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Old 24th June 2014, 14:02   #1
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Default My 2014 Triumph Bonneville

In the battle of decisions of which bike to go for, after researching for a while finally honed in on the Triumph Bonneville. Why Bonneville?

My initial motorbike riding was on my dad’s docile 1968 Honda CD175A parallel twin and a little bit on the RD350. After a gap of more than 8 years I resumed my interest in motorbikes by owning a classic 500 RE for last 2 years. It was a great feeling, and a great machine along with its associated niggles, but as it happens to most of us, it was time to upgrade and move on to bigger bikes. Not being a fan of sports bikes, the obvious dream was to go for a Harley or Triumph. So began the extensive ground work on internet reviews, expert advice and of course some helpful tips and advice provided by some Harley owners on team BHP. And so the choice was made: Either a 48 or an Iron 883. Only thing was to wait for the dealership to start in Pune. At this time Triumph had showed no signs of opening shop in India.

Life however had other plans for me, and when the dealership started in pune I ended up with a severe slipped disc!!! Now I had to look at this from a health angle and after waiting for sufficient healing time, finally went for a Harley test ride in February this year. This is my experience with each test ride:-
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SUPERLOW: Probably the most comfortable Harley on the lighter side of 10L price range, really enjoyed the ride, and although the suspension was better than the iron, it wasn’t as good as the classic 500. In fact i really wanted to go for this bike but i was told by the dealers in pune and Bombay that the bike was likely to be discontinued in India and was not available for sale.

The downside obviously was the ground clearance but I'm sure a suspension upgrade would fix that problem.

48: Did not test ride. This bike has the worst ergonomics and very bad riding posture. I read on various internet websites about this bike and concluded that this has to be the least comfortable Harley. plus with a 7.9L fuel tank one cannot go much far without having to refuel.

Street 750: The looks Never interested me so the bike never came into the equation.

STREET BOB: Now this was a completely different animal. Felt surprisingly nimble given the weight and size of the bike. However at stop lights it becomes clear that one has to be careful as the bike shows off its 300+kg weight. But at a cost of 11L plus you dont even get alloy wheels and still have to spend on pillion seat and rear foot pegs.

FATBOY: Best amongst the ones I tested, smooth suspension, but I feel it is too big for our Indian traffic conditions. On the busy test ride route outside Amanora centre, I could only go up two gears. Not ideal as a day-to-day bike.

IRON: Great sound, lovely bike, ample torque, but sadly did not feel comfortable on it at all, feeling every little undulation in the road due to a harsh suspension. Initially booked this bike as it was the only option in that budget (superlow bookings were not being taken) and because it was a Harley, but ended up cancelling the booking as there were no accessories available that were important to me – Progressives!!, pillion seat, and I was not going to be in India in the near future to be able to ride it. in any case I was not going to ride it without a suspension upgrade.

Much later I contacted HD India directly and found out that Superlow was not to be discontinued and would be available at the end of the year. So left the Harley world in the hope of waiting for the superlow at the end of the year.

Just around the same time when I was following two useful threads of the Bonneville posted by Mobike008 one of them being a compare between Iron & Bonnie, comes along the Triumph showroom in Pune. It was a No frills, decent setup at that time, so took a test ride of the Bonneville, as a formality to say that I have taken a test ride of the Bonnie not expecting anything exciting and justify my decision to go back and re- book the Harley, Only to be blown away by the amazing ride. Super smooth vibration free power delivery and very comfortable riding position for a person of my height of 5’7”. Then I got the wife to test ride it (her riding experience then was a few rides on the RE 500 with me as pillion and instructor). She was riding it like it was nothing new to her, and when it came to braking, she was simply impressed. That test ride sealed the decision and the Bonneville was booked, delivery timed on my return to India in a month.

I was pleasantly surprised that the dealers kept their commitment and I took delivery of the bike on the same day that I returned to India. The bike was delivered with a few accessories – rubber pads and lockable fuel cap. Tacho was fitted later that week.

So what made me choose the Bonneville over the Harley sportsters? Sheer comfort, better suspension, better ground clearance, felt more fun to ride and better VFM at 6.5L on road plus approx INR 25000 on accessories i.e. Rubber pads, lockable fuel cap and Tachometer.

