Triumph Bonneville – A Popular Classic

Triumph Patent Plate

The Triumph Bonneville has had many incarnations. From the first T120 Bonnie in 1959, the moniker ‘Bonneville’ has been applied to 650cc pre-unit twins right up to 1200cc monsters. While motorbikes carrying the name are still being produced today, we only do spare parts for the classic Triumphs from Meriden.

Starting life as a pre-unit engine with twin Amal carbs, improvements were made over the years to the forks and the engine lubrication moved to the ‘oil in frame’ type. The T120 Bonneville engine could be tuned for use in cafe racers like the popular Tribsa (with a BSA frame) and Triton (Norton frame). 1963 saw the introduction of the Unit Twin Bonneville. This popular British 650cc had a new unit construction, and a new fanbase.

In the seventies the classic British Bonneville was expanded, literally, to a 750cc engine and the Bonnie T140 was born. Different versions of the T140 were produced over the following years, some with improvements or modifications to hardware, others with varying trim levels. The T140V had the five-speed gearbox (hence the ‘V’), The T140J was produced in silver, red and blue with chrome trims for the Queen’s Jubilee. The T140E was emissions compliant, with an executive model released as a special edition with two-tone paint and limited edition fairings. Electric starters and anti-vibration models made the ‘ES Electro’ and ‘AV’ Bonneville models along with single year models like the T140W, TSS (with 8 valves!) and TSX. 

From 1973 Triumph Tiger TR7s were produced, essentially a T140 Bonneville but with a single carb, and the tongue-twister TR7T Tiger Trail was produced in 1981 for the off-road market.

The name Bonneville is synonymous with Triumph, with many non-riders knowing the name without knowing just how long it’s been around. The classic Triumph design has stood the test of time and continues to be a popular British bike. For parts for your Meriden Bonneville, whatever the incarnation, visit our Triumph online shop