Triumph Bonneville T120 Black: Bored of new metal? Here that ’60s feel

The riding position keeps your back straight with arms and shoulders relaxed—with controls at a comfortable reach

By:December 28, 2020 10:40 AM


Motorcycles are a different breed. In some models, the design that was popular in the 1950s and 60s still doesn’t look dated, 70 years later. Many companies have a separate range of such motorcycles, usually called ‘classics’, ‘retro modern’, and so on. In India, these include certain models by Jawa, Royal Enfield and Triumph. We ride one, the Triumph Bonneville T120, in Delhi.

The design

Because it’s a classic, the Bonneville T120 has an analogue-plus-digital instrument cluster, which displays all the needed information such as speedometer, tachometer, trip meter, fuel level, range, service indicator, clock, etc. The design of the motorcycle—while it’s vastly different from the ones sold 70-odd years ago—has that retro feel to it. The engine, however, is truly modern: 1200cc, 79 horsepower and 104 Nm torque, mated to 6-speed manual gearbox. The quality is what you would expect in a 21st century premium machine—from plastics to metal to seat fabric to paint job, everything is high-end.

The ride

At 224 kg, the Bonneville T120 isn’t a very heavy motorcycle, and 79 horsepower means it can accelerate faster than some sports cars—in my rough calculation, it did 0-100 km/h acceleration in less than 5 seconds. Power delivery through the gears is astonishing; let’s say, you have to go from 40 km/h to 80 km/h in third gear, it’ll do in the blink of an eye.

Both front and rear are twin shockers each, sourced from KYB. Because the seat is firm and the riding position keeps your back straight with arms and shoulders relaxed—with controls at a comfortable reach—one can easily do long interstate rides on the Bonneville T120. However, I didn’t really find it supremely comfortable on some narrow and broken streets of Delhi—for example, the turning circle radius, it appears, is bigger than it should be.

The price

Priced starting Rs 9.98 lakh (ex-showroom), the Bonneville T120 isn’t a bike for the masses—and is definitely expensive (as compared, say, to Royal Enfield Interceptor that is half the engine size and similar proportions, but one-third the price). But the Bonnie is obviously far more unique, and can be your first big bike that’s as easy to ride as any small Japanese city bikes.

(The difference between T120 and T120 Black is the latter has black detailing on the engine and exhaust pipes; both are priced similar.)

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