Zane has been out on the updated Triumph Bonneville T120. The vintage inspired machine blew him away with its capability! Check out what he thought below... Photos: Impact Photography.

The Triumph Bonneville model goes way back to a time long before I was born. I’ve ridden a lot of vintage inspired bikes, but nothing has done the job quite as well as the new Bonneville T120 for me. The thumping twin sets a new benchmark for others to hit.

Zane has just completed a heap of KM's on the updated Triumph Bonneville T120, check out what he thought.

Zane has just completed a heap of KM’s on the updated Triumph Bonneville T120, check out what he thought.


Check out our other Triumph reviews here…


Pushrods, 10L engines, no helmets/seatbelts and no such thing as “coolant”. This is the era that the 2022 Triumph Bonneville T120 encapsulates better than just about any other vintage inspired machine on the market in my opinion. But it goes further than that, adding the spice of modern technology without tarnishing the post war feeling. The Triumph the oldies know is back with a vengeance.



I come from a family of British motorcycle riders, not only this but my friends Dads all know me as the motorcycle guy. That means I get the privilege of hearing endless stories of their parents all thrashing around on BSA’s, Vincent’s and AJS’s.  Unfortunately, emissions laws and advancements in technology have made it impossible and unnecessary to replicate these days, until the Triumph Bonneville T120 came along.

Emissions laws and advancements in technology have made it impossible and unnecessary to replicate the 50s, until the Triumph Bonneville T120 came along.

Emissions laws and advancements in technology have made it impossible and unnecessary to replicate the ’50s, until the Triumph Bonneville T120 came along.

I never rode the last generation of the Bonneville’s but chatting with Chris Harris from PS Importers, he assured me I was in for a treat with the 2022 model, telling me it is night and day compared to the old model. On paper, it looks like a spectacular few changes.



First walk around the bike, if you rip off all those ADR necessary reflectors and indications, you’d absolutely have a ’50s bike. Even the Ride-by-Wire throttle-bodies are made to look like carburettors, insanely cool is an understatement. The paint is another plus, personally I love the look of the gold-line models but the Cordovan Red Silver Ice is a close second, it compliments the chrome beautifully.

You have plenty of choice when it comes to colour, but the Cordovan Red Silver Ice has an awesome sparkle to it when the sunlight hits the tank.

You have plenty of choice when it comes to colour, but the Cordovan Red Silver Ice has an awesome sparkle to it when the sunlight hits the tank.

Besides the ADR regulated items mentioned previously, there is absolutely nothing that looks out of place on the bike, this really is a proper Triumph. Every bloke over the age of 60 stopped and had a chat about the bike, it really appeals to the older generation but even people my age have been getting into this era (well, era that the bike is modelled off) of cars and bikes.



British build quality has come a long way, I look at our UK built Mark 1 Ford Escort in the garage and it must’ve been a Friday built car, none of the panels line up properly as Gary at the Ford factory was probably in a rush to get to the pub. The Bonneville T120 is the complete opposite, nothing rattles, nothing bends easily, and it feels sturdy. It is kind of sad as there’s a certain character in mid-century European manufacturing, but I would most likely be complaining about poor build quality if it was the same as it was 70 years ago.


“British build quality has come a long way, I look at our UK built Mark 1 Ford Escort in the garage… none of the panels line up properly as Gary at the Ford factory was probably in a rush to get to the pub. The Bonneville T120 is the complete opposite…”


On the road, there’s no way a bike that looks like this should handle how well it does. The way the power comes on makes me beyond excited. Carb’s hold a very special place in my heart, I believe in retaining this amazing piece of mechanical engineering, but the technology of the RbW throttle is irreplaceable. I know, I know, its blasphemy to have RbW on a bike like this, but it compliments to torque-heavy nature of the long-stroke 1200 twin. Most importantly, the 1200 still sounds like an old bike when on the throttle, it doesn’t have the vibration or lumpy nature of ’50s bikes but still encases the old days out of the subtle EURO5 exhausts.

"On the road, there’s no way a bike that looks like this should handle how it does. The way the power comes on makes me beyond excited."

