Describing the trend towards retro bikes as the “vintage boom”, Motorcycle USA tries out the Triumph Bonneville and Ducati GT1000 Touring, as brands such as these capitalise on the nostalgia associated with 60’s and 70’s motorcycling.
The Triumph Bonneville is the flag bearer of classic retro styling for this company, while Ducati’s SportClassic line is the added Italian option if you want a Ducati and not a Moto Guzzi.
As the magazine says though, it’s not just about the look.
This is 2009 after all, so a “vintage” ride must function in a very un-vintage-like manner with an electric start, fuel injection, fiery motor, dependable brakes, sporty handling and near maintenance-free reliability.
Triumph Bonneville SE 2009 Depending on your priorities as to purchasing a vintage-style bike, you’re either looking for pure style and moderate riding pleasure, or you want the full-blown sports performance of a Ducati with retro look.
Motorcycle USA says:Right out of the box, the Bonneville struck an authentic chord in the looks department.
The Bonneville SE we tested generated, by far, the most awestruck praise from roadside gawkers – quite a compliment considering Ducati’s undoubted skill at producing sexy bikes.
As for the motor, the Triumph’s 865cc Parallel Twin doesn’t measure up to the Ducati, down 127cc to it competitor.
Engine performance expectations have dramatically inflated since the Bonnie’s debut 50 years ago.
The modern Twin cranks 58 horsepower at the rear wheel and 44 lb-ft torque.
It doesn’t take long at the controls to realize the Bonneville motor is tuned for a more leisurely riding approach – much different than the Ducati’s rip-snorting L-Twin.
Yet the Triumph Twin delivers enough pep to motor up to triple digits and is spunky in its 4000 rpm sweet spot.
The old riding bromide about riding a slow bike fast rings true on the Bonneville – a rider with moderate skills will be pushing the Twin to its limit.
There’s a certain thrill in that.
Ducati Sport Classic GT1000 Touring For a summary of the Ducati GT1000 Touring, you can imagine that engine performance is where it’s at.
Bearing in mind, though, that this will cost you some more serious cash than the Bonneville.
The magazine says:It doesn’t take more than a block aboard the Ducati GT1000 Touring to realize that while the styling may be vintage, its 1000 Dual Spark L-Twin is most certainly not! Thwack the throttle open and your front wheel lifts, along with the sides of your grin.
Built in homage to the GT750 Twins that debuted in the 1970s, Ducati maintains the L-Twin roots but ups displacement a quarter-liter to 992cc via a 94 x 71.
5mm bore and stroke.
Personality at its core, the air-cooled GT1000 motor claps and rattles a wonderful cacophony, the two-valve desmodromic Twin turning our dyno drum up to 77 horsepower at the rear wheel and 58 lb-ft torque.
The fun factor aboard the Ducati ups considerably and its motor disparity with the Bonneville is quite remarkable.
Acceleration, top speed, overall power… the Ducati more than covers the Trumpet and delivers enough oomph to keep hooligan-leaning misfits happy.
So it all comes down to style vs performance (with a bit of wallet weight thrown in, too).
For the conclusion, check out the feature article as it will give you some good tips on what to purchase if you’re in the market for one of these bikes.