First Ride Review: 2017 Triumph Bonneville T100

A Mild Mannered Bonnie


Triumph Bonneville T100
The new T100 is a mild mannered ride, perfect for zipping around town.Photo by Triumph Motorcycles

We here at Motorcyclist are big fans of the new Bonnevilles, as evidenced by our choice of the Street Twin for our 2016 Motorcycle of the Year . And while Triumph has plenty to be proud of with the completely redesigned Bonneville family, it clearly hasn't been resting on its laurels. In fact, when it comes to the Bonneville lineup, it seems Triumph is just getting started. For 2017 Triumph is releasing the new T100, a mashup of the Street Twin's engine, and the T120 's frame, tank, and styling. We were among only a handful who got first crack at riding the new Bonnie in and around downtown Los Angeles.

Triumph Bonneville T100
Keeping with the classic styling of the T120, the T100 features a chrome Triumph badge, tank pads, and a pea shooter exhaust.Photo by Julia LaPalme

So let’s consider this combination of bikes, shall we? The Street Twin, with its 900cc engine’s dynamic torque curve, is a spunky contemporary classic that’s light on its feet, with a small profile. Excellent for the beginner and intermediate riders alike who are simply smaller of stature (or, as I like to say, vertically challenged). Its bigger brother, the T120, with more horsepower and torque, is more refined in its power delivery, and is a larger bike overall. Good for the bigger, more experienced rider who enjoys longer rides (and walks in the rain.) Now the T100 is aimed squarely at the new rider. Triumph calls it the entry level Bonneville, and we can see why: take the smaller Street Twin’s engine and bolt it into the larger, heavier T120 chassis. Give it the same classic styling of the T120 and voila! You’ve got the T100.

Triumph Bonneville T100
Considering the classic styling, the new T100 will fit in very well with any classic bike scene.Photo by Julia LaPalme

Taking off from our hotel basecamp in downtown LA, the T100 feels familiar, with the same torque of the Street Twin, though the throttle response feels less jumpy, more akin to the T120’s mild-mannered “Road” ride mode. The T100 doesn’t offer ride modes like what you’ll find on the T120, so there’s no adjusting it to suit the weather or your mood. Transferring power to the wheels is the same 5-speed transmission as the Street Twin, engaged with a torque-assist clutch.

Brushed case cover
Brushed case covers add bling to the two-tone T100 Bonnevilles.Photo by Julia LaPalme

Tamer throttle response might also be due to the T100's larger frame and portlier weight. Triumph claims the T100's dry weight is 470 pounds, which puts it somewhere in between the Street Twin's 437-lb. and the T120's 494-lb. dry weights (481 and 540 wet, respectively, as measured on our <M>C scales. We're guessing that puts the T100's curb weight at around 516, given its use of the same 3.8-gallon fuel tank as the T120.)

Brushed case covers
Brushed case covers help differentiate the T100 from the blacked out T100 Black.Photo by Julia LaPalme

That weight becomes apparent when it’s time to grab a handful of brakes. Using the same Nissin two-pot caliper and single front disc as found on the Street Twin (compared with the T120’s dual discs), the T100 comes to a stop a bit more slowly than either of the bikes it’s made from, requiring a firmer pull on the brake lever than expected. Thankfully the T100 still comes with ABS, which came in handy when a pedestrian stepped out ahead of me during the ride.

Triumph T100 brake
Two-piston Nissin brake up front provides adequate braking on the T100.Photo by Julia LaPalme

With the T100’s frame borrowed from its T120 brother, Triumph claims the seat height to be 31.1 inches, just a scosh higher than the T120. The seat is not quite as soft and cushy, but still comfortable and ready for a long day’s ride. Equally familiar is the reach from seat to handlebars, more stretched out than the Street Twin, but still mostly upright and comfortable for the rider with a taller torso. Longer inseams will be happier too, with what feels like more legroom from seat to footpegs than the Street Twin. With wider and thicker handlebars and even a longer reach to clutch and brake levers, it’s clear the T100 is sized for the average-sized (and larger) rider, just like the T120.

