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Old 28th May 2016, 12:32   #1
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Default Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions

Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions-1464418158573.jpg

When faced with a long work day, there's nothing better than a quick 'meeting' at my local Triumph store. I've used the scam to test ride all the Tiger variants, the Daytona and the Striple, just don't tell my boss.

The other day on my way back to the office from a real meeting, I decided to pop into the Triumph store and do a quick test ride on the new T120. In fact, all I could think of during my meeting was the whether I'd get a chance to ride the T120.

Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions-1464418192958.jpg

So a quick Uber ride from my meeting and I was at the store. I told them I'd like to ride the T120 and a quick filling out of forms later, I had a helmet strapped on my head and the keys to a T120 with just 500 odd kilometers on odometer in my hand. That's what I love about Triumph. No fiddle about test rides, no dilly dallying, etc.

Starting up, the bike had a nice sound to it. The new clocks really had everything I'd hoped to find on my bike (gear indicator, fuel gauge, ride modes, fuel economy). Once on to the highway, I slowly opened her up.

Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions-1464418269891.jpg

I was trying to figure out what she sounded like and then it struck me. A well maintained TVS autorickshaw (not Bajaj, TVS ricks sound different). That's not good. And then for the rest of the test ride, I giggled to myself about the rickshaw reference and promptly forgot about the rest of the bike.

Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions-1464418246050.jpg

Suddenly a car in front of me slammed the brakes and I was forced to do the same and without a fuss and with no drama whatsoever, the Bonnie came to a halt, in fact so fast that I thought a real autorickshaw might come hurtling into me. So the brakes were excellent. After passing the moron who had broken down in the middle of the road and caused the sudden braking, I opened up the throttle.

The bike does fly, but doing it misses the charm of my bonnie. There's no freight train pulling you from behind on this bike. It's a bit too German and no longer manic. I pulled over at about the 15 km mark, just by the Sealink and did a little walk around. Triumph has been generous with the farkles. You have every single accessory included with your purchase price. Center stand, excellent suspension, heated grips (Bhutan, I remember you).

Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions-1464418219500.jpg

Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions-1464418317450.jpg

Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions-1464418337730.jpg

I quickly took some photographs and then took a u turn and headed back to the showroom. The traffic was pretty heavy on this side of the road. I was stuck in a traffic jam for a bit and man the engine does really heat up. But after doing arms at the gym, I was grateful for the clutch. It is absolutely effortless and brilliant. The best clutch I've ridden with in my limited riding career.

On the other hand, the ride by wire in bumper to bumper traffic is not as fun. It's notchy and you can hear it click on and off, a bit like Mustaq bhai, my neighborhood tailor's sewing machine.

Finally, after reaching the showroom I came to the conclusion that despite riding with a stock seat, my bum wasn't sore. The seat is finally comfy on the bonnie.

Parking the bike, here are my conclusions: while Triumph has done everything to make this bonnie the best ever, in the process they've gone and lost the soul of the Bonneville. So gone is the manic acceleration (at least till 100), gone is the slightly forward perched seat and the beauty of the air-cooled engine. Instead, we have a bike that looks like a Bonneville, has the best safety features this side of 12 lakhs but with the heart of a modern, unremarkable two cylinder mill.

Here's a quick list of the pros and cons, in my opinion as a current Bonneville owner.

Pros:
1. Excellent brakes. ABS makes that even better
2. Superb suspension. All the after market chaps are going to wonder how to make money
3. Great stock seat
4. Traction control (it was bone dry here in Bombay and so didn't get to try it)
5. Excellent MID
6. Finally the key is in the correct place and no more scratches on the left fork.


Cons:
1. It just misses something about the Bonnie. I can't put a finger on what it is - power, torque etc are mere numbers. This is different. That said, if I hadn't bought the old bonnie, I'd have bought this.
2. Ugly DRL
3. The bike feels smaller. While it's probably a good thing, it feels too much like a Pulsar

So the million rupee (and then some) question: will I be upgrading to the T120?

The answer is an emphatic no. While my Bonnie misses out on essentials such as ABS and TC and great suspension from the factory and a center stand, it's heart feels like a true, blue blooded Triumph that I longed for and saved for years to buy (my savings account, opened in 2003 is still nicknamed Bonneville Fund).

Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions-1464418896296.jpg
(Stuck on you/Got this feeling down deep in my soul that I just can't lose)

Last edited by GTO : 28th May 2016 at 13:26. Reason: Spacing. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 28th May 2016, 13:23   #2
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Default re: Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions

Wow. Nice way to spend an afternoon! I agree with you. Sometimes no matter how good the product is, if there's no 'zing' , it loses it's soul. Reminds me of a particular Top Gear review of the Ferrari 458 Italia v/s MP4-12C. Even though the McLaren was better in every way than the Ferrari, Clarkson still judged the Ferrari as the better car. It had soul. Unfortunately, you can't put a price on that!
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Old 28th May 2016, 15:02   #3
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Default Re: Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by djpeesh View Post
Suddenly a car in front of me slammed the brakes and I was forced to do the same and without a fuss and with no drama whatsoever, the Bonnie came to a halt, in fact so fast that I thought a real autorickshaw might come hurtling into me. So the brakes were excellent.

