It was simply an exhilarating two weeks that we eagerly anticipated here at BikeMatters, the arrival of the 2023 Triumph Bobber Chrome. A two-wheeled masterpiece that turns heads and ignites your inner rebel, with buckets of torque and an explosive soundtrack.
Set apart in 2023 with its Chrome tank, the superb powerhouse 1200 cc parallel-twin motor sings to your soul, the road-hugging handling almost defies belief leaving you craving the next turn, and it's a true stunner with a custom heart – this bike is truly unlike anything else. You’re certainly not going to go anywhere quietly on this, from firing it up and riding away it demands attention and admiration in equal spades.
Let’s dive into the heart of the Bobber, covering its spec and performance, and how I got on exploring the beach for the weekend. In short, it was one of the best bikes we’ve tested this year (we’ve had some seriously good ones), and it was nothing short of surprising at every corner. Also note that other than the Chrome tank, there is no difference internally to the rest of the 2023 line-up.
What is the Triumph Bobber Chrome all about?
Before we get into it, what is the Triumph Bobber? First released in 2017 as a minimalistic stripped-down ‘Bonneville Bobber’, it was refined in 2018 as the ‘Bonneville Bobber Black’ with a dark and more aggressive style, and later as the Bobber TFC (Triumph Factory Custom) in 2020 – with greater power from a tuned engine, high spec components, yet limited to 750 examples.
2021 saw the Bobber receive further enhancements to the engine, suspension, and overall package, with Euro 5 improvements/tweaks with performance boosts thanks to reduced internal inertia, a bigger fuel tank (from 9 to 12 litres), plus higher spec suspension. This Bobber also features cruise control, an LED headlight & rear light, and the same analogue & LCD combination display that we’ve seen in the Speed Twin and Scrambler 900.
Fast forward to today, and this stunning Chrome edition headlines the 2023 line-up, including: 16-inch chunky wheels, a hardtail-style rear with a low 690-700 mm floating seat, that famous torque-rich Bonneville 1200cc parallel twin, liquid-cooled with 270-degree crank (76.9 bhp and 106 Nm of torque)
Though it has been churning out of the Hinckley marque for over 6 years now, the Bobber stays true to the classic custom roots – historically the Bobber styling was initially born from chopping old Bonnevilles and the like. I’ve never been stopped more by people who want to tell me just how spectacular this Bobber is, most notably curious as to whether it’s a custom build or not.
Triumph Bobber | Good and Bad
- Unique Bobber styling.
- Engine is fantastic.
- Handling has no right to be this good.
- Would love the tank to be a touch bigger.
- Peg scraper.
- You will constantly get attention – for better and worse!
2023 Triumph Bobber Price and Availability
As of writing, the 2023 Triumph Bobber is listed starting from £12,995, available in four colours. As ridden and tested it is £14,229, made up from the £13,795 Chrome pricing, plus bar end mirrors (£199) and heated grips (£235) as accessories.
You’ll have to be quick to get your hands on a Bobber Chrome, as it’s part of the 2023 ‘Chrome’ collection which sees the Bonneville range all given a sparkling finish – but no doubt 2024 will hold some special alternative options, as is the Triumph way.
If you’re not after the all-singing and dancing Chrome, you can save a few quid by opting for the standard Jet Black at £12,995, the two-tone Jet Black / Ash Gray at £13,345, Red Hopper at £13,195, or the Matt Storm Grey / Matt Ironstone at £13,345.
1200cc parallel-twin | Bobber Engine Spec
- 1200 cc parallel twin, liquid-cooled, 8 valves, SOHC, 270-degree crank, 78 PS / 76.9 bhp at 6100 rpm, 106 Nm at 4000 rpm.
Triumph is all about the ride, and crucial to that is the motor. Happily, this one is fantastic to work with. 106 Nm of torque at your disposal with a ride-by-wire throttle and torque-assist clutch, power is put down rapidly to the rear wheel, and there is plenty of top-end grunt with 76.9 bhp.
Sure, some may say that for a 1200 cc motor there should be more power, but in this application it is fantastic. Gearing is superb and the 6 gears are decently long, allowing you to sit in each gear for just long enough to put some decent numbers on the analogue speedo.
Rev matching on downshifts is addicting, when you get it right it just flows beautifully with pops and bangs. Rev-matching on this is great fun, too, downshifts met with a satisfying growl from the engine as you shift down from 6th to cruising in town at 2nd – the exhaust note itself being a delightful rumble that evokes some real character. Get it right and it rewards you with a beautifully flowing change, with some pops and bangs as the motor winds down on the output power.
A surprising characteristic of the Bobber is just how smooth it is to ride at low speeds – despite weighing 251 kg wet, and having such a torquesy motor at your disposal. Cruising at low speeds (30 mph in 2nd) the bike sails along, waiting for you to twist the throttle and get the motor singing beneath you, torque instantly delivered to the back wheel as you point towards the next corner.
Traction control (switchable) did sometimes flash up when accelerating particularly hard out of corners and from first, though it doesn’t intervene too heavily – and if you really hate it, it can be switched off altogether.
You can also flick into rain mode to dull out the torque delivery, and it did a good job on rainier days when commuting to the office – though it hurt me a little inside to know that Chrome was sitting out in the rain.
Bobber Style | Chassis, Suspension, Brakes
The telescopic front 47mm Showa suspension paired with the twin-cradle frame with twin-sided swingarm (considering this is a Bobber with little to no suspension travel and 251 kg to support) feels superb. General bumps in the road are handled really well – it’s only against the bigger lumps you may feel a substantial jolt. Mid-corner the stability is confidence inspiring, that is until you get too confident and the pegs scrape for the first time. That is something you have to keep in mind, the ground clearance isn’t much, but once you wear down the hero blobs and get accustomed to it, it’s a quite rewarding feeling…
Braking power was another surprise, the front twin 310mm disc setup from Brembo 2-piston axial calipers works seriously well to halt your progress when approaching a corner. At the rear is a single 255mm disc with Nissin single-piston caliper. ABS is here, too, and would only get up in arms if you get too cocky with the rear brake trying to halt your progress.
