The Triumph T140V Bonneville

A great rideable classic

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    Good examples of the Triumph T140 Bonneville don't seem to be hard to find, but they don't seem to stay on the market for long, either.
    Photo by Richard Backus
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Triumph T140V Bonneville
Years produced:
Total production: N/A
Claimed power: 50hp @ 7,000rpm (1976)
Top speed: 110mphEngine type: 744cc, air-cooled two valve per cylinder parallel twin
Transmission: Five-speed
Weight: 188kg (414lb)(w/half-full tank)
MPG: 40-50
Price then: $1,995 (1976)
Price now: $2,000-$5,000

The Triumph T140V Bonneville is a great rideable classic and is much more affordable than its earlier counterparts.

The Seventies were not good years for Triumph. By 1972 Triumph, arguably the personification of motorcycles and motorcycling, had been eclipsed by a hoard of Asian upstarts, despite 70 years of manufacturing tradition behind the fabled company.

In some ways, Triumph had been its own worst enemy. An entrenched, misplaced belief within the British motorcycle industry in its own superiority had resulted in outdated product, just as new rivals were launching the most technologically exciting motorcycles ever seen. Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Yamaha were spearheading a revolution, changing and innovating their products yearly. But in 13 years of production, Triumph’s iconic Bonneville, introduced to rave reviews in 1959, had changed little. At Triumph, it appeared that evolution, not revolution, was the order of the day.

The Bonneville desperately needed a shot in the arm to remain competitive, and Triumph belatedly responded in 1973 by upping the Bonnie’s 650cc engine to 744cc and, finally, fitting a five-speed transmission in place of the old four-speed.

Unfortunately, the “new” Bonnie, dubbed the T140V, suffered under Triumph’s heavy load. That same year, Triumph announced the closure of the Meriden plant where the Bonnie was built, prompting the workforce there to wage an 18-month strike, during which all Bonneville production ceased.

12/17/2020 4:28:17 PM

Bought my new '76 Bonnie with Alaska Pipeline (Alaska price was $2500) and rode it for 30 years. Made the worst mistake of my life selling it when I moved south. What a great bike, and totally dependable. No other subsequent machine came close until this year when I bought a Guzzi V7III Special. Love the Goose, there's nothing like riding a brand new bike and it handles nearly as well, but this article makes me wish I had searched for another T140V.

10/15/2020 4:01:44 PM

Finally got my 1974 Triumph T140V restored and home in the garage. It’s an absolute nut and bolt complete restoration back to original condition. From what I understand only about 600 of these bike were produced during the strike year of 1974. What a pity! It runs great and handles even better than probably any machine I’ve owned. It’s a great testament to the British motorcycle industry that many have forgotten.

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