The 2008 Triumph Bonneville has a rich heritage. The classic Triumph Bonneville 1959-1983 was easily Triumph’s biggest name, then and now. After the death of the old Triumph (by this time the worker-owned Meriden Co-Op) in 1983, British developer-billionaire John Bloor bought the brand out of receivership with plans to reopen as a thoroughly modern premium motorcycle manufacturer. It took until 1990 to actually make it happen, but when ‘the new Triumph’ (now named Triumph Motorcycle Ltd, there wasn’t a Bonneville in sight, or anything that even looked like a Bonneville. In fact, when the launched, Triumph had nothing but 3- and 4-cylinders. But what a fleet of bikes! Triumph really nailed it with tough, cool, fast sport bikes, touring bikes, and more. But it took until 2001 to actually launch a new Triumph Bonneville. And just like with the earlier bikes, they nailed it. While a totally modern bike, with DOHC, 4-valves-per-cylinder, oversquare bore-to-stroke ratio and gear drive, it had the look of the classic Bonnie. Painting tanks and adding on chrome goo-gah is the easy part. The key to making a worthy tribute to the classic Triumph Bonneville is the look of the engine, and that’s not an easy thing to do at all, considering the obvious, huge differences between old and new. First off, the new Bonneville is air-cooled, with two vertical cylinders that are shaped similar to the originals. The cam towers are positioned and shaped to mimic the old engine’s rocker boxes. On the right side, always the handsome side on a Triumph, the new engine apes the look of that iconic triangular timing cover and oval gearbox cover of the classic bike. On the left side, despite being a gear-driven primary, the primary cover looks very much like the classic, and also very iconic, Triumph primary cover. It’s too bad they didn’t use the little ‘flying wing’ shape the Meriden cast into the primary covers of old. But it looks authentic enough, and certainly enough to be instantly recognized as a modern-day Triumph Bonneville. While they are now styled in a variety of flavors and colors, the classic Bonneville theme is paid homage to here with the paint scheme, faux oil tank-side cover, and traditional silencers (mufflers). Cudos to Triumph for pulling it off so well. This 2008 Triumph Bonneville is a fine example of just how good these bikes are.
2008 Triumph Bonneville SPECIFICATIONS
Bore & Stroke
Steering head rake