Posted: May 16, 2012 in things I want

As much as I love my little Honda, I have decided that it probably will not be with me forever. And all the mega-cruisers and pumped-up middleweights I’ve talked about here are not exactly what I want. Lately, I’ve started to look outside the realm of cruisers and I think I have found a new contender.

That’s right. The Triumph Bonneville. Steve McQueen had one. So did the Fonz. So might I. And here’s why.

In short, the numbers talk. Four hundred and ninety-five pounds of wet weight combined with 67 HP and 50 ft/lbs of torque. Yes, it is limited to 110mph, so it won’t be burning up a drag strip any time soon, but it is quite nippy from 0-60 and still reportedly has some roll-on power, which is what I’m interested in. Combine that with an upright riding position and generous saddle, and you come up with a very good all-arounder. And even though it is metric, the Triumph name will still earn you some points with Harley guys. At least Harley guys who aren’t in 1% clubs.

The new Bonnie has well-sorted EFI, an air-cooled parallel twin motor that is reliable as an anvil, and a very old school chain drive. New Triumphs are reasonably priced and known for reliability, though earlier new-production bonnies were prone to leaky forks.

The wide seat will provide plenty of room for myself and my wife to cruise around town, or for me to tie down an overnight bag and visit my heterosexual lifepartner who lives on the opposite side of the state.

The downside of the Triumph is of course, the price tag. The MSRP on a new one is just shy of $8000 for the basic Bonneville, and just under $9000 for the Bonneville SE (which adds two-tone paint and threaded wheels). Used…well, they aren’t much less than a new one thanks to their relative scarcity and legendary name.

I’m still pondering other bikes as well, but the Triumph has to be near the top of the heap for its combination of power, reliability, comfort, and handling. It’s an excellent all-arounder, and that’s perhaps the best thing a bike can be.


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