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2012 Triumph Bonneville by Vintage Racer


Posted on January 31st, by Scott in Brat. 49 comments

By guest writer Ian Lee.

Ah the sights of Paris. Le Eiffel tower. Le Arc De Triomphe. Le modified Triumph Bonneville. The last of these is a recent addition to the visual splendour of Paris, and we have Vintage Racer Motorcycles to thank for the pleasure. This Bonnie was created for a customer who turned out to be a prince from Qatar, or an ‘emir’ in french – so they named the bike ‘Bobbemir’. It has been built with all the hallmarks of Vintage Racer’s belief that their bikes should be ridden not hidden. Whether as an every day rider or something to take for a burn on a Sunday afternoon, their bikes are for blowing out cobwebs, not collecting them. This bike is as much a monument to French engineering as the Eiffel tower, but le tower Eiffel never had a chance to sport pipewrap.

Starting with a standard 2012 Triumph Bonneville, the Vintage Racer crew hooked in to the build. Ditching the factory seat, a vintage camel leather bound cushion takes it’s place. Under the custom seat sits the reshaped rear guards, sporting a Daytona tail light in place of the factory one. The footrests are LSL supplied, with custom mounts to suit this Gallic work of art.

The most notable part of the bike has to be the wheels though. This has been an awesome addition to the build, with Vintage Racers looking to Harley Davidson styled rims for inspiration. 17 inch Kineo rims, front and rear, mounted on Alpina hubs. The front end is wrapped in Michelin T63 120 profile rubber, while the rear is a Metzeler 160 profile tire.

Part of the build brief was that the bike was to be able to support a more ample rider, so Ohlins suspension suited to the task has been fitted. On top of this the seat cushion foam is of hardier material than would normally be required. The front end has been touched up as well, with Triumph Thruxton triple clamps replacing the Bonneville factory setup. LSL handlebars enveloped in brown balloon grips, sit above OEM Triumph fork gaiters.

The exhaust is something different, a set of silencers usually found on a Honda Dax have been treated to black ceramic and exhaust wrap treatment. Finishing almost level with the swingarm pivot point it leaves the custom drivetrain open for inspection, complete with perforated chainguard and 45 sprocket drive setup.

Specialised custom touches such as the camel hide seat, and Kineo wheels, give this bike the chance to stand out amongst the sea of custom bikes that are out there. It’s the small things that add up, to give this bike the aesthetic quality Vintage were looking for. Nothing drastic has been done to this bike. It’s just what has been done has been well thought out, and more importantly, well carried out. Vintage Racers have outdone themselves on this build, a quick look at their website will show that their bikes keep getting better and better. And with bikes like this roaming the streets of Paris, it’s all the more reason to visit Paris, to see the beautiful sights on offer.

Vive la France!





  • Sy

    This is one gorgeous bonnie, I’m usually not a fan of bright paint jobs but this one just works. Amazing job!

  • Mike Cambareri

    For the most part, it’s a rather fetching bike, but I would hate to be caught out in public with a seat that ugly. It looks like it’s deflating. And I may be a bit behind the times, but I still contend that black with brown is a faux pas…

  • Sproggy

    Nice enough bike although the seat looks a bit over-long and those wheels don’t look all that special. But why doesn’t the description match the photos? That rear tyre isn’t a Karoo (which is a knobbly tyre), it’s not got clip-ons as claimed, neither do the bars have black balloon grips. Fortunately it looks better in the photos than it would as described.

    • Theloneus

      What post are you reading…

      • Sproggy

        The description of the bike has been edited since I posted that comment.

  • nathas909

    Oh I would love to see this bike with a better seat. this one is just all wrong.
    And yes the description has a few flaws also…

  • Mrityunja Singh

    Perfect fit

  • Kaspar

    I like the overall bike, and I do think that the brown seat and grips work with the black. But the shape of the seat is off. Why does it have a downwards kink at the end?

  • Now&Zen

    Rideable ? No doubt . A ‘ Custom ‘ though ? Barely . More like substitute a bit here , take a bit off there and call it done .Then no doubt rake the customer across the coals financially . Gotta be honest I’m getting more than just a bit bored with some of the so called ‘ Custom’s ‘ coming out of late . Rule #1 should be … if it can be done in garage with simple hand tools and zero skill …. its not a custom ; Rule #2 If it takes more time for the builder to explain/justify the bike than it did for him/her to build it .. its not a custom . Its a minor ” Hop Up ” . Nuff said .

    • arnold

      At the almost certain risk of over extending my poppy banter quota, that was a very insightful and lucid post. Thanks GS.

  • huh

    the seat kinda looks like a lumpy brown slug.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Stark/100003079960619 Tony Stark

    “This bike is as much a monument to French engineering as the Eiffel
    tower, but le tower Eiffel never had a chance to sport pipewrap.”

    I’m not going to bash on the bike, but I see less French engineering and more bolt on mods. It’s fine. I’d ride it. But it feels about as custom as the typical “custom” one can buy off a Harley Davidson rack.

