How Long Will A Triumph Bonneville Last? (7 Important Facts)

The Triumph Bonneville is one of the best-known standard bike configurations from the world-famous Triumph motorcycle marque.

The Bonneville has been around since 1959 and is commonly and affectionately known by many as simply a “Bonnie.”

The “New Bonneville” was launched in 2001 as a completely new model, a departure from the classic Bonnevilles from the 1950s to the 1990s.

This article answers the question: “How Long Will A Triumph Bonneville Last?”…

Here Is The Short Answer to How Long A Triumph Bonneville Will Last

For a Triumph Bonneville (pre-2015); about 60,000 or 70,000 would be a good rate for this air-cooled motorcycle. If you have a post-2015 liquid-cooled Bonneville, then with proper maintenance there’s no reason that the bike couldn’t last up to +100,000 miles.

How Many Miles Will A Triumph Bonneville Last?

Air-cooled Triumph Bonneville motorcycles, which were the norm before 2015 tend to last fewer miles overall.

Triumph motorcycles of just about all generations have suffered from various reliability issues, which if not addressed in full will shorten the life of the bike.

For a post-2015 bike, you can expect 100,000 miles or more with proper maintenance and care.

The modern bikes wouldn’t need quite so much overhaul to make it past the 100,000-mile mark, but the same can’t be said for the air-cooled models.

Many Triumph models still suffer from some common issues, however, including particular susceptibility to corrosion from road salt and wet conditions on the polished finishes, and even recalls on some models made in 2019.

How Reliable Are Triumph Bonnevilles?

In large-scale surveys, Triumph as a brand has ranked lower than many Japanese brands such as Yamaha, Honda, and Suzuki, but ahead of some other European brands, including Ducati and BMW, as well as Canadian producer Can-Am.

Triumph Bonnevilles shares in the brand’s overall failure rate of 29 percent after a four-year period, which is far behind the likes of Yamaha, who enjoy a much more pleasing 11-percent rate of failure after 4 years.

As an individual model, however, the Bonneville is actually quite a strong competitor, especially the newer models from 2017 onwards.

Many owners insist that their modes like the Triumph Bonneville T100 and T120 are extremely dependable and enjoyable to ride.

Common complaints against Bonneville include suspension that has been described by some owners and reviewers as “unsophisticated,”

– which isn’t something you’d expect from the newer models that were redesigned and launched as recently as 2016-2017 –

In March 2019, there was a recall for both the Bonneville T100 and T120 regarding a fault in the headstock tidy that potentially did damage to the wiring loom.

Triumph promised owners that any repair would only take 30 minutes or less and that it wasn’t certain that they would require it.

The danger of the damage to the wiring loom is that it would have negatively impacted the main beam headlights, turn signals and could even lead to a loss of engine power – which is pretty dangerous for any bike, but especially a powerful cruising bike like the Bonneville that’s likely to be on high-speed roads.

Some other common issues that have affected older Bonneville bikes include downshifting when any rider would try to rush the downshifts faster than normal, when approaching a red light or a stop sign, for instance.

In addition, there were sometimes starting issues, loud brake squealing, popping noises from the exhaust when one tried to slow down, and an oil leak in the cam cover gasket.

There are some concerns over possible corrosion.

How Long Do Triumph Bonnevilles Last Vs. Competitors?

It’s quite useful to compare Triumph Bonneville with its competitors to see how it squares up.

When you put the Bonneville up against some major competition like Harley-Davidson or a Yamaha motorcycle, the Bonneville puts up a brave defense, but quite defeat either one,

The Triumph Bonneville is quite able to hold its own against any modern Harley-Davidson, though the older Bonneville’s had some issues with things like brake pads and exhaust noise.

The two bikes suffer from different things.

Common issues on the Harley-Davidson bikes such as loose rear sprocket bolts, burning exhaust pipes, or problematic clutches are not the same issues that happen with Triumph bikes.

You would likely expect a Harley-Davidson and a Triumph bike to last about the same time, mostly because their reliability depends so heavily on proper maintenance.

When you have a caring and attentive owner, the bike lasts, but negligence in maintenance will make either brand suffer.

When it comes to the Triumph Bonneville compared to certain Yamaha models, it’s fair to say that Yamaha bikes are less demanding in their maintenance and more easily last longer than a Triumph.

It would take a lot of maintenance, repairs, and even eventual overhaul to help a Triumph bike to outlive a Yamaha bike, which can last much longer on only the most routine of maintenance.

