Triumph’s roots may have been laid in the UK, but the British company isn’t afraid to look elsewhere for inspiration when designing new models. The 2017 Bonneville Bobber is proof. It’s also a really, really cool addition to the current Bonneville line.
Inspired by the American-born bobbers that grew to popularity in the 1930s-on, the 2017 Bobber has a low stance, stripped back, and seat that’s actually adjustable between two positions—low and back, and high and forward.
Bobbers have always been about light weight (that’s the reason for ditching the fenders and unnecessary body panels) and big power, so Triumph has updated the power delivery on the Bobber, too. Its 1200cc high-torque engine is the same specs-wise, but electronic updates and a new dual airbox/filter design enables it to produce more torque and power down low, when compared to the T120.
To complete the bobber look, Triumph has outfitted this Bonneville with caged swingarm, battery box with stainless steel strap, bar end mirrors, wide/flat handlebar, and rear mudguard loop. The tank is actually reshaped when compared to the T120, too; it’s smaller and more compact.
Other noteworthy updates include a shock that's mounted underneath the seat and works on a specially designed linkage, plus updated fork that’s shorter than the T120’s, “Which we can do because there will only ever be one person on the bike,” Triumph says. Less weight means you need less travel for the same level of compliance and bump absorption.
Like the rest of the bikes in the Bonneville lineup, it will come with everything from riding modes (Road and Rain) to switchable traction control, ABS, and a torque-assist clutch.
Color options include Ironstone (with a matte finish), Morello Red, Stunning Competition Green and Frozen Silver, and Jet Black.
Perhaps coolest is that The Bonneville Bobber has been designed with customizing in mind, and that there are over 150 accessories available for more style, comfort, and performance. My favorite? You might judge me, but it’s actually the high ‘ape hanger’ bars, which look awesome and should actually work okay with my longer arms.
I actually had the chance to see and sit on the Bobber ahead of Triumph’s official unveil and will say that the bike sounds awesome with the stock exhausts, which are shorter and lighter than the ones on the T120, and have a slash-cut design for better sound and look.
In person, the Bobber looks well thought-out. Everything from the wire-spoked wheels wrapped in specially developed Avon Cobra tires (narrow front, wide rear) fits the bobber persona.
In a lot of ways, it’s everything I liked about the Harley-Davidson Low Rider S; it has that custom look, but doesn’t come with the custom headache. Triumph says, “It’s still riding a Triumph, with emphasis on handling, just a special look.”
It definitely won’t appeal to everyone, but I think the Bobber really will turn some heads. I’ve got a buddy or two that I think will fall in love with this bike. And I don’t think they’ll be alone, either.