First Ride: Triumph’s Bobber turns heads with its old-school charm

The Bobber is part of Triumph’s ‘Modern Classics’ range, but what is this classic cruiser like to ride? Jack Evans finds out.

The Bobber’s relaxed ride is core to its appeal
Triumph Bobber The Bobber’s relaxed ride is core to its appeal

What is it?

The Bobber is one of Triumph’s most eye-catching models
The Bobber is one of Triumph’s most eye-catching models

Triumph’s line-up is quite varied these days. Naturally, its range of Scramblers is well-known, as are its globe-trotting Tiger models. But if you’re after a motorcycle with an even more throwback finish, then it’s this bike – the Bobber – which will no doubt rise above the rest.

Built in the image of classic cruiser motorcycles, the Bobber is a low-riding bike that majors on style and charisma but, in typical Triumph fashion, is backed up with some serious engine performance alongside a real focus on the details. We’ve been checking it out to see how it stacks up.

What’s new?

The main exhaust is designed to mimic classic versions
The main exhaust is designed to mimic classic versions

Style comes very high up the Bobber’s list of priorities. It sits within Triumph’s ‘Modern Classics’ range alongside bikes like the Speed Twin and Thruxton RS but whereas they have a sportier focus, the Bobber is an unashamed cruiser. Its low-slung design mimics those bikes seen thundering along California’s open roads, rather than Cornwall’s lanes.

But geography aside, the Bobber is available in a number of specifications so that it can be personalised properly, with a new ‘Purple Stealth’ appearing as a particularly stand-out choice – you don’t tend to see that many deep purple motorcycles on sale.

What’s it powered by?

The 1200cc engine is silky smooth
The 1200cc engine is silky smooth

There’s a sense of quiet purpose in the Bobber’s mechanical setup. Powering the whole affair is a 1,200cc twin engine with a usable 77bhp and 106Nm of torque. It’s that latter figure which is the most important here as it lends the Bobber the kind of easy-going roll-on performance that you’d expect from an old-school cruiser. You can switch between ‘Road’ and ‘Rain’ riding modes, too, which adjust the throttle and traction control depending on the conditions ahead of you.

Triumph has designed the Bobber’s exhaust in a straight-through style, though it has cleverly managed to integrate the catalyst box so that it remains hidden and the impression of a traditional straight exhaust is maintained. Up front, you’ve got a 16-inch front wheel and 47mm forks, while at the back you’ll find a ‘floating’ aluminium seat with monoshock suspension. At 690mm, the seat height for the Bobber is impressively approachable – riders of most shapes and sizes should be able to get comfy here.

What’s it like to ride?

Step over the Bobber and you’re instantly transported to an old-school time of riding. Naturally, with its low-riding position the Bobber feels approachable from the off and though it does feel relatively heavy, it’s all very easy to move around because of the bike’s low height. Start it up and you’re met with a classic burble from the exhaust and though it’s far from antisocial, it’s still got enough character to keep most riders happy. Some might like it to be a little louder, mind you.

The engine might be large in capacity but it’s incredibly approachable. There’s a pleasant lack of vibration through the bars and though the Bobber might not offer the last word in dynamic riding, it’s more than happy to thread through lanes or long, sweeping corners. It doesn’t feel quite as happy through more complex areas of the road, but get it on a smooth, connecting section and it’s a joy. The brakes have a decent level of performance, too, and as we’ve found with previous Triumph models it’s the quality of the gearshift which shines through as well.

How does it look?

The Bobber is laid-back and easy to ride
The Bobber is laid-back and easy to ride

The Bobber’s design is unashamedly classic, but that’s no bad thing in the slightest. It’s all beautifully executed, from the painted tank to the controls on the wide bars. As with many classic motorcycles, the Bobber also gets a key barrel on the side which does, in fairness, take a little getting used to as does the steering lock at the side of the forks. It’s something you’ll quickly get up to speed with, mind you.

As with all Triumph models, there are loads of extras to choose from with the Bobber. Five exterior colours kick the personalisation off while additions like machined bar end mirrors, different shades of clutch levers and heated grips all allow you to tailor the Bobber to your specific needs. There are extras of all prices, too, so you can tweak things without increasing this bike’s price too much.

What’s the spec like?

The main readout is clear and easy to read
The main readout is clear and easy to read

Prices for the Bobber start from £13,195. It is one of the most expensive bikes in the Modern Classics range – outside of the tip-top, £14,195 Thruxton RS – meaning that it does represent quite the investment. However, there are plenty of high-quality features dotted across this motorcycle, including a bright LED daytime running light which is joined by LED bullet indicators to make the Bobber more visible at all times of day.

A compact multi-function display is accessed via a handlebar-mounted scroller button to showcase a variety of key information. Cruise control also comes on the Bobber as standard, meaning that though this cruiser isn’t primarily designed as a long-distance motorcycle, it can undertake those chunkier journeys in a little more comfort than you might expect.


The Triumph Bobber won’t appeal to everyone. It is strong in terms of its design and intended use, with those who want to do long distances or fancy themselves a more ‘focused’ rider likely better off looking somewhere else. However, if you’re after a motorcycle with bags of charisma that is reinforced by great mechanical underpinnings and plenty of features, then the Bobber could be a good fit.

It may be expensive, but given the level of finish that the Triumph Bobber brings, it feels like a worthy investment and one that’ll definitely get people talking wherever you stop.