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2023 Triumph Bonneville T-120

Introduction to Triumph Bonneville T120

History of the Bonneville

The Triumph Bonneville series originates from the iconic 1959 Triumph Bonneville—a perfect blend of classic aesthetics and pioneering technology. Aimed at the US market, the original Bonneville T120 struck a chord with motorcycle enthusiasts due to its powerful 649 cc parallel-twin engine and distinctive styling. The motorcycle soon became synonymous with high-performance bikes, garnering a dedicated fan base that appreciated its unique charm. Over the years, the Bonneville series garnered numerous racing victories, including the famed Thruxton 500 and the Production Isle of Man TT, further establishing its legendary status in the motorcycle world.

The Bonneville T120 name

Paying homage to the record-setting Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where Johnny Allen achieved phenomenal speeds in 1955 on a Triumph streamliner, the Bonneville name is synonymous with both innovation and performance. Designed to embody the spirit and heritage of the original 1959 model, the modern Triumph Bonneville T120 combines timeless design with contemporary features, offering riders the best of both worlds. The T120 and T120 Black, today regarded as modern motorcycle icons, both stand as a testament to the enduring appeal of the Bonneville name.

Evolution of the model

Over the years, the Bonneville T120 has undergone several improvements to maintain its relevance amidst ever-growing competition from larger-capacity motorcycles. With enhancements such as a more reliable ignition system in 1968 and a new frame design in 1971, the T120 remained a popular choice among motorcycle aficionados. The evolution continued in the early 1970s with a five-speed gearbox, but despite these advancements, the T120 was eventually superseded by the larger 750 cc Bonneville T140. In 2016, however, the Bonneville T120 name was revived with a larger engine and updated specifications, ensuring the model’s legacy continues to thrive in the modern era.

1200cc Parallel-Twin Engine

The Triumph Bonneville T120 is powered by a 1200cc parallel-twin engine that offers a perfect combination of power and performance. This engine design provides the motorcycle with a distinctive and refined character, producing a unique exhaust note that echoes the classic Triumph Bonneville models of the past while delivering modern performance. The engine features a lighter crankshaft, improving the response and overall riding experience. Known for its torque-rich power delivery, the 1200cc engine ensures that the T120 is capable of effortlessly accelerating, making it an ideal choice for riders who appreciate the blend of style and performance in their motorcycles.

Horsepower and Torque

With the 1200cc parallel-twin engine, the Triumph Bonneville T120 boasts impressive figures when it comes to horsepower and torque. Producing 79 horsepower and 77.4 lb-ft of torque, the T120 provides high torque throughout the rev range, ensuring a responsive and engaging ride. This torque-rich performance ensures that the T120 can easily tackle various road and riding conditions while maintaining a sense of agility and control. The motorcycle’s strong output also means that it can cruise at high speeds effortlessly, giving riders the power they need for long journeys or spirited rides down twisty roads.


The Triumph Bonneville T120 is equipped with a smooth and precise six-speed transmission that allows riders to easily find the right gear for any situation. This transmission is designed to make the T120 a versatile and capable motorcycle, ensuring that it can handle city streets, highways, and country lanes with ease. To improve rider comfort, the T120 also features a torque-assisted clutch, reducing lever effort and resulting in less fatigue during heavy traffic or extended riding sessions. This combination of smooth shifting and a light clutch allows for a satisfying and enjoyable riding experience, making the Bonneville T120 an excellent choice for modern-day riders who seek classic styling and performance.

Fuel Efficiency

The Triumph Bonneville T120 doesn’t just offer power and style – it also provides good fuel efficiency for a motorcycle in its class. Thanks to the 1200cc parallel-twin engine and the motorcycle’s advanced technology, the T120 boasts improved fuel economy figures. While exact fuel efficiency numbers may vary based on riding conditions and habits, the Bonneville T120 is designed to offer a balance of power and practicality, ensuring that riders can enjoy the performance of the motorcycle without worrying excessively about fuel consumption. This balance of power and efficiency makes the T120 a smart choice for riders who value both style and practicality in their motorcycles.

Classic meets modern

The Triumph Bonneville T120 brings together the best of both worlds by combining classic design elements with modern technology and performance upgrades. With styling cues inspired by the original 1959 Triumph Bonneville, the T120 boasts a timeless and iconic appearance that is sure to turn heads wherever it goes. However, beneath its vintage exterior lies a plethora of modern components, such as the 1200cc parallel-twin engine, advanced suspension, and cutting-edge rider aids.

