2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber - story fullscreen Fullscreen

2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber

With comprehensive updates to the engine, suspension, and brakes

LISTEN 00:07

Triumph updated its Bonneville Bobber platform ahead of MY2021 with a number of improvements. Brake and suspension components were spruced up, along with a larger fuel tank and the extra range it brings. The engine itself is cleaner than ever and it spools up faster than ever for a double whammy in the drivetrain, plus the suspension and brake components come off a higher shelf to finish the practical changes. New paint packages and expanded blackout treatment gives this year-model a unique look, in spite of Triumph’s efforts to channel the soul of a decades-old design.

2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Design

  • All LED lighing
  • Adjustable seat
  • Single dial analog speedometer
  • Multi-function LCD display
2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
- image 999210
2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
- image 999209
From the ground up, this thing is rolling homage piece that draws on Triumph's storied past for its design inspiration, specifically the homejob-customs that sprang up in the early post-war years.

There’s a lot to unpack here on the Bonneville Bobber, with numerous Easter eggs sprinkled around for viewers with a keen eye and some historical knowledge to back it up. From the ground up, this thing is rolling homage piece that draws on Triumph’s storied past for its design inspiration, specifically the homejob-customs that sprang up in the early post-war years.

Wire wheels set the stage with blackout rims and hubs all bound together with polished spokes. The blackout treatment continues into the fork sliders, headlight can, and tripleclamp, plus the swept area of the inner fork tube is covered by old-school, bellows-style gaiters that further date the design in the most delightful of ways.

Like the bobbers of old, this modern version carries the characteristic chopped-down fenders front and back that gives it its name and seeks to improve performance by minimizing the weight from the sheet metal. The single round headlight housing is also a historical throwback, though like the rest of the lighting, it relies on LED brightness for effective two-way visibility and sports a DRL feature to help you be seen during daylight hours. Around behind the light is a single round gauge with an analog speedo, idiot lights, and LCD screen to handle all of the instrumentation in one location.

Short handlebar risers and a short-rise handlebar pull the hands forward and down, almost drag-bike like but not quite, with mid-mount pilot’s footpegs and a sculpted solo saddle to complete the relaxed rider’s triangle. This allows for an upright riding posture with a nice neutral leg position for riders of average height. Speaking of height, Trumpet sends its Bobber out with an adjustable seat that can be set at 27.2 inches off the deck, or jacked up to 27.6 inches high to give you some control over the final shape of the triangle.

2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Chassis

  • Sharp handling
  • New Showa 47 mm front forks
  • Switchable traction control
  • All-around ABS
2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
- image 999221
2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
- image 999206
2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
- image 999212
The fall from the steering head to the rear of the backbone is reminiscent of the geometry from the old hardtails, but it has a modern ride in spite of its antique mien.

While it can be said that the frame sets the stage for every bike, the Bonneville Bobber’s bones go far beyond simple support. Tubular-steel members are welded up in a double-downtube/double-cradle arrangement that completely cups and supports the engine rather than using the mill as a stressed member. Rake and trail are dead short at 24.5 degrees and 3.6 inches respectively to give the Bobber rather sharp handling characteristics that give lie to its home-cobbled look. The fall from the steering head to the rear of the backbone is reminiscent of the geometry from the old hardtails.

From there, a triangular swing-cage unit continues those old-school lines with an under-seat shock that buoys the rear end for a modern ride in spite of its antique mien. The front end is lent more visual weight by chunky new 47 mm front forks and a fat 16-inch front hoop that’s matched by a 16-inch rim out back with Avon Cobra hoops to make the connection to the concrete.

In spite of the fact that the Bonneville Bobber weighs in at a middling 553 pounds soaking wet, the factory doubled down on the front brakeage with twin-piston anchors that bite dual 310 mm discs. Out back, a single-pot Nissin caliper and 255 mm disc take care of business. ABS protection covers both ends as part of the standard equipment package.

