Triumph Bonneville Bobber Build, Part 1

Motorcycle Classics and Dairyland Cycle Insurance are building a retro bobber — and you could win it!

| May/June 2010

  • bonneville build 1
    Here’s what our brand new Bonneville looked like when it arrived at the MC offices.
  • bonneville build 3
    Here’s our brand new Bonneville after an afternoon spent pulling it apart. Now the real work begins - putting it together the way we want it!
  • bonneville build 2
    We're going to drop our Triumph down a little closer to the ground, and to do that we'll install a set of shorter aftermarket performance shocks and also push the front forks a little farther up into the steering yokes.
  • bonneville build 4
    Proably the hardest part of our afternoon's work was removing the stock exhaust system, which we'll be replacing with an aftermarket unit. The first step in removing the exhaust is loosening the crossover pipe connecting the left and right sides.
  • bonneville build - header pipe
    Next up is removing the nuts holding the header pipes to the cylinder head. Best practice is to just crack the nuts loose, one after the other, before loosening them completely.
  • bonneville build - sidecover removed
    To get to the bolt that holds the rear of the header pipe you have to remove the right side cover, shown removed here, followed by the right side foot peg/brake pedal assemly, which you'll see in the next photo.
  • bonneville build - front footpeg removed
    After removing the side cover we also removed the right side foot peg/brake lever assembly. That's necessary to access the bolt that holds up the rear of the header pipe, which you'll see in the next photo. This photo shows the exhaust system already removed.
  • bonneville build - rear header mount
    Here you can see the rear header pipe mount. There's no good way to remove this bolt without first removing the side cover and the foot peg/brake pedal assembly.
  • bonneville build - muffler and footpeg
    The muffler is held on at the rear by the rear footpegs. We're going to install a solo saddle which means we won't need rear footpegs, so these aren't going back on.
  • bonneville build - headlamp wiring
    Removing the headlamp shell is easy because the wiring is mostly fool proof thanks to unique terminal ends for each cluster of wires - with the exception of the turn signals, which use the same black/white wiring left and right but plug into different colored receptacles. We made sure to tag the wires in the loom for left and right signals.
  • bonneville build 5
    Here's a closer view of the rear of the frame with the fender removed. We're going to cut or "bob" the upper frame rails where they kink inwards before reaching back to the rear of the bike. The wiring will all nest nicely under the solo saddle we're going to install.

  • bonneville build 1
  • bonneville build 3
  • bonneville build 2
  • bonneville build 4
  • bonneville build - header pipe
  • bonneville build - sidecover removed
  • bonneville build - front footpeg removed
  • bonneville build - rear header mount
  • bonneville build - muffler and footpeg
  • bonneville build - headlamp wiring
  • bonneville build 5

We’re building it, but you could own it. When we’re done, the Motorcycle Classics/Dairyland Cycle Insurance Bonneville Build could be yours. Just sign up to win . We’ll be giving the bike away at the 6th Annual Barber Vintage Festival Oct. 9, 2010, and we’ll be showing it off at shows across the country this summer. Look for more info online and elsewhere in this issue! 

Coming off our last project, the 1973 Honda CB500 Four we transformed from a junkyard reject to a smooth looking and smooth running café for the street, working on this new Triumph Bonneville is almost like taking a vacation.

Where every nut and bolt on the Honda was stuck in place from 35-odd years of accumulated rust and grime, the Triumph’s are held only by thread locking paste and torque. It’s a bit of a surprise to put a wrench on a bolt and have it actually turn with applied force instead of sticking solid while the wrench tries to spin on the head.

A bobber?

Yeah, a bobber. We know there might be a doubting Thomas or two out there, but the fact is the bobber theme has been around long enough to make it a classic in its own right.



Although a lot of folks will tell you the bobber style — bobbed fenders, minimalist decoration and lots of self-made parts — originated with returning servicemen in the post-World War II era, it’s a lot older than that, reaching back to the “California Cut-Downs” of the late 1920s and 1930s.

Hugely popular in the late 1940s and into the 1950s, the bobber style fell somewhat out of favor for a few decades (thanks in large measure to the emergence of the chopper). However, it’s been making a steady comeback as more and more riders, tired of cookie-cutter sport bikes and cruisers, look to the classics for inspiration.

hacksawsgarage_2
5/15/2010 10:19:34 PM

good luck with your project. i found flanders flat track bars to work well on these bikes. i also used a pro one mirror (smaller diameter) and machined an adapter to use the stock mirror stalk. i only ran one mirror. since the bars are one inch, plenty of nice old skool grips around to choose from. i like the "lucas" retro tail lites several aftermarket suppliers stock. my bike was "trackered" more than "bobbered". i didnt want to cut the fenders due to possible resale value. i bought the bike new. a 2005 T-100. if i could ever figure out the albums here, i would post a pic.


William Schmidt
4/18/2010 4:17:25 PM

RE: Bonnie Build I am so excited about your build. I purchased a used '06 Bonnie Black for just this purpose. After consulting with numerous "experts" I find that my bike is not any further along than when I first started. I plan to read each and every build article and double check your webpage for any other updates. I will be following closely and plan to keep pace with the build. Woohoo!!!


cmoore
4/12/2010 5:59:16 AM

Gonna be fun to watch this Bonnie be put back together.







November December Vintage Motorcycle Events

Blue Moon Cycle Euro Bike Swap Meet and Vintage Ride


Make plans for the 28th Annual Blue Moon Cycle Euro Bike Swap Meet on Saturday, Oct. 27, followed by the Blue Moon Cycle Vintage Ride on Sunday, Oct. 28!

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