What I liked about the bike:

1. Looks-never thought I would say that but the bike looks much better in real than in pictures
2. Excellent ride, handling and braking, almost zero vibrations.
3. Ideal seating posture as recommended by my ortho and very easy on the lower back
4. Suspension
5. Deceptively powerful with lots of torque

What I did not like:
1. Plastics!!- although of a good quality the side covers and fenders are all plastics and I hate plastics! Here I think Harley takes the cake for a slightly better fit and finish n all metal.
2. Very few colour options
3. Front Number plate location – spoils the look of the bike.
4. Saree guard – Got rid of it instantly
5. Ground clearance- Although much better than the Harley Sportsters, i did manage to touch a few big speed breakers in my housing society. Although these are humungous speed breakers and even my Ford fiesta sometimes scrapes over them.

The first ride was to Lavasa with myself on the Bonnie and the wife on the royal enfield. Start the bonneville and it makes a sort of a whirring sound, but when ones raises the throttle, the big bike growl is evident. Tappet noise is standard and as per the dealers should reduce after the first oil change / service. The bike is extremely nimble in the city traffic conditions and easy to manouevre and i could not feel any excess heat as reported by some bonnie owners.

The bike has 17" mag wheels fore and aft so handling becomes really easy. I specifically chose base Bonnie over the T100 for that very reason,and also due to the low seat height of 740mm. The T100 has 19" front wheel and feels heavy as i found out when i sat on one and tried to wade around in the showroom.

As many of you might know, the roads to Lavasa are full of twisties and inclines and this was the best place to test the Bike. This is where one comes to know the handling magic of this bike. The same sharp turns that took some effort to tackle on the classic 500 were covered so easily on the Bonneville, the whole ride in the ghats was easy and enjoyable. One incident did happen as we got caught in some heavy rain - the horn became weak and finally stopped working. Once the water had dried out the horn started working again. I think the horn is weak anyway.

I cannot comment about the fuel efficiency yet, but on the 2nd ride to the Mapro restaurant, Panchgani planned by the Triumph dealers in Pune, I had tanked up in Pune before starting the ride and the fuel warning light came on just as I reached Pashan circle in pune on reurn journey that covered a total distance of 212km. That’s about 18km/litre.

The ride to Panchgani was via the Bangalore highway and this time I got to test the bike at highway speeds. It took some real self control not to exceed the 5000rpm mark as the bike is still in the running-in period. However at just over 3000rpm the speedo needle showed 80km/hr in 5th gear. One does not need to rev upto 5000rpm to reach highway speeds. I read somewhere on the internet forums that it is approximately 28km/hr per 1000rpm on the Bonneville and that more or less matched with my riding experience.

The pleasant surprise at the Mapro factory was that most people were clicking photos of the Triumphs with us sitting on the bikes, rather than the group of sports super bikes and a few Harleys that did not get that much attention. This might be not-so-good as we did catch a few people trying to sit on the bikes as if they were their own. Buying a cover for the bike is a must.

The ride back was equally enjoyable with the rest of the Triumph group and my wife on my Classic 500. There was no fatigue whatsoever. I must admit here that although I still love my classic 500, it feels completely outclassed in every department- ride, handling, braking and comfort when compared to the Triumph.

I have attached a few photographs here. Will post more as I munch more miles on this beast.
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Attached Images
 

Last edited by GTO : 26th June 2014 at 14:39. Reason: Adding paragraph spacing for better readability :)
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Old 24th June 2014, 14:14   #2
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Default re: My 2014 Triumph Bonneville

Congos for the bonnie.Kudos to your better half for sharing your interest.I guess this is the first time I saw a Husband and Wife TDing a motorcycle.Am in Pune too and hope to see you and the Bonnie.
All the best.
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Old 26th June 2014, 14:41   #3
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Default Re: My 2014 Triumph Bonneville

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Motorbikes Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 26th June 2014, 14:49   #4
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Default Re: My 2014 Triumph Bonneville

Congrats on an awesome machine and wish you many many miles of happy biking. Esp with your wife also sharing the passion on her own steed, I am sure its double fun.

Ride safe & enjoy.
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Old 26th June 2014, 15:07   #5
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Default Re: My 2014 Triumph Bonneville

Hi Argchoff,

Firstly, Congratulations on your Bonnie. Like Haroon mentioned, its wonderful to see that your wife sharing the same passion which is a rarity

Your review is short, sweet and spot-on and iam glad to know that my thread helped you in honing down to a Bonnie

Even I own the same combination of a Classic 500 and a Bonnie and as you rightly said, Bonnie outclasses the C500 in every department that you can think of but, we just continue to love our bullets dont we?

