I have just had the Triumph Bonneville T120 on loan from Triumph Motorcycles for a week and what a great week we had together.
The timeless look of the T120 comes from its iconic predecessor and during the time I had the bike a few people assumed it was one of the original models not a brand new up-to-date bike. Triumph have clearly put in a lot of time and effort into keeping the look and design of the T120 ‘old skool’ but with modern technology. The attention to the little details are there and it seemed that every time I looked at the bike I would discover something new.
The T120 has the new Bonneville 1200cc twin engine which is lighter and more responsive than its predecessor with noticeable low down torque which, combined with the twin chrome exhausts, sounds amazing. When you start the bike you get that distinctive rumble that sends a shiver down your spine and when you open it up, it sends a smile across your face.
The T120 boasts 78.9 bhp, a six speed box with 120mm-travel 41mm cartridge front forks with Brembo twin piston floating calipers. The twin rear suspension can be adjusted to take account if you are riding solo, with a pillion or indeed luggage so you can find the perfect set up to suit you and your ride.
I particularly like the wheels which are a classic looking 32 spoke aluminium rim and come with Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tyres which Pirelli describe as “For your classic sport motorcycle (road use) – the sport tyre featuring fascinating vintage tread pattern design and cutting-edge performance”
When I had the bike I rode in the rain and sunshine and felt happy and confident in the way the tyres handled on the road and the grip they gave me when cornering which is what I crave in a tyre.
The T120 has two riding modes – rain and road which can adjust the engine mapping and traction control settings. Cruise control is fitted which is easy to use (even for me) and great especially if you are on the motorway and are mindful of speed cameras or average speed cameras!
The seat height on the T120 is 790 mm and I found the riding position incredibly comfortable and relaxed. The seat itself is the most comfiest seat I’ve ever had on a bike and I was sorely tempted to keep the seat and swap it for the one on my Z in the hope that Triumph wouldn’t notice ……!
Under the seat is a USB charging point which is incredibly handy when using your phone as a sat nav because you’ve got completely and utterly lost and need guidance to get back to civilization … moving on quickly …
I thought a lot of attention had gone into the details in keeping the ‘old skool’ features on the T120 – the chrome filler cap on the fuel tank has Triumph Motorcycles on it and the paint design on the tank itself is reminiscent of the original paint schemes and is donned with the classic metal tank badges which you can’t help running your hand over. The tank holds 14.5 litres and according to the info on the bike I was getting 58 miles to the gallon which I was pretty impressed with.
The two traditional style clocks which are a mix of analogue and digital, are clear and easy to read when glancing down but in the sunshine there was some reflection on the clocks so a screen would be a great accessory.
I particularly liked the throttle bodies made to look like carburetors and the machined cooling fins on the cylinder head which add to the bike’s character, finished off with the single headlamp bezel – honestly every time I looked at it, I noticed another detail!
The T120 weighs in at 235 kg and although you don’t notice the weight riding along as such, I did notice it felt heavier in the corners although it was very stable and stuck to the road nicely. I also found it a little on the heavy side getting it in and out of the garage but my o/h who is taller and heavier than me did not have a problem at all and he says compared to his old ZX9R ‘it doesn’t feel heavy at all’.
I rode the T120 every day that I had the bike both commuting and going out for a ride – on one of the days we were out riding all day and my bottom was not screaming at me to get off the bike which, for me, is a great indication of how comfortable the bike is.
My list of first purchases if I were buying the T120 is not what you could call a list, more a personal preference need:
- heated grips;
- a screen.
You really could just buy the T120 as it is and ride it.
I really enjoyed my time with the bike and was sad to see it go back especially that seat …..
Thank you Triumph for the loan of the T120, it was a privilege to ride 🙂
I did a walk around video of the T120 which you can see on my YouTube channel here:
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