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Old 30th March 2016, 13:58   #1
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Default A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home

It was supposed to be one of those regular evenings.

I had just gotten home and as usual noticed over a few thousand messages on whatsapp from various groups that I am part of. My work is pretty hectic so I rarely get to catch up on all these messages. It's only on the weekends that I scroll quickly to see if anything important is discussed on these groups but most of the time, I end up clearing all messages without paying them a second glance (to make space on my phone).

But this evening was going to be different.

It was going to change something substantial in my life.

I've thoroughly enjoyed my Ninja 250 - did countless rides, overnighters, made so many friends but honestly a bigger bike was long overdue.

I had put the Ninja on sale twice earlier but the thought of letting her go and nothing else within my reach led me to keep the bike for some more time.

Off late, I've been struggling with lower back pain and the rides on the ninja were getting uncomfortable past the 250-300 kms mark.

My last long ride (and the longest to date in a single day) was with fellow members and buddies to Valparai and back. I was fine on the onward leg but the return journey (Valparai-Athirapalli-Valparai-Bangalore) got to me and we had to break often to rest my aching back.

The suffering was so intense that when we stopped for dinner barely 100 kms from Bangalore, I was inches close to booking a room for the night to rest my back. We finally made it home safe and sound.

The search for a comfortable commuter yet a fast one was my main criteria.

I knew that Triumph was launching the new Bonneville Street Twin so the thought of getting a bonnie was postponed for at least 2 years. I wanted to pick up a nicely maintained used bonnie down the line and save quite a bit of moolah in the bargain. These big bikes do depreciate quick.

To fill the existing void, I was very close to getting myself a Duke390 for the commute and for the long overnighters that would happen once in a while. The only thing that delayed this decision (thankfully) was the talk of issues around heating, stator coil and other such niggles. I had ridden the bike on the MMST circuit so I knew it would be a great bike for the open roads and for the twisties.

Last edited by GTO : 31st March 2016 at 09:43. Reason: Merging :)
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Old 30th March 2016, 14:18   #2
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Default re: A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home

Back to that particular evening....

On one such whatsapp group of like minded buddies, our friendly moderator jaggu, had posted that his friend was selling his 2014 Triumph Bonneville with just 7200 kms on the clock. It had a few goodies installed as well and what caught my eye was the phrase "obsessively maintained" which I could relate to very well.

I didn't give it much thought but made a mental note to check it out over the weekend. I was not actively looking for another bike as yet but the itch used to appear and vanish on its own accord.

Requested jaggu to share some pics which he promptly did and boy, did it look fab.

I loved the bonnie when I first rode it a year or so back. My close pal, rk_sans had brought his bro's bonnie to a short breakfast ride. One spin on it and I was sold. Santosh as he is known in the real world, warned me in all good faith that I would soon get bored with the relaxed nature of the bonnie since it was sports-bikes that excited me and I was in fact ogling and fantasizing about the Daytona all along.

I had considered this warning but the itch used to pop up every time there was a bonnie rider in the group.

The only concern I had with the bike was the low GC and lack of ABS.

My wife has been very supportive for my love towards bikes and riding. But, she did complain that the Ninja was very uncomfortable which I fully agree. The rear seat is high up, has barely any cushion and worse, there are no grab rails for the pillion. In approx. six years that I've had the Ninja, my wife has ridden pillion only twice on it and for a very short distance. Every other bike that I would ride and tell her about it, she would ask if it was good for two-up riding.

When I told her that there was a bonnie up for sale through a friend and it was pillion friendly, she said let's go and look it up on the weekend. The pics of the bike I showed her were getting mixed reactions.... So much money for a glorified bullet?

Last edited by n_aditya : 30th March 2016 at 14:36.
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Old 30th March 2016, 15:03   #3
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Default re: A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home

So, that weekend, Santosh, my wife and I, headed over to the owner's place where jaggu was already present, to intro me to the bonnie and its current owner.

The bike was immaculately maintained and my wife and I took a fairly long test ride from Hennur till Esteem mall and back. My wife loved the bike, thanks to the king and queen seat which made us both feel like we were riding an Italian sofa with a motor strapped onto it.

Accessories on the bike:

1. King and Queen seat -- super comfortable

2. TOR exhausts - look stock, sound bassy yet not too loud when you crack the throttle... and they pop nicely when you close the throttle. Sounds mad and addictive.

