Thank God for dealers that let you demo bikes! That's the first thing we're going to say about our friends at A&S Motorcycles/Powersports. They've dedicated every Saturday to demo rides. You sign up, pick the bike(s) you want to ride, you join the group, and take a 20-minute spin. Rinse, ride, repeat.
If you're so inclined, you can do this all day long. In a roughly two hour window, we hopped on four different bikes: the Scrambler Icon by Ducati, and three different new Triumphs -- the T120, the Thruxton, and the Bobber. While every single one was a grin-inducing experience, we'll confine this piece to the Bobber.
The Triumph site will give you all of the details you need about the Bobber. So we'll let you look those up for yourself and confine this piece to our initial impressions. But here are just a couple of things to note. This is a completely different ride than any of the new bikes in the Bonneville line-up. The torque feels different. The seat is different...and adjustable. The whole setup and experience is unique to this bike. But its modern amenities, like ABS, liquid cooling, and a couple of adjustable rider modes also found on the other new Bonnies, are welcome but well hidden.
What Triumph did was harken back to the days when the Triumph Bonneville was a workhorse platform for choppers and bobbers in the 60s. Despite or in spite of the aforementioned modern features, this bike screams old school, raw, traditional motorcycle. Everyone at A&S who demoed this bike had nothing bad to say about it. And to a rider, the Bobber's stripped down look and feel were some of its most appreciated assets. That and it's freakin' power!
Much like the Victory Highball with its apes and wide whitewalls, you can't ride the Triumph Bobber and not feel like a badass. You're riding a bike that looks like it rode off of the screen of some 1960s motorcycle movie but without the oil leaks and potential breakdowns. The clutch has a light and easy feel, and a quick pull back of the throttle has you rocketing down the road with plenty of power to spare.
Part of our demo ride took us on the freeway, and there was no doubt about this Bobber's ability to quickly reach (and exceed) freeway speeds. At one point, we were well north of 80 mph with no noticeable buzzing or vibration through the handlebars or footpegs.
The seat was comfortable, the speedo was easy to read, and the front and rear brakes did a good job of keeping the Bobber in line. ABS helps and the fact that it's a standard feature on this bike is a beautiful thing. Especially if you're heavy on the throttle.
But the one standout that is both noticeable and everyone commented on was the exhaust note. We all know that the average stock exhaust sounds like a mix between a sewing machine and a kazoo. Even stock Harley exhaust leaves a lot to be desired. But Triumph tuned the Bobber right, and while we'd still be inclined to choose the available Vance & Hines, the stock versions will probably suit most riders just fine.
Triumph has already made a literal plethora of accessories, luggage and performance options available for the Bobber...including a set of black or chrome high rise handlebars for even more badassness.
The Bobber starts at a reasonable $11,900 for the 'paint it black' version. Three other colors are available (red, green and white, and ironstone) that will add to that base cost. With all of the options available, the price increases accordingly.
While there are other bikes out there that might go faster and perform better for the same or less, not many will leave you grinning and feeling that inner badass at the same time.