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2010 Triumph Bonneville Review


by Marc Cantin ,

The most famous, iconic Triumph model ever remains to this day the Bonneville, a fact that the current owners of the manufacturer are well aware of. In fact, the Triumph retro classic models are selling well and the Bonneville is the natural anchor of this line, made up of the standard Bonneville, the SE and the T100 upgrades, the Scrambler , Thruxton, Speedmaster and America. Together, that happy family leads Triumph unit sales these days, a wise initiative for the British manufacturer.

Ten at night in a deserted parking lot in frigid Florida. Just look at the simplicity and style of the Bonneville T100 on the left and the Thruxton with the optional (And noisy) Arrow exhaust on the right (Photo: Philippe Champoux/

We spent one day aboard the 2010 Bonnie at this year’s Bike Week in frigid Daytona, an opportunity to relive my earlier riding days aboard an admittedly much more modern machine. Happily gone are the idiosyncrasies of Lucas (The Prince of darkness) ignition and electrics, Amal carburettors (The proper UK spelling), and ineffectual drum brakes and Girling shocks. In its heyday, the Bonnie was definitely the Cat’s Miaow – we just did not know any better.

The 2010 Bonnie is a bike of a completely different colour than the original produced from 1959 to 1974. Today’s machine clearly preserves the original Bonneville look and feel, but the all-new design from 2001 benefits from a complete upgrade to current level of effectiveness, performance, social conscience and reliability.

Sound mechanical components
The bespoke 865cc air-cooled vertical twin now come only with electronic fuel injection, nicely masked under dummy Amal-looking carb bodies to stay close to the original look. The 5-speed box spreads ratios to make optimal use of the generous torque from the twin, to provide adequate, by today’s standards, performance – well above that of the original.

Chassis stiffness, braking and suspension effectiveness have all followed suit, turning the Bonnie into a satisfying standard with adequate performance for most application – for all applications in fact if you do not judge a bike by acceleration alone.

Simple, with no extra chrome or plastic. Just like they were outside a London Pub in in the early 60s. (Photo: Philippe Champoux/
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