That blue and white color is fast becoming popular and I see lot of people opting for it. It looks really fantastic in flesh for sure

Do keep updating this thread and share your ownership experiences as you go......
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Old 26th June 2014, 15:29   #6
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Default Re: My 2014 Triumph Bonneville

Congratulations brother for the new bike! The bike is more like a silent performer that does not show off in its looks or from a distance but packs a lot of punch in it!

Wish you many more happy miles to munch on it

Quote:
Originally Posted by argchoff View Post
Saree guard Got rid of it instantly
By the way, this I think is a legal requirement in India to have saree guard on bikes. Watch out for RTO cops to find that as last fault with your commute if nothing else
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Old 26th June 2014, 17:57   #7
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Default Re: My 2014 Triumph Bonneville

Congratulations on acquiring the Bonnie.

I'm glad you chose the Bonnie over either of the Harley Davidsons. The Triumph is much better as far as the handling and refinement levels are concerned.
I have mentioned in one of my posts earlier about my experiences with both the machines....Naturally, the Bonnie emerged a victor and hence I immediately picked one as it came to our shores.
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Old 26th June 2014, 19:49   #8
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Default Re: My 2014 Triumph Bonneville

Thanks Haroon and Mobike008. It is indeed great fun when the better half joins in the rides.
She also ensured i do not exceed any speed limits

Thanks Abirnale- I coudn't find the particular section in the rto rules on line where it clarifies the mandatory use of the saree guard, so i assumed it is not that important. Probably i will put it back on at the first service.

susan3004- I did read that post you put on the forums about your experience with both the machines. In fact not just teambhp but majority of the auto websites that have tested the Bonnie against its direct competitors have concluded the Bonnie to be better in most aspects. Only the street 750 might be better comparable to the Bonneville than the sportsters883, as the bike seems to be getting quite good reviews in the ride and handling department.
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Old 27th June 2014, 00:32   #9
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Default Re: My 2014 Triumph Bonneville

Congratulations Chief !!

The bike looks beautiful. And congrats for getting it on the same day you got back home. I can definitely imagine that feeling and have been harbouring the same dream.
Wish you many safe miles and even more smiles on it.

I'm in the same dilemma as you were in. Fell in love with the Superlow when I saw it last month at Amanora. When I called up to enquire about booking a few days back I was told that its going to be discontinued and then wrote to HD - India and was told that that's not the case. But then I've been reading about Bonnie ever since I got onboard and I'm tempted to test it when I get back before I conclude.

One question. I'm 5'7" as well. How well planted are the feet when you are on Bonnie? One of the reason I'm inclined on Superlow is because it felt perfect for pulling and pushing and stopping. Plus, would want wife to ride it as well.

And ya, congratulations on having a life partner who can not only ride but also share emotions of riding.

Cheers
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Old 27th June 2014, 08:18   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avior View Post
Congratulations Chief !!

The bike looks beautiful. And congrats for getting it on the same day you got back home. I can definitely imagine that feeling and have been harbouring the same dream.
Wish you many safe miles and even more smiles on it.

I'm in the same dilemma as you were in. Fell in love with the Superlow when I saw it last month at Amanora. When I called up to enquire about booking a few days back I was told that its going to be discontinued and then wrote to HD - India and was told that that's not the case. But then I've been reading about Bonnie ever since I got onboard and I'm tempted to test it when I get back before I conclude.

One question. I'm 5'7" as well. How well planted are the feet when you are on Bonnie? One of the reason I'm inclined on Superlow is because it felt perfect for pulling and pushing and stopping. Plus, would want wife to ride it as well.
And ya, congratulations on having a life partner who can not only ride but also share emotions of riding.

Cheers

Thanks Avior. The seat height of the base bonnie model is 740mm which is only 5mm more than the iron883. The bike anout 30kg lighter than the 883s and pulling pushing this bike is actually easier than trying the same with a bullet 500 which is actually lighter at around 190kg. Dont know why but i think it is the distribution of the bike that makes it so easy. Best is to test ride it yourself, im sure you will like it.
Blocking the sales of the superlow may be an attempt by HD dealers to promote sales of the street 750 which in my opinion is a lame idea since apart from the ground clearance issue the bike is really fun to ride and possesses all of the Harley character and is real VFM.
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Old 27th June 2014, 11:45   #11
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Default Re: My 2014 Triumph Bonneville

Congratulations! The Bonne looks beautiful! Great choice on the colour. You are one lucky man to have a Mrs. who shares the same passion. Look forward to seeing your ownership reviews as time passes by. Any mods planned in the coming future? Arrow Exhausts maybe?
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Old 28th June 2014, 07:00   #12
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Congrats on the Bonnie bro. Enjoy her and here is wishing you many many happy miles with her.

