So a few months ago my life is set to change a little bit. I'm going from full-time at work to part-time and upping my classes at uni so I'll be doing four units until I finish my Bachelor of Nothing. I've got a customised DR650 and an SR400(or SR530R as I oh-so-creatively dubbed it) in the garage and while both were kickarse bikes, neither were practical for long distance riding or even storing shopping on while heading around town. So I start to look around for something dead reliable that will last me the next two years at uni only doing scheduled servicing. Something that looks nice, which for me is a naked, traditional looking bike, can sit comfortably on the freeway and has a good reputation for reliability. After considering a few bikes and a test riding a few I ended up going with a 2012 Bonneville. Which may have been a mistake. I've done around 4,000k's on it now in the last two months. Not a huge amount of k's but I figure I'm more qualified to talk about the bike than most professional reviewers in magazines. Interestingly, a lot of the problems I've encountered aren't really mentioned anywhere in the press. So, here's my problems with the Bonnie. Fuel Injection It is, without doubt, shithouse. Higher in the RPM band it's fine but down low, and at under 40k's and low throttle opening the o2 sensors cause the bike to jump, dig into the ground and generally act like a bastard. It feels unpredictable and very, very snatchy. This makes negotiating carparks and footpaths a royal pain in the arse that makes you look like you've got no throttle control at all. On my few days away on the bike over the weekend I'd forgotten about this, beginning to love the way it behaves when swinging through turns, especially fast, open sweepers. But then I got in Canberra and negotiating crawling traffic was agonizing. Started cursing the bike again, after thinking that I was -finally- starting to love it. There's solutions to this - and the most succesful one that people swear by online is removing the airbox baffle, o2 sensors and uploading an aftermarket tune. I am planning on doing this but regardless, the thing is damned near unrideable at times. I shouldn't have to pull the guts of the bike out, silicon things up, stick in an aftermarket filter and stuff around with a tuning program just to MAKE THE DAMN THING RIDEABLE. Suspension The worst stock suspension of any bike I've ever owned or ridden ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. I was fully prepared for the spongey, wallowey suspension that usually comes with the retro classic style bikes but this was unrideable. It was ridiculously over sprung and under dampened. I didn't even really notice it for a while, plodding around well sealed roads but the first time I hit a less-than-perfectly paved segment of tarmac it felt like I was being bashed up by a big Muay Thai Bonneville fighter* who was punching me in the kidneys and kicking my jaw over every bump. I slowed to a crawl and dealt with the fuel injection trying to buck me off the thing and dry retched in my helmet. I have been punched and bashed before. (I'm from Parramatta, you see) This bike hurt more. I've never ridden something that has made me feel physically ill. For this, my bike truly is remarkable. BUT it is relatively easily solved. I went out on the net and got some valving, new front fork springs, oil and Ohlins rear shocks and it is a completely different bike. A little too stiff, but some tweaking could fix that easily. So it's not a real problem, other owners have told me. Well, yes it ****ing is. You should not have to spend money on any car or bike to stop it from making you feel sick. Remarkable engineering, Triumph. Stupid Design Tidbits This will be more nitpicky than other sections but hey, it all adds up. Some things about the bike really shit me and make me wonder what the hell the Triumph engineers were thinking. Removal of the seat is one of the most clumsy, awkward designs I've seen in a while. You need to get two long allen keys under the rear of the seat which is very hard to see in the dark and awkward to do generally. While I can understand with some bikes it can be a pain, when you look at this bikes opposition, chiefly the W800, that's a key and the seat pops right off. And Kawasaki owners get storage space too. There's no room at all on the Bonnie. And there's no tool kit at all provided with the Triumph. The ignition isn't waterproof. "WHAT THE ****?" I hear you say! But alas, it's true. Triumph recommend during a good wash you cover the ignition, which is on the headlight mounting ears with something. Christ knows what. But that doesn't fill me full of confidence. As standard, there are virtually no tie down points and it is very, very hard to mount luggage to easily. The frame rails sit too far inside the seat to get a cargo net on unless you want it pulling at the stitching of your seat. Once again, this can be fixed with a myriad of aftermarket grab bars rails, racks and bag combos etc. But it doesn't stop it from being irritating. There's also no helmet lock. Not a problem if you own an RSV4 or something really track oriented but the Bonnie is supposed to be an everyday riding option. It's a minor quibble but when I'm walking into a shopping centre, uni or a rub and tug joint, holding the helmet is a pain. I know I can use a bike lock or whatever but really, I shouldn't have to. It doesn't have a locking fuel cap. This is an option from Triumph that makes you carry a spare key just for the fuel cap which will tink and rattle against the pressed steal headlight ears when you ride down the road. I shouldn't have to pay $80 for a locking fuel cap. Jesus. Fuel Economy Shithouse. And that was before I put the aftermarket cans on and changed the pipes. It's still shithouse. Averaging at 7-8 litres per 100km. Sometimes it's better but sometimes it's worse. Controls It has a very strange clutch pull with take up, even adjusted as close as possible to the bars, at the very end of my fingers reach. So feathering the clutch or being all that precise with the thing is quite tricky. I'm much more used to the clutch take up at around half an inch from the grip. But narp, it's alllll the way out there. I'm getting used to it now, but after 4,000k's I bloody should be. The Good With a set of Staintunes on mine it sounds absolutely beautiful. It's more of a compliment for Staintune Australia but regardless, under acceleration it's the most handsome-sounding bike I've owned, ridden or heard. Just gorgeous. And handles bloody well. Like seriously, seriously well. On paper it shouldn't, being a fat pig of a thing but it corners beautifully and feels very sure footed and responsive. That being said it should be a reliable and hassle free bike for the next 2-3k's and I probably won't lose that much in the scheme of things when I go to sell it - certainly not compared to many other options out there. Retro classics tend to hold their value well, so this isn't a compliment leveled at the Bonnie in particular. But the wealth of information available about it online is. There is so much collective knowledge available about the bike it's very reassuring if I have any problems of if things go wrong - I can just hop on the net and speak to all manner of overweight white middle Americans about the best fix for the problem. In Conclusion, your honour... So there are a few problems with the new Bonneville you might not have heard about. Am I glad I bought the bike? For sure. I've wanted a new Triumph for the last ten years when I first saw them released. So I'm quite glad I've got it out of my system. Would I buy another? At this stage, nah... It's pitched as a $12,xxx bike. But in reality it isn't. By the time you faff about and get the suspension to a passable standard, sort the fuel injection issues and organized some tie-down points and extended bolts to remove the seat easily you've spent a bit more cash and some time. Many of the things I'm complaining about are just minor foibles. But when you add them all up owning a Bonneville can be plain out irritating. *You see, the new Bonneville's aren't made in England. They're Thaiumphs and no matter what the often Harley-esque owners say when they puff out their chests and say "It's a Triumph mate!" it is a completely different company manufacturing the bike in a different country. I bought this bike because I thought I liked it, not due to any bullshit claim to lineage that people might claim.