The fusion of classic and modern is most evident in the T120’s design details, such as the signature peashooter exhausts, wire-spoke wheels, and the unmistakably rounded headlight that harkens back to the original Bonneville. At the same time, the T120 also features an updated twin-pod instrument cluster, LED lighting, and cleanly integrated rider controls that give the motorcycle a contemporary edge. This harmonious mix of old and new ensures that the T120 remains true to its roots while appealing to the modern motorcyclist’s needs and desires.

In addition to its captivating aesthetics, the T120’s design also prioritizes functionality and rider comfort. The clever integration of modern technology into a vintage package ensures that riders can enjoy the best of both worlds – the allure of a classic motorcycle with the convenience and safety features expected of a contemporary machine. Features such as ABS, switchable traction control, and various riding modes make the T120 an approachable and versatile option for riders looking for a bike that seamlessly blends the past with the present.

Color options

The Triumph Bonneville T120 is available in several stunning color schemes, allowing riders to choose the perfect look to complement their personal style. The T120’s options include Jet Black, a classic single-tone color that exudes elegance and sophistication, and Cordovan Red & Silver Ice, a striking two-tone combination that adds a touch of flair and modernity to the bike’s timeless design.

For those who prefer a darker, stealthier aesthetic, the T120 is also available in a ‘Black’ edition that features blacked-out components, such as the engine cases, exhaust headers, and wheel rims. With its matte or gloss black paint options, the T120 Black edition offers a bold and aggressive look that sets it apart from its more traditional stablemates.

Each color scheme accentuates the T120’s beautiful lines and carefully engineered details, enhancing its overall visual appeal. The various options provide riders with the opportunity to personalize their T120, ensuring that each motorcycle is not only a mechanical marvel but also a unique reflection of its owner’s tastes and preferences.

Attention to detail

The Triumph Bonneville T120 is a testament to Triumph’s commitment to craftsmanship and attention to detail. From the meticulously hand-finished paintwork to the elegantly designed tank badges, every aspect of the T120 exudes quality and thoughtfulness. The bike’s visual appeal is amplified by intricate details, such as the polished engine fins, classic instrument dials, and tasteful chrome accents.

The T120’s premium fit and finish is not limited to its exterior, as every component of the motorcycle has been carefully engineered to provide a seamless experience for the rider. The bike’s accessible riding position, sculpted seat, and intuitively placed controls are all thoughtfully designed to offer an unrivaled level of comfort and control on the road.

In conclusion, the Triumph Bonneville T120 is a shining example of how meticulous design and attention to detail can create a motorcycle that is both visually stunning and a joy to ride. With its beautiful blend of classic aesthetics, modern performance, and exceptional craftsmanship, the T120 is a true modern classic that is sure to delight riders for years to come.

Riding Experience

Rider Modes

The Triumph Bonneville T120 offers a superb riding experience with its advanced technology, including rider modes that adapt to different riding conditions. There are two riding modes available, Road and Rain, which adjust the throttle response and traction control settings to suit the specific conditions. With the Road mode, the motorcycle delivers a smooth, linear power delivery for regular riding, maximizing both power and efficiency. In contrast, the Rain mode softens the throttle response and increases the intervention of the traction control system, providing better grip and stability on wet or slippery surfaces. These rider modes play a crucial role in enhancing the overall riding experience, allowing you to tackle various road conditions with confidence and ease.

Suspension and Handling

The suspension and handling of the Triumph Bonneville T120 have been carefully designed to provide a comfortable, agile, and responsive ride. The motorcycle features a dedicated chassis, which blends confident handling with a relaxed riding position. The high-quality suspension components, including telescopic forks in the front and twin shock absorbers at the rear, offer excellent damping and control over a wide range of surfaces. Weight savings of 7kg contribute to better agility and acceleration, while the upgraded Brembo brakes ensure strong, progressive stopping power. With its precise handling and comfortable ergonomics, the Bonneville T120 is perfectly suited for commuting, weekend exploring, and long-distance touring.

Seating and Ergonomics

Ergonomics play a significant role in the riding experience, and the Triumph Bonneville T120 excels in this aspect, too. The motorcycle boasts a low 31.1-inch seat height, making it accessible and comfortable for riders of different heights. The relaxed riding position is complemented by wide, swept-back handlebars, providing a natural and upright posture that reduces rider fatigue during long journeys. The dual seat is designed to offer all-day comfort, accommodating both the rider and a passenger for two-up riding and touring. With its thoughtful design and attention to rider comfort, the Bonneville T120 ensures an enjoyable and fatigue-free experience, whether you’re commuting, exploring twisty backroads, or embarking on a long-distance adventure.

