The Triumph Bonneville is a very iconic motorbike for many reasons, and has been a beloved bike for many years in the UK. The Bonneville is a range of British motorcycles that were made in three production. First, it was produced between the years 1959 and 1983 by Triumph Enginering. It was produced again by this company between 1985 and 1988. The Triumph Bonneville has also been produced since 2001 by Triumph Motorcycles (located in Hinckley). This bike was named after the area of Utah known as the Bonneville Salt Flats, and this iconic location is where many attempts to beat motorcycle speed records were made.
The new model is also commonly known as the 'Bonnie' to most bike enthusiasts. It features 46 BHP (34 kW) power at 6,500 RPM. At first, it featured a four-speed transmission, and later featured a five-speed transmission on more current models. The wheelbase measures 55.75 inches, and it weighs around 395 lbs. The modern-day version has been in production since 2001 by the 'new Triumph', located in Hinckley. This new model has been completely redesigned.
The original was very popular with the motorcycle-loving public, especially in its early days. It featured a performance level that was very hard to beat. The Triumph Bonneville featured an engine that was later enlarged, giving it an engine capacity of 750 cc. Once the Japanese Honda motorbikes started to become more popular in the early 1980s, the Triumph Bonneville began to see a slight decline in sales. But the T140, however, remained the bestselling 750 cc motorcycle available on the market - even with the 'more sophisticated' Japanese and Italian competition which was available. In 1979 the Triumph Bonneville won the prestigious Motor Cycle News award for the Machine of the Year.
In more recent news, the 2008 models which were distributed in the UK (as well as in the United States) were made to comply with the newer emissions requirements for motorcycles. In many of the 2009 models, dummy carburettors - actually redesigned throttle bodies - were made to resemble the old carburettors so that the model would retain its unique vintage style that matched the bikes from previous years.
After 2008, all Triumph Bonneville bikes received a much larger and reshaped tank. The tank was designed to be a bit larger than former models in order to be compatible with the electronic fuel injection pump, but it does not offer greater capacity. These enlarged tanks have been fitted to the updated US 2008 models.
So, to go back to the question posed in the title, what makes the Triumph Bonneville such an iconic motorbike? As we have seen, the bike has remained popular for much of its existence, and has more recently experienced a new lease of life thanks to the efforts of the Hinckley-based company. More than anything, however, it has proven to be a bike that doesn't rely on its famous name alone. It has evolved with the times, whilst maintaining its unique, inimitable look and feel.
The Triumph Bonneville has been a favourite motorbike amongst enthusiasts in the UK for many years. This article looks at the history of this iconic bike, and the reasons behind its enduring popularity.