Edited from the Cycle World Review, December 2017
Triumph’s 2017 Bonneville Bobber was something of an anomaly for the brand. Like its popular Bonneville base platform, it blended a smooth and powerful engine with timeless styling, but it also sold quicker than anything else in Triumph’s 115-year model history, ever. If this doesn’t make a case for its merit, then I don’t know what does. Still, it had its shortcomings, but now Triumph has added the new “darker, meaner” Bobber Black. Continuing to draw inspiration from the original post-war bobber movement, this new steed is equal parts accommodating and aggressively defiant—and won’t let you forget it.
The Bobber Black has a lot in common with the previous Bobber—from the triangular faux-rigid frame, to the brutish 1,200cc, eight-valve SOHC twin engine, to the ubiquitous tractor-style solo seat. Still, there are some important differences to note. First, the Bobber Black now boasts a larger, 47mm cartridge Showa fork, up in size from the previous Bobber’s 41mm KYB fork.
The front end also sees a revamp in the brakes department, with the addition of a second twin-pot, sliding axial caliper, as well as a second 310mm disc. The rear single-piston Nissin caliper and single 225mm disc remain unchanged. Neither the front or rear suspension is adjustable for compression or rebound damping, with rear preload being the only thing you’re able to change.
The Bobber black now comes with a full-LED headlight (that has the option to be turned off completely) as well as a useful built-in daytime running light. Triumph also kitted out the Bobber Black with an easy-to-use, single-button cruise control that is standard. In terms of rider ergonomics, the Bobber Black offers two separate seat position settings, one that places the rider farther up on the frame triangle, and a second that shifts the seat lower and farther back. The foot controls are still in the same mid-mount configuration, however Triumph states that forward controls will be included in the extensive 150-item accessory list.
Aside from the changes to the fork and front brake system, you’ll also find a new 16-inch front wheel (down in size from the 19-inch wheel found on the Bobber) that’s wider as well. Triumph worked with Avon on an exclusive set of Cobra tires for the Bobber Black. Aesthetically, Triumph has taken a cue from a popular Rolling Stones song, as the rest of the bike’s hardware (including but not limited to: shift linkage, levers, bars, seat pan, mirrors, risers, cam and sprocket covers, headlight rim, and exhausts) has all been—you guessed it—painted black.
To say the Bobber Black stops better than the previous Bobber is an understatement—and with double the clamping power in the front, why wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, those who own the Bobber will not be able to swap their single rotor and caliper system to this new, updated style, due to the complexity of the rider aids.
Triumph hit the nail on the head with the Bobber Black—in most respects, anyway. It rides better than I expected it to, looks incredible, and has just the right amount of attitude. It stops far better than the previous Bobber, and the front-end feel is decisively better as well. If you’re already a fan of Triumph’s strong twin and the bobber aesthetic is what you’re after, then the Bobber Black is a sure bet.
Green Day’s Tré Cool was born in Frankfurt, Germany to American parents and embarked on a music career at the young age of 12 when he was recruited to play drums by his neighbor Larry Livermore for the punk outfit The Replacements. In 1990, Cool was asked to fill in temporarily as Green Day’s. The rest is history.
Cool dropped out of high school to pursue music full time. How punk rock is that!?! Cool’s father was a huge supporter of the band, who converted a Bookmobile to a touring rig to transport the band. Dookie’s massive and unexpected success catapulted the band into lasting American and international music fame and a career that would span decades.
Tré Cool acquired this 2018 Triumph Bonneville Bobber in June 2019, an obvious addition to his collection and penchant for the Bobber-style. Used sparingly – only 373 miles – the bike has been on static display in his climate-controlled environment and is presented in just about as-new condition. The bike is sold on a clean, clear title in our vendor’s name and Tré has offered a personalized autographed memorabilia item to accompany the sale.
Chassis no. SMTD42HL8JT840433
Location: Glendale, California