triumphcorvair New Reader
July 15, 2013 8:54 p.m.

Anybody have any experience with Triumphs? Specifically Bonnevilles? There was one on eBay with a buy it now option of $3500 but no bids. I thought it was a good deal but since it didn't get a bid I was curious if I was missing something?

ddavidv PowerDork
July 16, 2013 5:52 a.m.

What year Bonneville? The Hinckley FI models seem to be trouble free. Not sure about the carb ones. The 'real' Triumphs have their issues depending on which series you're talking about. I have a book on Bonnes that is pretty good I'd sell you since I'm done with it. Cheap. Like, friend price.

triumphcorvair New Reader
July 16, 2013 7:18 a.m.
ddavidv wrote: What year Bonneville? The Hinckley FI models seem to be trouble free. Not sure about the carb ones. The 'real' Triumphs have their issues depending on which series you're talking about. I have a book on Bonnes that is pretty good I'd sell you since I'm done with it. Cheap. Like, friend price.

Its a 1976 Bonneville, sorry should have included the year. I emailed the owner and it sold to a private buyer last day of the auction for $3,750 (more than the buy it now price). I'm not looking for a cruiser just something for weekends. I really like the looks of the British Iron. Can you recommend anything in the 750cc range? Price on the book? PayPal?

July 16, 2013 10:13 a.m.

I have a '71 Bonneville. This is the first year for the "oil in frame" bikes (OIF). If you want a classic Triumph, the early OIF bikes still had drum brakes and can be made to look like a pre-70. Lots of torque from the 650. I have a '71 BMW and a Honda as well. The Triumph is pretty coarse in comparison. They seem to go for $3-4k. I was going to sell my Bonneville last week to buy another BMW with a sidecar. I advertised it for $3100 (same price as the BMW) and had an 83 year old buyer the next day. Sidecar deal fell through so I decided not to sell. Mine is in very good, original condition. Point is, more desirable, older bikes are out there cheaper. If you have specific questions, lmk. I'm 6'3" and 190, btw, and the bike feels fine. If you're short, you might want to sit on one before you buy.

triumphcorvair New Reader
July 16, 2013 11:28 a.m.
Apis_Mellifera wrote: I have a '71 Bonneville. This is the first year for the "oil in frame" bikes (OIF). If you want a classic Triumph, the early OIF bikes still had drum brakes and can be made to look like a pre-70. Lots of torque from the 650. I have a '71 BMW and a Honda as well. The Triumph is pretty coarse in comparison. They seem to go for $3-4k. I was going to sell my Bonneville last week to buy another BMW with a sidecar. I advertised it for $3100 (same price as the BMW) and had an 83 year old buyer the next day. Sidecar deal fell through so I decided not to sell. Mine is in very good, original condition. Point is, more desirable, older bikes are out there cheaper. If you have specific questions, lmk. I'm 6'3" and 190, btw, and the bike feels fine. If you're short, you might want to sit on one before you buy.

Thanks for the input. I've found many nice examples in my search and it appears $3-4K is pretty much ballpark. I've searched mainly ebay but I'll also chechk our CL. I'm trying to get a quick education so to speak as I don't know anything about British iron. Before I make an offer I want to know what I'm getting myself into. I'm 5'7", 150..Right nos I'm learning the different models, T120, Tigers, Bonnevilles, etc and their engine displacement. Don't want to come off as a total dork. I like the minimalistic look of the bobbers so that's where I'm leaning right now.

July 16, 2013 2:00 p.m.

Have you ruled out BMW? You can get a nice one, similar vintage and condition, for the same money. In my experience, you get more bike for the money. The 650 was Triumph's big bike when BMW had a 750. Triumph went to 750 and BMW to 900.

An oddity relating to Triumph is that the shift and brake is "backwards" on older bikes. Panic stops or spirited downshifts can get uncomfortable if you're not used to that. They are kick start only too. Richard Hammond is your size. Watch him try to start a Vincent... I don't know when they "fixed" those things and not trying to dissuade you from an older Triumph - just informing.

I come from a long line of British cars, trucks, and motorcycles; I have eight and a half of them right now.. I routinely hear "I had one of those and it would never run right and the wiring was awful". What I actually hear is "I'm not a very good mechanic and I neglect even the most basic of maintenance." Mine run fine and are reliable. In other words, if you're reasonably handy, you'll be fine.

triumphcorvair New Reader
July 16, 2013 2:25 p.m.
Apis_Mellifera wrote: An oddity relating to Triumph is that the shift and brake is "backwards" on older bikes. Panic stops or spirited downshifts can get uncomfortable if you're not used to that. They are kick start only too. Richard Hammond is your size. Watch him try to start a Vincent... I don't know when they "fixed" those things and not trying to dissuade you from an older Triumph - just informing.

I've never owned a motorcyle so I guess I probably don't have any bad habits yet or I'm not smart enough to know the difference anyway. My mechanical experience is primarily related to Triumph TR6's, Spits, Jag XKE and Corvairs. I've never worked on a bike but I'm willing to learn.

4g63t
4g63t HalfDork
July 17, 2013 9:22 a.m.

I had a 76 Bonneville for 15 years

triumphcorvair New Reader
July 17, 2013 11:12 a.m.
4g63t wrote: I had a 76 Bonneville for 15 years

Any major issues? Pluses and minuses of ownership during that time?

ddavidv PowerDork
July 18, 2013 5:45 a.m.

PM'd you about the book.

gunner Reader
July 21, 2013 8:32 p.m.

Im looking at bonnevilles too. In finding several more modern ones 2004 and up for under 5k with higher mileage on them. around 30k miles. Do high miles affect anything negatively? Or are they like cars where thats nothing to worry about?

ddavidv PowerDork
July 22, 2013 6:17 a.m.

On modern bikes it's nothing to worry about. Most bikes in the last 20 or more years are easily capable of 100,000 miles without need of a rebuild, and even then it's cheaper to just buy another used engine from a wreck.

I haven't found many guys with Bonnies with high miles, but the Tigers have frequently done high miles with no real problems. Higher miles may mean other wear items like forks, shocks, triple tree bearings etc may need renewing but if DIY are not particularly expensive to fix.

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