To clarify regarding the saree guard, it is a requirement to register the bike only. If your bike is registered, you are free to remove it whenever you want. In fact, all my bikes had them removed right after registration at the showroom before delivery. Have not faced any issues so far with 4 new bikes and few more used bikes on which i have never had a saree guard for the simple reason that no saree clad ladies would sit on my bike (aesthetics is an added advantage without the saree guard).

Quote:
Originally Posted by abirnale View Post
By the way, this I think is a legal requirement in India to have saree guard on bikes. Watch out for RTO cops to find that as last fault with your commute if nothing else
Quote:
Originally Posted by argchoff View Post
Thanks Abirnale- I coudn't find the particular section in the rto rules on line where it clarifies the mandatory use of the saree guard, so i assumed it is not that important. Probably i will put it back on at the first service.
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Old 28th June 2014, 08:50   #13
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Default Re: My 2014 Triumph Bonneville

Congrats argchoff!

You had the tacho added on day one? Was it a straight fit or the whole console was changed?

A friend wants to buy the Iron ( and is confused like most of us). One issue is his wife too would be riding the bike. Would it be easier to manage the bullet or Iron or Bonnie for a lady in city? And Is the ride quality of the Iron livable with?
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Old 28th June 2014, 20:57   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post

To clarify regarding the saree guard, it is a requirement to register the bike only. If your bike is registered, you are free to remove it whenever you want. In fact, all my bikes had them removed right after registration at the showroom before delivery. Have not faced any issues so far with 4 new bikes and few more used bikes on which i have never had a saree guard for the simple reason that no saree clad ladies would sit on my bike (aesthetics is an added advantage without the saree guard).
Thanks for the info Abhinav. In that case i'll not refit it. Spoils the look of the bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkdas View Post
You had the tacho added on day one? Was it a straight fit or the whole console was changed?

A friend wants to buy the Iron ( and is confused like most of us). One issue is his wife too would be riding the bike. Would it be easier to manage the bullet or Iron or Bonnie for a lady in city? And Is the ride quality of the Iron livable with?
The tacho was supposed to be fitted on taking delivery, but due to non availability was fixed a week later. It is a conversion kit that costs nearly 17K but ends up looking like a whole new unit.
The ride quality of the iron 883 was not ideal for myself as i have recovered from a bad back. To make the iron more rideable one needs to upgrade the suspension and thats not cheap. Infact my advice to any sportster owner would be to invest in a better suspension to avoid any future back problems.
The Harleys and the Bonnie base model have a low centre of gravity and lower seat height than compared to the bullets so are a much better option and very easy to ride. The bonnie being 30kg lighter than the iron 883 is much easier to pull or push in a parking lot and is fun to flick through traffic.
At the end of the day each ones experience can be different, so a nice long test ride should help in choosing the right bike for your friend.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fullrevs View Post
Congratulations! The Bonne looks beautiful! Great choice on the colour. You are one lucky man to have a Mrs. who shares the same passion. Look forward to seeing your ownership reviews as time passes by. Any mods planned in the coming future? Arrow Exhausts maybe?
Thanks fullrevs. At the moment no plans of arrows, but i am tempted to opt for the 2x 2high flow silencers to add some character.
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Old 28th June 2014, 22:17   #15
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Default Re: My 2014 Triumph Bonneville

Quote:
Originally Posted by argchoff View Post
Thanks for the info Abhinav. In that case i'll not refit it. Spoils the look of the bike.
Congrats on an awesome purchase boss, pure drool maal your bike is! The bike looks awesome, and its great to have a supportive wife who herself rides the CL500! Wonder whether you'll buy a kid-sized bike too when you have children !

I do have one question that outraged me. Your first post said you spent 25k on among other things - a lockable fuel cap! What does that mean? The OEM cap does not have a lock? in India? If I read it right, it sounds stupid!
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