Triumph reveals new 900cc, 1200cc Bonnevilles

Triumph Bonneville T120
Triumph's 2016 Bonneville T120 has a 1200cc engine

Triumph’s retro Bonneville range has been reinvented with two new liquid-cooled 900 and 1200cc engines powering a five-model line-up of Street Twin, T120s and Thruxtons.

The new powerplants are what you might call retro-tech; except for their slim-line radiators they look like 1960s twins but they feature eight-valve heads, liquid-cooling, fuel injection and, in the 1200s, electronic riding modes.

The radiators appear to be the only aesthetic compromise made for the modern world, and the benefits make the coolers seem a small price to pay.

Performance figures have jumped substantially with the new engines, and Triumph says its new chassis, suspension choices and other changes have resulted in superior bikes all-round.

Meanwhile, the classic styling is at least as good as ever … and in some ways even better after designers put greater effort into many of the details.

The liquid-cooling system has been fairly well disguised, with few clues to it other than the radiators. Most of the plumbing is invisible.

There’s still a lot we’re waiting to hear about the new Bonnies, including detailed specs, prices and their arrival dates, but we’ll bring you those as they become available.

The main points of the new range are:

Street Twin

The Street Twin name is back! This was the name given to Edward Turner’s famous two-cylinder design of the 1930s, which set Triumph on its post-war course all the way to the famous Bonneville and beyond.

The base model of the Bonneville range uses the all-new 900cc engine, which brings a claimed 18% rise in torque to a peak of 80Nm at just 32o0rpm. The vastly improved efficincy of this powerplant shows up in the huge claimed improvement in fuel economy, by 36%.

The engine has a ride-by-wire throttle system to meter the fuel injection, which also allowed Triumph to include traction control in the bike. The TC can be switched off.

Other modern touches are the switchable anti-lock brakes, engine immobiliser, a USB charger mounted on the head stock, and an LED tail light.

The Street Twin has a completely new chassis too, with suspension that Triumph implies is a much better than before.

The single meter on the front is a speedometer, but in true contemporary fashion it includes readouts for things like distance to empty, fuel use and trip distances as well as being set up to cater for accessories such as heated grips and a tyre pressure monitor.

The Scrambler is no longer a standalone model in the Bonneville range, but there’s a Scrambler kit available for the Street Twin, as well as Brat Tracker and Urban kits.

Bonneville T120 and T120 Black

The pair of T120 models steps it up to the big 1200cc engine, in this case a version known as the ‘high torque’ tune. It turns out a claimed 105Nm at 3100rpm, more than half as much again above the previous model.

It has the same basic architecture and features as the Street Twin, including the 270 degree crank throw (more like a 90 degree V-twin than the original 360-degree Bonneville twins), but adds two electronic rider modes to the package. One’s for regular iding, the other for wet weather conditions.

The T120s come with speedo and tacho, have heated grips as standard, and feature LED daytime running lights. Instead of the cast wheels of the Street Twin, they have wire-spoked wheels.

While the T120 can be had in any of four colourful schemes, the Black is just what it says, in either gloss or matte finish.

Thruxton and Thruxton R

The cafe racer-inspired Thruxtons use the ‘high power’ version of the 1200cc engine, and while Triumph is being quiet about power outputs, it does tells us this motor churns out a very healthy 112Nm at 4950rpm for what the factory is calling “game changing” performance in the class.

They also reckon the exhaust note is “truly thrilling”.

The Thruxton takes what the T120 has and adds a third riding mode, Sport, which gives quick throttle response.

The cafe also ups the ante in handling, especially in R specification.

Even the basic Thruxton has a 17-inch front wheel, adjustable suspension, and a chassis tuned for sporty riding.

But the R model goes for the best gear, with Showa big-piston forks, Ohlins rear shocks, sticky Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres and up-spec Brembo brakes.

The kits for the Thruxtons are gorgeous.

First up, there’s the Cafe Racer kit that brings a wonderuflly stripped-down look to the bike. Second, there’s the Track Racer kit with a stunning period-style fairing.

Finally, Triumph will release a proper race kit complete with engine performance upgrade, aimed purely at closed-course riding. Should be fun!