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Triumph Bonneville -- vintage or modern recommendations


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On 4/15/2020 at 3:58 PM, DonT said:

I have 1 vintage bike and 1 retro modern, sold off 2 vintage bikes recently. Mine aren’t Triumphs but i have friends that are heavy in to these and Norton’s, well over 100 bikes between a doz guys.  All but 1 guy has some sort of a modern bike, that they ride- the vintage bikes are to work on and play around with.  
 

 

DonT has it exactly right, if you are only going to have one bike and actually want to hop on it and go even just around town, get a modern bike. There are some very nice

retro modern bikes out there you kinda get the best of both worlds. Prices are in the pits and nice bikes are a dime a dozen.

I cannot post here anymore ( need to pay brad) but I used to run shovel heads as my only ride, all my friends have some very neat vintage bikes. They all have modern bikes for day to day.

 

The old joke still applies:

Owning a vintage motorcycle is like dating in college.

They are all fun and pretty, but you end up spending all your money and spare time working on them, hoping you get a 15 minute ride on the weekend. 

 

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robp said--------------I watched Evil Kneviel never impressed, but I also watched  "On any Sunday" Steve Mcqueen impressed me Mert  Lawwill impressed me.    Had movies of Steve McQueen finis

I had a Triumph Bonneville T120 TT Special ca.1967.  Wonderful bike, wonderful memories but if I had it back......ouch.   Longest trip was Hanover, NH to El Paso,TX and return.  I am still v

DonT has it exactly right, if you are only going to have one bike and actually want to hop on it and go even just around town, get a modern bike. There are some very nice retro modern bikes out t

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walt lister

robp said--------------I watched Evil Kneviel never impressed, but I also watched  "On any Sunday" Steve Mcqueen impressed me Mert  Lawwill impressed me.

 

 Had movies of Steve McQueen finishing third at a local 30 mile desert race in the late '60s, one of the guys that beat him was Dave Ekins, the brother of Bud Ekins who did the jump for McQueen in "The Great Escape". McQueen would enter races under the alias "Harvy Mushman".

 I was riding the SoCal desert on dirt bikes a lot when "On Any Sunday" was shot. I was pitting for a friend at the desert race shown in that film., he didn't finish.

Rode and raced thousands of miles in the '60s and '7os when the desert was wide open. Still have the urge and a 1979 Maico 440 Magnum in the garage but much to old to go.

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Ditto to all the suggestions of going 'modern'. 

 

If it makes it feel more like a classic, the new Triumphs you're talking about are still AT LEAST 20+ years old when it comes to motorcycle technology – styling from the 60's and tech from the 90's.  I'm not bashing it and have lusted after one myself, especially the 1200. I just haven't ever pulled the trigger. I have had a 'modern' Triumph triple and can tell you from experience that it was dead-nuts reliable. It never failed to start and never left me stranded; something I can't say for my BMW, or Guzzi... 

 

A bike has to function on two levels for me to love it: sitting still and when I'm riding. So, if a bike doesn't touch you at both of those levels, I wouldn't waste your time/money.

 

When the plague lets up you could consider renting one of the new Triumphs for a weekend just to see if you liked it.  Good luck. 

 

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This thread really brough back memories. In the early seventies I had several bikes. A BSA lightning, Norton commando but my favorite was my triumph bonneville Gloss black with red pin striping. 2 into 1 exhaust. Boy I wish I had them today. 

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If I had another hobby, bikes might be it. Never been around them much at all. Bought my 9 year old a Honda 80 a few months ago. Might be a slippery slope....

 

I hope this is a good version of this song. Wife’s asleep so I can’t check. These guys do a good version of it, just not sure if this one is...naming all those old zbritush bikes...

 

 

 

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My favorite British bike is the old 750cc Norton P11 Scrambler. Basically a Matchless with a Norton engine. I've had a few opportunities to buy one but the timing was never quite right.

norton-p11.thumb.jpg.8d1141a6557b770ceee88588b4612ec9.jpg

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walt lister
3 hours ago, Rockdoc said:

My favorite British bike is the old 750cc Norton P11 Scrambler. Basically a Matchless with a Norton engine. I've had a few opportunities to buy one but the timing was never quite right.

norton-p11.thumb.jpg.8d1141a6557b770ceee88588b4612ec9.jpg

Did they come with low pipes like that?? The ones I remember seeing had  high pipes.

CLASSIC-NORTONP-11SIDE.jpg

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Hi Walter, I'm not sure what kind of pipes they had. They only made the P11 for about 3-4 years and there may have been differences between years. I guess I liked them because I had a 650 Matchless twin that was virtually the same except for the engine. Unfortunately, the 650 Matchless twin engine was a notoriously bad design that didn't hold up well at all. The 750 Norton twin engine on the other hand was probably one of the most durable British twins from that time period.

 

My 650 Matchless was a beautiful bike but it was sort of like being in love with a beautiful but unfaithful woman. Every time I turned around I'd get screwed. I probably spent 2 hours repairing it for every hour I rode it.

 

Steve

 

matchless_g12_59.thumb.jpg.39ffd28e60bce8d2e0117149a66a94dc.jpg

 Here's a photo I found of a Matchless 650 twin that, except for the paint, is identical to the one I owned. Mine was painted lemon yellow.

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Field Grade

 

My 650 Matchless was a beautiful bike but it was sort of like being in love with a beautiful but unfaithful woman. Every time I turned around I'd get screwed. I probably spent 2 hours repairing it for every hour I rode it.

 

-Well stated, a sentiment other folks have also shared here. If I do wind up getting a vintage Triumph, I will know what I am in for. 

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If you want to see Triumphs in action there is a chase scene in Clint Eastwood's movie Coogan's Bluff from 1968.  It involves Clint chasing the bad guy on bikes and they are both riding Triumphs.

Back in the late 60s there were a few of us guys that had bikes.  Three of the guys had Triumphs, one had a Norton and three of us had BSA's.  Those were some fun times.

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A lot of people, including me, have written about how unreliable British bikes are. With that said, my 1962 750 Norton Atlas was a damned reliable bike. I thought nothing of hopping on it and making 700 mile road trips to Chicago and back. One time I went to a blue grass music festival in southern Missouri. I got a little drunk and tried to ford a river with it only to have it stall mid-stream when I submerged my magneto. I hauled it out of the river, disconnected the gas line at the carburetor and ran raw gas through the magneto to dry it out. After it sat for an hour drying I stuck my finger in the oil tank and rubbed motor oil inside the magneto on the cam that opened and shut the ignition points. The old bike started with my first kick and ran great the rest of the festival and for the 250 mile ride back to Carbondale. Those were some fun times.

 

Steve

 

PS as crappy as Lucas electrical parts were they built a pretty reliable magneto. In fact that was the only thing on my Matchless that never gave me problems.

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11 minutes ago, Rockdoc said:

 One time I went to a blue grass music festival in southern Missouri. I got a little drunk and tried to ford a river with it only to have it stall mid-stream when I submerged my magneto. I hauled it out of the river, disconnected the gas line at the carburetor and ran raw gas through the magneto to dry it out. After it sat for an hour

 

 

That hour probably did you some good also.

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Field Grade- If you want to look at Vintage Bikes my favorite show is the one at the-  Dutchess Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck NY    That can't be too far from you.    You just have to wait Covid 19 out. 

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Field Grade

^^^ Thanks, I will check it out, if they hold it this year. That's just a ways up the river from me, stone's throw.

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