Bikes & Customs: Profiles

Nick O’Malley: Bobber Black first ride

Arctic Monkeys star’s review

Arctic Monkeys singer and bass player Nick O’Malley took a break from recording the band’s sixth album to put the new Bobber Black to the test.

Nick joined Sheffield neighbour Ryan Jenkinson from Reverend And The Makers and a host of other reviewers on the winding roads from Marbella inland to Ronda… and got a bit of a shock.

“Having gone from home in the UK to Spain you always think it’s going to be lovely, sunny and warm. When we got there we were going through the mountains just below the snow line and it was bloody freezing,” he says.

A 120km circuit around some of the region’s most stunning scenery later and the self-confessed Bonneville addict had forgotten the plummeting temperature. Find out why…

Arctic Monkey Nick O'Malley test rides the Triumph Bobber Black

Was it love at first sight?

I love my Triumph Street Scrambler so if I said yes that would be a bit like being unfaithful, but when you walk up to the Bobber Black for the first time you’re really struck by its aggressive stance and slightly menacing look.

It’s a mean and muscular bike that says ‘ride me if you dare’, but then once you do you’re a little bit smitten. I think it’s the black that does it, and when I say black I mean EVERYTHING is black. Engine, pipes, bars, the lot. They just make it look stealthy.

Arctic Monkey Nick O'Malley test rides the Triumph Bobber Black

The colour is a significant thing for me because it looks so cool and I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t important when I was a kid growing up… OK, and now too.

You have to look the part and this bike made me feel like a young Charley Boorman. Am I allowed to say that?

How did it ride?

I’d never ridden a Bobber before. I thought they were a British cruiser and I’m more into my sporty Triumphs, but when we got out on the twisties – and trust me, there were loads of them – it felt so smooth, with plenty of grunt from the 1200 engine if I needed it.

I was probably the least experienced rider on the route but by the end it felt like I’d been riding it for a long time. It was so easy to ride and handled amazingly, even when the roads got really narrow and tight on the ins and outs of the bends.

When I first saw it I thought it looked like a very big bike but reviewers of all backgrounds, shapes and sizes were raving about it. It’s so rider friendly and packed with technology that even someone with limited experience can look and feel the part on it.

What elements of the bike caught your eye?

I’ve mentioned the blackness of it, which is amazing, but it was little things like the big 16” wheel, fat tyre, chunky forks and brakes that all add to the ride and overall feeling of stability.

Arctic Monkey Nick O'Malley test rides the Triumph Bobber Black

It cornered really well and held the road brilliantly. To be fair, the roads were very smooth but the repeated twists and turns with the bike’s twin disc brakes and torque meant you could find a rhythm to your riding really easily.

I loved the Rain riding mode, which was pretty handy, and the new all-LED light looks cool. I’d have liked to try out the cruise control but only realised it was tucked away with all the other technology with about half an hour to go.

What did you make of the engine?

Sound, as you’d imagine, is pretty important to me, so I’m always keen to hear what track a bike plays. The Bobber has a really distinctive growl at standing but once I got her out and pushed her up to the speed limit, the engine was really quiet.

For me it was important to have more low down power and torque as I came out of the bends and the Bobber answered every question. It’s got a lot of power but it doesn’t feel like it’s going to leave you looking stupid if you push her too far too quick.

Arctic Monkey Nick O'Malley test rides the Triumph Bobber Black

What was the biggest surprise?

I think it has to be that the Bobber shattered my preconceptions. I always thought it would be like a cruiser and not that sporty, but its low stance says the opposite.

It definitely wasn’t what I expected and I wouldn’t rule one out in the future. I’ve made a few changes to my Scrambler and would probably do the same with this, but it really is a superb bike that rides as good as it looks.

Disclaimer: Featured motorcycles (Bobber Black) were part of a global reveal and their availability will vary from market to market. For more information please visit your country specific website.