I really like this bike. No need to bury the lead here. Given the amount of time I have spent on the outgoing model I can’t help but compare the two. Yet I figure that if you’re reading this, a comparison is probably just what you’re looking for.

First off, there’s no mistaking this for any other bike. This is a Triumph Bonneville, no question. At the same time though, there’s no mistaking it for the old Bonneville either. Triumph has tweaked and tucked and updated and upgraded every nut and bolt of the Street Twin, yet it still feels familiar. The new bike really stands out in the details, but more on that in a minute. Let’s ride this thing!

Riding the 2016 Triumph Bonneville Street Twin

I’m 6′ tall and 180 pounds, and the bike felt just a touch small to me when I initially threw a leg over. This went away when I rode her, though. The bike was a joy to ride. The power is impressive, the brakes are crisp and strong, and the chassis feels nimble, yet stout.

The bike feels a lot lighter than the outgoing bike, and that’s because it is. I recently spoke with engineers and leadership at Triumph about the new Bonneville’s light feel. They tell me that this is due not just to a lighter bike overall, but to “mass centralization” — all the work Triumph did in getting the heavy parts low and to the middle of the bike. While I understand this in theory, I had to ride the Street Twin to feel it and really got it.
This is a favorable characteristic.

I found myself in the “wrong” gear several times, and this would never happen on the outgoing bike. However, the Street Twin makes so much torque, and so smoothly, that she is easily ridden a gear too high. That’s a good thing, because the gearing on this new bike is taller than the old Bonneville. On the highway, she revs in fourth gear the way the old bike revved in fifth gear. Fifth gear, meanwhile, is very relaxed. At 80 mph in fifth gear the motor is calm but eager.

The Details

The Street Twin’s controls feel top-notch. The bike looks and feels very well made, even though the price has barely moved. I mention the details because I find many machines are declining in the quality of their details these days, motorcycles included. This new Bonneville is a big step up on what was already a high quality bike. It’s mostly little things, but they add up.

For example, I love the integrated start button and kill switch combination. This is a great setup. One of those “why didn’t I think of that” type of things and I’m hopeful we’ll see on more new Triumph models going forward. The start button and kill switch are integrated into a single 3-position switch with off, on, and start. It’s simple, but really slick. The dash readout is elegant too, with a gear indicator, a fuel gauge, distance to empty, two trip odometers, total odometer, traction control on/off, and clock available.

When Triumph said they revolutionized the Bonneville, they weren’t kididng. This 2016 Triumph Bonneville Street Twin is well beyond an improvement of the outgoing bike. It’s not a simple refresh. As I see it, this is a much more modern interpretation of the classic bike, using tech to enhance and improve the performance, and to even upgrade the classic feel that makes these bikes so charming in the first place. I think Edward Turner would be very proud of this evolution. Bottom line: the bike feels right.

We’ve got the Street Twin in the store at Motoworks Chicago now, so come check it out.