Frame: Tubular steel, twin cradle frame
Swingarm: Twin sided fabrication
Front Suspension: Ø 47 mm Showa cartridge forks
Rear Suspension: Mono-shock RSU with linkage
Rake: 24.5º
Trail: 3.6 in (92.0 mm)
Front Wheel: Wire 32-spoke, 16 x 2.5
Rear Wheel: Wire 32-spoke, 16 x 3.5
Front Tire: MT90B16
Rear Tire: 150/80 R16
Front Brakes: Dual 310 mm disc, Brembo 2-piston sliding axial calipers
Rear Brakes: 255 mm disc, Nissin single piston sliding axial caliper

2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Drivetrain

  • 1,200 cc “High-torque” parallel-twin engine
  • 79 hp and 78 lb-ft of torque
  • Torque-assist clutch
  • Two ride modes
2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
- image 999217
2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
- image 999208
2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
- image 999204
The factory spared no effort to make this new Bonnie Bobber look like an antique right down to the throttle bodies made to look like the old mechanical-slide carburetors.

The electronic fandanglery on the Bonneville Bobber continues into the engine-control equipment with a ride-by-wire throttle enabling the switchable traction control feature and Ride Modes system with a pair of profiles – Road and Rain – that lets you quickly set up to suit.

When I say that the factory spared no effort to make this new Bonnie Bobber look like an antique, I really mean it. Tucked within the faux-rigid frame is a vertical parallel-twin powerplant that longtime fans will recognize as having roots back to the middle of the previous century. The factory even made special throttle bodies that are the spitting image of the old mechanical-slide carburetors. Seriously, the only thing Trumpet could do to improve on the Bobber’s antique chops would be to chuck on a kickstarter, but I don’t expect to see that happen, like forever. Maybe the aftermarket?

Unlike its forebears, this engine rocks a 270-degree firing order that gives it a lope at idle and prevents that “angry lawnmower” racket under way that’s so typical of 180-out lumps. Bore and stroke are oversquare at 97.6 mm and 80 mm respectively to give the Bonneville its 1,200 cc displacement and 10-to-1 compression ratio that should tolerate mid-grade fuel quite happily.

Another contrast with its predecessors is in the valvetrain. Rather than the old pushrod system, this engine runs with a single over-head cam that times the 8-valve head. The cooling fins are typical of air-cooled engines, but this plant is actually liquid cooled, so the fins are mostly decorative though they do carry off some waste heat, no doubt about it.

A torque-assist wet clutch couples engine power to the six-speed transmission, which in turn sends power to the rear wheel via a tough chain drive. As for the power figures themselves, this engine generates 76.9 horsepower at 6,100 rpm with a deep torque well at a claimed 78.2 pound-feet of grunt at an even four grand. Top speed is purported to be governed to max out at 112 mph (180 km/h).

Engine: Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
Bore x Stroke: 97.6 mm x 80 mm
Compression: 10.0:1
Max Power EC: 76.9 hp @ 6,100 rpm
Max Torque EC: 78.2 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust: Brushed stainless steel 2 into 2 twin-skin exhaust system with brushed stainless silencers
Final Drive: Chain
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate torque assist clutch
Gearbox: 6-speed

2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Price

2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
- image 999221
2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
- image 999205
MSRP is $13,150 for the glossy Jet Black that, when paired with the stock blackout treatment, makes for a very dark machine indeed.

Price and paint are inextricably linked with this bike. It starts out at $13,150 for the glossy Jet Black that, when paired with the stock blackout treatment, makes for a very dark machine indeed. Even the “color” packages come with gloss black fenders front and rear with the only color to be found on the fuel tank. In the middle of the range is the Cordovan Red fuel tank paint for $13,450, and at the top is the two-tone Matt Storm Grey/Matt Ironstone for $13,650.

Instrument Display and Functions: Analogue speedometer with LCD multi-functional display
Service interval: 10,000 miles/16,000 Km or 12 Months, whichever comes first
Color: Jet Black, Matt Storm Grey/Matt Ironstone, Cordovan Red
Price: $13,150, Color: $13,450, Two-tone: $13,650

2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Competitors

2018 - 2021 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
- image 763929
2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
- image 999215

There’s just no way around it. The faux-rigid frame puts the Bonneville Bobber in fairly rare company indeed, so it is without reservation that I go straight to Harley-Davidson for its own genuine imitation hardtail bobber model, the Softail Slim.

