When Triumph unveiled the Bonneville Bobber in October 2016, I fell into immediate lust with the “brutal beauty.” Like a twitterpated teenager, I forgave its few flaws—anemic front brakes, a small gas tank and lack of luggage options—and saw it for what it was: the tall, dark and handsome bad boy your father warned you about.
The Bobber was still surprisingly refined, however, a true Triumph at heart. Put a tweed coat on him, and he’s quite presentable at the family dinner table. Well, guess what? It turns out he has a brother who doesn’t look quite so family-friendly: the 2018 Bonneville Bobber Black.
You may have noticed that modern tastes are leaning away from sparkly chrome and toward a darker, blacked-out look. Heck, even Honda’s friendly little Rebel is all blacked-out now (and yeah…it’s pretty cool). In that vein, Triumph has revamped the Bobber with a “darker, meaner, stronger” look, along with higher-spec components and added features.
Most obvious is the darker look, with nearly every component, including the exhaust, footrests, levers, handlebar, riser and clamp, seat pan, engine covers, headlight housing and wheels, finished in black. You can actually have the Bobber Black in two versions of black: glossy Jet Black or subdued Matte Jet Black.
Replacing the regular Bobber’s 19-inch front wheel is a new 16-incher that rolls on a fat Avon Cobra tire, and in conjunction with the beefier 47mm fork (vs. 41mm on the Bobber), the Bobber Black definitely has a more muscular stance. We’ll wait for a first ride before giving opinions about what that might do to the handling, but it’s worth noting that Triumph also says the new 47mm Showa cartridge fork is an “upgrade” from the standard Bobber.
Also worthy of note are the new twin 310mm discs up front, what Triumph says are the “highest specification brakes in the Bonneville lineup,” with ABS as standard and Brembo two-piston calipers. It’s clear Triumph listened to journalist and customer feedback regarding the weak front brake on the 2017 Bobber.
Most of the Bobber Black’s other features are carried over from the standard Bobber, including ride-by-wire, riding modes, switchable traction control and a torque assist clutch. Interestingly, the new Black also features cruise control as standard (the standard version does not), although without the ability to carry luggage it’s unlikely to be our first choice for a tourer.
As a rip around town, cruise the boulevards bike, however, it still has a strong appeal, and we look forward to getting some seat time on one for a more thorough report. Pricing and availability are TBD.