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Motorcycle Review: The 2008 Triumph Bonneville Black

Bonneville, Caliper

As the world of riding motorcycles expands more and more, it is evident not everyone is buying a Harley Davidson. When my husband Spencer began the process of looking for a motorcycle that he could purchase for cash and one that was going to be around for years to come, he considered Triumph. A rider of many years, he didn’t want to go for the typical Harley. He wanted a motorcycle that was powerful and fun, as well as cost effective. The 2008 Triumph Bonneville Black became the obvious choice.

The Bonneville’s air-cooled, parallel twin-cylinder 865cc engine offers a simple look, but with modern design and build. The engine’s pistons rise and fall together – via a 360° crankshaft firing interval – which retains the classic feel and character of a British twin-cylinder engine, yet portrays a modern-day feel that can keep up with even the most expensive Harley Davidson.

6,000 rpm, maintained from around 2,500rpm through to the redline creates effortless acceleration in any of the five gears. Twin electrically heated 36mm carburetors with throttle position sensors. The ‘peashooter’ style pipes deal with exhaust gases as well as maintain the traditional look, as does the triangular engine cover.

The Bonneville’s low, wide seat provides comfort and has a low center of gravity. This makes riding easy and fun for new riders or experienced riders. My husband has been riding his whole life on some bike or another. He fell in love with this Triumph. He says the handling ability of this Bonneville is amazing. He also says that its gives you the impression that no matter what the situation, Bonnie can handle it.

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We have put about 400 miles on Bonnie so far. This bike is great. He had a sissy bar, Triumph of course, put on for me. I was concerned when I first saw the seat. It was wide and thick but I was wondering about the long ride capabilities. I was amazed. I was comfortable and able to ride for awhile without feeling like my behind was numb.

This is the first time I have ridden a motorcycle. A real motorcycle. I did get on my husband’s dirt bike 13 years ago for a minute. Not to be considered real riding. I am a novice. Riding on this Triumph Bonneville has made me an avid fan. I felt comfortable and adjusted to riding very easily. The seat was great and the handling of the bike was excellent. I never felt as a passenger that the bike was having to work to pull us. It had extreme power and torque.

Another great feature of the 2008 Triumph Bonneville is the way it handles in the turns. It is almost effortless to maneuver with confidence through the beautiful Colorado Rockies. Spencer tells me it handles better than any bike he has rode before. Through the test drives in the planning stages, he wasn’t sure if it would handle the way he wanted, but he says it is more than what he expected.

The 2008 Triumph Bonneville is a cruiser. It was not meant to keep up with the Ducati’s and the other rocket bikes. It purpose was to provide the power to let you have fun, but the comfort and cruisability factors keep it more appealing to the laid back crowd. In many ways, the Triumph is a much better bike than any Harley Davidson you can ride.

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It is as powerful as a Harley and has all the components to provide a wonderful experience in riding. The best thing about the 2008 Triumph Bonneville is the price tag. For less than $10,000.00 you can have a well built motorcycle, it’s powerful, it looks great and has a 2 year unlimited mileage warranty. If you live in Colorado or other parts of the country that are fairly cold a lot of the year, this is the way to have fun and to not break the bank. In the middle of winter with 4 or 5 inches of snow, it is no fun making payments on something you can’t get out and ride. Or don’t want to get out and ride.

The 2008 Triumph Bonneville is a different style of motorcycle. If you are more interested in having fun and enjoying a terrific motorcycle experience vs. trying to look cool on a Harley, that is costing you an arm and a leg, check out this fabulous bike. The best thing is not everybody is riding one, unlike the Harley which is becoming obnoxious to see and hear. All the cool “Bikers” are on them. 300 miles after purchase they are hating the payments and aren’t having near the fun of the Bonneville.

Here are the particulars of the new 2008 Bonneville Black Engine:

Air-cooled, DOHC, parallel-twin, 360º firing interval

90 x 68mm

Compression Ratio

Twin carburetors with throttle position sensor and electric carburetor heaters.

Stainless steel headers, twin chrome silencers

Digital-inductive type ignition

Primary Drive transmission

X ring chain

Clutch-Wet, multi-plate

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Gear Ratios-Primary: 108/62

1st: 41/15

2nd: 37/19

3rd: 34/22

4th: 31/24

5th: 29/27

Final: 43/18

Oil Capacity
1.2 US gals

Tubular steel

36-spoke 19 x 2.5in

40-spoke 17 x 3.5in

Kayaba, 120mm travel, 41mm forks

Kayaba chromed spring twin shocks with adjustable preload, 106mm rear wheel travel

Single 310mm disc, Nissin 2 piston floating caliper

Single 255mm disc, Nissin 2 piston floating caliper

Instrument display/functions
Analogue speedometer with odometer and trip information



Width (Handlebars)




Weight (Dry)

Fuel Tank Capacity
4.2 gal


Maximum Power
67PS at 7,200rpm

Maximum Torque
52ft.lbf at 6,000rpm

This motorcycle gets an A+ for design, handling ability, affordability and fun. In the market for a motorcycle? This is a great bike to consider. Well worth the price.