Triumph has pulled the cover off its new Bobber model, built upon its wildly successful Bonneville T120 platform.
RideApart was at the unveiling of the bike in London Wednesday. Triumph says the fully modern (it has traction control and riding modes!) bobber is borne of a tradition that began in the United States in the 1940s.
Bobbers, of course, are characterized by their minimalist styling, the genre having gotten its start when enthusiastic riders of the post-WWII era stripped away all but the essentials of a bike for the sake of both performance and aesthetics. It’s that second feature that helps the bobber style endure in the modern age.
A number of manufacturers have claimed to honor the bobber heritage over the years – the Victory Gunner and Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber come immediately to mind – but to my eye none have nailed the styling of the genre so completely as Triumph has with this new Bobber.
The Bobber features a T120 Parallel Twin engine that’s been retuned to deliver more torque and greater low-end grunt. It offers a low stance, single seat, wide flat bars, minimal bodywork and headlight, sculpted tank, wire spoked wheels and that all-important hardtail look.
Emphasis on the word “look.” In fact, Triumph has developed an entirely unique “cage” that hides a monoshock rear suspension and allows the Bobber to offer a more modern riding experience.
Very modern. ABS is standard (as is the norm with an increasing number of bikes, thanks to EU regulations), as is ride-by-wire and liquid cooling. The latter is hidden particularly well, to the extent it is not the first, second, or third thing that draws the eye. In addition, the Bobber features two riding modes; Road and Rain. Switchable traction control is standard. So, too, is the bike’s Torque Assist Clutch, which is designed to reduce clutch lever effort for the rider.
Meanwhile, heated grips and cruise control are available as extras.
In light of all this techno-whizzbangery it may be odd to hear Triumph say its aim was to deliver a “genuine” bobber. Especially when you consider the effort Triumph has put into eliminating the notorious discomfort associated with the style. In addition to the clever “cage” swingarm, the Triumph Bobber offers riders a tailorable riding position.
The slotted seat design system allows the rider to position the seat "up and forward" for dynamic riding in a roadster position and "down and backwards" for cruising in a more traditional riding position. For some odd reason, the clock can be tilted back and forth, as well.
Triumph claims a seat height of 690mm (27.1 inches), so the short of leg will have no trouble getting both feet down.
The specially-tuned engine shares the Bonneville T120’s 270-degree firing interval and six-speed gearbox. Triumph says “a unique twin airbox set up with two filters, a specially designed intake and exhaust system along with a new output shaft” help to deliver a unique growl.
Having heard it in person, I’ll say it’s meatier than what one might get from a standard Bonnie, but true bobber fans will probably want to venture into the Triumph accessories catalog for some Vance & Hines pipes.
Certainly Triumph is keen to encourage customization. Handlebars, seats, mirrors and so on are all on offer, as well as a Bobber-specific line of clothing.
The Bobber will be available in four colors: Ironstone, with a matt finish; Morello Red; Competition Green and Frozen Silver; and Jet Black. Prices and performance figures are not yet available – expect those to arrive in mid-December and for the bikes themselves to start showing up in dealerships in February or so.