Triumph’s iconic Bonneville goes on sale in India shortly. Will it fit in well?
When Triumph rose from its ashes 21 years ago, the last thing its brand-new owner John Bloor wanted to be associated with was a standing air-cooled twin. It was not until ten years later when Triumph had convincingly made clear that English motorcycles were no longer synonymous with unreliability and oil stains on the sidewalk that it dared to introduce a contemporary version of the legendary Triumph Bonneville. Still, there was no guarantee for success by any means. Now this important bike, ranked amongst the most iconic models in motorcycling history, is about to be introduced to the Indian market. If you were to take a vote for the most famous motorcycle name ever, you could count on Triumph’s Bonneville to be a strong contender. The original Bonneville made its first appearance back in 1959 when it was introduced at the Earls Court Motorshow. True to form, the most classic of all Triumphs derives its name from the salt plains at Bonneville in the American state of Utah.
In no time, the 650cc parallel twin, with its 46bhp output and four-speed gearbox, became hugely popular, and rightly so. Today, one out of two Triumphs sold worldwide is a Bonneville or one of its derivatives (T100, SE, Thruxton or Scrambler).
Since its magnificent comeback in 2000, the ‘new Bonneville’ has evolved drastically. Right from the start, Triumph had injected the inspired vintage look with modern technology, but in 2005 capacity went up from 790cc to 865cc and the power output increased to 67bhp from 61. The Bonneville features four valves per cylinder, these operated by a double overhead camshaft, in turn driven by a belt. The air-cooled twin develops 6.93kgm of torque at 5800rpm. Admittedly, it’s impossible to compare the Bonneville to current sportsbikes, but you can spot some remains of its racing personality from back in the day. The Triumph likes to rev, not inviting you to redline all the time, but the engine has been tuned for an active riding style. Ask your dad and you will learn how standing twins carried an unenviable reputation for vibrations. Those times are thankfully gone. The Bonnie runs remarkably smoothly with virtually no vibrations.
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