This isn’t to say that the Triumph Bonneville is unreliable.

The models produced since the 2016 and 2017 model years have shown great improvement in reliability, with owners proving very satisfied.

The difference is that most Triumph owners purchase the bike knowing they’ll have to take more care of it.

Yamaha owners purchase the bike knowing it won’t take too much of their time and energy in repairs.

Which Are The Best And Worst Triumph Models?

When you take time to look at reviews from professionals and owners, the Triumph model that has clearly been best received is the Triumph Bonneville T100 from 2017 onwards.

It often gets 5 stars or very close from both professional reviewing sites and in owners’ surveys.

The T100 brings 54hp and 59lb-ft of torque and has a top speed of 110mph.

This makes it quite an easy-going cruising bike, but also quite powerful when needed.

It’s also quite affordable, with even the very latest model costing just $10,450.

That’s a good rate for a 900cc motorcycle.

The bike is praised particularly for its reliability, build quality and attractive “classic” looks that conceal good modern equipment.

Owners in particular like taking it on smaller country roads, where the handling can be appreciated.

Turning to the more negative end of the spectrum now, the “worst” Triumph model was probably the 1971 Triumph Bonneville.

The model was dogged with issues, including design problems, a company-wide computer issue that triggered parts shortages, cracks in the frame, and a seat of 32 inches that was far too high for many riders.

This bike used a 649cc air-cooled engine making 50hp.

The ones that still sell today have been greatly modified and repaired to remove many of the stock problems that so harried it through its life.

Are Triumph Bonnevilles Expensive To Maintain?

It’s right to say that the Triumph Bonneville is quite difficult and expensive to maintain over time.

It is a fairly maintenance-intensive bike, but when maintenance is done properly, it should last a long time, especially the modern Bonneville models.

How Long Do The Brakes Last?

Brake fluid, pads, calipers, and master cylinders need close checks first at 500 miles, then every 6000 miles or 1 year, whichever comes first.

At your annual service, all these aspects must be checked.

The brake pads will last about 20,000 miles, but it’s not certain.

The Bonneville has been known for squeaking brakes, which can be confused with the sound brake pads make when they’re nearly worn down.

If you haven’t changed them after 20,000 miles, you’ll likely need to soon.

How Long Do The Tires Last?

The tires on a Triumph Bonneville are generally very durable because it is a cruising bike first and foremost and not prone to the fast acceleration and extreme high and low speeds that people exert on many sportbikes.

You can fully expect Triumph Bonneville tires to last their full recommended lifespan, which is 5 years.

How Long Does The Gearbox Last?

Some Bonneville models experience problems in downshifting, but it’s not usually down to any fault with the gearbox.

More likely it’s a problem with the riding style.

If you take your time with the gearbox, don’t apply too much strain to it, and aren’t too aggressive in downshifting, it should last as long as 40,000 miles, and perhaps even longer.

It might last the whole lifetime of the bike if you look after it well.

How Long Does The Chain Last?

The chain needs checking, possibly adjusting, as well as lubricating first at 500 miles, and then again every 6,000 miles or 1 year at the service time.

Replacement of the chain and sprockets will most likely be needed at the 24,000-mile mark.

What About The Insurance?

Insurance on these models can be surprisingly cheap if you have a good record and are not too young (or male).

The national average for motorcycle insurance in the US is about $700 and many Triumph Bonneville riders will enjoy cheaper rates, from $350-600 annually.

5 Best Tips To Prolong The Lifespan Of Your Triumph Bonneville

1. Never miss your oil changes.

This is crucial on a bike like the Bonneville.

An oil change is the most fundamental bit of maintenance, and missing one is out of the question.

Change the oil as instructed in the maintenance schedule.

2. Keep an eye on tire pressure and don’t let it fall below the recommended manufacturer level.

Keep the tires as fresh as possible, especially on older models.

Newer Bonnevilles from 2016 onwards enjoy greater tire durability, but for older models, ensure they are kept up to date.

3. Clean the carburetor.

The carburetor of any bike can get gummed up, but it can more deeply affect the performance of your Bonneville if not cleaned properly, so make sure you clean it regularly.

4. Don’t let the chain stay on past 24,000 miles.

Check it every 6,000 miles and look after it, but don’t push it beyond 24,000 miles because after that point you’ll have trouble preventing problems.

5. Keep polished components clean and dry, especially in winter.

If you ride over road salt in winter, or in a wet or muddy environment, ensure you clean the polished components of your Bonneville regularly to ensure they are not subjected to corrosion or rust problems.