Triumph Bonneville 50th Anniversary Model Ride Review
Motoaus takes a ride on not one, but three 50th Anniversary 2009 Triumph Bonnevilles.
For it’s 50th year anniversary of the iconic Bonneville, Triumph produced a limited edition Anniversary model. With production limited to just 650 units worldwide, and only 45 making it to Australia, you needed to be quick or lucky to get your hands on one.
Or in Michael “Hagsy” Hegarty’s case, 3 of them. That’s right, someone has three of these. He has other Triumphs as well, but that’s not the focus of this story. The Queensland Historic Motorcycle Club recently held a 50th anniversary rally at Dayboro, just north of Brisbane, and a whole slew of variants of the Triumph marque attended. In total there were 7 of these 50th Anniversary models present, along with some matching originals. Picture gallery here.
Motoaus were lucky enough to get an invite to go for a ride on the Sunday, with Bec and myself on a 50th Anniversary model each, and Micheal and his wife Leigh keeping a watchful eye over us and the Bonnies, on the remaining triplet.
We had been taken by surprise a while back after Triumph lent us a Thruxton, at just how much we enjoyed the Bonneville, despite its lack of apparent specification when compared to the latest sports bikes. Sometimes the simpler things in life are the best.
The 50th Anniversary model is based on the T100 Bonneville, which for the first time sports fuel injection. The 50th Anniversary comes in a special two-tone Meriden Blue/Exotic Orange combination, with hand painted gold pinstripes. The livery echoes the ‘Tangerine Dream’ design as found on the 1959 originals.
Various other embellishments set it apart from its full production brother, some extra bling, a different seat, and not the least being the constant reminder via the ” Limited Edition” number on the handlebar clamp reminding you that if you crash this baby, there won’t be another to replace it. So in spite of the Bonneville being named after the famous salt flats Triumph set a world speed record on in 1958, this day wasn’t going to be a day for speed records.
Whilst I normally ride at a pace befitting a bike with a-50 year heritage, Bec’s long history of racing two-strokes, and a steady diet of sports-bikes, almost excused her decision to wear full one piece leathers complete with sliders, and race boots. After a quick talking too, she settled on a more suitable- and appropriate- English RST jacket and jeans. We arrived for a bright and sunny morning in Dayboro, and were soon heading out with a large group of other Triumphs.
So we thought. Too much hopping around on one foot pulling boots on, and finding camera memory cards meant we lost the rear sweep rider, and after a bum steer from another Triumph rider at the servo, headed in the wrong direction back to Mt Glorious on the three matching Bonnevilles. Apologies now to the poor souls who followed us, assuming we knew where we were going.
Out on the road, it took only a few k’s to realise this model was much smoother than the previous, the fuel injection on the 865cc parallel twin was perfect. The high standard bars were comfy, but the total lack of wind protection meant keeping to sensible speeds. I was also struck by how nice the gear shifting action was, although the engine layout may look traditional, it’s all 2009 inside. Four valve, DOHC power drive through a five speed box, the clutch is cable actuated.
Triumph have cleverly diguised the fuel injection inside what looks like a set of carbs, retaining the classic looks. The 360 degree twin puts out a modest 67hp, at about 7500 rpm, with things smoothed down by twin balancers.
Handling is best described as pleasant, this is no track day weapon. It was certainly way more nimble than the scores of cruisers we effortlessly passed on Mt Glorious, scraping and wallowing around corners, sparks flying from their foot-boards.
Pushed hard, heavier riders (over 80kg) might notice it is a little harsh on mid corner bumps, otherwise it is up to any kind of spirited riding, short of hanging on the back of your mates Gixxer.
It was also a very easy bike to ride, and with no cramps or sore wrists. Perhaps a full day of open highway running would be a little demanding given the sit up position, but this is way cooler than say a Honda Deauville. Horses for courses. Although I did know a guy who regularly rode his early 70’s 750 Bonnie back and forwards across the Nullabor, so maybe we are all getting a bit soft. His had open pipes and apehangers too.
I found that on this bike, I could ride around about the speed limit, and not have it feel so mind numbingly slow like some of the supersports machines. Certainly lighter on the wallet and the demerit points over the long haul I would think. In fact the ease of riding would make this a pretty good bike for a beginning rider as well.
The ride passed pleasantly as we wound our way up over the dam “loop” to Woodford, stopping for a few photos along the way. The sight of three identical bikes had most onlookers offer comment. Then it was back over Mt Mee to the rally site at Dayboro.
A pleasant and easy 200 km ride, made all the more enjoyable by Queensland’s lately all too rare good weather. You aren’t going to be able to buy one of these special 50th Edition models, they are all long sold, but the T100 Bonneville they are based on is pretty much identical mechanically and ergonomically.
I suspect a lot of Bonneville buyers will gain as much pleasure looking at their bike in the garage while not out riding, and most owners will probably add some kind of personalisation.
The standard seat cuts a fine line on comfort, but there are hordes of accessories available from Triumph and others. For mine, I would fit slightly wider bars, and a set of after-market mufflers.
For those fortunate enough to have got their hands on this rare Anniversary model, the enjoyment of ownership will possibly be matched with a capital gain. Already I have heard stories of these changing hands for a premium.
Both of us really enjoyed the days ride, and while I cant see a huge amount of 21 year olds rushing out to buy one, for those who have “been there and done that”, those who want something easy to ride – without endangering your drivers license, and those who just want something with that elusive ingredient “character”, the Bonneville is worth taking a test ride on.
2009 Triumph Bonneville T100 50th Anniversary
Key features at a glance:
- Limited run of 650 individually numbered motorcycles built to celebrate 50 years of the Triumph Bonneville .
- Each bike comes with numbered handlebar clamp mounted plaque and certificate of authenticity signed by John Bloor .
- Unique Meriden Blue/Exotic Orange colour scheme based on 1959 original, including two-tone mudguards front and rear and colour-matched side panels.
- Special limited edition decals on side panels.
- Chromed cam cover.
- White piped seat with Triumph logo printed in gold.
- Special two-tone Meriden Blue/Exotic Orange paint combination, complemented with hand painted gold pinstripes.
Specifications of the T100 Bonneville