“On the road, there’s no way a bike that looks like this should handle how it does. The way the power comes on makes me beyond excited.”

The 1200cc twin makes a whopping 105Nm@3500rpm and 80hp@6,550rpm. The character is similar to a Harley-Davidson V-twin funnily enough, with its low redline and fast climbing speedo numbers. Redline is set at 7000rpm, with the peak power made at less than 500rpm below the redline, you best believe I have this thing bouncing off the limiter in every gear.



A lot of high capacity twin-cylinders suffer from the same unfortunate fate of the gears being too long, the Bonneville T120 is the same but different. First gear compliments the torque well, second is okay but third is like switching into fifth on other bikes. Fourth gear is more than enough to cruise along at Australia’s low maximum speed limit of 110km/h. That’s not just to keep it at peak torque too, sixth gear genuinely feels like the bike is going to stall out!

This machine vintage inspiration isn't just looks, even the torque characteristics are reminiscent of the 50s!

This machine vintage inspiration isn’t just looks, even the torque characteristics are reminiscent of the 1950s!

Clutch action has been revised in the updated model, it feels spectacular and manages the torque with ease. The torque-assist clutch has been made with managing rider fatigue in traffic, and man it does a good job of that. It seriously feels like riding a 150cc single at low speed while dragging the clutch, Triumph have done a really good job with the clutch design.


“The torque-assist clutch has been made with managing rider fatigue in traffic, and man it does a good job of that. It seriously feels like riding a 150cc single at low speed…”


Speaking of freeway riding, Triumph somehow managed to add cruise control without effecting the overall “vibe” and feeling of the bike. It’s an awesome system that uses just a small button on the left-hand side of the ‘bars. It works awesome and speed didn’t creep up too much, essential for NSW as 1km/h over the speed limit will cost you a demerit and $121.



At 236kg, the Bonneville T120 is not a lightweight machine. Usually I’d be complaining about how chunky a barebones bike like this is unnecessarily heavy, but it seems to add a feeling of quality instead of disappointment. It’s kind of like picking up a statue and it being actually heavy instead of a plastic pressed cheap replica, following the same recipe as Bentley and Rolls Royce, their cars weigh stupid amounts but are the pinnacle of style, status and quality.

Despite weighing in at 236kg, the t120 follows the same recipe as compatriots Bentley and Rolls Royce, their cars weigh stupid amounts but are the pinnacle of style, status and quality.

Despite weighing in at 236kg, the T120 follows the same recipe as compatriots Bentley and Rolls Royce, their cars weigh stupid amounts but are the pinnacle of style, status and quality.

Hitting the twisties and I am surprised at how well it can handle being thrown at corners. It doesn’t want to lean like a sportsbike would but loves to hit turns at a much higher speed than you’d expect, it’s definitely a sleeper. You won’t realise the weight until you try to do a wheelie and suddenly it feels like trying to bench press something way beyond your personal ability. I have no idea how there are photos of people with these bikes at 12 o’clock, its mind boggling.

"Hitting the twisties and I am surprised at how well it can handling being thrown into corners. It doesn't want to lean like a sportsbike would but loves to hit turns at a much higher speed than you’d expect."

“Hitting the twisties and I am surprised at how well it can handling being thrown into corners. It doesn’t want to lean like a sportsbike would but loves to hit turns at a much higher speed than you’d expect.”

The predictable handling and smooth cornering comes down to the stiff full frame instead of the popular option of using the engine as a stressed member in a bid to keep weight down. The stiff frame does an excellent job of allowing the torque happy twin to put down all its power without flexing or getting loose.



The cartridge forks had no adjustment, but they didn’t really need anything. Yes, the bike does dive a bit under heavy braking but I each time I squeezed the brakes heading into a corner too quick, I reminded myself that this bike isn’t made for the stupid riding I’m putting it through. Cruising around, those 41mm forks soaked up all the potholes from the terrible NSW roads.

"Commuting is a breeze thanks to Triumph setting the twin shocks up with the correct amount of rebound and preload, allowing for some fun on the twisties without having to change anything, my back is cheering!"

“Commuting is a breeze thanks to Triumph setting the twin shocks up with the correct amount of rebound and preload, allowing for some fun on the twisties without having to change anything, my back is cheering!”

