2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 First Ride Review

Kevin Duke
by Kevin Duke

The latest Bonnie is a well-mannered middle child

Triumph’s new Bonneville platform has already made a significant impact on the moto market in less than a year. Spearheaded by the 900cc Street Twin and followed closely by the 1200cc T120 Bonneville and Thruxton models, the retro-modern roadsters are selling as quickly as Triumph can build them, with strong sales forcing the company to add an extra shift at its factory to meet demand.

2017 Triumph Bonneville T100

Editor Score: 87.25%
Engine 17.75/20
Suspension/Handling 13.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 7.5/10
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.25/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 8.5/10
Value 9.0/10
Overall Score87.25/100

2016 Triumph Street Twin First Ride Review

2016 Triumph Bonneville T120 First Ride Review

2016 Triumph Bonneville Thruxton R First Ride Review

“This new platform was the biggest project for the Hinckley-era Triumph,” Miles Perkins, Triumph’s Head of Brand, told us this week, adding it required five years of development work. We recognized Triumph’s achievement by giving the Bonneville platform our 2016 Motorcycle of the Year award. Perkins says demand for the modern classics is a massive 68% higher than the company expected.

The production challenges won’t get any easier after the introduction of this new T100 version of the Bonneville, which marries the engine of the Street Twin with the T120’s chassis and appearance. Other than the smaller motor, the key distinctions for the T100 are the move to a single-disc front brake, the absence of a centerstand and passenger grab-rail, and the loss of ride modes. Oh, and no contrasting seat piping (accessory seat shown here) and no standard heated handgrips as on the T120.

Keeping an eye out for the T100 Bonneville, essentially a T120 Bonnie powered by the Street Twin’s 900cc motor and minus a 310mm rotor and Nissin two-piston caliper.

So, if we boiled down the review of the T100, it’s basically a Bonneville lacking a couple of features with a Street Twin motor slipped inside, and the riding impression backs that up.

A rider is greeted with an exceedingly neutral riding position, with a manageable 31.1-inch seat height and a very modest reach to the handlebars. The torque-assist clutch is almost laughably light in its pull yet easy to modulate, and the 5-speed gearbox is precise. Throttle response is free of any glitches, making the lack of ride modes inconsequential.

Despite having 300 fewer cubic centimeters than the T120, there is plenty of squirt on tap from the T100’s 900cc eight-valve, single-overhead-cam parallel-Twin engine. Triumph was pessimistic when it claimed just 54 hp at its crankshaft, as we measured 52.6 hp at the Street Twin’s rear tire. Peak torque should be equivalent to the 57.8 lb-ft of the Street’s, but it’s the vast spread of twist that is far more impressive than the maximum value. The sound emanating from the peashooter mufflers is pleasingly deep and boisterous, even if its 270-degree crank summons a different tune than the 360-degree cranks of old.

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Lots of sweet finish details to unpack here, including functional cylinder fins helping an unobtrusive radiator shed engine heat, plus lovely brushed aluminum engine and throttle-body covers in addition to old-school touches, like the finning on the header brackets and the retro fork gaiters. Haters will hate the tank seam.

Although lacking a few of the T120’s features, the T100 is far from spartan. It boasts standard traction control and ABS to lend a hand if yours become inadequate, and it one-ups the Street Twin’s single-pod gauges for a pair of pods from the T120, which includes a gear-position indicator, fuel gauge, clock and trip computer, as well as a tachometer. A USB socket under the seat is ready to charge portable electronic devices. Heated grips and cruise control are available options, as are the adjustable levers and bar-end mirror seen on our test bike.

The fuel tank of the T100 is the same 3.8-gallon container as on the T120, but the T100 has its own badge design. The one seen here is actually another item from Triumph’s extensive accessory catalog. Note the rubber knee pads, attractive bullet-shaped turn signals and Triumph’s T/Union Jack logo in the headlight, all standard features.

