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This is a revised review on the Triumph Scrambler; it uses the basic 890cc Bonneville engine and additions include trail tyres, upswept exhaust and the look of a 1960s 'street scrambler'. This bike is all about style rather than outright performance. It makes 55 bhp which is very sedate and the aim is not to go rip roaring around the countryside or urban streets (although it will do this) but rather to enjoy the experience of biking. The finish on the bike is good and there is plenty of chrome to keep clean. I have a scooter as my bad weather / commuter steed so I realised quite soon that this machine would need plenty of tlc to keep it in fine fettle. But boy does it get attention, especially if like mine it has the Triumph off road pipes fitted; they make a lovely roar without being TOO anti social. The look of the bike is highly attractive and if you park it up on sunny day be prepared to talk bikes with all and sundry. This is not a poseurs toy, it will keep up and exceed the 70 mph limit with ease. The upright riding position is comfortable but it is no long distance tourer. I wouldn't want to travel more than 100 miles in one go. Overall a great looking and reasonably practical machine based on modern Triumph technology. A 'must have' bike for all you 40/50/60 somethings...
Oh Dear. My beautiful Bonnie has the old English bike problem "RUST" Just over one year old 1800 miles (wet & dry) kept in a heated garage together with a non rusting ZZR600 and BSA B40. The rims, mud guard supports, grab rails,head lamp and most of the fixings are in a sorry state, only the exhoust (after market TOGAs) are ok. I now only ride the bike when the sun shines. I am thinking of having all the chrome parts powder coated black to make the bike look like it is looked after. So all aspiring Bonnie Bikers beware. I am not the only user with this problem
At last - a bright day, a few spare hours and the road beckons. The feel good factor soon returns after a quick blat around the Wiltshire countryside on the VFR, so to finish off I decide to visit the local bike shop. Bike parked, crash helmet off and a short walk past the shop window with Triumph stickers in it. Triumph stickers? The place has been a Suzuki only dealer since I don't know when. Through the door and there it is - the complete range of Triumphs on view. Shop owner walks up "Can I help?". One thing on my mind; "Er.. yes, when do you expect to start getting some of the new Bonnevilles?". Without hesitating he offers "Do you want to see one? We've just taken delivery of our demonstrator and we're putting it together in our workshop". So, off we march and there it is - still tankless but gleaming and inviting. I stand there admiring it and after a couple of questions, I'm offered a test ride. "When?" I ask, still a little off balance from the fortuitous nature of the situation. "Well, we'll finish building it up, put some petrol in it, check it out and it's all yours......." So, here it is. An unbiased, non-media report on the Triumph Bonneville. I'm no great expert on bikes, but I hope the following is of interest to you, either for your curiosity or if you're considering buying one. The Bonneville sits alongside the other 'classic' Triumphs very well. In fact, it looks to me like they've taken things a stage further by fitting conventional suspension and period trim - together with the obvious addition of the finned twin cylinder engine - which sets the bike perhaps a little apart from the rest. It certainly does look and feel a bit special. But let's get down to the nitty gritties - the ride. I didn't have a lot of time, but here are my first impressions. I'm a small guy (5'6") with shor
t legs, but first thing I noticed was that I could very nearly sit squarely on the machine with both feet flat on the ground. Furthermore, unlike the VFR which is similar in weight, it didn't feel heavy to balance when stationary and 'wrapped around' me very well. Having adjusted the mirrors and glanced around the controls, I turned on the igniton and fired it up. The engine is very smooth and exhaust note muted. This may not please old British Bike fans but we can thank Eurocrats for that. Into first gear and away. As I swing the bike out of the workshops the first thing I notice is it's poise. Basically, it feels very balanced and controllable. The throttle feeds in the power very progressively and it all feels very predictable - but not boring. Now, I can't compare Triumph's latest offering to the original bike (in fact when I was riding in the 70's, I was dismissive of 'oily, unreliable' British metal), but it did feel quite 'chuckable' and measured. It took me a few minutes to get used to the controls, after which time I had just entered the local by-pass road. The engine and gearbox were naturally quite tight (three miles on the clock) and I didn't want to thrash it, so I steadily accelerated to 80. The bike was pretty settled at that speed, more wind rush than a faired machine of course, but manageable. Certainly, tolerable for a blast to the Ace Cafe - you'd have to take it there of course! I did try a couple of wider throttle openings - no arm stretching stuff but right from the word go I realised I was having fun. Cornering keeps you smiling too - again, it all seemed nice and predictable and the Bonneville seems to keep you very nicely in touch with what's going on. In conclusion then? I think Triumph have done a good job in putting a lot of modern technology in a 'retro' bike. Don't expect lots of bells and whistles - a speedo and a few warning lights, nak
ed handle bars and a couple of round mirrors are all you see when you’re riding. No fairing, fuel guage, tacho, clock - in keeping with the dream. But the character is there - riding an R1, TL1000 - or even a VFR, is a more serious business. The Bonny is for fun - a lot of it. In fact, the dealer says most people want them for second bikes - and I can understand that. I'd also say they'd be good for women too - as opposed to an ER5 for example, albeit more expensive. Easy to ride, light handling, lowish seat height. But, what about the dislikes? Nothing serious, but a little more noise would be nice. Triumph are doing after market exhausts for it (not street-legal though), which if you don't mind chancing it, would be a ‘must have’ - although not available for a while. Neutral was quite hard to find in the gearbox, and more pressure was needed on the brakes than your average ‘modern’ bike to stop quickly. I also thought the switch gear felt a little cheap and fiddly, the seat a bit plankish and that overall the bike had been built down to a cost. But, we're talking not much over £5000 here and there are plenty of worse built and less enjoyable bikes around for more money. From the (local) dealer's perspective, they'll be 700 of these bikes made available to the UK market during 2001 of which 400 have already been pre-ordered. He also claims Triumph are nudging the price up to around £5395 because of the high demand. And it is desirable..... Want one? See if your local Triumph dealer has their demonstrator and swing your leg over it. £200 down and you can take delivery in April apparently. I'm going to have another go - and I have a feeling I'm going to reaching for my chequebook.