Triumph Bonneville SE

Staffers' Rides

Photography by Damian Ercole

Bonneville SE
Damian Ercole
MSRP (2009): $8399
Miles: 3645-4495
Average Fuel Mileage: 43 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: Triumph accessory gel seat, tank pads and bar-end mirrors

This winter was not kind to those of us living on the East Coast. Mother Nature did her best to limit our riding time with major snowstorms and bitter cold. This did not deter my Bonnie. The fuel injection brings the parallel-twin to life even on single-digit days without hesitation and keeps her running flawlessly-even when kept outdoors with nothing more than a Dowco cover to keep her warm.

That being the case, I've spent more time around town than out on the open road. Dealing with traffic lights, bridges, tunnels and crowded city streets is a breeze on the agile-handling twin. Its neutral riding position is comfortable on rides from 3 to 300 miles in length. Having a bike that can effectively transition from urban New York to rural New England is a winner in my book. Take note: If you invest your money in no other accessories, get the gel seat ($299.99) and tank pads ($69.99). Functionally, these are the best investments I've made in this bike. The improved comfort and control are worth every penny.

The accessory bar-end mirrors ($119.99) have turned out to be more effective than I had anticipated, with no vibration to blur the view at any rpm. They also pivot, which allows you to run them under the bars for a proper retro look. That cool factor does come at a price, however, as this renders them functionally useless unless your elbows are in your hips or pointed toward the sky. The pivoting feature is perfect for folding the mirrors in when parking in tight places or keeping them tucked under your bike cover.

There are currently no mechanical issues to speak of. The stock brakes and tires perform admirably and show little signs of wear, while the suspension is coping with NYC's potholed roads as well as can be expected. I am currently seeking alternatives as an improvement really is warranted here.

There is some slight wear on the shifter-side rubber footpeg, which isn't really a big deal. I will say this though: My key ring has made a mess of the headlight bracket on which the ignition switch mounts. Anything beyond the ignition key-say the key to my Kryptonite lock-gets blown around and scratches it up.

In case you were wondering about the accessory Arrow exhaust, I'll have the bike run on the dyno and report my findings next time around.

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