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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Web Page 1100
1st December 2012

Top Picture : Triumph Bonneville

Second Picture: DOT Trials Machine



The Triumph Bonneville - 50 Years Of A Modern Classic 

The Triumph Bonneville is an undisputed modern classic, synonymous with British motorcycling and a byword for simple, original style. It stands as the perfect blend of British heritage, design and glamour,  backed by modern technology. 

The Bonneville was named in recognition of Johnny Allen’s 1950’s record breaking feats on a Triumph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, the very first Bonneville, the T120, was showcased at the Earls Court Bike Show in 1958, with the bikes being available for sale to the general public the following year.  An instant hit in both the UK and America, essentially the T120 was a high performance, twin carburettor version of Triumph’s T110 Tiger model.  The combination of extra performance with a fine-handling, light weight chassis and attractive design proved a winning combination and the bike went on to become one of the most successful models of the era.

Today’s Bonneville is a roadster – perfect for getting around town in style or
Running round the back lanes - but back then it was a high performance sports bike and billed by Triumph in 1959 as offering “the highest performance from a standard production motorcycle”.   

Although the standard T120 could not quite manage the 120mph top speed that its name suggested, it was good for over 110mph and notched up plenty of victories on the racetrack.   Racing success spawned a special edition ‘Bonneville Thruxton’ (1964/65), which in turn inspired a generation of café racer machines.   

The making of an icon

Much more than a racer though, during the halcyon days of motorcycling in the 1950s and 60s, the Triumph Bonneville established itself as the iconic bike of the era – a status that it retains to this day.  Motorcycling was at the height of its popularity and the Bonneville achieved global cult status with many a charismatic screen legend associated with this evocative machine, both on and off screen.  These included Steve McQueen in The Grea tEscape, James Dean, in Rebel Without a Cause, and Marlon Brando in The Wild One - as well as the likes of Bob Dylan and Clint Eastwood.
In December 1967 Evel Knievel chose the Triumph Bonneville for his ill-fated attempt to jump the Caesar’s Palace fountain in Las Vegas. 

For many, 1969 was the Bonneville’s finest hour with a series of developments culminating in a model at the peak of its form.  The most significant of the changes was to the engine, which had notable trouble-free carburetion, a smooth power delivery and great tractability at low speeds.   The 1969 edition is also considered a design highlight for the Bonneville; the tank badge was changed to a more simple ‘picture-frame’ design, the dual seats were fitted with raised tops, and the rear units became mere exposed springs which most young riders wanted.  Even the colour scheme adopted was a fashionable Olympic Flame and white lined in silver.  

The Rock n’ Roll Years 

Especially in the UK in the 1960s, the Triumph Bonneville became closely associated with the Rock n’ Roll culture – with versions of the Bonneville being adopted by British Rockers as the ultimate motorcycle. London’s Rocker community found a home at the famous transport café, Ace Café, which became the heart of motorcycling and Rock n’ Roll culture – and Bonnevilles, or modified versions of them, would always be lined up outside.  The most popular machine of the Rocker period was the Triton – a custom built motorcycle made from a Norton Featherbed frame, and a Triumph Bonneville engine – combining what was considered the best handling frame of the era with the fastest racing engine. 

A Right Royal Occasion
The Bonneville continued to make its mark in the 1970s and 80s, when special, limited edition bikes were launched to mark significant Royal occasions.  In 1977, the T140J celebrated the Queen’s Silver Jubilee; and in 1981, 250 T140LE Royal Wedding Bonnevilles were produced to mark the Royal wedding between Prince Charles and Diana. 

The Bonneville into the 21st Century 
The seventies were a troubled time at Triumph, with discontent among the work force following a government-sponsored merge with Norton Villiers.  Workers took over the Meriden factory in 1973 amid rumours that it was to be closed and a strike ensued. Virtually no bikes were produced over the following year and in 1975 the Meridan Worker’s Cooperative was formed. Production resumed and Bonneville T140s continued to be built into the early 1980s and were the last bikes to be built by Triumph before the Meriden factory closed in 1983.  Even then the Bonneville refused to die. Small numbers were built under licence by LF Harris of Newton Abbot between 1985 and '88. 

The Bonneville looked as if it had been consigned to history, until in 2000 a modern version of the bike was unveiled. Blending authentic styling with modern materials and manufacturing techniques, the first of the new Bonnevilles was produced with a 790cc parallel-twin motor.  A centenary model followed the next year – the Bonneville T100 Centennial Edition - marking 100 years of the Triumph brand.

The early years of the 21st Century have continued to witness the Bonneville’s evolution, including an increase in capacity to 865cc and the introduction of fuel injection (cleverly concealed to retain the bike’s original styling).  The Bonneville family has also grown to include the T100, Scrambler and Thruxton models. The Bonneville has found real relevance today as a simple, authentic roadster offering plenty of performance combined with easy-going road manners.  Clever design hides modern technology to retain the authentic retro silhouette, while the distinctive note of the twin cylinder engine is unmistakable. A low seat and low centre of gravity make it an agile, manageable motorcycle that all riders – ranging from those with little experience to those with lots – can appreciate.  It remains an indisputable icon - a symbol of rebellion and individuality – and still inspires a loyalty and emotion in everyone that rides it.

In fact there is a man who has a 1960’s Bonneville who lives near me but the illusion is shattered because he has attached a sidecar to it and he then goes off and fills it with timber and logs for his wood burning stove. What a waste!


You Write:

Mary Writes:-

With reference to Solent Rd I can remember Pop Wing. He was a great teacher. Mr White (Leslie) was a strict teacher but very good. Mr King was also strict and I enjoyed being in his class. I remember Miss Jefferies as a particularly strange old bat (dare I say that?) Mr Hawkins the headmaster was ok in my mind. The real scary one was Mrs Magee, closely followed by her dog. We had large classes but we seemed to cope. 

News and Views:

I have just come across a fantastic colour cine film of Southsea in the 1950's. It is 7-8 mins long and is naturally the quality you would expect from a 60 year old film. It shows, amongst other things, South parade Pier, the savoy,a Miss Marilyn contest, the sea front and the Rock Gardens, trolley buses and coach tours, the beaches , the floral clock and skating rink. Childrens corner with the boats, train and paddling pool. I can copy this onto a DVD for those who would like a copy. 

The downside is that to copy it will only cost me about 15p. but the postage and packing will come to around 80p. so I am afraid if you would like me to post you a copy I am going to have to ask for a cheque of £1. (delivery by hand is free!) E mail and let me know if you would like a copy.I really enjoyed it it brought back many memories.

On this day 1st December 1960-1965

On 1/12/1960 the number one single was It's Now Or Never - Elvis Presley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 1/121961 the number one single was Little Sister/His Latest Flame - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Ipswich Town. The top rated TV show was "Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth  £ 13.25.The big news story of the day was Sunday Night at the London Palladium (ATV)".

On 1/12/1962 the number one single was Lovesick Blues - Frank Ifield and the number one album was Out of the Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 1/12/1963 the number one single was She Loves You - The Beatles and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 1/12/1964 the number one single was Baby Love - Supremes and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 1/12/1965 the number one single was The Carnival is Over - Seekers and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music.A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

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