54 percent plus from today’s Bonnevilles.
The engine-cooling system has also been smartly integrated to show minimal impact on the T 120’s retro style. Its effectiveness can however only be put to the test in hot India after we put the T 120 through its paces here, when it arrives next year.
Just like the Street Twin, the T 120 comes with ride-by-wire throttle control, and a six-speed gearbox, assisted by a slipper assisted clutch. Triumph has also equipped their new motorcycle with two riding modes, ‘road’ and ‘rain.’ Within ‘rain’ mode, the throttle bodies open a touch more gradually, to deliver the relaxed feel of slightly progressive throttle response, as compared to the ‘road’ mode, which ensures brisker power delivery to the rear tyre.
The T 120 provides the luxury of heated grips for comfortable riding on winter mornings, with three-level heating on offer, apart from a USB charging point. There’s even the luxury of cruise-control, although to be offered as an optional.
The Bonnie T 120 comes with a pair of telescopic forks in front, and pre-load adjustable shock absorbers at rear. At front and rear sit disc brakes, with the added safety of an ABS system. Tyres are from Pirelli. Not only does the T 120 fall in line with its classic looks, but Triumph has engineered the bike to also be functionally retro too, with bits such as a centre-stand offered with the Bonneville. Expect the T 120 to reach India in 2016, and to be displayed at the Indian Auto Expo, coming up in early 2016.
There’s also a black edition to the T 120, fittingly named the T 120 Black. This doesn’t carry much change over the standard T 120 though, besides almost all its chrome being replaced with matte black finish, and the seat taking on a beautiful hue of contrasting tan.
Arpit Phillips
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