At the rear, we have the classic twin RSU’s with preload adjustment. They do an excellent job of handling the bike’s mass combined with an 80kg rider. Commuting is a breeze thanks to Triumph setting the twin shocks up with the correct amount of rebound and preload, allowing for some fun on the twisties without having to change anything, my back is cheering!



Braking is sorted by twin 310mm discs with twin-piston Brembo’s up the front, they stop the bike really well. They’re by no means anything extraordinary and hopping off a sportsbike, it takes a while to get used to grabbing the lever harder with weaker grip power from the twin-pistons but I’ve started to get a hang of making the most of them. I’m not a huge fan of the disc design, it’s something I’ve never mentioned in a test before, but they look like concrete cutter blades.

"Rider triangle is tops, after just under 1000km there are no real complaints besides the usual knee cramps from the footpeg position."

“Rider triangle is tops, after just under 1000km there are no real complaints besides the usual knee cramps from the footpeg position.”

The rider triangle is tops, after just under 1000km there are no real complaints besides the usual knee cramps from the footpeg position, every bike that isn’t a cruise seems to have the same issue though. The ‘bars allowed for easy maneuverability and the upright seating position made for a cruisy time riding 200km+ round trip to Pie in the Sky for photoshoots.



The seat is a real positive for me, it feels as if modern bikes use a foam formula that feels like you’re sitting on stone. The Bonneville T120 is a different story, the long seat is nice and comfortable, it’s not too soft that you sink into the seat and makes moving around awkward. There is a small dip in it that holds you in well for a bike that doesn’t have sporty riding in mind.



When it comes to tech, Triumph have kept it simple yet awesome for a vintage inspired machine. You obviously have the previously mentioned Cruise Control, but they’ve thrown on switchable Riding Modes and Traction Control. You have two riding modes to choose from, Rain and Road. Rain Mode does not change the amount of power the T120 puts or nor how it applies it, but it does have heavier traction control and ABS intervention. For some reason every time I looked down at the dash, it was in Rain Mode, I assume I keep accidentally hitting the mode button but the changes weren’t noticeable.

Traction control and ABS on a vintage inspired bike is better than it sounds, trust me!

Traction control and ABS on a vintage inspired bike is better than it sounds, trust me!

The use of traction control on a bike like this is awesome, it works well but is a very simple system. It’ll save your ass when you’re blasting off the lights in the rain or stop you from losing the rear end through the corners but the intervention is quite high. The bike will aggressively cut power when dropping the clutch or take off on a wet road, I don’t expect anything better as it’s awesome to just have it at all!



Tyres are sorted by a pair of retro look 100/90 – 18in and 150/70 – 17in Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp’s, replicas of the popular 1980s tyre. They looked great on the bike and the tread pattern was noticeably cool. I wish the rear tyre on the test bike wasn’t square as it severely compromised the way the bike handled, it was the only real thing that let the bike down from a glowing review. Hey, I’m glad someone else had fun doing burnouts on it before me because there is no way a tyre goes that square after just 1500km… I should have been replaced.



Pricing starts at $21,100 ride away, yes that’s up there compared to a few other bikes but the enjoyment you’ll get from it is priceless. When I commented on the price verses value on another vintage inspired bike, I got comments like, “You buy them for emotional reasons, spec sheet is irrelevant”. I never understood that comment until I rode the Bonneville T120.

"Pricing starts at $21,100 rideaway, yes that’s up there compared to a few other bikes but the enjoyment you’ll get from it is priceless."

“Pricing starts at $21,100 ride away, yes that’s up there compared to a few other bikes but the enjoyment you’ll get from it is priceless.”

The 2022 Triumph Bonneville T120 is a stunning bike, it does what it’s supposed to extraordinarily well and then surprises you by going above and beyond. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what tech you get with this bike, the way it echoes post war engineering while being EURO5 compliant and stays authentic is something other brands could only dream of achieving.

You have plenty of choice when it comes to colour, but the Cordovan Red Silver Ice has an awesome sparkle to it when the sunlight hits the tank.

