With “Triumph” literally in the name, it’s no wonder this bike cannot be stopped. Among enthusiasts of motorcycles, superbikes, and scooters, the Triumph remains consistently popular. No matter how many times Triumph cancels production, the Bonneville model retains its popularity and drive, as any classic would.
A History of Victory
First production of the Bonneville began in 1959 and was cancelled in 1983, at which point production only ceased because the company went out of business.
However, the persistent popularity of the Bonneville prompted Lee Harris to revive it for a second round of production from 1985 to 1988.
Then in 2001, production was picked up for a third time by Triumph Motorcycles and continues to date. With victory in its name and throughout its history, you can only wonder what’s in the chassis.
Created with a Vision
The inspiration for the Bonneville came primarily from consumers in the United States who wanted a Triumph motorcycle with improved performance. The Bonneville T120 was produced to satisfy this demand and capitalize on this lucrative western market.
Due to the widespread success of the T120, two more designs were to follow, one by Triumph Engineering and the other by Triumph Motorcycles.
Designed to Persistence in Mind
The T120 was marketed as the best motorcycle in the world, and with a 649 cc air-cooled, OHV 360-degree parallel-twin engine capable of speeds above 100 miles per hour, it very well might have been, had the frame not wobbled so dangerously.
The later models increased the engine capacity, replaced the dangerous T120 frame with a safer duplex frame, and eventually even improved top speed. What else can you expect from a model with an on-again off-again production history under two firms over a 60-year period?
The Bonneville’s Multiple Versions
- T120 (1959-1983)
Based on the earlier designs of the Triumph Tiger T110, the original T120 Bonneville was an improvement in all aspects except safety until the issue of the wobbling frame was solved in 1960.
- T140 (1973-1983; 1985-1988)
With a 744 cc air-cooled OHV parallel-twin engine, the T140 resembled the T120 in most aspects; however, the T140 differentiated itself in increased power, improved transmission, and better safety performance than the T120.
- New Bonneville Models (2001-Present)
Nearly a dozen new models have entered into production since 2001, including the Bonneville 800 (790cc engine), upgraded T100 (865cc engine), and many more after 2007 (all of which received 865 cc engines). By 2009, all new models were being produced with electronic fuel injection systems and carburetors without ever sacrificing the trademarked Bonneville design.
Bonnevilles and the Silver Screen
In 1982, Richard Gere starred in a film entitled An Officer and a Gentleman, in which he traveled on an early-model T140E owned by the production studio Paramount pictures. Paramount also used that same motorcycle on the set of Mr. Jones a few years later.
Other famous celebrities such as Brando, Dean, and McQueen are also said to have owned and enjoyed the smooth look and feel of the Bonneville line.
The Bonneville’s Recent Victories
Triumph Motorcycles is still actively producing multiple variations on the Bonneville, from the remastered T120 to the relatively newer Bonneville Bobber. The best place to look for news about the newer production line for the Bonneville series would be Triumph Motorcycles.
Interesting Groups for Bonneville Fans
There are great options for socializing with other Bonneville riders. One of them is specifically designed for newcomers to the world of Bonneville. If you’re more of a seasoned rider or you already know your way around a Bonneville, then check out Facebook.
The Triumph Bonneville – A Lesson in Victory
Just like the people who ride them, bikes of the Bonneville line cannot be stopped. Ever since their creation in 1959, the Bonneville line has persisted as a life-long classic.