ABS and Traction Control

Safety is paramount in modern motorcycling, and the Triumph Bonneville T120 incorporates sophisticated safety features such as anti-lock braking system (ABS) and switchable traction control. The ABS helps to prevent wheel lockup during hard braking or when braking on slippery surfaces, ensuring better control and safety. The motorcycle is equipped with the latest generation ABS, featuring twin-piston Brembo floating front calipers and 310mm discs that deliver superb feel and stopping power. On the other hand, the switchable traction control system helps maintain optimal grip and stability by preventing wheel spin in challenging riding conditions or on loose surfaces. Both ABS and traction control are designed to work seamlessly without compromising the motorcycle’s iconic styling, providing peace of mind and allowing you to fully enjoy the riding experience.

Maintenance and Reliability

Service Intervals

The Triumph Bonneville T120 is designed with an emphasis on easy maintenance and long-term reliability. Regular service intervals play a crucial role in keeping the motorcycle in top-notch condition, ensuring optimal performance and preserving its value. Triumph recommends a first service at 500 miles (800 km), followed by subsequent services every 10,000 miles (16,000 km) or 12 months, whichever comes first. These intervals include oil and filter changes, inspections of various components, and any necessary adjustments. Sticking to this schedule helps maintain the performance, efficiency, and longevity of the T120’s 1200cc engine.

Common Issues

Although the Triumph Bonneville T120 is generally known for its reliability, there are a few common issues that owners may encounter. Some of these issues include:

  1. Stator failure: The stator, which generates power for the electrical system, can sometimes fail prematurely, leading to a loss of charging capacity and battery drain. Regular inspection and timely replacement can mitigate this issue.
  2. Clutch cable wear: The clutch cable can exhibit signs of wear over time, causing a loose or stiff clutch lever. Regular inspection, lubrication, and prompt replacement of the cable can help avoid potential damage to the clutch mechanism.
  3. Corrosion: As with any motorcycle, exposure to moisture, road salt, and other corrosive elements can lead to rust and corrosion on various parts. Regular cleaning, application of anti-corrosion products, and proper storage can help prevent or reduce corrosion on the T120.

Despite these potential issues, overall, the Bonneville T120 is considered a reliable motorcycle, and proper care and maintenance can help keep it in excellent condition for years to come.

Longevity of Components

The components of the Triumph Bonneville T120 are designed for durability and long-lasting performance. With proper care and maintenance, the T120 can provide thousands of miles of enjoyable and trouble-free riding. Key components, such as the 1200cc parallel-twin engine, display impressive longevity due to their robust construction and emphasis on quality materials. Suspension components, such as the KYB forks and twin rear shocks, are built to withstand the rigors of daily riding, ensuring consistent handling and rider comfort over time.

Brake components, such as Brembo calipers and Nissin master cylinders, offer reliable and consistent stopping power throughout their service life. Moreover, general wear items like tires, brake pads, and drive chains can also exhibit long lifespans when properly maintained and replaced as needed. Overall, the Triumph Bonneville T120’s components possess a reputation for durability and longevity, contributing to the bike’s status as a reliable and trusty modern classic.

Customization and Accessories

Manufacturer Options

Triumph offers a variety of genuine accessories designed specifically for the Bonneville T120, allowing riders to create their ideal motorcycle. These options include performance upgrades, such as high-performance exhausts and upgraded suspension, as well as comfort and convenience enhancements like heated grips and luggage systems. Aesthetic options, such as custom seat types and stylish tank badges, are also available to make the bike truly unique. Made with the same high-quality workmanship as the motorcycle itself, these manufacturer options ensure a perfect fit and integration with the T120’s design.

One popular option for the T120 is the chrome accessory pack, which adds a lustrous chrome finish to key components, further enhancing the bike’s classic look. With these options, the Bonneville T120 can be tailored to fit individual preferences and needs, providing a truly personalized experience for each rider.

Aftermarket Parts

In addition to Triumph’s range of genuine accessories, there is a vast selection of aftermarket parts available for the Bonneville T120. These parts, created by various companies and specialists, offer further customization opportunities and choices for T120 owners. From performance parts like upgraded suspensions, exhaust systems, and air filters to cosmetic enhancements like custom paintjobs, bodywork, and lighting, there are countless aftermarket options to suit every rider’s vision for their motorcycle.

