Every kind of motorcycle appeals to different people for different reasons. So many things factor in to the final decision of which bike you choose to make your own. I have been lucky enough to get to ride a fairly wide variety of Triumph Motorcycles over the past few years and they all inspire a certain kind of riding and make you feel a certain kind of way. I got to spend some time on the Speed Triple when I was in the UK and that made me feel super fast and nimble and inspired a more aggressive style of riding. The Street Scrambler is so light and has plenty of power so I cannot help but want to find me a fire road to explore. Well recently I was able to ride the new Triumph Bonneville Bobber Black through the Catskills on the East Coast.
The term “Bobber” refers to the stripped back style of motorcycle that was originally called a “bob-Job”. The rigid frame and shortened wheel base results in a lower, shorter machine. Like many styles of bike, the inspiration came from the race bikes of the 1930’s and was taken to the streets in the garages and shops of the average rider. The custom scene grabbed a hold of these “bob-job” style bikes and made it their own, as they do. Popular in the Hot Rod scene and always reflecting a home-built modified aesthetic; it wasn’t until the 1990’s that a commercially produced Bobber style motorcycle hit the market.
Here we are in 2018 with this lean mean Bobber version of the Bonneville from Triumph Motorcycles. The stats are all HERE if you want to geek out. Walking up to this bike for the first time it dawned on me that I had never actually rode a rigid frame motorcycle. The Triumph Bobber does have a mono-shock suspension so it is not truly a rigid bike but it still has that sweeping diagonal line between the steering head and the rear axle. The low seat height was pretty nice and definitely one of the first things I noticed once I sat on it. The forward controls took a minute for me to get used to, as always. Overall the bike was really comfortable.
As we took off for the ride to a haunted castle ( standard Catskills kind of adventure ) I realized how cool I felt on that bike. I know that is an extremely uncool thing to say, but it’s true. I felt cool. There is something about the stretched out body positioning that looks like you are just rippin’ without a care in the world. The blacked out paint job is pretty bad ass and the 1200 cc motor leaves nothing to be desired. No matter where we stopped ( a diner, a gas station, roadside ) people would come over to check out the bike and have all kinds of questions. This definitely added to the “me feeling cool” factor. I personally really dig that there is not really an option for a back seat. This bike is for one rider and one rider only which I think is pretty damn sweet. It’s about your own independence. I had an absolute blast on this bike.
I know that many people ride motorcycles for many different reasons. They are dangerous and the decision to ride can not to be taken lightly. Motorcycles can fill your life with so much thrill and excitement. I cannot bring myself to believe that looking cool is not at least a tiny bit part of it for nearly everyone, whether they admit it or not. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel cool even if maybe I don’t look cool on nearly every bike that I have ridden. This does not make up the vast majority of the reason I choose to ride but I'm sure it's in there. There is nothing wrong with feeling cool on a motorcycle, as long as you have the skill, training and responsibility to go with it. Cool is a state of mind anyway isn’t it?