1963 Triumph T120 Bonneville
“Attention Collectors” is how the seller starts discribing this Triumph Bonneville offered now on eBay. I think more then just collectors should be interested in this bike, specifically anyone who is into classic motorcycles, any brand, any model. The reason being is that this bike is one of the Classic Classics, the best of the best.
By 1959 Edward Turner had left a huge mark on the British motorcycle industry, and the T120 was going to be his last effort for Triumph (he continued to “work” during retirement.) Based on the parallel twin that he made famous and had become omnipresent, the 650cc was an evolution of the T110 Tiger. It was given a name to celebrate the efforts of Johnny Allen at Bonneville in getting a Triumph engine to go 193.3mph in 1955 and 214.17 mph in 1956. Though a legal battle raged between Triumph and the FIM over recognition of the records, the press generated was able to drive the sale of the Triumph Bonneville in the US, enought so to sell 28,000 Bonnevilles in 1968 alone.
From the seller
ATTENTION COLLECTORS ! If you are looking for a museum quality bike to show or ride then this will be the nicest 1963 650 Bonneville T120 that you’ll see on eBay for a long, long while. ( Especially judging by what’s currently on there 🙂 ). As you probably already know this stunning bike is the first year of the unit construction Bonneville and still shares a few parts with the last of the legendary pre-unit Bonnies such as chronometric instruments and forks. This matching numbers bike runs perfectly and has a whopping 856 miles since restoration. Cadmium plating on all original hardware including spokes. It’s currently fitted with the original “Made In England” Dunlops but if you intend to ride it more than show it I would recommend new tires.
Following in the tradition of giving the potential top speed in the name (T100 100mph, T110 110mph) you could expect that the T120 would have a top speed of 120mph, but test from the time give a top speed of 115mph. But as the records set at Bonneville show, there was room for improvement, and in 1960 the Bonneville got a new twin Carburetor cylinder head to help open up that potential. When first design the engine and transmission were separate (pre-unit) this 1963 T120 is the first year in which the engine and transmission were case together, giving a Unit construction. This plus a redesign in the frame crated a stiffer and more stable bike, making it safer to explore the speed available.
This looks like a bike that could go into a museum as a representation of the 1960 motorcycle. But why? I will always have a hard time seeing a motorcycle as anything other then something to enjoy with the engine running and the wheels turning.