Throttle Jockey: Triumph pumps up the Bonneville, Thruxton models


A few weeks back I waxed on and on about the Triumph Bonneville, the iconic vintage bike recently reborn as a modern classic. Fortunately, it has retained its vintage style while providing modern performance and convenience. I got a few emails saying the Bonnie line was set for a refresh, and last week, Triumph dropped five new Bonneville models on the motorcycling world, and it looks like some seriously worthy new bikes for us all to lust after (and hopefully buy).

One of the biggest knocks against the reborn Bonnies has been power output. It’s not like the bikes were gutless wonders by any means, but they weren’t known for winning stoplight races either. I think it would be fair to say they had a gentlemanly vibe, and for most part, the neoBonnie was essentially each owner’s canvas for some aftermarket hop-up work once the stock pipes were off after riding it home from the dealership. But you could only get so much more juice out of the lump while maintaining a budget and reliability.

That period of the Bonneville’s recent history has now ended.

Triumph has announced five new Bonneville family models including a budget-friendly 900cc machine and a quartet of new classics that should get your attention with this: 1200 vert-twin powerplants with liquid cooling.

Those four bikes: two Bonnies and two Thruxtons – are the form factors and firepower everyone has been hoping for. Torque is a solid 80 foot pounds and while Triumph didn’t let slip horsepower figures, basic math for modern engines would suggest about 100 ponies. But there’s so much more.


An original 1960s Bonneville, right, and the latest 1200cc version for 2016. Photo courtesy of Triumph

Triumph has even gone one further with the top-shelf Thruxton, which gets an “R” designation, Brembo monoblocs times three, Normal, Sport and Rain riding modes, LCD panels in both round clocks, Ohlins legs front and rear and more power than the “regular” 1200cc mills. There’s also ABS, a slipper clutch and traction control. Hot damn.

The bikes are the product of a four-year long redevelopment of the Bonnie line at Triumph, and they are essentially ground-up efforts, with frame changes and other tweaks clearly need to handle all that engine power.

Smart move keeping the 900cc air-cooled machine in the lineup – and it benefits from a redesigned 8-valve engine making more torque as well as with a new frame and suspension setup. That one bike – now called the Bonneville Street Twin – is the closet link to the bikes of yore, and would probably make a damn fine bike for many beginners and, uh, gentlemanly veterans still wanting that pure vintage experience (made better with fuel injection, disc brakes, etc., etc.). Along with the Street Twin, the air-cooled Scrambler remains in the lineup and benefits from the Street Twin’s updates as well.

Additionally, Triumph is offering “Brat Tracker” and “Urban” customization kits for a factory bobbed or cafe look.

Naturally, proof is in the meat pudding for the new bikes and we are hoping to get a riding impression on the new machines as their 2016 release date draws near.


The “regular” Thruxton (right) and the Thruxton R. Photos courtesy of Triumph