Triumph Bonneville T100 seat
One of the quickest indications of the T100 to differentiate it from the T120 is the black seat (the T120's is brown.) That is, unless you opt for an aftermarket option. The T100 black has black piping, instead of white. At 31.1" it's taller than either the T120's or the Street Twin's seats.Photo by Julia LaPalme

Rolling over much of downtown LA’s cracked and aging concrete-slab roads, the T100’s suspension felt well sorted to soak up the potholes and ruts. Sharper edged ridges, and speed bumps taken at speed (that’s not what they mean by “speed bump”?) are slightly jarring, but not overly so. Bumps taken at slower speed are absorbed well by the KYB suspenders. Overall, the T100 feels better sorted with its suspension than the Street Twin. Even if these are the same fork and shocks, they yield a better ride with the additional 30-plus pounds of the T100. Steering is a bit slower on the T100 than the Street Twin, with a longer wheelbase and shallower rake, same as the T120. This bike is made for a more mellow pace, in contrast to the Street Twin’s nimble traffic-carving persona.

Triumph T100 fork
The 41mm KYB fork with 4.7 inches of travel is supposedly the same as both the T120 and the Street Twin. It suits the T100 well.Photo by Julia LaPalme

Aside from the chassis being borrowed from the T120, the T100 also takes a lot of other classic design cues from its bigger brother. Dual gauges give tach and speed readouts, with digital inset screens that give info on trip and odometer readings, clock, and miles to empty. A 3-D chrome Triumph badge adorns the tank, though the T100’s is unique from the T120’s. Twin pea shooter exhaust gives the bike a softer classic rumble. Modern amenities are shared with both bikes the T100 is made from: Traction control is standard on the T100, which can be shut off. And there is a USB charge port under the seat. Also, Triumph offers more than 150 accessories to farkle out your T100, with anything from heated grips to luggage and exhaust.

Triumph T100 exhaust
Twin chrome pea shooter exhaust gives the T100 a soft rumble, and milder manners than the more raucous Street Twin's reverse megaphones.Photo by Julia LaPalme

Starting at $10,300, the T100 comes in at a nice midway point between the Street Twin and the T120. The T100 Black, with a completely blacked out engine and exhaust, comes in Jet Black and Matte Black, the latter option costing an extra $250. The T100 comes in Jet Black, Aegean Blue / Fusion White, and Intense Orange / New England White, the two-tone options costing an additional $500. The T100 and T100 Black are available at dealerships now.

Triumph T100 badge
The Triumph T100's badge is a nod to the T120's classic styling, but is distinct from the bigger Bonnie.Photo by Julia LaPalme

TECH SPEC

EVOLUTION
A mashup between the lighter, more nimble Street Twin and its larger, more stretched out T120 brother.
RIVALS
[BMW RnineT][] , [Harley-Davidson Sportster][] , [Honda CB1100][] , [Indian Scout][] , [Moto Guzzi V9][] , [Yamaha XSR900][] , [Ducati Scrambler][]
TECH
PRICE $10,300
ENGINE 900cc, liquid-cooled parallel-twin
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 5-speed/chain
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 55.0 hp @ 5900 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 59.0 lb.-ft. @ 3230 rpm
FRAME Tubular-steel double cradle
FRONT SUSPENSION KYB 41mm; 4.7-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION KYB twin shocks adjustable for spring preload; 4.7-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Nissin two-piston caliper, 310mm floating disc with ABS
REAR BRAKE Nissin two-piston caliper, 255mm disc with ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 25.5°/4.1 in.
WHEELBASE 57.1 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 31.1 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 3.8 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 470 lb. dry
AVAILABLE Now
CONTACT [triumphmotorcycles.com][]
VERDICT
Like a heavier Street Twin or an underpowered T120, the T100 is a mild-mannered Bonneville. Perfect for the beginning rider intimidated by the 1,200cc engine or the Street Twin’s torquey power profile.
Triumph T100 turn signal
Bullet style amber turn signals keep the design classic on the T100.Photo by Julia LaPalme
Triumph T100 two tone paint
The T100's Aegean Blue and Fusion White two tone paint brings us back to the early days of Triumph Bonnevilles.Photo by Julia LaPalme
Triumph T100 front
The T100 keeps a slim profile, perfect for in town riding.Photo by Julia LaPalme
Triumph T100 action
A relaxed ergonomic setup provides a comfortable ride, with plenty of room for the taller rider.Photo by Triumph Motorcycles
Triumph T100 action
The T100's suspension can handle in town bumps and ruts, so long as you keep a mellow pace.Photo by Triumph Motorcycles
Triumph T100 cornering
Cornering on the T100 is slower than the shorter wheelbase Street Twin, which is just fine for an entry level Bonneville.Photo by Triumph Motorcycles
Triumph T100 guages
The twin gauge set up is another borrowed item from the T120. The T100 does not have its bigger brother's ride modes, though.Photo by Julia LaPalme
Triumph T100 wheel
Spoked wheels keep the classic look consistent on the T100.Photo by Julia LaPalme