The Triumph America line is part of the Bonneville tradition from the UK giant. The Bonneville has been around ever since the late 50s and the Triumph America Bonneville is a worthy heir of the throne. The Bonneville line has some specialized bikes like the bobber, the scrambler, the speed master and many others. The one we will be reviewing for you today is the more cruising-oriented Triumph America Bonneville. We will also throw in some info about a great set of accessories that make riding safer than ever. Are you ready to read it all about the most American English bike in history? Let´s get right into it.
The history of the Bonneville line takes us back to the end of the fifties. The first-ever model saw the streets in 1959 and ran all the way through to 1983 when it was discontinued. Two years later it was going to be briefly back for three years from 1985 to 1988. After a long break, it came back completely revamped in 2001 and remained one of Triumph´s most important bikes.
The line diversified and is now the middle name of different incarnations of the same concept. They are all beautiful and simple motorcycles. The Triumph Bonneville bikes have enough power to endure long trips and are small enough to be city bikes too. This was a definite game-changer for the company and was the reason why the motorcycle keeps coming back to the scene in different varieties.
In the case of the America Bonneville, it first rolled in the streets of the world in 2002 as the cruising version of Bonneville. The motorcycle saw some stretching in the wheelbase and also some saddle lowering. The steering head rake angle saw an increment of 4.3 degrees and a reduction of the front wheel to 18 inches. Finally, it sported a larger fuel tank that made it more road-oriented than any of the other Bonneville models. The Triumph Bonneville America is a cruising bike that is ready to take on the open road and drive far. It is not what one would say a street-friendly motorcycle, but it can still do both pretty easily.
As much as the Bonneville Bobber and Speedmaster offer their unique approach to this classic bike, the American has its character. From the passenger seat to the streamlined body and the chrome accessories, it is as close as a Harley that Triumph ever was. We could say that the Triumph Bonneville tries to finish the British invasion started by The Beatles, but without the fringe.
As I walked towards it, the two-colour gas tank and the chrome parts under the sun were quite a view. “Yes”, I said to myself “you are really lucky”. When a bike puts a smile upon your face, and you feel in the air, it is because it is a beautiful machine. Once you start rolling, your first opinion could change, but this is not the case. I had the keys, my new helmet in my hand, and the whole afternoon to spend with that beautiful motorcycle. The sun shone brightly up in the sky, and I smiled as life was doing the same for me.
Hearing the exhaust on a bike roar as you start it in that fantastic low-key grunt is what you would expect after the looks. I have to say that the Triumph America exhaust is a perfectly-balanced big-bike feeling one. It puts a smile upon your face and also makes you feel strong. The weight is balanced, and there are no problems with holding the bike on your feet. It clearly is a cruiser, but it behaves amazingly well in city situations. Slowly, I let go of the clutch and rolled this bike to the street to see what it does in the concrete jungle.
Avenues turn, and streets were quite comfortable, and even with its 865cc engine, all transitions at low speed were flawless. I felt I could swerve cars coming close to the traffic light without significant issues but was still respected as a big bike. It is a beautiful feeling when you are riding a bike like this to have people turn around on you. This Triumph America will make people notice you right away because it is a beautiful retro cruiser at its best.
On the downside, what Triumph did with the speedometer being in the middle with nothing else, looks kind of cheap. It does look good to have only one thing to see ahead of you, but it does lack information for longer trips. Also, the fact that the bike is only available in one colour can be a bummer for many. With the price tag, it could very well come in more colours. Finally, the rear shock and the rider´s seat could see some improvement as well as the companion seat. Although we all miss the stock ABS, this bike brakes well in a city situation. I was able to break this heavy bike in less than 40 meters. I can say that this is a heavy bike; you feel like you are always pushing and pulling to make it move around.
Because the sun was starting its descend deep on the horizon, I thought it was time to go to the highway. Riding in the open space at the golden hour is one of the reasons I became a rider in the first place. I put on the turning light and took the exit to the highway to see if I could push this machine a little. The transition was a delight, and the further I pushed it with the throttle, the better it behaves. It has a happy zone at around 58mph that everything feels just perfectly right. That being said, there´s plenty of juice in the throttle of this bike to cope with any highway situation.
I pushed forward and suddenly the rush hour seemed to ease on us, and the smoothness of this bike shone through. The riding position is something to write home about because time doesn´t seem to go by. In some bikes, to ride three hours is to suffer, in this incarnation of the Triumph Bonneville called America, it is a delight. As the day turned into night, the lights of the Triumph America are just right to light the way all the way.
