Friday, 5 January 2018

Triumph Bonneville T120

Triumph Bonneville T120
Definitely, the best-known 'Brit bike' - and, arguably, the most celebrated classic motorcycle ever built - introducing the iconic Triumph Bonneville! The very name is liable to induce weak knees in its devotees - invoking visions of a time when the material world was metal, and plastic a brittle blip on the horizon.  Naturally, the future of the planet comes before that of classic motorbikes - but the petrols and oils of yesteryear had a 'presence', which today's sanitised substances simply do not possess.  Such sensually emotive products are the beating heart of the motorbike design icon that is the Triumph Bonneville.

It is ironic that a motorcycle that epitomises '60s Britain should reference in its name a sporting arena in the USA - Utah's Bonneville salt flats.  In 1956, Johnny Allen had climbed aboard a Triumph Streamliner, and propelled it to 214mph.  The road-going 'Bonnie' was good for roughly half that - still, 110mph was more than enough for most 'rockers' and 'ton-up boys' - for whom the Bonnie would become virtually a part of their anatomy!

In Triumph's glory days, the Bonneville was the beacon for the brand - some quarter of a million Bonnies passed through Meriden's factory gates.  On the Isle of Man, a Bonneville won the Production TT in 1967.  Two seasons later, it was a Bonneville which recorded the first 'proddy racer' 100mph lap of the 'island'.  The ton-up boys must have been ecstatic!  On less famous public roads, the Bonneville was still a legend in its own landscape.  When the rockers decamped to the seaside on that memorable Sixties day - to do battle with arch-rivals the 'mods' - it is a safe bet there was many a 'Bonnie' seen blasting down to Brighton beach!

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