The T100’s handling is very similar to the T120’s, of course, but it’s not quite the same. The absence of a brake rotor and caliper from its front wheel allows the junior Bonnie to initiate turns with less effort. The difference isn’t huge, but it is noticeable. Braking power isn’t up to the same level as the big Bonnie, but I was nevertheless pleased with the feel through the lever and ultimate speed retardation considering how the bike’s intended purposes.

The brake (and centerstand and grab-rail) missing from the T120 adds up to 24 fewer pounds for the T100, according to the dry weights claimed by Triumph. Subtracting two dozen pounds from the 542 lbs we measured with a T120 should result in a full-up curb weight of 518 lbs. Incidentally, the Street Twin scaled in at 478 lbs with its 3.2-gallon tank filled.

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The T100 is a sure-footed handler that could rip up a canyon quicker if its footpegs were placed a little higher. Note period-replica Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tires, a 100/90-18 in front and a 150/70-17 out back. The skidplate is another accessory item.

Also splitting the difference is the T100’s MSRP, which starts at $10,300. That’s $1,200 cheaper than a nearly identical T120, but it’s a $1,600 premium over the more contemporary-styled Street Twin. Triumph builds the Bonneville lineup in Thailand to reduce build costs, but there are probably more than a few Britons who can remember much shoddier Triumphs built in England.

2017 Triumph  Bonneville T100

+ Highs

  • Classic style from iconic brand
  • Attention to detail
  • Versatility

– Sighs

  • Slightly porky
  • Not made in England
  • Street Twin $1.6k cheaper

The T100 actually has three price points, starting with the Jet Black version and stopping at the two-tone versions (blue or orange) listed at $10,800. “Sophisticated urban style” is offered via the T100 Black model, which features dark engine covers, exhaust, wheel rims, mirrors and turn signals. Your choice of Jet Black paint or Matt Black for $10,550.

In the amount-of-motorcycle-for-the-dollar category, the Street Twin is a better value. But in the I’ve-always-wanted-a-Bonneville category, the value of the T100 can’t be beat.

2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 Specification

Engine TypeLiquid cooled, 8 valve,
SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
Engine Displacement900cc
Bore/Stroke84.6mm x 80mm
Compression Ratio10.55:1
Maximum Power (Claimed)54 hp at 5900 rpm
Maximum Torque (Claimed)59 lb-ft. @ 3230 rpm
Fuel systemMultipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
ExhaustChromed 2 into 2 exhaust system with twin chrome silencers (Black 2 into 2 exhaust system with twin black silencers for Bonnevill T100 Black)
Final driveX ring chain
ClutchTorque assist. Wet, multi-plate. Cable operated.
FrameTubular steel twin cradle
SwingarmTwin-sided, tubular steel
Front WheelsWire 32-spoke – Steel Rims. 18 x 2.75in
Rear WheelsWire 32-spoke – Steel Rims. 17 x 4.25in
Front Tires100/90-18
Rear Tires150/70-R17
Front SuspensionKYB 41 mm forks, 120 mm travel
Rear SuspensionKYB twin shocks with adjustable preload, 120 mm rear wheel travel
Brakes FrontSingle 310 mm floating disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS
Brakes RearSingle 255 mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS
Front WheelsWire 32-spoke – Steel Rims. 18 x 2.75in
Rear WheelsWire 32-spoke – Steel Rims. 17 x 4.25in
Front Tires100/90-18
Rear Tires150/70-R17
Width at Handlebars28.1in (715mm)
Height Without Mirror43.3in (1100mm)
Seat Height31.1in (790mm)
Wheelbase57.1in (1450mm)
Dry Weight470lb
Tank Capacity3.8gal
Tank Capacity4.6 gallons
Fuel Economy (Claimed)61.4 mpg
Instrument Display and FunctionsLCD multi-functional instrument pack with analogue speedometer, analogue tachometer, odometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, range to empty indication, service indicator, clock, 2x trip, average & current fuel consumption display, traction control status display, throttle mode status display, heated grip status (accessory) and cruise control ready – controlled by a handlebar mounted scroll button (accessory).
Kevin Duke
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