Featured New Bonneville T100 Initial Review

Discussion in 'Bonneville' started by Riggers, Jul 27, 2020.

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  1. Riggers

    Riggers Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2020
    Firstly, if you don’t like listening to old geezers who start by saying ‘When I were a lad’ skip this paragraph. In 1970 I was sixteen years old, had left school, passed my test on a BSA 250 and had a temporary job earning £9 a week on a market garden. For some reason the owner of the business took a shine to me and offered to take me on permanently, train me to be his manager and learn all aspects of the business. Oh, and by the way he’d up my wages to £20 a week. Obviously I said ‘No’. I’m lying and that evening went guns blazing to the Triumph dealer - Peters of Hull - now long gone. I traded in the BSA and bought a new Triumph T100 which in those days was a 500cc Tiger 100 twin, costing £350. Today, without the part ex it would be like earning £270 a week and buying a £5,500 Honda CB500F. That T100 opened up my world with rides to race meetings, tours around Yorkshire and beyond, camping holidays, it taught me to learn maintenance routines and yes, how to fix it when it broke down – which it occasionally did, as did most things in 1970. But most of all it gave me a bunch of gold-plated mates, some of whom I still meet and ride with to this day. Skip 50 years and at 66 I’m sitting in the middle of lockdown with nowhere to go, 3 holidays cancelled, no pub to go to, no petrol to buy and listening to Laura Doomsberg on the BBC telling me I’m likely to die anytime soon. So I thought, ‘well if it’s all about end, it may as well end as it started, with me on a new Triumph T100’, only now it would be a 900cc twin and called a Bonneville.

    As we were in the middle of lockdown with all dealers closed I used the internet to browse what was on offer and came across a new, pre-registered bike with delivery mileage only (10), on the Isle of Wight! I’d already researched buying bikes online and wasn’t put off by the distance and made contact with them via email, and as soon as lockdown was eased I completed the deal, saving myself around two grand on the list price. Nice one. I've used some of the purchase price savings to have some extras fitted such as a centre stand, heated grips, pillion grab rail and a Dart fly screen. I took delivery on Sunday 24 May and the whole deal went like clock work.

    So to the bike. Sitting on the Bonnie I noticed straight away that it’s lower than my other bike, a Yamaha TDM900 by maybe a couple of inches or so. I’m 5’ 11’ and can comfortably get both feet flat on the ground. Going on to the controls, everything is pretty standard apart from there being no headlight flasher, but there is a switch for four-way hazards. The 'dashboard' layout is great with two big analogue clocks and digital displays for fuel on the right and a selectable display on the left for clock, average mpg, trip one, trip two, instantaneous mpg, total odometer, heated grip level, and traction control. I've settled on having the clock as default. The warning lights are in the clocks but I find the indicator warning lights are not quite bright enough.

    On to the engine, which is a real beauty. The Bonnieville has a 270 degree crank which gives the smooth, lazy V-twin type feel I really love. It’s very torquey with loads and loads of low down grunt which makes overtaking a breeze even when running in. At 70 mph the Triumph is doing about 3,800 rpm which makes it quite a slow revver by modern standards and tops out at 7000. Maximum bhp is around 55 which will make it good for over 100mph which to me, for this kind of bike, is fine. It will sit all day at 70 or 80 which is about max for an upright riding position with no fairing. Overall it’s just a brilliant bike to just ride and ride and ride a bit more. The clutch is the lightest I’ve ever come across, the 5 speed gear box is amazingly smooth and the throttle response (ride by wire) is instantaneous. And there is absolutely no low speed jerkiness. 30mph in 3rd gear could be done all day if need be and compared to my TDM that's progress. Fuel consumption so far is around 75mpg - amazing.

    Moving the bike around is easy due to the weight being low down and the wide handlebars help, but but to me it doesn’t feel heavy. And once on the move it feels much, much lighter than it really is. The tyres are Pirellis and seem to do what’s needed of a tyre. I’m no knee-down merchant anymore but the Bonnie corners and changes direction exactly as it should. Single disk brakes back and front do the job and ABS is standard.

    One thing really stands out on the Triumph and that’s the quality of everything. The finish is fabulous, and a nice touch is the signing off by the guy who did the coach lining on the tank. The rider pack which comes with the bike includes a branded back pack, a really nice document case, a leather branded key fob, a year’s RAC membership, Datatag, a factory visit and two years guarantee.

    To sum up, I’d say Triumph have produced a winner with this bike. It’s just so NICE to ride and makes you feel you just want to keep going. Everytime I see it in the garage it seems to be saying 'Please ride me. Pleeease'.

    In 1970 who'd have thought it!


    • Like Like x 29
  2. Thripster

    Thripster Senior Member

    Feb 21, 2020
    Northampton, UK
    What a fabulous story and a great review to boot. Thank you.
    • Agree Agree x 6
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  3. Dinny

    Dinny Member

    Oct 5, 2019
    Ditto all that mate!
    I'm a tad younger than you so got caught by the stupid sixteener law, hence despite plans for a Triumph while still at school, first bike was the Fizzie in '73. Fast forward almost fifty years and my '18 T100 that I bought last year is my pride and joy. Haven't ridden it anywhere near as much as planned because of the bug but will start to make up for it before the winter.

