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There are different kinds of motorcycles out there and they serve different purposes. The classes or categories are defined based on various parameters such as displacement, power, style etc. But there is one classification that stands out and that is ‘feel’. If one were to classify the Triumph Bonneville T120 Black based on ‘feel’, it’d be called the perfect jeans-and-jacket bike.
You can ride the fastest of motorcycles, laden with riding gears of the highest quality. But now and then, one just wants to relax. Bonneville T120 Black is a motorcycle that lets you relax and that is why… jeans-and-jacket-bike. You do not race a clock on it, you aren’t after the highest of lean angles, and you are not out for outright speed. On the T120 Black, you’re out to just ride.
The Bonneville T120 has always been a great motorcycle. Classic British looks, relaxed ergonomics, easy handling, and overall usability. The T120 Black is a blacked-out take on the Bonnie but in the new avatar, there’s quite a bit more going on. Let us take you through our experience of riding this Bonnie.
First of all, the engine. The 1200cc parallel twin of the T120 Black makes 78.9 bhp of power and 105 Nm of torque. On paper, these numbers aren’t something to be blown away by, but the Bonneville T120 Black is not that kind of a motorcycle either.
But it can still move, mind you. For 2021, the engine gets a lighter crankshaft. The balance shaft and the clutch have been improved as well. As a result, the engine revs quicker which makes it more responsive. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is where the fun lies!
One can easily be deceived by the laidback retro vibes of the T120 Black but that mill packs a punch. There is an urgency to the way it revs, add to that the grunt available from even low down in the rev range and the T120 can fly if you’d want it to. So before you decide to be too laid back, know that there’s a serious motor spinning away under the T120’s skin.
While the T120 is not a motorcycle you should be doing this on, if you flick off the traction control, you can easily have the front wheel in the air. It is a Modern Classic and not meant for this stuff but hey, it is good to know you can do that whenever you want. So yeah, this Bonnie is definitely a hoot to ride.
The Bonneville T120 Black gets a 6-speed gearbox which is a perfect fit. You can easily sit around 100 kays an hour in sixth with the engine barely working at 3,000 rpm. The exhaust note is bassy but it could have been a little more pronounced. It is just not telling enough of its displacement. But overall, the engine department of the T120 Black leaves barely anything to be desired.
Next up, handling. So, Triumph believes that this is the best handling Bonneville ever. And it is hard to fault their belief. It really does handle like a dream. It is down to weight-saving, yes, but more importantly, weight-saving in the right place. In total, the new Bonnie has lost around 7 kg but the magic trick was reducing 1 kilo from each of the wheels.
Unsprung mass is one of the biggest enemies of agility and that is why a reduction in that mass can bring about significant changes to how a motorcycle feels. The Bonneville T120 feels quick on its feet, be it tipping it into the corners or side-to-side transitions. It is fluid and sublime which makes it a heck of a motorcycle to ride on winding roads.
There is a catch here though. The cornering clearance is rather limited. Pegs start scraping at fairly modest lean angles and if you are not careful, you may end up adding a dash of chrome to its beautifully sculpted exhausts. The motorcycle is not limited by its geometry or tyres but clearance and that alone.
At slower speeds, one does feel a bit of the heft that this Bonnie is laden with. But it is not a deal-breaker mostly because of the amount of torque you have right from the word go. Ergonomically, it is quite predictable. Relaxed and laid back with windblast being the only slight niggle on highways. Both brake and clutch levers are adjustable too so one can tune it to their liking.
The suspension is plush but not soggy. It takes everything in its stride and yet, it doesn’t shy away from some good ol hard riding. On a lot of motorcycles, the rear suspension seems a little stiff. Thankfully, that is not the case here and this Bonnie ain’t no backbreaker. The brakes are from Brembo (Brembo front, Nissin rear) and the twin discs are proficient at what they do. A little more bite would have been welcome but considerable heft and a reasonable amount of power results in inertia that dulls down the braking a bit.
Now, let us talk about the extras. The Bonneville T120 Black gets cruiser control, which is now standard and easier to operate too. There’s just one button to be pressed to set the speed. But, you cannot accelerate or decelerate once cruise control is on. You also cannot adjust the cruising speed on the fly. Not a big deal as having the feature is still a plus.
There are two riding modes; rain and road. These modes do not alter the power but do work on traction control and ABS intervention. On that note, ABS is standard on both ends but it is not lean-sensitive. That must also clear up that there is no IMU so electronics are a bit on the down low, and that is how it should be.
The switchgear too is simple, the dash offers all the info you need, and there is a USB charging port under the seat. Finally, in true Triumph fashion, there’s a load of official accessories. 116, on offer from Triumph, to truly make the Bonneville T120 Black your own.
Now, a proper jeans-and-jacket-bike is something that not everyone will appreciate. But the Triumph Bonneville T120 Black is not limited to that only. It has serious power, handles really well, and is pretty easy to ride for long distances, barring the windblast. So it is a lot of motorcycle you get that justifies the price tag to an extent. This perfect jeans-and-jacket bike can be yours for INR 10,99,000/- (Ex-Showroom). Should you get it? Absolutely, letting go of the leathers ain’t such a bad thing.