Tagged: T120

A good time for buying a Bonneville in the Northwest

I am always looking at Craigslist from Vancouver BC down to San Francisco CA for potential Fly and ride purchases that will never happen. This week seems to be the time to buy a later Classic Triumph, with prices range from a high at $11,000 and a low of  $3000.

Fist offering in 1959 the Bonneville was a celebration of the efforts of California Triumph Dealers going land speed racing in Utah. The 650cc engine had been around since the early 1950’s but was given a boost with twin carbs and a hotter cam. First build as a pre-unit, by 1963 the engine and transmission were joined into one unit. Frame changes were made through development, and oil was eventually stored within the frame in the later years. Performance numbers for the 649cc were 46bhp at 6,700rpm and a top speed of 115mph, enough to win the Isle of Man Production class in 1967 and 1969. Triumph sales peaked in 1967 when they sold 28,000 Bonneville’s in the US.

 This 1970 Bonneville in white is has been listed over the last couple months and it a very good looking bike in White. The seller states that it has had a complete restoration and looks very good in both the paint and the shiny parts.

This 1972 Bonneville comes in a mustard yellow with the later square styled tank. The high bars could be original because that was the style that was popular in the early 70’s. Its not as clean as the White bike and is priced accordingly.

Here is an earlier 1969 Bonneville in Red. It also claims to be fully restored and the pictures are not as close up as the white one, but looks clean.

This is another Bonneville, also in mustard yellow, but personally I like the off setting black. This claims to be in original condition with 7200 miles on the odometer having spent the last 25 years in a dealer showroom.

The oldest is this 1967 Bonneville, and this one has the sporty “R” in the name. Again another complete restoration in 2008 with only 245 miles since then.

All of these are in good looking order, with all the parts in all the right places.  The winter time has always been a good time to look for a motorcycle, but I am suprised at the quality and options that are available in such a small area. So if you are willing to fly and buy, makesure that you bring your rain gear because it is raining around Seattle right now.  BB

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.

The seller states that the pictures tell the rest, and they do show a well detailed motorcycle, one that could show, but will it go?

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.

BB