Triumph Bonneville SE

Photography by Delbert Hawbaker, Damian Ercole

Ringleader: Damian Ercole
MSRP (2009): $8399
Miles: 4495-6734
Average Fuel Mileage: 45 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: EBC brake pads, Joker Machine mirrors, Renthal handlebar, YSS shocks

Let's cut to the chase: I owe you a dyno run. I've thrown out various numbers regarding the Bonneville's output, all because I neglected to get a baseline when the bike was stock. I already knew that I felt an improvement with the Triumph accessory Arrow 2-into-2 exhaust and downloadable map, and while the quiet inserts do a great job keeping the noise respectable, with the inserts removed the pipes sound healthier and the bike seems to come alive. That observation prompted me to finally put the Bonnie on a dyno, and while we don't yet know where the bike stands compared to stock, we do know there's a noticeable difference between inserts-in and inserts-out. Should your inserts mysteriously disappear, you'll be rewarded with substantial power gains from 2500-4000 rpm and above 6000 rpm.

Feeling sporty with my muffler inserts in my backpack and getting bored with the stock riding position, I decided to change the bars. My favorite motocross brand, Renthal, provided one of its lower and straighter Road Ultra Low bars ($64.95;www.renthal.com). Getting closer to the front end gave me a more confident riding position without sacrificing comfort, and a set of Renthal Kevlar grips ($19.95) were a nice finishing touch. Changing the bars meant I was no longer able to use the Triumph accessory mirrors that threaded into the bar-ends, but Joker Machine had really some really nice 31/4-inch bar-end mirrors ($109.95 each;www.jokermachine.com) that fit the smaller-ID aluminum bars perfectly.

To round out my sport-themed enhancements, I retired the sad, little stock shocks. Suspension options are plentiful, but I settled on a pair of YSS Z-362 TRL Twin shocks ($499;www.epmperf.com). I wanted a more progressive spring rate and needed more damping, and that's exactly what I got. No longer do I get bucked off the seat on the really big hits. The overall ride is more settled and I have much better feel for the road. The front end still could use some help, but with my motocross background I'm used to a soft front end, and I appreciate the plushness on bumpy city streets.

Maintenance-wise, the Bonnie has been holding together nicely. I did have to replace the brake pads at 6000 miles, installing a set of EBCs ($37;www.ebcbrakes.com). With close to 7000 miles on the clock, we're nearing our 10,000-mile goal, so next time will bid this Britbike adieu.

Or would that be "cheerio"?

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