Hurriedly prepared for its debut at the 1958 Earls Court Show (it was too late for inclusion in the 1959 catalogue) the ‘Bonnie’ arrived at a time when young motorcycle enthusiasts wanted style as well as substance and had the money to pay for it. Finished in two-tone Tangerine/Pearl Grey with matching mudguards and black cycle parts, the bike was a real looker and the name ‘Bonneville’, chosen in honor of Johnny Allen’s record-breaking Triumph-powered streamliner at the eponymous Utah salt flats, was inspired marketing.
Although, ostensibly, the Bonneville was little more than a T110 fitted with the splayed-port cylinder head and twin carburetors, there was, of course, more to it than that. As well as the performance-enhancing top end, the Bonneville, together with the rest of Triumph’s twins, incorporated a new, stronger crankshaft assembly that development had shown was necessary to cope with the increased power. The latter now stood at 46 horsepower, an improvement of some 15 per cent over that of the contemporary single-carb T110. Works tester Percy Tait had achieved 128mph at the MIRA test track on a development bike, and even though this figure proved beyond the reach of the production version, the Bonnie was at least as fast as the opposition and much better looking.
This matching numbers example of Triumph’s 1960 Bonneville hails from a very discerning and meticulous Southern California collector. Very nicely restored, the machine presents well in high quality paint finish, replated chrome parts, powder-coated frame and miscellaneous cycle parts.
The restorer/collector built the bike to be ridden with greatly increased reliability. The engine was stripped, and a new top-end installed with new pistons, rings, bearings, etc. The gearbox was inspected and refurbished with a 20-tooth sprocket for “longer legs” on touring rides while retaining the low speed “grunt”. New Amal carbs were installed with new petcocks to ensure smooth fuel delivery and mixture. The bike was converted to Lucas 12v electronic ignition with solid state regulator and a high output 200W alternator with a new battery. All new cables were fitted and new 19” English chrome rims front and rear with stainless spokes are shod with Avon Speedmaster tires. The gauges were rebuilt and restored to jewelry levels of finish.
The result is a wonderfully pleasing motorcycle to ride and own. The bike starts from cold consistently with one or two kicks (see video below) and is an utterly superb ride. It has strong power from a very taut engine, idles smoothly and is responsive on the throttle. It shifts smoothly through all gears with an equally smooth clutch action. The bike handles well and brakes as it should. The bike has covered over 500 miles since restoration to ensure proper run-in and subsequent re-torque of the engine and final sorting. All electrical systems work perfectly. The bike is offered on a clean, clear California title with current registration.
This sale represents a fantastic opportunity to acquire a seminal model in British motorcycling history, truly ready to ride anywhere and hold its own in any concours event.