Is the 2021 Triumph Bonneville T100 Just a De-Contented T120?

If you’re looking for a new bike with a classic look, Triumph is a popular choice. The British brand has several retro models, such as the Thruxton café racer and off-road Scrambler lineup. But the Triumph Bonneville is arguably the brand’s most iconic model, retro or otherwise. And today, you can buy it in two different trims: T100 and T120. However, if you go with the Triumph Bonneville T100, are you losing out?

What makes the 2021 Triumph Bonneville T100 different from the T120 model?

The 2021 Triumph Bonneville T100 and T120 have the same frame and general layout. Namely, a liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine. They also have some of the same features. But compared to the Bonneville T100, the T120 has a bit more of everything. Think of it as the full-fledged Indian Scout to the T100’s Scout Sixty.

A black 2021 Triumph Bonneville T100 by a brick wall
2021 Triumph Bonneville T100 | Triumph

The 2021 Triumph Bonneville T100 has a 900cc parallel-twin rated at 55 hp and 59 lb-ft. That’s sent to the rear wheel via a 5-speed manual and a torque-assist clutch. The Bonneville T100 rides on KYB forks and twin shocks and has ABS-equipped Nissin disc brakes. Switchable traction control is standard, Cycle World reports, as is an under-seat USB socket.

For instrumentation, the bike has an analog speedometer and tachometer along with an LCD screen. The display houses the gear-position indicator, the fuel gauge, estimated range, clock, odometers, and service lights.

The side view of a black 2021 Triumph Bonneville T120 side
2021 Triumph Bonneville T120 side | Triumph

In contrast, the 2021 Triumph Bonneville T120 has a 1200cc parallel-twin rated at 80 hp and 77 lb-ft. And while it also has a torque-assist clutch, the T120 has a 6-speed manual transmission. However, it’s also slightly heavier. Triumph lists the Bonneville T100’s dry weight at 470 pounds; the T120 weighs in at 494 pounds.

Like the Bonneville T100, the T120 has ABS and switchable traction control, and the same kinds of gauges and displays. However, the T120 adds multiple riding modes, heated grips, and an extra front disc to that. Plus, it has a center stand, a passenger grab rail, and a slightly shorter wheelbase, Bennetts reports.

The extra output and features literally come at a price, though. The 2021 Triumph Bonneville T100 starts at $10,450. The T120 model is an extra $1400.

Does the 2021 Triumph Bonneville T100 ride differently than the T120?

Gray 2020 Triumph Street Twin parked in front of a brick wall
2020 Triumph Street Twin | Triumph

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On paper, the Triumph Bonneville T100 seems closer to another of the brand’s bikes: the Street Twin. In fact, the Street Twin has the same engine, only with 65 hp. And it’s both slightly lighter and cheaper than the Bonneville T100.

However, the T100 isn’t a gussied-up Street Twin, MCN explains. It’s a genuine Bonneville, with the same kind of build quality. Only it’s lighter and arguably more approachable than the T120. For newer riders who want the classic styling, the T100 might be the better starting point, Motorcyclist reports. And keep in mind, Cycle World found the Bonneville T120 to be faultless on its release.

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The 90cc engine is better-tuned in the T100 than in the Street Twin, RideApart reports. It’s torquey and under-stressed, and despite lacking 6th gear, the bike isn’t working hard at highway speeds, Roadshow reports. Plus, thanks to that torque-assist clutch, your shifts don’t have to be perfect. And combined with the upright riding position and 31.1”-high seat, the Triumph Bonneville T100 is an easy bike to ride. It’s also more comfortable than the Street Twin, MCN and Motorcyclist report.

That being said, there are some downsides to going with the Bonneville T100 over the T120. Firstly, on longer “more open roads,” the bike could benefit from some more power, Roadshow reports. Secondly, if you want heated grips, they cost extra on the T100. And finally, the lack of a second front disc means you’ll have to pull a bit harder on the T100’s brake lever compared to the T120. But it does mean the steering is slightly lighter, Cycle World reports.

Which version should you buy?

So, while the 2021 Triumph Bonneville T100 doesn’t have all of the T120’s features, it still delivers the Bonneville experience. And at a discount, too. But is the T120 worth that upcharge?

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You can outfit the Bonneville T100 with a center stand, heated grips, and a grab rail for about $750. But you can’t equip the T1s20’s riding modes, extra brake disc, or its powertrain. Ultimately, though, you’ll have to test-ride both bikes to get a sense of your personal comfort. Still, know that if you prefer the T100, you’re not getting less of an experience.

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