2016 Triumph Bonneville T120 and T120 Black

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

Authentic heritage, right down to the pea-shooter exhaust.

UPDATE: Triumph has announced U.S. pricing for its 2016 Bonneville lineup. The Bonneville T120 and T120 Black are available in Jet Black for $11,500. The Cinder Red Bonneville T120 is priced at $11,750 while the two-tone Cranberry Red/Aluminum Silver and Jet Black/Pure White options will be sold for $12,000. The Bonneville T120 Black will also be available in matte Graphite for $11,750.

Staking out the most traditionally-focused of the new Bonneville models, the T120 and its sibling, the cosmetically different T120 Black, take their inspiration from the 1959 Bonneville and seek to add even more of the historic model year’s DNA to the modern Bonnie platform. The challenge for Triumph was to modernize the engine, including all of the current electronics, bringing the T120 into the current century without displaying all of that advancement.

Be sure to visit our 2016 Triumph Bonneville landing page to learn more about the background and details of the new Bonneville T120’s engine and chassis, including discussions with engineers who brought this critically important new platform to life for Triumph.

The big story with the T120 is the new 1200cc “high torque” engine. Like the 900, the parallel-Twin’s head features 8 valves operated by a SOHC. However, the 1200 uses the two previously mentioned throttle bodies that are dressed up to look like old-school carburetors while hiding the intricacies of r-b-w. Still, the increased displacement combines with the liquid-cooling, EFI, and unnamed internal engine tweaks to produce a whopping 54% more torque than the 865cc engine of the T100, yielding 77.4 lb-ft of torque at 3,100 rpm. With the bottom-end emphasis on torque and the new slip assist clutch, the 1200 should provide plenty of instant motivation around town while the 270° firing order delivers a pleasant pulse. Two ride modes, Street and Rain, modify the T120’s power output.

2016 triumph bonneville t120 and t120 black, From the looks of the 1200 high torque engine s carburetor bodies you d never know that they are covers that house sophisticated ride by wire hardware
From the looks of the 1200 “high torque” engine’s carburetor bodies, you’d never know that they are covers that house sophisticated ride-by-wire hardware.

Faithfulness to Triumph’s heritage is the main goal with the T120. So, the amount and quality of chrome is increased from the outgoing T100. To keep the exhaust looking as close to showroom new as possible, the twin skinned headers help to minimize the head discoloration by having the outer skin insulate the extreme heat of the inner pipe. While the headers display the widely spread path from the manifold down and around to the mufflers, the engineers took the opportunity to remove an unsightly kink in the pipe as it worked its way past the footpegs. As stated before, the twin skin allows for some sleight-of-hand when it comes to routing the exhaust gasses through the catalyzer required to meet the Euro 4 emissions goals.

2016 triumph bonneville t120 and t120 black, Retro styling with modern features The dual gauges also utilize LCD menus to access information and ABS TC settings
Retro styling with modern features. The dual gauges also utilize LCD menus to access information and ABS/TC settings.

The location of the catalytic converter provides a great example of the lengths Triumph went through to remain true to the dimensions and relative placement of components on the new Bonnies. Having a larger cat would have been much easier to design but it would have raised the engine in the frame an unacceptable amount. Similarly, while a small, efficient chamber could have been designed to maximize the use of the available space, being able to produce it on a scale required for a production motorcycle would have been expensive and inefficient. So, a compromise between the best use of the space and the cost of manufacture had to be developed. The beauty of this engineering, though, is that it is utterly seamless and invisible until you lie on the ground and look at the pipe routing through the cat.

Similarly, the module for the standard ABS is located behind the engine near the swingarm pivot and is almost completely invisible unless one is specifically looking for it. For a bike with so many open spaces to look through, Triumph’s engineers clearly spent a lot of time making sure that the technology doesn’t detract from the Modern Classic styling that is the hallmark of this segment.

As far as function goes, the T120 has the longest suspension travel of the new Bonnies – and the cushiest seat. Triumph saved the most upright riding position of the Bonneville line for the T120, giving it an authentically retro bench seat, which, like all of the new Bonnies, pops off with a key instead of bolts. The net result should be a comfortable ride with easy stable response thanks to a relaxed chassis attitude. The standard heated grips should also help the rider’s comfort on the road while the convenience of a centerstand is also standard.

2016 triumph bonneville t120 and t120 black, The LED brake light is one of Triumph s new signature pieces The tank paint is dead sexy on close inspection
The LED brake light is one of Triumph’s new signature pieces. The tank paint is dead sexy on close inspection.

The paint options for the T120 come in two varieties. The two-tone choices are Cranberry Red/Aluminium Silver or Jet Black/Pure White, both pairs receive hand-painted pinstripes. The solid colors are Jet Black and Cinder Red. For the T120 Black the two color choices are Jet Black and Matt Graphite. Additionally, the Black receives a dark brown seat plus all-black detailing of the rims, grab rail, exhaust and engine finish. The T120’s engine finish is brushed metal with brass highlights.

2016 triumph bonneville t120 and t120 black, The twin skinned exhaust headers help to minimize discoloration from heat and also mask the header s true routing
The twin skinned exhaust headers help to minimize discoloration from heat and also mask the header’s true routing.

While the 160 accessories slated exclusively for the T120 models feature cool details like a vintage four-bar Triumph tank badge or Vance & Hines chrome peashooter-style slip-ons, the Prestige Inspiration Kit pulls out all the stops by adding a ribbed and stitched black seat, compact LED turn signals, black barrel grips, and a chrome clutch cover, alternator cover and throttle body dress-up bits to the tank badge and slip-ons. John Burns will be happy to know that cruise control is one of the T120’s available options.

As with the other Bonnies revealed in London, we have to wait for official prices and specifications.

Triumph Announces Three New Engine Configurations and Five All-New Models for 2016 Bonneville Line

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2 of 6 comments
  • Johnny Nightrider Johnny Nightrider on Dec 20, 2015

    This will be my next motorcycle for the new year and the last motorcycle I buy.I want to get it in the two tone red/aluminum silver.Maybe I will get the T120 with the prestige kit,Maybe.It has everything I want in a motorcycle and the look is very retro cool but it's very modern in all the stuff it has hidden.12 grand I think is a acceptable price for such a nice machine.I'll have to conceal carry in case anyone tries to steal my bike at knife or gun point.The world is crazy .

  • DuckyRider DuckyRider on Nov 19, 2016

    I'm fine with liquid cooled but make em light
    And donate the truxton power plant
    Make the bars lower