Auto Review: Triumph Bonneville SE
By Glen Konorowski
It is not often you get to ride “just a motorcycle” according to an individual from GP Cycles, the company that made this test possible on short notice. I have to agree, the Bonneville SE is one of the great basic motorcycles in the Triumph line. Its simplicity is what makes it so unique; as there are no fairings, no extra decorative chrome, basic mufflers and no outrageous sized tires.
Throwing your leg over the bike, you will notice the SE’s low seat height, which is just 74cm high, really nice if you are like me and not tall. Surprisingly, the lower stock seat was very comfortable, something I am always concerned about. Once on the bike, the riding position is upright with the handlebars and foot pegs well positioned for a comfortable riding position. The tachometer and speedometer are large, positioned well and easy to read at a glace. The mirrors are small and sweep up and around your arms giving you an unblocked view of what’s behind.
Unlike its predecessors of the 1950s and 60s, the Bonneville’s twin 865cc air-cooled double overhead cam engine is very smooth, almost too smooth as it sounds like a much smaller engine. But, once you twist the throttle and pull away you know there is plenty of power between your legs. The 67hp comes on nice and steady and at no time do you feel the bike is controlling you. Stopping was good as well, as the Triumph has two-piston callipers on both vented discs front and rear.
Even though the tires are on the smaller sized 17in (110/70 front and 130/80 rear) rims, the bike handled well in city traffic. Out on the back roads things were just as good, as I swept in and out of the corners well with lots of grip. Unfortunately, just as I was getting used to the Bonneville, the rain came down and this is were its smaller tires really paid off. The tires sliced through the wet pavement and made grip pretty well and believe me, I hate that sliding in the rain.
On the practical side of things, the Bonneville has a 16-litre tank and with a 5.5L per 100km city and 4.2L per 100km highway fuel rating make this a real long distance cruiser between fill-ups. With a price tag of $9,700 for my SE test bike and a base price of just $8,700, this makes the Bonneville an extremely good buy for those looking for a basic good quality and fun motorcycle.