The Triumph Bonneville is considered a classic of British motorcycle design. Initially produced by the original Triumph Engineering Ltd between 1959 and 1983, the model was revived briefly in the 1980s, and then on a more permanent basis from 2001 to the present day. The bike is now produced by Triumph Motorcycles Ltd, who bought the rights to the Triumph brand in the 1980s.
The Bonneville was named after the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where Johnny Allen - a racer from Texas - achieved an average speed of 193.3 miles per hours on his bike, the 'Devil's Arrow'. This bike was manufactured by Triumph, which took the basics of this design and applied it to its own Triumph Bonneville bikes.
The first Triumph Bonneville was the T120, which had a long production run - starting in 1959 and ending in 1975. It was the last motorcycle designed by Edward Turner before he retired (Turner was Chief Designer at Triumph). Featuring a 649 cc engine, the model's design hardly changed in its 16-year production run, save for a few different versions which included additional features such as five-speed transmission. The only major change was in 1963, when the bike was made stiffer and more compact in order to reduce wobble. In addition, the steering angle was changed and - in a minor revision a few years later - improved forks were added. The original Bonneville was also known as the 'duplex frame' model amongst enthusiasts.
The 649 cc Triumph Bonneville was replaced in the early 1970s by the 750 cc T140. This model was essentially the same as the previous bike, save for the improved engine capacity. The bike was originally intended to be sold only on the export market, but following positive reactions from visitors to motorcycle shows in 1973, Triumph decided to sell the bike to customers in the UK, setting the initial price at ?679. The T140 was produced until 1983, when Triumph - a British motorcycle institution - went bankrupt.
Many may have considered this the end of the bike, which had become a firm favourite with the British public and with enthusiasts abroad. However, a company called Racing Spares in Devon, in the southwest of England, acquired the rights to produce the T140 under license. Production continued in Devon until 1988.
At the time, when production ceased at Racing Spares, it really did look like the bike had come to the end of its days. However, John Bloor - who had purchased the rights to produce the bike in Devon - began manufacturing a new version in 2001, under the company name Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. The new model - known as the Triumph Bonneville 790 - looked almost identical to the older models, but featured contemporary components. The latest version of the bike features an 865 cc engine and a five-speed gearbox, and is available in numerous styles - including the T100, which resembles a classic 1960s bike. The Bonneville is still a popular bike today, and hopefully we'll see production continue of this British classic for many years to come.
The history of the Triumph Bonneville is truly amazing but this bike is said to be one of the best classic bikes out there and all motorcycle enthusiasts out there will agree.
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