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Triumph Bonneville - Pre- 85 Post 78 year model

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by bluecraka, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. Guys,

    Just hoping some of you can give a good argument on whether this bike is good enough or is crap and plagued with problems.
    The reason I ask this is my old man has always liked these bikes and after 20years of not riding he has the urge to get a bike, but he wants it to be a Bonneville. His intended use with the bike, is not for a every day commute but rather for a weekend ride etc.
    Do these bike require a lot of maintenance ?
    Is the maintenance difficult?
    Are part hard to come buy and or expensive?

  2. Any bike 30 years old is, more than likley, going to have some issues. Parts may be a problem. If only a weekend ride, maybe your dad can live wihtout the bike for a month or two waiting for parts.

    I wasn't a fan of Bonnevilles in their day - preferred the big Jap 4's, but seemed to remember wiring issues as well as the odd oil leak - but this was all part of the character of the bike.

    If your dad can spin a spanner, then look at getting a good conditon original, although I'd choose a few year old one and enjoy riding it and customise a bit. Ask your dad if he's checked out a Scrambler - now there's a bike with old school style, modern simplicity and no doubt plenty of miles with smiles :cool:

  3. Miantenance is piss easy , no electronics to look after, parts are pretty easy to get mainly from UK,USA and NZ, they have great selection of original parts and newer machined parts.

    And if your in Melbourne you can get great advise from Elizabeth street Modak , also classic bike clubs are great for info and maintenance advice .

    Talk to EzyRider
  4. Thanks for the reply guys.

    Hellina, how frequent is maintenance on these. If possible how many days spent on maintaining compared with riding?
    What is the cost on maintenance, are parts excessively expensive?

    Does EzyRider have an old Triumph? I
    I just noticed Hellina your Triumph is a 2005 model, the models I am talking about are from 1976 -1985
  5. Well ask me then!!! Check my profile.
  6. I'm only going from memory, but didn't at least some of them have the 'prince of darkness' Lucas RITA ignition system..?
  7. Sorry Ezyrider, I for some reason didn't see it in your profile before.
    I can now see you have an older Triumph, what can you tell me about them, in regards to my above questions?
  8. I used to own a 74 T140 which is basically the same as the Harris triumphs from the period you are talking about.

    To be honest the Triumph parallel twin was somewhat over design capacity at 750cc and that means extra vibration and somewhat reduced life.

    The 650cc versions were sweeter motors IMO.

    Having said that a well looked after 750cc is still a nice, rideable classic bike.

    I would suggest trying to obtain (or convert to) a single carb. The amals wear and are time consuming to keep in balance.

    Having a single carb sacrifices only 2 or 3 horse power and increases the mid range torque of the motor which is the rev range that most people ride these bikes in anyway.

    Avoid the (now rare) 8 valve TSS version, more trouble than it's worth (not produced during the period you are talking about anyway) as parts are much harder to come by.

    The oil in frame design is generally fine but check for leaks anyway (they are hard to fix properly).

    I wouldn't have one as an everyday bike, but I'd still be happy to have one in my garage as a sunday ride :)

    For an everyday ride I'd look at the current trumpy bonnies instead (although the styling isn't quite right IMO).
  9. *edit* double post time out.
  10. Ok then here goes...

    They are the one to go for if your dad wants disc brakes, electronic ignition, left-hand gearchange, a classic look and feel without the hassles. The oil-in frame Bonnies are the go.

    Righto. Firstly don't listen to the usual crap spouted about reliability (most doomsayers have never had much to do with them - some have though :wink: ) The risk/catch with them is that they tend to fall into 'really crap' or 'really good' groups. Mine's in the bottom half of the second one. It was crap when I first bought it, but with a touch-up here and there, it's now fine and a lot of fun. It's stopped on me before, but so did my GSX more than once...

    Not suited to everyday use, though you can if you're keen enough. They will keep up with traffic and won't give you too much grief. Better as a mid-distance weekender (3-400 km at a stretch). Are comfy but not super comfy. Can carry a pillion and/or gear no probs. Just don't ride on the freeway for a long time-the key is varied speeds and gear-changing to keep it happy.

    Mechanically you have to remember whilst they were once regarded as the best around, you have an engine where both pistons rise/fall at the same time that essentially pre-dates WWII (sound familiar?). They vibrate. They can/do leak oil. Parts have been known to work loose :shock: Maintenance-wise they are easy to work on, with a little mechanical knowledge, changing oil, adjusting stuff is a breeze. They are very simple. Parts are plentiful, quick to arrive and often cheaper than their Jap equivalent. About 50% of the money spent on mine (it's not stock!) was by choice, not because I had to!

    Electrics can be variable, I replaced the main wiring loom as a precaution, since then no problems except for a faulty kill switch. When your dad buys it, if he checks and tightens all the connections, they'll be okay.

    They benefit from rearsets (the riding position is rather upright) and free exhausts. Slightly taller gearing helps too. They run okay on unleaded and a touch of Flashlube or other valve-saver additive.

    Overall they are a fine-handling, torquey, useable machine which is low (but not no) maintenance and a decent turn of speed. Not much worse that other brands that are the same age, except they hold their value well - good luck trying to prise one from a keen owner's grip!

    PM me if you need more info :wink:
  11. Thanks for that Ezyrider.
    That gave me an what I think is a honest and unbiased opinion, exactly the info I was after.