Harley-Davidson Softail Slim

2018 - 2021 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
- image 970776

The similarities are remarkable in the visuals department between the Bonneville Bobber and the Softail Slim. Cut down fenders are constant across the board, as are the round cyclops headlights and old school-shaped instrumentation. Just as the Triumph tank is distinct in its tapered shape, the Harley’s tank is notable for its lack of leg accommodation and teardrop shape in profile for one fairly major design divergence.

The Softail’s solo saddle comes nestled into the swale in another contrast to the Brit that seems to emulate the look of the old post-type seat springs, but is in fact fixed to the main frame. Fat tires line laced wheels that rock the same blackout hub and rim with polished wire spokes to tie it all together.

The Harley packs in a lot more engine with its 1,753 cc Milwaukee-Eight 107 on power delivery duty, nearly half-again more, and that converts to more juice with 110 pounds o’ grunt against the Bonnie’s 78.2 pound-foot output. You’ll pay for that power to the tune of $15,999 for Vivid Black, up to $16,749 for the two-tone treatment, and ABS is a $795 option, so don’t forget to factor that in for the price comparison. H-D has no answer for the traction control and ride modes featured on the Bobber to fall further behind.

Read our full review of the Harley-Davidson Softail Slim.

He Said

“This is absolutely my favorite Triumph bike right now, and that bumps the Thruxton, which is a decision I didn’t arrive at lightly. I mean, just look at the thing. Those old-school lines and homegrown chops, all with the undercurrent of influence, that je ne sais quoi that sets Brit bikes apart from the rest of the world. Plus it’s a sleeper hot-rod that is bound to surprise anyone tempting you into a bit of a drag race between lights.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Triumph combined the Bobber with the Bobber Black this year, so the Bobber gets the larger front forks and blackout treatment. The fuel tank is larger, engine performance is improved and it has subtle design updates. The Bonneville line has been good seller for Triumph and their newest Bobber doesn’t let the family line down.”

2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
Bore x Stroke: 97.6 mm x 80 mm
Compression: 10.0:1
Max Power EC: 76.9 hp @ 6,100 rpm
Max Torque EC: 78.2 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust: Brushed stainless steel 2 into 2 twin-skin exhaust system with brushed stainless silencers
Final Drive: Chain
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate torque assist clutch
Gearbox: 6-speed
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular steel, twin cradle frame
Swingarm: Twin sided fabrication
Front Suspension: Ø 47 mm Showa cartridge forks
Rear Suspension: Mono-shock RSU with linkage
Rake: 24.5º
Trail: 3.6 in (92.0 mm)
Front Wheel: Wire 32-spoke, 16 x 2.5
Rear Wheel: Wire 32-spoke, 16 x 3.5
Front Tire: MT90B16
Rear Tire: 150/80 R16
Front Brakes: Dual 310 mm disc, Brembo 2-piston sliding axial calipers
Rear Brakes: 255 mm disc, Nissin single piston sliding axial caliper
Dimensions & Capacities:
Width Handlebars: 31.5 in (800 mm)
Height Without Mirror: 40.3 - 41.5 in (1,024 – 1,055 mm)
Seat Height: 27.2 - 27.6 in (690 - 700 mm)
Wheelbase: 59.1 in (1,500 mm)
Fuel Capacity: 3.2 US gal (12 liters)
Wet Weight: 553 lb (251 kg)
Details:
Instrument Display and Functions: Analogue speedometer with LCD multi-functional display
Service interval: 10,000 miles/16,000 Km or 12 Months, whichever comes first
Color: Jet Black, Matt Storm Grey/Matt Ironstone, Cordovan Red
Price: $13,150, Color: $13,450, Two-tone: $13,650

Further Reading

Triumph

ALLYN IMAGES: DO NOT DELETE
- image 791470

Read more Triumph news.

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
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: triumphmotorcycles.com, harley-davidson.com

Press release

Related Articles

2017 - 2020 Triumph Bonneville Bobber

2021 - 2022 Triumph T120 / T120 Black

2021 - 2022 Triumph Bonneville T100

2021 - 2022 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster

2021 Triumph Bonneville Street Twin

What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: