So I went up to my local bike shop on Tuesday on my day off work and came home with this, a Triumph Bonneville 860.
Riding it home from the dealers was an enlightening experience. To start with it's so much more comfortable than my old R1 sport bike rocket. The upright seating position has both your arms and legs at a nice neutral and comfortable position allowing for easy access to levers etc although I found the gear change lever a bit fiddly to actually get my foot on properly. It is quick steering at lower speeds 60 kmh or less and turns effortlessly. I noticed though when going a bit quicker it was harder to turn and hold it there, but hey its not a sports bike it's built for comfort.
Pulling away from traffic lights on this bike is actually quite effortless, ease out the clutch and with the good bottom end torque the bike just motors away easily, not like my old R1 where it requires rev's or you'll stall it which I did many times. Riding through traffic at 3000rpm made it really feel like I was just in cruise mode quite the change from what I've been used to.
The dash is fairly simplistic and easily readable, not overly cluttered with too much information. Just speed and time with some simple indicator lights. Simplistic and classic lines make this bike a true legend. I'll be right at home turning up on this on the distinguished gentleman's ride and would fit right in, no questions asked.
So some of the more regular readers of this blog if there are any left will probably be thinking why did I forgo my sports bike for the Triumph Bonneville?
Did I fall down the stairs and land on my head?
Have I listened to too much country music and gone insane?
Well I better own up. I rode the R1 up to the dealers for some new tyre's and the 20K service and this was the loan bike they gave me. Now I know my mate Brad would be laughing his ass off seeing me riding the Bonnie but it beats walking and wasn't too bad to ride.
As you might know last year I got a puncture in my rear tyre and I had to put a Michelin rear tyre on that was the wrong profile 190/50 vs the original 190/55 with a bridgestone front, needless to say it wasn't the smooth handling bike it used to be after that, I could tell. The plan was to put a Michelin front on but it never really sat well with me and I persisted with this combo against my better judgement but to my financial benefit. But with this years impending Snowy mountains ride coming up the front was wearing fast and I wasn't 100% happy with how the bike handled with these mismatched tyres I decided to bite the bullet and put on a new set of Bridgestone Battleaxe S21 Hypersports tyres which I had originally put on last year and was very happy with them until the puncture.
Dropping the bike back I was thankful for the loan bike but lucky that I didn't have to ride it again, it inspired no emotions in me what so ever. I can't say I'd be buying one of these before I hit say 75 if I make it that far. Even though the R1 is an uncomfortable bike to ride it is so hard to give up the performance it has in every area, brakes, suspension, cornering ability, blistering acceleration and sex appeal to name a few.
With 18,418km on the clock I'll have to see how many kilometers I get out of this set of tyres if I don't get a puncture this time.