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Boning up on Triumph's T100

2006-08-23 10:09

Triumph Bonneville - Modern classic (Pics by Claire McHugh)

Tor Sagen

The Triumph T100 is the most popular Bonneville model manufactured by the Hinckley factory. In fact, it outnumbers the modern Bonneville four to one with sales. It is also the first of the 2007 models to be released by Triumph, and still oozes with charm, just as it did back in the sixties.

The T100 is part of Triumphs "Modern Classics" range, which is designed to attract both young and old for different reasons. All Bonneville models now feature a version of the 865 cc parallel twin engine from the T100, which replaces the 790 cc version in the most basic Bonneville models.

As the bike's name suggests, it can do the "staggering" speed of 100 mph - the true ton. At the end of the sixties the Bonneville was the world's fastest motorcycle, it was named after the salt plains of Bonneville in Utah, USA, where many a land-speed record has been set. It is this image that Triumph has refreshed with the '07 T100.

In 2007 no one blinks an eyelid at 100mph and the bike relies on its classic good looks for sales. And it is a great looking machine with its painted steel mud-guards, loads of chrome, pee-shooters and hand painted petrol tank.

The seat height is 775 mm and the handlebar is placed so that the seating position is upright and comfortable. The dry weight is a claimed 205 kg, but the T100 doesn't feel heavy, I'd rather call it solid.

Its classic double seat is surprisingly comfy and not much tempts me to ride the '07 Bonnie like a superbike. The handlebar is narrower than a cruiser and the foot pegs higher. But 30 years of development have made the Bonneville a pure nostalgic choice for the buyer that remembers the sixties.

With new and trendy "sixty8" accessories Triumph is targeting the younger buyers too, particularly the city slickers. This model is likely to hold the same appeal to the younger generation that a Vespa or '60s-daisy-painted VW kombi does.

Steel tubes keep everything in place in the bends and the Bonneville feels massively more like a riders bike than any classic looking cruiser. The engine gives smooth acceleration all through the rev-range, but above 6 000 r/min there is little extra to be gained.

Max power is 50 kW at 7 200 r/min, but after max torque at 6 000 revs the smooth delivery allows you to gear up achieving almost the same as revving the engine out. And its fuel consumption is 5,9 liter/100 km.

The five-speed gearbox feels smoother than the gearboxes that I am used to on the Triple-models and there's hardly any "clunk" sounds when gearing up.

Once upon a time, at the latter half of the sixties 100 mph (160 km/h) equalled the same as 186 mph (299km/h) does today. The 2007 T100 still reaches the ton effortlessly even on some of the mile long uphill parts on the M1 around Nottingham. But even when pushed in top gear for several miles you could hardly justify giving the T100 the new name of T110 when looking at the speedometer.

The bottom end is good, but the acceleration struggles to impress. There are few surprises, which suits if you like a predictable life on two wheels.

The brakes are two-pot on a 310 mm disc up front and one powerful 255 mm disc with two-pot calliper at the rear. I found it too easy to lock up the rear wheel on the T100. When riding the Thruxton 900 just after the T100 the chance of locking up the rear wheel was less.

A big part of the whole Bonneville experience is staring at the machine at home in the garage before and after a ride.

The polished engine covers are bigger than the average mirror in your home and the surface looks easier to polish rather than loads of small details in chrome. The chain sits on the right-hand side and to test how far the nostalgia goes I flicked a finger at the chain guard and was happy to confirm that it was made of metal and not cheap plastic.

Triumph's Bonneville T100 is expected to arrive locally around December, and the retail price will be very similar to the current model's R70 000.


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