While my Bonnie misses out on essentials such as ABS and TC and great suspension from the factory and a center stand, it's heart feels like a true, blue blooded Triumph that I longed for and saved for years to buy (my savings account, opened in 2003 is still nicknamed Bonneville Fund).
Hi Buddy,

Thanks for your first impressions! Very poetic closing and how you are so happy with your Bonnie minus the essentials (read lifesaving) like ABS and traction control.

If you were on your Bonnie minus ABS in the exact situation which you have mentioned above, what in your honest opinion could have happened:

a) You could have stopped in time with no drama or fuss.
b) Rear ended the car in front.
c) Skidded and fallen.

Your reply would be an interesting read.

Thanks.

Cheers
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Old 28th May 2016, 15:22   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyborg View Post
Hi Buddy,

Thanks for your first impressions! Very poetic closing and how you are so happy with your Bonnie minus the essentials (read lifesaving) like ABS and traction control.

If you were on your Bonnie minus ABS in the exact situation which you have mentioned above, what in your honest opinion could have happened:

a) You could have stopped in time with no drama or fuss.
b) Rear ended the car in front.
c) Skidded and fallen.

Your reply would be an interesting read.

Thanks.

Cheers
Cyborg,

From past experience, there would have been some fishtailing and a lot of drama while jamming the brakes but the bonnie would have stopped. She's OK that way. But the T120 brakes are very very good. I suppose the twin discs up front help.

Honestly, if the current setup had the old one's engine, I'd have traded up in a heartbeat. The new Bonnie's has everything I miss on my bonnie without the je ne sais quoi of the old bonnie.

On a separate note, I wonder if any of the nice bits can be added on the old bonnie. I wish I could transplant the front end of the T120, minus the DRL, onto my bike.
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Old 28th May 2016, 19:04   #5
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Default Re: Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions

Thanks for sharing your initial impressions, djpeesh. I was hoping to fall in love with the 1200 cc mil. I'm in double mind whether I'm happy or disappointed that you werent overly impressed with the T120. On the positive side my urge to consider it as an upgrage isnt fueled after reading your post! This will still be worth a test ride; though the Tiger still retains the top spot for an addition to the garage. Maybe time to start an Add-A-Tiger fund!

I wish they had just added ABS and a better suspension and sold the Bonneville for a few more years.

Cheers,
Sting
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Old 30th May 2016, 14:40   #6
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Default Re: Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions

Nice initial impression report and makes it even more believable since it's coming from an existing Bonnie user

If I recall correctly, I was the first member on forum to have test ridden the Bonnie way back in early 2014 and I was so smitten that I bought it instantly. And, at the same time I had done a comparison report of Bonnie A3 vs. Bonneville T100 and A3 outshone the T100 in almost all departments except in the looks department

With new T120, I'm disappointed that along with technology upgrades like Ride by Wire, More powerful engine, ABS, Traction control they have not really upgraded it cosmetically which is an important parameter for folks plonking in 10+ lakh rupees

From what I understand from your ride report, it feels equally good to ride this upgraded T100 but, misses the Bonnie soul. I reckon I have to agree with you on this front

Will I pay 10+ lakhs for this motorcycle? I guess no as that price range will open up a wide range of superbikes to choose from

Would be interesting to see how many they sell in next few months

Thanks for sharing the report !!!
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Old 30th May 2016, 17:24   #7
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Default Re: Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions

Thanks DJPeesh for sharing this thread. I know purists will not like reduction of weight and short handle bar (Which resembles Pulsar 150) when any manufacturer is making an upgrade. We all remember Unicorn 150 to 160 upgrade.

This was exactly the reason I booked T100 without any delay as that was the last piece left in the showroom. I anticipated this comparison between air-cooled Bonnie Vs an upgraded 1200 liquid cooled one is inevitable (Like CI and UCE).

Thanks AVI Bhai for indirectly influencing me for a Bonnie.

Yes the T120 carries the original Bonneville silhouette with technical upgrades, But I don't think 10.5 lakhs is worth to pay. For me, I always wanted to have that peashooter exhausts, dual meters, chromed engine and tail lamp. If I further delay and miss this T100, I need to pay 3 lacks additional for the same looks and extra 300 CC.

Below is my pick
Attached Thumbnails
Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions-bonnie.jpg  


Last edited by PISTONS : 30th May 2016 at 17:28.
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Old 31st May 2016, 16:07   #8
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Default Re: Triumph Bonneville T120 - First Impressions

I always wanted to buy a bike which would become a classic after prolonged ownership. If at all I have to spend a million bucks on a bike, I rather retain it for a lifetime. T120 was ticking all these requirements. However this short ride review has made me rethink about the purchase decision. May be I should wait for some more reviews before booking the bike. Unfortunately there is no single extensive authentic Indian review available about the bike.
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