When I rolled back into the parking lot, I had to drop off my test model, it was pitch black. The place was mildly illuminated, just enough to see the chrome parts shine in the dark. Triumph America is a beautiful motorcycle. As I walked away to my car to sadly go home on four wheels, I thought to myself that I was going to miss that bike.
The Triumph America Specs saw some revamps through the years and a carbureted 2002 model is very different from fuel-injected 2017 ones. Here are the specs of the newest version you can buy.
When Triumph came up with a nickname for the new version of the bobber, they called it “brutal beauty”. I have to say that I agree 100% to it. As much as they look amazing, they work as a wonder too. The engine is specifically tuned down to deliver a lot more torque and power in the lower-to-mid section. The stripped-down look comes together with simplistic controls to create a super smooth ride. With Triumph investing in the state of the art suspension and the intended minimalism, this big bike feels like a much smaller one.
In the streets, it is possible to spot many Triumph Bonneville America turned into bobbers with aftermarket accessories. Since a few years back, Triumph itself decided to go for a bobber with a 1200cc engine and as-stripped-as-you-can fuselage. This bike is a no-frills motorcycle with nothing but what you need. All the flares and add-ons from the America model are gone. You can make a long trip on Bobbrt, but America would still be a much better option in comfort. On the other hand, an American would never feel as light and steal so many looks as the bobber does. That low growl from the exhaust feels like the roar of a lion on such a small bike.
The flying seat looks beyond cool and matches the overall attitude of this menacing bike. Once you give it a little gas on the throttle, it gives you that on-the-edge hot rod feeling. Coupled with the growl and the matte black look, you feel like you´re on an adventure every time you ride it. The engine being 1200cc is huge, but with the unique tuning to make it bobber-friendly if it feels light and steady.
Together with the classic look of this bike, Triumph threw in some great modern additions. The fact that such a stripped back, the classic bike comes with riding options such as rain and road riding is astonishing. This is one of Triumph´s deepest modifications from the original model along with the ABS and the torque-assist clutch. Finally, the switchable traction control allows you to take the Triumph of America wherever you want to go.
The Triumph America exhaust requires its paragraph because it is the perfect mix of a low-key growl and a modern-style sound. This is one of the things I enjoyed the most about riding this bike around town. The sound of your ride is not to minimize; accelerating in the avenues and hearing it roar is a beautiful thing. The Triumph America sounds just perfect, and that deserves mentioning in its paragraph.
We are not going to go through the over 130 accessories that Triumph sells for this bike. They range from a large toolbox by the price of $2600 to the $1.31 sealing washers. Instead, we will tell you about two of the best after-market accessories that I came across and currently use on many of my bikes.
Vigo is the motorcycle buddy, which will have your back on every curve. Imagine you’re riding solo on a forest road, and no one is around. You have a crash and need help. Vigo will sense the crash and automatically call for help. With that, your life can be saved. Besides this essential function, Vigo will also record every ride and provide anti-theft protection of your two-wheeled beauty.
This amazing accessory I came across by recommendation of a fellow rider was a great discovery. What it does is disengage your turning lights when you´ve finished turning. If you happen to be a bike rider as well as a car driver, then you might end up wanting them to work the same way. This leads to leaving the turning lights on. To avoid accidents by giving the wrong signs to other drivers, this little gadget disengages them.
From the same company as the Vigo Smart Track and Smart Turn System, the Smart Brake Module activates your stoplight when it senses you´re slowing down. For bikes like Triumph America, this is a significant thing. When a motorcycle has such a smooth transition with the gears, it is very tempting to slow down using the gearbox. This will not activate the stoplight and might cause an accident. With this gadget installed on your bike, you can just gear-down your Triumph America and let the SBM do the rest.
If you think these motorcycle accessories are interesting, you can easily check if they are compatible with your bike. Just fill in the form, and find out 😉
It is not a beginner´s bike, but it is one of the most manageable cruisers in the market. The Triumph Bonneville America is the perfect example of how a mid-sized, mid-powered motorcycle can be the ideal companion for long trips too. If you are looking for a bike that can do it all and looks like a teenage dream on the road, then the Triumph American is for you.
What do you think about our take on this amazing bike? Do you want to add something we missed? Feel free to add it to the comments below. Pass this post to fellow riders so we can spread the word about the bikes we all love.