Motorcycles are all about soul and feel. Ask any rider about a motorcycle, and he would use words like feel, passion, joy etc to elaborate his experience with the machine. Modern day motorcycles are all about going faster, making more power and torque and also safer. To help them do that is an army of electronics and technology. While all of that is good, has the main essence of motorcycles disappeared in the present day?
Yes, to an extent. The basics of motorcycling was not about numbers but the pleasure of riding them. Look at bikes from yesteryears, and you will understand that. How can we experience the feel of those machines and not worried about its reliability? The answer is the 2017 Triumph Bonneville T100, a motorcycle that takes you to the classic era. The new gen Triumph Bonneville T100 has a new heart and underpinnings. Here is our experience with the true symbol of classic.
The 2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 does carry traits and styling cues from the previous model. However, it looks way cooler, retro and stylish than the previous model. The 2017 iteration does look bigger and that is because there is a T120 underpinning to it. The clean lens circular headlight, chrome treated mirrors and tall handlebar just brings back the era wherein motorcycles looked beautiful and had a soul. They have got a well shaped tank, bidding adieu to the odd-ball shaped unit. And it can hold a little over 14-litre of fuel. The same is seen on the Triumph T120 as well but the one on T100 gets its own unique badges.
The 2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 is identical to the T120? Nope. The T100 gets single-disc brakes, no centre stand, grab rail for the pillion as well as, importantly, misses on rider modes. The T100 comes with ABS and traction control as standard and also gets a twin-pod instrument cluster, better than the single clock of the Street Twin. This unit displays gear-position indicator, fuel-gauge, clock as well as tripmeter along with a digital tachometer. You can also opt for a USB socket that can be fitted under the seat as an optional feature.
The new T100 comes with the same powerhouse that does duty in the new Street Twin. Crank up the 900cc high-torque Bonneville engine and that exhaust note will take you back to the age where motorcycles were sheer pleasure. The bass heavy note from the twin is truly amazing. This motor produces 55PS and 80Nm and comes mated to a 5-speed gearbox.
We started our experience by commuting through city traffic in Mumbai. It is sheerly something that many like to ignore. And since we already have a monstrous Triumph Tiger (Yes, we own it 😉 ) the heat that this motors dissipate is unbearable. Now coming to the T100, almost everyone has an perception of this Bonny as just a city leisure rider. However, we believed there is more to it. And there we chose to ride it to Mahabaleshwar. Accompanying the Bonny were two soldiers – Tiger 800 XRXs.
What we liked about the motor is the fact it does not act lazy when asked to deliver more power. Even at lower engine speeds, twist the throttle and you are sitting on sizeable torque to muster around anywhere in the city. Push the throttle harder and the motor doesn’t feel shy till it reaches red line. Here you get to hear the motor roaring at a higher note. Now if you are expecting to give you a push back feel at the whack of a throttle, this one is surely not for you. It will appeal to those who aren’t in a hurry and have a taste for classic motorcycles. On highways, the T100 can maintain decent speeds and does keep up with its adventurous siblings.
Straight line stability is impressive. It is only when you push it around corners, you realise that the T100 is not an agile machine. Saying that it is not bullish when made to turn at higher speeds. The T120’s chassis does a good job of offering a dynamic ride. A bit of a downer are the disc brakes, though. During our ride we felt that the brakes could do with more bite as in certain occasions, it felt almost lifeless when we tried to bring the T100 to a halt from a higher speed. Let’s give it a benefit of doubt as these are a part of the media fleet.
Among the Bonneville family, the T100 is the most accessible motorcycle after the Street Twin at Rs 7.78 lakh, ex-Delhi. There is nothing similar that you can consider as an alternate to the 2017 Bonneville T100. The new chassis, design and the motor has made it the one of the best at that price point. Is it better than the T120, you ask…we will reserve our opinion till we get to ride the T120.