 

Tech Talk

The engine of the new Triumph Bonneville T120 is the signature 1200cc, high-torque British twin, which was revised last year. The updated T120’s engine mass has been reduced significantly through the use of a lighter crankshaft. Together with an optimised clutch and balancer shafts this has also been claimed to reduced inertia.



The T120 has been specifically tuned to deliver high torque, from low down in the rev range all the way through the mid-range. The 1200 twin engine delivers 105Nm@3500rpm and 80hp@6,550rpm.

The upgraded engine exceeds EURO 5 requirements, giving lower emissions than the previous generation and excellent fuel economy.

The handling of the new T120 has been enhanced for 2021 with a 7kg weight saving. The all-new aluminium wheel give a reduction in unsprung weight and inertia. Up front is a simple 41mm cartridge fork setup while the rear uses twin RSUs with pre-load adjustment.



The braking system has been improved with a higher specification Brembo front brake, with a twin disc set-up and 2 piston sliding calipers. Safety and control have also been maximised thanks to Triumph’s latest generation ABS and switchable traction control.

The new T120 comes with higher specification technology compared to its previous version, with cruise control now fitted as standard along with enhanced riding modes. The cruise control is set via a dedicated button on the handlebar, making it extremely user friendly for the rider as well as the selection of the riding modes. The rider can select between the Rain and Road riding modes, which will adapt the behaviour of the bike according to the riding conditions.



Other rider focussed technology that come as standard include a torque-assist clutch, which Triumph say reduces rider fatigue in heavy traffic or on longer journeys; an engine immobiliser incorporated into the key, a handy under-seat USB charging socket and the internal wiring ready to plug in the accessory fit heated grips.

The twin clock set-up has a new premium 3D dial face with Bonneville branding and traditional typeface and colours.  The multi-functional digital display provides the rider with all necessary information, such as riding mode settings, cruise control status, gear position indicator and much more, and it is all controlled through the intuitive and easily accessible scroll button mounted on the handlebar.

The iconic sculpted Triumph Bonneville tank with knee pads carries a new 3-bar heritage chromed metal badge

The iconic sculpted Bonneville tank with knee pads carries a new 3-bar heritage chromed metal badge, adding a new styling touch to the unmistakeable T120 design.

On the classic Bonneville T120, premium chrome finishes have been used throughout, maintaining the signature style, including on the mirrors, mudguard stay, indicators, silencers, handlebars, headlamp bezel and filler cap. The seat is finished with contrast piping, a ribbed top and carries an embossed Triumph logo.


Avon Cobra Chrome

2022 Triumph Bonneville T120 specifications

www.triumphmotorcycles.com.au

Price: from $21,100 ride away
Warranty: Three-years
Colours: Jet Black,Cordovan Red with Silver Ice, and the Cobalt Blue with Silver Ice or the T120 Black will come in Jet Black or Matt Jet Black with Matt Graphite
Claimed power: 80hp(58.8kW)@6550rpm
Claimed torque: 105Nm(77.4lbft)@3500rpm
Wet weight: 236kg
Fuel capacity: 14.5L
Service: 16000km/12-months


Engine: Liquid cooled, 8-valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin four-stroke, 1200cc, 97.6 x 80.0mm bore x stroke, 10.0:1 compression ratio, 2 into 2 exhaust system with twin silencers, wet multi-plate clutch, six-speed gearbox, RbW throttle.


Chassis: Tubular steel, twin cradle frame
Rake: 25.5° Trail: 105.2mm
Suspension: 41mm cartridge forks(F), twin RSUs, with pre-load adjustment (R)
Brakes: Twin 310mm discs, Brembo two-piston floating caliper, ABS (f),Single 255mm disc, Nissin two-piston floating caliper, ABS (r)
Wheels & Tyres: Aluminium rimmed 32 spoke, Pirelli Phantom 100/90 – 18in (f), 150/70 – 17in (r)


Dimensions:
Wheelbase: 1450mm
Seat height: 790mm
Overall height without mirrors: 1100mm
Overall length: 2170mm
Overall width: 780mm


Instruments & Electronics: Dual retro look digital/analogue displays, Traction Control, Ride Modes, ABS, Cruise Control.


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