A surprising characteristic was the lack of dive when weight was transferred forward under pulling the front brake. There’s naturally a bit of forward dive, but you don’t feel like the front is being loaded much at all, it’s more the rear that squirms a tad when heavily pressing down the lever. The rear end is supported by a single mono-shock neatly tucked under the rear seat, and does a good job overall but can be a touch firm.
The poise of the bike, and even its road presence when static, is astounding. Working from the 16-inch rear wheel to the stunning floating seat, the chrome tank and bars and the small front LED light (which needed a slight adjustment when we rode at night), to the front 16-inch wheel trod with bespoke Avon Cobra hoops.
Beach Ride on the Triumph Bobber
Now, onto my weekend beach adventure. It was a stunning crisp Saturday morning, I had no plans, and looking out of the window the glint of the Chrome tank caught my eye – instantly I had plans. Pointing my nose to the beach with some superb roads in mind on the way, I was off to the petrol station to fill the 12 Litre tank with fresh dinosaur juice, and off I went.
Naturally, the Bobber is happy cruising and showing off its style, but it’s not averse to being pushed to top speeds. That torque is a serious tool in its repertoire, and in a rolling drag race against the Scrambler 900, it absolutely ate up the road ahead of it – the Scrambler doesn’t lack torque, but this just has it in abundance.
Cornering is a surprising joy on the Bobber, the only limitation is the lean angle and when you start hearing the pegs scrape on the ground. I was blown away at how well the Bobber navigates successive corners, too – making it a seriously adept bike for Sunday blasts to the beach, perfect.
With the bigger tank, the adjustable seat screw is now located under the rear lip of the tank – which, when accessed, grants you the ability to adjust the positioning forwards/backwards for comfort – the seat itself has an adjustable height of 690 - 700mm. You simply adjust a bolt and move the seat!
Even though I’m a taller rider at 6’3”, the Bobber felt comfortable and spacious to ride, the single seat hugging you into position with comfort. Of course there’s no pillion space, so my girlfriend (unfortunately…) had to stay at home – consider the Speedmaster if you want to take your better half along for the ride!
On that topic, when parking up at Dunwich beach, a Vespa GTS 300 turned up two-up, the rider jumping off and saying to me ‘Lovely bike, that. I want one, but the Mrs won’t let me!’
The 12-litre tank will get you at least 100 miles, if you’re riding conservatively then 120 could be achievable. The LCD display said that we averaged around 50 mpg in our two weeks. It would feel harsh to note that the tank feels small considering it was upped from a measly 9 litres in the recent model updates, though we wonder if a slightly larger tank would do well – without negatively sacrificing by adding more wet weight to the bike.
As it is, a 12-litre tank will do fine, just keep an eye on the range remaining and the fuel gauge on the LCD dash. Elsewhere you'll find a dedicated mode button on the right switchgear, and the 'i' button on the left switches through Trip A/B, odometer, time, revs.
All in, it was an absolutely brilliant time riding to the beach to extract that brilliant character from the Bobber – though once I got there I was a bit perplexed at what to do, I just wanted to get back on the road and continue exploring!
Go Nowhere Silently
It’s just simply a cool motorcycle. Style is not at the cost of performance, and it’s for a seriously reasonable price tag – though you can dive into the accessories to add your own custom bits – luggage panniers left and right (£588 total), a Fox rear suspension unit for £430, even forward foot controls (£575) and high bars (£389) if you fancy it.
It’s worth noting here that the chrome on the tank was somewhat mis-aligned, and the centre of the black strip veered ever so slightly to the left. It has no influence on the bike, and is most likely purely down to the fact that this is a bike destined to be abused by the press rather than doted on by an owner, but I can’t not mention it.
Another note: I genuinely had a rider pass me in the opposite direction (on a Suzuki Bandit 1200!) to turn around, hunt me down and tell me how much he liked the Bobber Chrome. It just has that universal appeal, and I’d catch people looking at it constantly.
Another nice touch is the ignition and steering lock being separated, the ignition sitting on the right behind your knee, and the steering lock diagonally up towards the headstock. It’s a nice touch, though I couldn’t help but (incorrectly) feel the keys might drop out when riding along... they won't.
2023 Triumph Bobber Chrome | Verdict
All in, the Triumph Bobber Chrome sets the bar high with serious style, and surprises with just how adept it is to ride on the road. It makes every mile fun, and you’ll certainly turn heads when cruising in town – I think it’s the bike that has garnered the most attention when out and about, I’ve never been stopped so much to be quizzed about a motorcycle in for review.
You certainly won’t go anywhere without being noticed, the torque-heavy motor is tuned so finely well, paired to a top-notch chassis, it’s just seriously difficult to fault what this Bobber presents. Sure, it’s a hardtail-esque ride in parts, but the Harley-Davidson Sportster S we also had in was similar in style, but the suspension there felt nowhere near as well set-up as this Bobber.
Refined over iterations, this could be the pinnacle of Bobber – it’ll be interesting to see what 2024 (and beyond) holds for this beautiful motorcycle. That being said, you could opt for a cheaper colour option, there isn’t too much in the way of chrome here. But I think on paper this Bobber is the best of the bunch, so a 2023 (and on) model is certainly the best to pick from – and the chrome tank adds special character.
Cheers to Triumph UK for the loan – head to their website to configure your own!