I popped along to the local T-Fest day at Jack Lilley in Surrey to have a ride on the new Triumph Speed Triple R and Thruxton R but whilst I was there, and with time on my hands, I took the opportunity to take this rather splendid 2016 Triumph Bonneville T120 out for a ride.
I have always respected this classic sort of motorcycle shape and, of course, the Bonneville name is somewhat legendary but it has never really been ‘my thing’. I therefore took the keys for the bike with absolutely no expectations whatsoever.
First of all, I had a good look around it and started to see the attraction as the Triumph T120 clearly had raw motorcycling appeal despite being rather contemporary with an abundance of modern motorbiking technology adorning it. What stood out for me was the pure simplicity of it. I also admired its clarity of purpose. This bike was not showing off. It was not trying to shout ‘Look at me!’ as other bikes seem to do. Perhaps this new T120 does all its talking on the road. Let’s find out.
I swung my leg over and was immediately cosseted by what felt like a seat made by the gods – and this was coming off my own Speed Triple, which is known to be one of the more comfortable street racing bikes out there. The compliant suspension only added to this feeling of being one with the bike. I immediately knew that this also meant that this bike would have no great sporting ability, a typical trade off against comfort.
Starting the engine, I was delighted to feel a strong rumbling growl underneath me. It reminded me V8 muscle cars of yesteryear and it felt right at home with the mature nature of the bike. Looking down, one sees a nice and relatively normal tank but your attention is really taken by the beautifuilly detailed instrument binnacle, with its chrome rev counter and speedo. The modern touch is covered by the LCD panel at the centre bottom of each instrument which does well not to spoil the beauty whilst remaining functional and making it easier for riders to view the usual important fuel and riding mode information.
Pulling away was a delight, super smooth and easy with one of the lightest clutches ever. The superb low down torque of the 1200cc engine flatters you with super smooth and effortless delivery of power, taking you through the gears to your required road speed.
I had only been on the bike for about a minute when it dawned on me that this has to be the most relaxing motorcycle that I have ever been on. Okay, you cannot blast it through corners, and your adrenaline never really gets out of the gate, but you are rewarded with a sublime biking experience. You just know that if you had one of these in your collection that you would take it out on those days when you really just do not have the mental capacity to rag your sports bike to death.
My ride was fairly short but I knew what this bike was all about – that you can enjoy a motorcycle for any occasion, at any time, for any reason, just for the experience.
- Super smooth
- Requires no effort to ride it
- Classically gorgeous
- Very comfortable and relaxing
The Not So Good
- Nothing to get really excited about
- Slight lack of overall connection
Most suitable for a mature rider seeking a pleasant and relaxing motorcycling experiences with little drama
- Ride By Wire
- Switchable traction control
- 2 Riding modes
- Torque-Assist Clutch
- LED DRL Headlight
- LED rear light
- Heated Grips
- USB charging socket
- Centre Stand
- Passenger grab rail
Feel free to check out the fun I had on the T120 below.