Some popular aftermarket brands for Bonneville T120 parts include British Customs, Rizoma, and Vance & Hines. It’s essential to choose high-quality aftermarket parts to ensure proper fit, performance, and long-lasting durability. Many aftermarket parts also come with detailed installation instructions or offer professional installation services, making customization even more accessible for T120 riders.

Personalizing your Bonneville T120

The process of personalizing your Triumph Bonneville T120 is an exciting opportunity to create a motorcycle that truly reflects your style and needs. With a combination of manufacturer options and aftermarket parts, you can build a one-of-a-kind machine that stands out on the road.

To start personalizing your T120, consider the aspects of the bike you’d like to improve or change – whether that’s performance, comfort, practicality, or aesthetics. Research options and gather inspiration by browsing motorcycle forums, social media, and magazines. Collaborate with other Triumph enthusiasts, technicians, and custom shops to develop a clear vision of your ideal Bonneville T120.

Remember, personalization is an ongoing process. Over time, you may discover new ways to enhance or modify your Bonneville T120, resulting in a motorcycle that evolves with you and continues to be a source of pride and enjoyment.

Triumph Bonneville T100 vs T120

The Triumph Bonneville T100 and the Triumph Bonneville T120 are both iconic motorcycles within the Modern Classic range, but they cater to different rider preferences. The T100 is powered by a 900cc parallel-twin engine, producing 54 hp and 59 lb-ft of torque, making it an ideal choice for riders seeking a more accessible and manageable riding experience. The T120, with its larger 1200cc engine, generates 79 hp and 77.4 lb-ft of torque, offering a more powerful and exhilarating ride for experienced motorcyclists.

In terms of design, the T100 retains a more traditional appearance reminiscent of the 1959 Bonneville, complete with spoked wheels and a peashooter exhaust. The T120, on the other hand, balances classic styling with modern upgrades, such as LED lighting and standard fit cruise control. Both models feature ABS and switchable traction control, but the T120 takes it a step further with two riding modes – Road and Rain – for enhanced adaptability to different riding conditions.

When considering price and ownership costs, the T100 is more affordable, with a lower initial purchase price and potentially lower maintenance expenses due to its smaller engine. The T120, while more expensive, justifies its price with additional performance, technology, and features. Ultimately, the choice between the T100 and T120 falls to the rider’s preferences and priorities – either a more accessible, classic-looking motorcycle or a more powerful, technologically advanced modern classic.

Kawasaki Z900RS

The Kawasaki Z900RS is another contender in the modern classic market that competes directly with the Triumph Bonneville T120. Powered by a 948cc inline-four engine, the Z900RS produces an impressive 111 hp and 72.3 lb-ft of torque, making it a more powerful option compared to the T120. This added power translates to a more aggressive and thrilling riding experience for riders seeking performance and speed.

In terms of design, the Z900RS pays homage to the classic 1970s Kawasaki Z1, featuring retro-inspired bodywork and paint options. However, it also incorporates modern amenities such as LED lighting, ABS, a slipper clutch, and adjustable suspension. Moreover, the Z900RS features Kawasaki’s Traction Control System (KTRC) and two riding modes – Sport and Road – adding an extra layer of versatility and rider confidence.

When comparing price and ownership, the Z900RS is usually priced similarly or slightly higher than the T120. It appeals to riders looking for a more powerful retro-styled motorcycle, but potential owners should consider the higher maintenance costs associated with the larger inline-four engine. The choice between the Z900RS and T120 ultimately depends on the rider’s performance expectations and personal design preferences.

BMW R nineT

The BMW R nineT is another competitor in the modern classic segment, offering a uniquely styled bike with a German engineering pedigree. The R nineT is powered by a 1,170cc air-cooled opposed-twin engine, producing 110 hp and 85.5 lb-ft of torque, which places it in direct competition with the Kawasaki Z900RS in terms of performance, slightly edging out the Triumph Bonneville T120.

Aesthetically, the R nineT breaks away from the traditional looks of the Bonneville T120 and Z900RS, showcasing a distinct design with its exposed trellis frame, shaft drive, and modular components, allowing for a high degree of customization. Modern technological features include ABS, switchable Automatic Stability Control (ASC), and optional heated grips for added comfort and safety.

Price-wise, the BMW R nineT is typically the most expensive option among the three, but it justifies its premium with a unique, customizable design, German engineering, and superior performance. However, the higher price extends to ownership costs, including dealership maintenance and replacement parts. Riders drawn to the R nineT’s mix of performance, design, and customization potential must weigh these factors against the more traditional yet equally iconic offerings from Triumph and Kawasaki.



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