3. Bash plate

4. Lockable fuel cap

That afternoon my wife and I discussed our finances and we decided this was it.

Called the owner and let him know that I was up for it and that I would need a couple of days to finance a small part of the bike's cost.

The next couple of days were filled with anxiety and the nights were spent without any sleep and full of bonnie dreams.

I spent my free time reading up on mobike's bonnie ownership and getting educated on the bike and its offerings.

Last edited by noopster : 30th March 2016 at 16:49. Reason: Typo
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Old 30th March 2016, 15:17   #4
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During the next couple of days, whatever free time I had was spent in ogling at the pics of the bonnie and working out a finance option with a couple of banks.

Banks have a way doling out loans to the likes of mallya but for mere mortals like me, it turned out to be cumbersome since I wanted a low interest rate and I wanted cash within 48 hours. The astronomic interest rates and approvals involved in this case of an used bike proved to be a hassle. I managed to arrange whatever little finance I required but regretfully the delay meant that I had to wait for close to 3 weeks for the bike to be mine.

Finally on 26th Feb, the auspicious day dawned. But, it was a Friday and a working day. I called the owner and informed that I would come late in the evening for the delivery (payment cleared ahead of time). It took me eternity to reach Banaswadi from Electronic City via uber and the auspicious time was slowly fading away.

Got to the owners place but it was half past nine and my desire to take the bonnie to the temple for a pooja was a distant ask.

Here are the first pics I clicked from my phone. Apologies for the low quality image.

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-1.jpg

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-2.jpg

After signing the ownership transfer forms, collecting the keys and the insurance copies, I headed home. I was nervous since it was dark and everyone was riding or driving very close to me obviously in a hurry to get home after a long hard week.

I managed to get home after breaking a lot of sweat and parked my new baby girl in the safety of my parking slot (right in front of my first car, the Maruti800 which I still have).

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-3.jpg

The hours that followed into the night was without any sleep. I fought hard to catch those elusive forty winks and finally gave up.

Read through the owners manual and planned a breakfast meet in the neighborhood with a few buddies and fellow members.

I hadn't told anyone about the bike or plans to buy one and had posted this on facebook:

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My sister, cousins, uncles and aunts called all the way from across the world to wish and my wife was taken aback. What baby girl?

My friends who dropped in home to see the baby girl were in for a surprise too.

After breakfast at Veena Stores we decided to ride to Nandi the following morning with a few more buddies.

Here is a snap I took after our breakfast meet at Veena's:

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-4.jpg

Followed by the customary pooja at the Ganesh temple in Malleswaram where we always go for blessings when we get a new set of wheels home

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-5.jpg

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-6.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 31st March 2016 at 09:43. Reason: Merging :)
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Old 30th March 2016, 15:35   #5
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The next morning, my wife and I headed to Nandi with a bunch of buddies - Ankur, Leslie, Abhi and Vibhor.

The ride was thoroughly enjoyable. I was taking it slow and getting to know the bike. It was super to meet with my friends after a long time as well. Work had been getting to me since the last many months.

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-nandi1.jpg

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-nandi2.jpg

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Around this time, I left the ninja at the workshop to replace the front wheel. I had encountered a pothole which bent the wheel lip causing air to escape over time. In a week, the tire would lose around 50% air so I figured it was best to change the wheel under insurance. I had the zero depreciation top up cover, so it did not bother me on the cost front.

I was literally without a bike since the ninja was in the shop and the Bonnie was in the process of ownership transfer. I was traveling on work throughout so not being on a bike, that too a newly acquired one, was causing me immense agony.

I spent one of the free weekends washing and waxing the bonnie.

Here is how she looks after two coats of collinite 845:

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-collinite6.jpg

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-collinite5.jpg

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-collinite4.jpg

Reflection of my son sitting on the bike.

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-collinite3.jpg

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-collinite2.jpg

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-collinite1.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 31st March 2016 at 09:44. Reason: Merging :)
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Old 30th March 2016, 15:56   #6
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This last weekend, my wife and I, rode till the Mysore ring road.

Being the long weekend, the rush at Mysore road was expected.

IronH4wk joined us till the breakfast point and headed back, while Vijay, another friend of mine who owns a Ducati Scrambler joined me for the entire ride.

