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Triumph Bobber - bought from Bill Smith's of Chester, £9995 otr, delivery mileage - 3.

I tested the Bobber and the Bobber Black. The Black is - well - Black. It has thicker front forks, a smaller front wheel with a fatter (& heavier tyre), twin front discs, LED headlight with DRL and cruise control. Having ridden both bikes my personal feeling is that whilst the Bobber is surprisingly easy to hurtle round the bends the heavier front end of the Black makes it a matter of more manfully hauling in the direction you want to go. Once it's pointed in the right direction it's well planted but you do feel that heavy front tyre resisting the initial turn in.

The Bobber uses LED tail/brake light and indicators, with a halogen headlamp. No DRL, the headlamp is on when the ignition is on.

The twin discs on the Black give you more stopping power but like the Bobber the brakes need a handful of grab rather than two fingered braking. The brakes are perfectly up to the job and if you like an engaging ride then they suit the genre of the bike. But if you want the power of modern bike brakes the Bobber will feel lacking. Personally I think Triumph have got it right - a Bobber with brakes like a modern sports bike just wouldn't feel right. But then I don't like the brakes on modern cars - too much servo assist and too little engagement with the road.

One thing about the Black I didn't like, and it's a minor thing really, is that the DLR system shows a green light on the instrument cluster, ie the same as the neutral indicator, and I found that irritating. I'm sure it's something you'd soon get used to though.

There are a wealth of accessories and options. You can add ape hanger bars or feet forward pedals (taken from the Speedmaster with an adapter kit). There are panniers, though the frame looks odd on a Bobber and it's strangely made in bright chrome whereas all Bobbers share a black rear end. I opted for a swing arm bag fitted low down on the left side to keep my disc alarm lock in.

Most Bobbers you see are matt colours to reflect the origins of the design. I absolutely love the red and silver colour scheme shared with other Triumph models. The tank in those colours is a thing of beauty.


The presence of the Bobber is not just its looks. The soundtrack is a huge grin factor. When you fire the motor it's as if Wagner has met Motorhead - it is dramatic. Riding the bike in traffic is a lovely experience. Motorists get advance warning that some badass beast is heading their way, but then it's so wonderfully retro and nostalgic that there's none of the aggression that can go with more modern designs. Most people just smile when they see it.

The real surprise though is the way it rides. On the bends the Bobber is a very intuitive bike, it goes where you want to go with perfect manners. In heavy traffic it is a doddle, it carries its weight low down and your bum is near the ground anyway. If you can handle a 125 you can handle a Bobber round town. On the motorway there's another surprise. The instrument cluster is adjustable, put it in its more upright position and it acts like a flyscreen - I found myself doing a steady 60 and then realised I'd left my flip front helmet fully open and never noticed. The lack of buffeting is amazing. Go faster and you know you're on a naked bike - it isn't a machine you'd want to go long distances at speed on.

I noticed a difference between the Bobber and the Black over poor road surfaces, or hitting white lines and cats eyes on overtaking. The Bobber just smooths over them, the Black has a pronounced twitch. It may have been that the Black's tyre pressures weren't right? But I have a hunch that the heavy front tyre upsets the dynamics of the bike. It sorts itself out immediately but it is there.

So for me it's the Bobber rather than the Bobber Black. I think it's a bit more minimalistic, rides better, looks nicer and the front wheel is easier to keep clean.

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After a good ride around N Wales the brakes are certainly improving. I found I had slipped into my usual routine of two finger braking and had no issues with lack of brakes. Having said that I wasn't pushing it as the engine is still running in so I guess once that's been done I might find more fingers needed!

I was riding for three hours and the bike is so comfortable I really wasn't ready to come home.

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