Steve McQueen rode a Triumph Bonneville, and not many bikes can boast such a lineage of ""extreme cool."" Named after the famed racing grounds of the Bonneville Salt Flats, Triumph dubbed the first Triumph Bonneville in 1959 to commemorate Triumph’s runs at setting a world motorcycle speed record. The 2009 Triumph Bonneville celebrates the 50th anniversary of this iconic motorcycle with updates that modernize the bike, while paying homage to its long and distinct tradition.
Stylistically, the Bonneville draws clear inspiration from its 1960s ancestor. With its flat dual seat, low-swept side exhaust pipes, spoke wheels, and a two-tone paint scheme, the 2009 Bonneville clearly resembles the very bike that Steve McQueen rode. Absent a center stand, and little to superfluous details, means the Triumph’s design is both minimalistic and retro. However, these items can be added if a rider prefers to have them.
While the 2009 Bonneville takes its stylistic inspiration from the classic Triumph Bonneville, the components are the result of modern engineering. The 2009 edition of the Bonneville comes with modern sequential multiport fuel injection. However, in keeping with the traditional styling on the bike, Triumph disguises the fuel injection to appear like an old school carburetor. This translates to a cleaner burning engine with greater energy efficiency, while staying true to its stylistic and aesthetic roots.
The 1960s Bonnevilles were the peak of motorcycle performance at the time, but the 2009 Bonneville offers slightly more modest performance. The Bonneville comes equipped with Triumph’s proven 865cc parallel twin engine. Even if it won’t be setting new world speed records at its namesake track, the Triumph Bonneville accelerates quicker than many of its cruiser competitors. 67 horsepower and 51 ft. lbs. of torque endow the Bonneville with plenty of power to pull ahead of the latte sipping SUV driver at the stoplight. A five-speed gearbox with an x ring chain drive smoothly transmits this power to the wheels.
The 2009 Triumph Bonneville is also quite nimble for a cruiser bike. With a curb weight of 500 pounds, the Triumph is a middleweight, which makes it easier to control than heavier cruiser bikes. The Kayaba suspension configuration of 41mm forks in front, and a chromed spring twin shock on the rear wheel, ensures the 2009 Bonneville handles better than its vintage predecessor. The tubular steel cradle frame provides plenty of stability at highway speeds. With discs on the front and rear featuring Nissin two-piston floating calipers, Triumph doesn’t skimp on the brakes either.
The Triumph Bonneville possesses good ergonomics as well. The flat dual seat is comfortable for both the rider and passenger, and handlebar positioning was adjusted on the 2009 Bonneville to provide a better riding position for most riders. Mirrors were moved out a bit for improved visibility. The clutch and brake levers are adjustable to allow for riders to set them in what they feel is the ideal position.
Triumph offers a good selection of additional customizing accessories for your Bonneville, in order to suit any rider's individual style, or to add additional performance. With classic bikes like the Bonneville gaining in popularity over the past decade, the aftermarket for these bikes has grown as well. If you crave a bike that harkens back to the days of simpler motorcycles, but want modern engineering power and handling, the Triumph Bonneville is an excellent choice for you.