When our Imperial Purple/Fusion White Triumph Bonneville was delivered, I was sure it was a mistake, certain that the bike was intended for the artist currently and formerly known as Prince. Other bold colors available for 2013 include Intense Orange/Phantom Black and Aurum Gold, or you can go with basic black or white.
While Triumph busied itself expanding its lineup of cruisers, adventure bikes, sport tourers and sportbikes, the Bonneville has held steady since its last major update in 2009, when it got 17-inch cast wheels, megaphone exhausts and revised ergonomics, dropping the seat height to 29.1 inches (see our full test in Rider, August 2009). That’s the lowest standard seat height in this group, though the Bonneville also has the dubious distinction of having the least comfortable seat, so dense that it feels like you’re sitting on a 50-pound bag of wheat.
The Bonneville’s air-cooled parallel twin with dual balance shafts purrs smoothly throughout its rev range, and it has decent poke (our 2009 test bike generated 58.6 horsepower at 7,400 rpm and 44.7 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm on Jett Tuning’s dyno). Personally, I prefer the loping, irregular 270-degree firing interval of the Scrambler and Speedmaster to the 360-degree firing interval of the Bonneville and Thruxton, which lacks character, but to each their own.
With an upright seating position, a wide handlebar and a modest 496-pound curb weight, the Bonneville makes for a good dance partner, sashaying through corners with poise and coordination. It shifts cleanly and its dual-disc brakes have adequate stopping power. The biggest disappointment, other than the seat, is the mushy, underdamped suspension. The non-adjustable fork isn’t bad, but the dual rear shocks, which are adjustable for spring preload only and have just 3.9 inches of travel, bottom too easily, sending impacts right up the rider’s spine. Hardly befitting a royal posterior.
2013 Triumph Bonneville Specs
Base Price: $7,699
Price as Tested: $7,999 (two-tone paint)
Engine Type: Air-cooled, transverse parallel twin, DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 90.0 x 68.0mm
cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: X-ring chain
Wheelbase: 58.6 in.
Rake/Trail: 27 degrees/4.2 in.
Seat Height: 29.1 in.
Wet Weight: 496 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gals., last 0.8 gal. warning light on
Average MPG: 40.3 (89 PON min.)
This review was part of a four-motorcycle feature called Quick, Lean & Low, which was published in the March 2013 issue of Rider magazine. The other bike reviews can be found by clicking on the motorcycle names below: