• 2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black

Updates make these the quickest and most nimble specimens to date

Triumph spruced up its interminable Bonneville lineup for 2021 with a fairly major update to its T120 platform. The newest version of the interminable T120 and T120 Black both roll with lighter components, an updated Bonneville powerplant, and tweaked chassis components to make these the quickest and most nimble specimens to date. Even the electronics took a whack from the buff-hammer with new standard equipment and enhancements to the Riding Modes feature. Modern performance and control mate with old-school British charm to make this pair worthy of their rich pedigree.

  • 2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black
  • Year:
    2021- 2022
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Parallel Twin
  • Displacement:
    1200 cc
  • Top Speed:
    120 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    12050
  • Price:

Triumph Bonneville T120 & T120 Black Design

  • Classic styling
  • Dual instrument dials
  • Ample blackout treatment
  • LED lighting
2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black
- image 986728
2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black
- image 986732
The factory goes out of its way to channel the vibes of yesteryear with the British equivalent of the ubiquitous UJMs of the sixties and seventies.

Triumph’s Bonneville line has long had a certain je ne sais quoi about it, and I’m pleased to say that the factory is sticking to that long-famous format that is, arguably, the British equivalent of the ubiquitous UJMs of the sixties and seventies. Seriously, you could put the new T120 next to the 1959 model, first of its name, and clearly see the DNA they have in common. The factory goes out of its way to channel the vibes of yesteryear, and you can go ahead an pencil me in as a bigly-time fan.

Right out of the gate the blackout is thick on the front end of the base model to include the forks, fender, tripletree, headlight can, and dual instrument housings. The darkness spreads to the frame, side covers, rear fender, and swingarm to make a connection to the homejob-customs of old, and that’s just the base model. The “Black” variant doubles and triples down with the monochromatic coating literally everywhere possible except the seat cover.

Laced wheels make their own contribution to help tie the 2021 T120 to the target era, as do the strut-style front fender and bellowed fork gaiters that dress up the front end. The 3.8-gallon fuel tank rocks a classic teardrop flyline in profile complete with kneepads set within the wane at the rear sides of the tank like a page torn from a history book. Same with the two-up bench seat with its faux tuck-and-roll pillion area.

Even the engine looks like an antique with its parallel-twin configuration, vertical orientation, and throttle bodies that come camouflaged as one of the old mechanical-slide carburetors from back in the day to really sell that classic image.

Triumph Bonneville T120 & T120 Black Chassis

  • Vanilla suspension
  • Improved brakes
  • Nimble handling
  • ABS
2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black
- image 986734
2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black
- image 986727
2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black
- image 986731
Lighter-weight chassis improves handling and increases agility.

Tubular-steel members on the T120 and T120 Black make up the double-downtube/double-cradle frame that completely supports the drivetrain rather than using it as a structural element. Wire wheels round out the rolling chassis with new, lighter-weight aluminum rims that contribute to the 15.4 pound overall reduction in heft, down to 520-pounds, dry.

Since lighter rims produce less gyroscopic force than heavier ones, they bestow an extra measure of agility to the ride. This works with the 25.5-inch rake angle and 4.1 inches of trail — both of which contribute to nimble handling qualities — over a compact, 57.1-inch wheelbase.

The laced wheels roll in an 18-inch rim and 100/90 hoop up front opposite a 17-inch wheel out back with its fat, 150/70 tire and generous contact patch. Oh, and if you are on the shorter side of tall, the stock 31.1-inch seat height might tax you a bit, definitely in tiptoe territory to be sure. Standard rwu front forks run with 41 mm inner fork tubes on fixed damping/preload values. The rear shocks provide the only adjustment in the ride quality through its obligatory variable spring-preload feature.

Dual, twin-piston Brembo calipers bite 310 mm front discs to provide the bulk of the stopping power, while a two-piston Nissin anchor and 255 mm disc take care of business out back with ABS protection all around.

Frame: Tubular steel, with twin cradles
Swingarm: Twin sided fabrication
Front Suspension: Ø41 mm cartridge forks
Rear Suspension: Twin RSU’s, with pre-load adjustment
Rake: 25.5º
Trail: 4.1 in (105.2 mm)
Front Wheel: Aluminum rimmed 32 spoke 2.75” x 18”
Rear Wheel: Aluminum rimmed 32 spoke, 4.25” x 17”
Front Tire: 100/90-18
Rear Tire: 150/70 R17
Front Brakes: Dual 310 mm discs, Brembo 2 piston floating caliper, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 255 mm disc, Nissin 2 piston floating caliper, ABS

Triumph Bonneville T120 & T120 Black Drivetrain

  • Liquid-cooled, torque-rich 1,200 cc Bonneville engine
  • Switchable traction control
  • Improved throttle response
  • Ride modes and cruise control standard equipped
2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black
- image 986735
2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black
- image 986733
2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black
- image 986722
It looks like the old engine, but the insides are thoroughly modern with switchable traction control, cruise control, and two ride modes.

The beating heart on the T120 and T120 Black come from a long line of Bonneville mills and enjoys the same level of brand recognition as Harley-Davidson’s V-Twin and Beemer’s Boxer-Twin for another healthy dose of historical yummygoodness that adds to the look immeasurably. It looks like the old engine, but the insides are thoroughly modern. It even sounds different – the 270-degree offset between the first and second power pulse gives the idle a lope that the old 180-out engines just couldn’t have. Also, it’s liquid cooled, though it retains the cooling fins on the jugs for backup cooling and look they impart to the machine.

A single over-head cam times the pair of four-valve clusters to keep the weight and complexity low up top. The engine is fed by cleverly disguised throttle bodies that look like old-time carbs, but nevertheless carry electronic fuel injection control. Fairly oversquare, the Bonneville mill packs 1,200 cc with a 97.6 mm bore and 80 mm stroke and mild, 10-to-1 compression ratio that will tolerate mid-grade fuel with no problem. A slipper-type clutch couples engine power to the six-speed transmission for a light pull at the clutch lever and some anti-hop protection at the rear wheel.

What kind of power you ask? The factory claims 79 horsepower at 6,550 rpm, backed up by 77.4 pound-feet of torque at a low 3,500 rpm and a final drive ratio that will turn in a top speed in the neighborhood of 120 mph. Control begins with a ride-by-wire throttle system. A switchable traction-control feature provides some anti-spinout protection, and it comes paired with a duo of Riding Modes – Road and Rain – so you can dial in power delivery to suit the prevailing conditions.

Engine: Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
Displacement: 1,200 cc
Bore x Stroke: 97.6 mm x 80 mm
Compression: 10.0:1
Max Power EC: 79 hp @ 6,550 rpm
Max Torque EC: 77.4 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust: Chromed 2-into-2 exhaust system with twin chrome silencers
Final Drive: Chain
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate torque assist clutch
Gearbox: 6-speed

Triumph Bonneville T120 & T120 Black Price

2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black
- image 986723
2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black
- image 986729
MSRP starts at $12k for basic black and goes up to $12.5k for two-tone colorways.

Price and palette go hand in hand this year. It starts out with the Jet Black model for $12,050 that comes complete with a black seat cover and tons of blackout treatment. If you prefer a splash of color at the tank, you can choose between Cobalt Blue over Silver Ice or Cordovan Red over Silver Ice for $12,550. Like the base model, the T120 Black fetches $12,050 in Jet Black and $12,550 for a two-tone black over black...over black...over black. Get it?

Instrument Display and Functions: Twin dial analogue speedometer and tachometer with LCD multi-functional displays
Color: Jet Black, Cordovan Red/Silver Ice, Cobalt Blue/Silver Ice (T120 Black: Jet Black, Matt Jet Black/Matt Graphite)
Price: $12,050, Two-tones: $12,550

Triumph Bonneville T120 & T120 Black Competitors

2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black
- image 986738
2018 - 2021 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
- image 871403

One classic design deserves another, and since the T120 will be selling on our shores, I reckoned a domestic competitor would do the trick so I grabbed the Iron 1200 from Harley-Davidson’s Sportster lineup.