The plan was to ride till Gundlupet and back but it was cut short due to the searing heat.

Here are a few pics.

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-25032016_1.jpg

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A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-25032016_3.jpg

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After a month long wait, my Ninja was up and ready and I got her home. It took 3 weeks for the insurance surveyor to approve the claim and another couple of weeks for the wheel to arrive.

Finally she was home.

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-ninja-back-action.jpg

A snap of my girls together:

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-bonnie-meets-ninja.jpg

I can seeeeeeeeeeee you

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-bonnie-meets-ninja.jpg

Now they're camping out till the next ride.

A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home-bonnie-ninja-camping.jpg

I am going to put the Ninja up for sale but feeling sad to let her go. She's a sweetheart, never let me down, ever.

Hope she finds a nice home.

Last edited by GTO : 31st March 2016 at 09:45. Reason: Merging :)
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Old 30th March 2016, 17:22   #7
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Default re: A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home

How is the Bonnie to ride after being with the Ninja for close to six years, you may ask.

Well, first off, it took me a while to get used to the weight of the bike. 225 kilo's on the bonnie as opposed to 172 kilo's of the Ninja.

The Ninja is light, extremely agile and flickable while the Bonnie feels heavy unless it's on the move. Try moving the bike using only your feet and she will barely budge. I had to get off the seat and grab the rear grab rail with one hand and the handlebar with the other to move her around (or out of a parking spot). Once she gets on the move, she is a breeze to ride. Oodles of power on tap and one twist of the throttle launches the bike into the horizon. The power delivery although linear is not very smooth in the lower power band as the bike tends to jerk and feels like it is going to stall at low speeds in the thick of traffic. You'll have to revv a bit to get moving while in crawling traffic. But on the go, the bonnie is so easy to ride and all the weight issues just disappear. Quite easy to move around if the roads are clear. I feel a tad uneasy when surrounded with other people in traffic, so it's just a matter of time getting used to the bike.

When I collected the Ninja last weekend after the impending repairs were complete, the first thing that struck me when I sat on the bike was, it's so small and it feels like a toy. The bike also felt slow and powerless and I was like can we get moving a little faster?

On the open roads however, the Bonnie is a mile muncher. Right from 40 kph all the way to triple digits, she accelerates in top gear effortlessly and urgently like a rocket. I do miss the 6th gear as I am constantly searching for one more gear to shift up to.

The ride quality however is nothing short of luxurious as the suspension is on the softer side at the rear and slightly stiff on the front. The King and Queen seat adds to the plush ride. Handling is a breeze and she takes corners with ease and inspires confidence. I have ridden only around 500 odd kms so far and feel that this is the bike anyone can ride all day long without breaking a sweat. The switchgear quality is good, alloy wheels look fab and the mirrors surprisingly offer very good rear view. The headlight seems to be inadequate for riding after dark and the horn is feeble but the TOR pipes make up for the latter's lack of performance.

The headlights are DRL and light up when the ignition key is turned on (even without the engine running). The bike itself is very understated which is a blessing. No one cares about the bike in a public place and the only time they notice it is when the engine comes to life. I love the understated retro look and frankly wanted something like this since the Ninja used to scream for attention and I used to worry about people manhandling the bike when it was parked.

The heat even in peak traffic is very bearable. I rode my friend's scrambler in traffic and wanted to jump off the seat as it was cooking my thighs but the heat from the bonnie is significantly lower when compared with the Scrambler. This despite 865 cc's and being air cooled.

The tank capacity is 16 liters (The ninja is 17 liters) with around 4.5 liters being the reserve capacity. The low fuel warning lamp comes on at this point and I noticed the tank range is limited to around 250 kms on a tankful @ 20kmpl which the bike delivered on my last ride. The Ninja however delivers around 350 kms on a full tank of 17 liters (4 liters being reserve capacity) @ 27 kmpl which I consistently have been getting.

The Bonnie is shod with Metzellers and it offers excellent grip. Life of the rear tire is around 10k kms based on what I have heard.

The brakes are super sharp and coming from the Ninja they are equally good, if not better. The bite and feedback is excellent. However the clutch is super heavy and riding in traffic is painful for the left forearm so much that it feels like a workout. The handle grips could have been softer as my palms hurt after a morning's worth of riding but I guess it will take time to get used to. The Ninja has softer rubber on the handle grips despite having an aggressive riding stance. The levers on the bonnie look fab with brushed aluminium finish but they have angled edges which hurt my fingers. All in the process of getting used to a different bike.

