Triumph Bonneville Bobber Build, Part 2

You can win this bike!


| July/August 2010



bonneville cable old

The stock clutch cable on the primary case.

Photo by Richard Backus

Some ideas need a little breathing room — and in this case more than a little hands-on time — to fully develop. Sure, we wanted to build a bobber, but we wanted to enhance performance, too.

The motivation behind our Custom Triumph Bonneville Build was the opportunity to craft our take on the emerging modern bobber, a category that’s been showing lots of activity. Following our line of thought, we also wanted to use a modern classic motorcycle, and Triumph’s latest Bonneville is a natural foundation for our build. From its time-honored parallel-twin engine configuration to the swooping R logo on the tank, its classic appeal is undeniable.

The new Bonneville is also the most successful of the so-called retro classic motorcycles, which means a healthy aftermarket has already sprung up to supply custom motorcycle parts for enthusiastic owners who want to give their bikes a little extra personality.

With this custom motorcycle project our plan wasn’t to build a bike from whole cloth. Although we’re pretty handy with a wrench, we don’t pretend to have the skills or equipment for that. Instead, we wanted to see what aftermarket Triumph motorcycle parts we could find to help us craft our custom Triumph Bonneville into something very different from what rolls out of the factory, without needing beaucoup fabrication skills. Basically, a build the average guy could do in his own garage in his spare time.

Not your “standard” bobber

Much like a café bike, a bobber is what you make it. There is no right or wrong, only personal preference. With our bobber, we wanted to take a stock new Bonneville and add style and a bit of performance without sacrificing much (if any) of the bike’s comfort and usability. We could have made it even lower and louder, added a hard tail, higher bars and a host of other pieces that may (or may not) have looked good, all in the hunt for a more “traditional” style.

Instead, we aimed for changes that would improve both style and function. We removed the stock motorcycle handlebars and went searching for something lower, but not Ace Cafe style, and finally decided on these simple and classic low drag custom bars from Motorcycle Superstore. They lend the bike a mean, lean-forward look, ready for enthusiastic cornering while still being comfortable.





bike on highway

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