Harley-Davidson Iron 1200

2018 - 2021 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
- image 850764
The Iron 1200 starts at $9,999 MSRP and that leaves lots of money on the table that can go toward customizing your ride.

Here we have another iconic machine that’s cut from similar cloth. It’s based on a design that began life as the 1952 K Model. The Iron 1200 is powered by an engine that replaced the old Shovelhead-era Ironhead Sportster plants back in 1986 and has been refined ever since. The H-D mill remains an air-cooled unit with an external-pushrod valvetrain for a classic look equal to the Bonnie.

Performance is likewise similar. The Sporty claims 73 pound-feet of torque against 77.4 pounds o’ grunt to give the Trumpet a razor-thin edge in the power figures, though you’d likely be hard pressed to feel such a small difference in the old heinie-dyno. To be fair, the Sporty weighs in at 547 pounds dry, and that will do much to offset that power difference against the T120’s 520-pound shipping weight.

Things get pretty grim for H-D in the electronics department though. H-D is experimenting with traction control and such on some of its top-tier bikes, but that tech is long from trickling down to the humble Sportster lineup, so the Iron 1200 has no answer for the traction control or riding modes that Triumph brings to the table. Even the ABS coverage is a $795 option on the H-D.

The lack of ’lectronics, however, comes with a significant trade off at the checkout. The Iron 1200 starts at $9,999 MSRP in Vivid Black over blackout, and that leaves lots of money on the table that can go toward customizing your ride.

He Said

“Of all of Triumph’s Modern Classics, this is my second favorite – first favorite being the Thruxton naturally – because of its old-school looks, and the attention to detail from the design team. I mean, how can you go wrong with a classic Brit streetbike? The faux carburetors really does it though, the only thing missing is a kickstarter.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I like the looks of the T120 Black with the brown saddle. I like the old-school styling that takes me right back to the ’60s. What I don’t like is the price. I can’t help but feel like the bike is a little over-priced for what you get. Other than that, handling is improved. The weight reduction means better agility. Improved throttle response begets better brakes and what’s not to love about the high-torque Bonneville engine?”

Triumph Bonneville T120 & T120 Black Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
Displacement: 1,200 cc
Bore x Stroke: 97.6 mm x 80 mm
Compression: 10.0:1
Max Power EC: 79 hp @ 6,550 rpm
Max Torque EC: 77.4 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust: Chromed 2-into-2 exhaust system with twin chrome silencers
Final Drive: Chain
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate torque assist clutch
Gearbox: 6-speed
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular steel, with twin cradles
Swingarm: Twin sided fabrication
Front Suspension: Ø41 mm cartridge forks
Rear Suspension: Twin RSU’s, with pre-load adjustment
Rake: 25.5º
Trail: 4.1 in (105.2 mm)
Front Wheel: Aluminum rimmed 32 spoke 2.75” x 18”
Rear Wheel: Aluminum rimmed 32 spoke, 4.25” x 17”
Front Tire: 100/90-18
Rear Tire: 150/70 R17
Front Brakes: Dual 310 mm discs, Brembo 2 piston floating caliper, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 255 mm disc, Nissin 2 piston floating caliper, ABS
Dimensions & Capacities:
Width Handlebars: 30.7 in (780 mm)
Height Without Mirror: 43.7 in (1,100 mm)
Seat Height: 31.1 in (790 mm)
Wheelbase: 57.1 in (1,450 mm)
Tank Capacity: 3.8 gal (14.5 liters)
Wet Weight: 520 lb (236 kg)
Details:
Instrument Display and Functions: Twin dial analogue speedometer and tachometer with LCD multi-functional displays
Color: Jet Black, Cordovan Red/Silver Ice, Cobalt Blue/Silver Ice (T120 Black: Jet Black, Matt Jet Black/Matt Graphite)
Price: $12,050, Two-tones: $12,550

Further Reading

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TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
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All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: triumphmotorcycles.com, harley-davidson.com

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