    Just need Triumph to come out with a classic style new Trident and life will be complete.
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  4. Dozers Dad

    Dozers Dad Bushmills Chief Quality Controller

    Great write up Riggers! :)

    I wish you many happy years on your new toy :grinning:
    • Agree Agree x 8
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Flashp

    Flashp Noble Member

    Dec 6, 2017
    One of the best things about these bikes is the gearbox ratios - 5 speed at the ratios they chose is spot on. It's never 'in between gears' if you know what I mean, there's a gear for whatever you're doing that's just right.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Don the Don

    Don the Don Bigger Than The Average Bear

    Nov 5, 2019
    Nice bike @Riggers and great write up, don't worry about the age thing mate there is a good many of us here who identify with that, our old leather cut off's no longer smell of Petunia but more of Volterol, enjoy the bike mate and the TDM is also a good bike
    • Like Like x 5
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  7. Riggers

    Riggers Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2020
    Many thanks for all the positive comments guys and welcome messages etc.

    I'm gonna enjoy this forum - I can feel it coming!
    • Like Like x 6
  8. OsteKuste

    OsteKuste Intergalactic Warlord

    Oct 22, 2017
    Tennessee, United States
    Great story, good to see someone fall in love with Triumph all over again. In the Eighties I had a Bonnie poster on the wall when other kids had Lambo and Miami Vice Ferrari’s on the wall. Took me till my late 40s to have mine sitting in the garage.
    • Like Like x 4
  9. Adrian Braithwaite

    Adrian Braithwaite Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2018
    Do you get to chose which Truimph Factory you can tour as it may fulfil your missed holiday trip.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Riggers

    Riggers Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2020
    Well spotted! I'll ring John Bloor tomorrow! ;) Funnily enough just before lock down three others and I had booked and paid £20 each for the Triumph Factory Tour, which was subsequently cancelled and vouchers were issued. Just my luck then to get another one in the rider's pack!
    • Like Like x 1
  11. LeezRyd

    LeezRyd Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2019
    Left side of the pond
    Hey Riggers, welcome. I got my T100 in November of last year. Me and my son had planned on a long journey (about 900 miles or so) in May, and my concern was would I have 500 miles on the clock before the trip, so I could give the bike its' first service/oil change. But, as we all know, Covid struck, putting an end to the plans. So, fast forward to now, I performed its' service, and have been taking many rides locally and into the neighboring states (New England is doing a good job on virus control). I love my T100. Being 73, speed and cornering craziness have long left my abilities. The bike is a pleasure to ride, as you've come to find out. I'm enjoying every minute with it, and just turned over 2000 miles today. My son and I have another trip planned for October, health and virus permitting, that'll be around 1000 miles. Enjoy your bike, stay safe and healthy

    • Like Like x 3
  12. Angus

    Angus Noble Member

    Mar 19, 2017
    South Africa
    Hi Riggers,

    Great intro, enjoyed that thank you. Wishing you many happy miles ! Mine’s resting in the garage, haven’t had time to get out on it for a few weeks now... perhaps this weekend !
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Hippo-Drones

    Hippo-Drones Noble Member

    Mar 4, 2018
    West Sussex
    I gave up listening and watching the BBC a few years ago... but this sounds as good a reason as any to go grab a motorbike! :D

    Lovely write up mate. I was -4 when you got your first! :D
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Riggers

    Riggers Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2020
    Sorry to hear your trip had to be cancelled Lee, it's a sign of the times I'm afraid. I should have been touring Scotland two weeks ago, but cancellation fever struck again. I hope your trip in October goes well and your love affair with Bonnie The Bike blossoms!
  15. Riggers

    Riggers Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2020
    Yep, I've noticed this Flash - makes overtaking an absolute breeze.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. glassbacken

    glassbacken Member

    Oct 15, 2014
    You lucky boy,passing your test at 16 on a250 BSA. I’m the same age as you and started out on an NSU Quickly moped :joy: but the guys at school were still jealous. Used to dream of owning a 250 Starfire but never got one, didn’t get round to taking my test till I was 21 on a Honda CB200. Anyway, welcome and enjoy the Bike.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Schuey

    Schuey Senior Member

    Mar 3, 2020
    Excellent write up Sir! Like you, I took delivery of a brand new T100 in March 2020, just before the lockdown, in the same colour scheme as yours. I absolutely love it and agree with everything you have said about it in your review. I'm in my mid-late 30's and have always had Sports-bikes, so for me this was something different I wanted to try. Especially when my 8 year old daughter started showing an interest in bikes and wanted to ride pillion after visiting the MCN Show with me earlier in Jan 2020. I decided there and then I was going to add this to the garage as I just fell in love with the looks, so as soon as Monday came round I phone my local Triumph dealer and booked a test ride, the rest is history.

    My T100 sits next to my BMW in the garage and depending on what mood I'm in I take my steed of choice. From new, I've now covered circa 1250 very enjoyable miles on it and hope to have many more. No regrets with my choice and happy I paid that little extra for the quality, fit and finish because I was considering a Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor at one point, but when I compared them both at the MCN Show, you could see where the extra money went straight away on the Bonneville. I love it, in fact I might just pop into the garage now with a cup of coffee and have a walk around it. :cool: And if it remains sunny will go for a ride out this evening. :grinning:

    Enjoy your new toy and wishing you very many happy miles with it. :)
    • Like Like x 2
  18. Bret Morey

    Bret Morey Well-Known Member

    Apr 20, 2019
    Alexandria, PA - USA
    You landed yourself one seriously beautiful lady. Congrats!
    • Like Like x 1

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