  • Kyle

    So this is just to say I like the seat. I’m not sure what you all are whining about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurens.olijve Laurens Olijve

    I really like those rims and fat tires! Don’t know what to think about the seat, but you can take your girl for a ride :). The details are pretty nice, but the whole bike looks just a bit to modern for me. Anyway, nice bike and I would definitely take ik for a ride!

  • revdub

    Well, I like the wheels. I’ll leave it at that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Stark/100003079960619 Tony Stark

      I like the wheels too.

      • arnold

        Dammit you guys, you made me go into my 20 degree F garage and take the winter cover off my bonnie and try to figure out how they fit that monster truck tire on the rear. I temporally gave up after the third beer.ald

        • revdub

          I’m surprised you made it to three beers in that cold!

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Stark/100003079960619 Tony Stark

            He keeps his beer in the garage.

          • arnold

            Yes, beer does freeze, so it was more chewing my beer than drinking my beer.

  • http://ridedualsport.com/ Manxman

    I agree with revdub, I like the wheels… Oh, did I mention I like the wheels?

  • http://www.facebook.com/brendan.gearon.9 Brendan Gearon

    Love the paint

  • Steve Mills

    Jesus, what a bunch of whiners. Does every bike have to look like some mutant piece of billet shit coming out of OCC? Hell no, thankfully. This is a great looking Trumpet, so just shut up.

    • arnold

      Some of us already have camel leather seats, comes with mature years. The wheels look like an asset, he could have left the rest alone and saved himself some pocket euros.

      • arnold

        I am not sure what is bolted to the RHS lower shock. A flag holder for the Tricolor?

    • revdub

      With only 21 comments under your belt, you’re not off to a good start around here. If you are looking for a site where everyone coddles builders and refrains from real criticism, you’re in the wrong place. Also, your reference to OCC shows you have no idea what we the Pipeburn masses actually like. Spend a few minutes reading through some past posts and you’ll learn quick enough.

    • http://geokan.tumblr.com/ GeoKan

      I recommend you to read carefully Revdub’s comment, and then make yourself a favor and read it again.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Stark/100003079960619 Tony Stark

        Ditto.

    • rennie61

      I agree with Steve (even though he apparently done enough posts to be allowed to have an opinion). It is getting all a bit whiny. Is it the best Bonnie Custom ever? No. Would I choose those colours? No. But it’s a unique bike and would turn some heads and most importantly someone has spent many hours doing their own thing. Someone should be able to do a custom job on their bike even if they aren’t a mechanic. They might just have a good eye for styling. It’s the New Wave of Customs so get used to it. It’s a bit like Punk where you didn’t need to be a great musician to make music. Lot of dross but some gems. I visit this site to learn things and see interesting bikes not to read people shooting their mouth-off for the sake of it. I haven’t done many posts but I have been checking this site and Bike Exif for a few years (so there). If I read a critique by Mule I take it seriously ‘cos I know he is a respected builder but not sure about some of the other cats here. Maybe you need to
      show us all how to do it or and here’s a mind-bending idea try being ‘Constructive’ tell us what you would have done to improve it.

      • revdub

        I agree with you that a lot of the negative comments are not constructive. I have made this same complaint. If you read the majority of mine, you will see that I try hard to be constructive. But telling others to “shut up” and calling folks “a bunch of whiners” is not the best way to win an argument about constructive criticism. Get what I’m saying? It’s also not a great way to introduce yourself, which was the main point to my statement about “21 comments…”

        • rennie61

          Yes I get what you are saying. I suppose here in London there are so few
          customs around that I think it’s a great thing for people to be encouraged to do more to get a vibe going. Also might make bike manufactures take note and start making greater-looking bikes rather than just worrying about performance.

  • RedGrey

    Le Eiffel tower… Le Arc De Triomphe… Le modified Triumph Bonneville… Viva la France… If you must spout French words, at least have someone correct the mediocre grammar!

    • cagivarider

      Fits the bike…

    • http://www.pipeburn.com Scott@Pipeburn

      @Redgrey, Désolé de vous avoir offensé

  • Jacob Speis

    I want to like it…but that seat. It just looks like a really fat guy sat on the end.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Stark/100003079960619 Tony Stark

      Probably the same guy that sat on that Yamaha we just saw.

  • ffjmoore

    Is that a baguette they used for a seat?

  • ste g

    i want to punch that seat in it’s face

    • nathas909

      I think someone has already beaten you to it. It looks like it has been smashed at the rear.

    • Ste H

      Well put…it looks as if someone was short on foam and talent.

  • Yves Trabac

    Length of the seat can give an idea about how many wives he married.

  • Den

    what happened to the seat????

  • nathan

    The seat looks like a mucus trail left by a purple slug.

  • John Keetley

    Being a bonneville man I must say very tastefully done, must be a blast to ride!

  • barney fife

    Real nice bike….not a cookie cutter job.

  • Grafshimano

    I like this wheels and i ordered them three weeks ago. Now i would like to know, what kind of tires are on the rims? Does anyone know that?

  • m&m18

    My boyfriend is arguing that the bike is painted purple but I say its blue. It totally is blue! Which is it?

  • Musacha78

    HELP! I can’t seem to find Metzeler “160 profile” tires…. Sure this is the right name, ”caus I really dig those tires!!!!

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