Triumph's EFI in Classic Range Explained


Mar 5, 2006
Draft of interview published in May Kiwi Rider

Traditional Values.

An interview with Triumph UK’s Chris Willis who was in NZ to give local dealers some Technical training on the new Triumph models.

Of particular interest was enquiring about the new Electronic Fuel Injected Bonneville variants.

The first batch of EFI America and Speedmaster models have just arrived in NZ and the standard Bonnies and Scrambler will start to hit the market later in the year.

BD: Hi Chris thanks for talking to us. Firstly, how long have you been with Triumph?

CW: My pleasure. Just on 16 years now. I was there from the very early days.

BD: How many on board when you started?

CW: Oh gosh, there were about 400 at the original factory, before the fire in 2002, but it’s amazing how far we’ve come.

BD: And what is your role now?

CW: Mainly in the warranty department, but I do cover training, technical support, diagnostics and some quality control and we get involved with the design department from time to time. I love my job. Varied and very interesting work.

The way Triumph is set up it makes It very easy to get in touch with our design dept and work directly with the people who did the design work.

BD: And you get to travel to New Zealand! The design department at Triumph – is that entirely ‘In house’?

CW: Yes – completely in house – we now have over 100 people in our design department – all aspects of the bike are designed completely in house so we have fabulous backup.

BD: Speaking of design – The changes to my favourites – The Scrambler and the Bonnevilles - are they going to fuel injection?

CW: Yep, we are in production with fuel injection on all of the Bonneville range now. It will take a little while till the range in NZ is entirely EFI.

BD: What is the rationale behind changing from carburettors to efi on these traditional and retro bikes?

CW: The main reason to go to fuel injection is simply ‘emissions’. The regulations around the world are getting more and more stringent. Europe is probably the most difficult market to meet emission standards now.
Going back to 2000 we had ‘Euro 0 standard’ emissions which allowed for 38g of CO per kilometre for example, now, we are on the Euro 3 emissions standard which allows for 2g of CO per kilometer. 38 down to 2 in 7 years – and that has meant a huge change, and Euro 4 is just around the corner, and that will take a huge change again.

BD: So that means that the entire Triumph range is now going to be fuel injected.

CW: It does – yes.

BD: So give us a summary – Carburetted versus Fuel injected?

CW: Carburetted Vs Fuel injected. It really is a very interesting subject. You can have 5 fuel injected bikes for 1 carburettor-ed bike- in terms of exhaust emissions.

BD: What? The total exhaust emissions for 5 fuel injected Bonnevilles are the same as 1 (ONE!) bike with carbs?

CW: Absolutely. It really does put things in perspective, doesn’t it? But the beauty of the fuel injection doesn’t end there – It’s more fuel efficient, it is greener, better throttle response and fuelling, the list goes on.

And for the Bonnevilles you’ve still got all the nice features on the new throttle bodies, for instance it still looks like you’ve got a choke button and that you’ve also still got a manual idle control.

So it’s got all the traditional aspects of a carburettor, a choke, an idle control – it looks like a carburettor, we’ve even included dummy bowl drain plugs and screws.

We’ve had these models out in the UK for a while now and it’s funny at the dealer open days when some people just won’t believe that it’s a fuel injected Bonne - the look is so authentic.

‘But it’s got carburettors!’ they say.

It was very gratifying because one of the design briefs was to keep the classic lines – we couldn’t have a range of classic bikes looking like they had typical fuel injection plumbing. We took a lot of time with the smallest details. I think we’ve done a great job.

BD: Indeed – holding them here on the desk it looks fantastic – I expected to see the typical carby innards but it’s all electronics and plugs!

CW: We’ve hidden the map sensors and the other sensors and maintained a traditional look. We had an opportunity to use electronic instruments on the Bonne – as we do on our other EFI bikes – but stayed with analogue because it looks so traditional.

We’ve paid a lot of attention to the styling.

BD: That really is neat – So, where do you see the next developments in the Bonne range?

CW: Well, we’ve got lots of things in the pipeline, none of which a tech can discuss, you better go and ask Ian Beckhaus those sorts of questions.

BD: Thanks Chris – I will, and thanks for your time - but for now I’m very keen to have a burn on a new EFI Triumph twin.