Tradition, it would seem, is a double-edged sword. While some Japanese bike brands would salivate at the thought of having a model in their line-up whose roots went back more than a few years, the likes of Triumph, Harley Davidson and Norton are in the challenging position of marching headlong in the 21st Century with baggage tagged ‘please return to 1900’. For these brands, a big new model design requires a deft hand to strike just the right balance between influences spanning more than 100 years and the always-fickle ‘modern consumer’. The perfect balance is a bike that will appeal equally to almost any age group. The latest salvo in this old-meets-new battle comes to us from Triumph’s 2016 Hinckley headquarters via a greasy British motorway cafe from 1959. It’s their new take on what has to be one of the world’s best-know motorcycles. So now, after their biggest-ever bike launch, how does the new model stack up and should you really spend your hard-earned shekels on one?
For 2016, the Triumph Bonneville has finally shed its air-cooled status and embraced a raft of new technologies that brings the engine of the retro-styled machine truly into the 21st century. It’s a brilliant machine that will no doubt sell like hot cakes, but with such a change there is also a chance for a new bike to become a modern classic. That very well could be steeds like this “new” 2004 Triumph Bonneville. With no electronic aids, no fly by wire and carbies for induction it is perhaps the true bridge between the old classics and the new retro-tech masterpieces. Either way, Macco Motors in Spain sure know how to turn out a brilliant Bonnie of any vintage and this little lady known as ‘Wayra’ sure likes her hair in the wind.
Lordy! What are they putting in the water over there in Lisbon town? One would have to assume it’s a mixture of amphetamines, high-octane racing fuel and a big gob-full of ecstasy. Why? Because it seems that for a country of only 10 million people, they are certainly pumping out some very quick and very beautiful builds. And clearly no-one’s been keeping well hydrated more that Luis and the boys at Maria. Here’s their next build – hot on the heels of August’s muito popular Spitfire bike – it’s a 2001 Bonnie they’ve entitled ‘Lieutenant’.
Spain’s Macco Motors are building a large following with their clean and classic builds of everything from Harley V-Twins to little European 2 Stroke smokeys. But it is there Triumph Bonneville builds that are gaining fans from all corners of the globe and it was this that brought to them Jarlath, a customer from Belfast in Northern Ireland who’d seen the Macco Bonneville’s and had to have one of his own. Who could blame him, Macco Motors build many of the parts themselves, they do everything in-house and all of their builds are first class. Road racing is arguably the national sport in Northern Ireland but with its iffy weather Jarlath wanted a machine that was more than capable in all conditions; Macco delivered exactly that and more, a 2010 Triumph Bonneville delivered across the Irish sea sporting the most fitting of names, “Pilgrim”.
Unless you’re a recovering hibernation addict, it will not surprise you to hear that the bike style de jour is the oh-so-hot scrambler. With Ducati having thrown their hat into the (dirt) ring with a new model late last year and BMW looking to follow suit soon, it seems the world’s bike buying population has developed a real taste for dust. But what if you wanted something a little more trick? Something that said more ‘you’ than ‘me too’? Well then, you’d probably be in the market for something like this…
Portugal’s Maria Motorcycles has a glowing reputation for building quality custom motorcycles that leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of perfection. So it was no surprise when they got a call from a Triumph Bonneville aficionado who had a 2001 model he wanted built to scrambler spec. So confident was the owner, he gave Maria no design brief but having previously built a Spitfire-themed Bonnie the boys had the bright idea to again follow the World War II angle. Only this time with something from the other side of the Channel, a German-themed military spec vehicle that goes by the name of Luther.
In the café racer scene few motorcycles are as important as the parallel twin-powered Triumph Bonneville. From the early pre-unit bikes, to the engines that powered Tritons and Tribsas, all the way to the modern re-imagining of the Bonneville that you can buy new off the dealer floor; the bike has pretty much defined the scene. Now, we all have our opinions and right now this is mine; I believe this is the best looking Bonnie ever built, bar none.
Words by Martin Hodgson.
If you had to name your bike after a Beatles song “Here Comes The Sun” would suit this Bonnie Bobber to a Triumph T. Both the bike and song are ’69 models but Rob Chappell of the famous Chappell brothers bought this bike into the 21st century without losing any of the 60’s charm. What you might not know is that although they often build bikes together, Chris is in the USA under the Chappell Customs brand while Rob resurrected his forum username of old to brand his Toronto Canada operation Origin8or Cycles. “This makes it easier to distinguish who is building what” says Rob.
Written by Ian Lee.
Isn’t new love grand? You just want to spend time together, walking on the beach, holding hands, riding your bitchin Triumph down country lanes two up …This is the thought behind today’s feature bike, a labour of love from the Ton-up Garage in Portugal. Built for a couple looking to spend as much time as possible together, this Triumph Bonneville has been customised while still allowing for two up action. Dubbed ‘Hellzapoppin’ after the dance style that brought them together, this bike is tearing up the streets of Lisbon and backroads of Portugal, showing that Ton-up motorcycles aren’t necessarily about one up motorcycling.
Written by Pierre Robichaud.
Bonneville. It conjures up many a mental image. To the average Joe, it means that motorcycle movie with the guy who played Hannibal Lecter… if it registers at all. And to most of us, it refers to a legendary bike and a popular Utah destination toward the top of our bucket list. But to an increasingly rare breed, its true meaning can only understood by actually experiencing it.