The engine is smooth as butter, refined and offers almost negligible braking compared to the Ninja. On the ninja, roll off the gas and she slows down due to ample engine braking. However, on the Bonnie, she just keeps going and going and going and slows down very gently. You'll have to use the brakes to slow down faster or roll off much earlier.

Pillion comfort is excellent, so much that my wife dozed off for a few mins on our return leg from Mysore last weekend.

I'm planning on a few accessories such as the pillion back rest, crash bars or engine protectors from SWMototech or Renntec, headlight protection (metal grill) to avoid any damage from stone hits, LED aux lights, etc. I'll try sourcing some of these from USA soon. The crash bars and back rest will be bought and installed locally.

Overall, happy with the purchase and can't wait for the weekend to take her out for a spin.

Last edited by n_aditya : 30th March 2016 at 19:13.
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Old 30th March 2016, 20:03   #8
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Default re: A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home

Thread moved from Assembly Line to the Superbikes & Imports section. Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by Aditya : 31st March 2016 at 07:25.
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Old 30th March 2016, 20:46   #9
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Congratulations Aditya! I met you ages back alongside amit Roy. I don't think you had the Ninja back then, and we were all in a jeep craze. By any chance was the owner of the Bon a bald chap with glasses? I am not putting the name out here. Good on Jaggu to patch you guys up.

You think the lower back problems were exacerbated by the ninja? Hope you are getting some yoga into your routine, certainly helps.

Sting has a nice ownership report going on too, am sure you have looked it up.
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Old 30th March 2016, 21:03   #10
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Default re: A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home

Congratulations once again Adi, she is a lovely bike. I have ridden her here and there on our trips and i really loved the comfort compared to the shoulder and palm jarring ride of the Striple. Glad that you like it too.

@Red Liner yes the bike used to belong to our dear friend Rajesh
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Old 30th March 2016, 22:03   #11
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Default re: A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home

Congratulations on the great buy Aditya. Wish you many more (s)miles on this one as well.
It looks really well kept, and we all know that treatment is going to continue in your hands.

The seat looks really delicious (for want of a better adjective) and should be quite comfortable to sit on.

One question: any idea how long the tyres last on a Bonnie, because even at 7k+ kms, they still have quite a bit of life left.
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Old 30th March 2016, 22:42   #12
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Default re: A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamseller View Post
One question: any idea how long the tyres last on a Bonnie, because even at 7k+ kms, they still have quite a bit of life left.
12-15k is usual with these tyres, again depends on how hard you ride. There are folks who cook it in 7-8k kms also
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Old 30th March 2016, 23:04   #13
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Default re: A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home

Wonderful. Congratulations Aditya.
A well kept ride, got home to a deserving rider.
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Old 30th March 2016, 23:05   #14
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Default re: A much needed upgrade - Triumph Bonneville comes home

Congrats Aditya on the wonderful bike and thanks for sharing the whole buying & riding experience from the heart.

Infact the Bonnie is one bike that has touched my heart. It exemplifies what good old motorbiking is all about. A simple naked bike without all the bells & whistles & gadgetry. Something that you take off the stand, thumb the starter, click into gear and ride into the horizon at your own pace. Dead reliable, simple to maintain, enjoyment unlimited and probably a bike that will outlive ones biking career Buying a used Bonnie has been on my head for a while now as a second bike for my solo rides. But I guess I still have to wait some more years to settle back in India to justify the purchase.

Wish you many many miles of joyful riding on the Bonnie.
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Old 30th March 2016, 23:38   #15
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Congrats and I was happy to see that you mentioned the bike has a bash plate. A recent ride to wayanad turned into a disaster as one of the lads bonny hit a stone, the oil filter cracked and he had to leave it there, return to Bangalore riding doubles with another friend, and then go back a week later to pick it up. He's now sworn that he will sell it and pick up the street twin just for the GC.

I have never understood the Bonnys placement of the oil filter right under the engine casing where even a small pebble can bust it open.

The story gets weirder..the triumph service guys asked him to try and replace it with a maruti 800 oil filter!! Apparently one 800 models filter is the right size. Go figure...
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