The Bonneville and the Old Lady

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ER Classics Desktop 2022

Crossing the border for a weekend, that's how you do it if you live in the east of the country. You can grab the car for that if you plan on shopping cheaply. But it's more fun on the bike. And as a motorcyclist, as a rider of a classic motorcycle, you usually have a smooth and pleasant contact with our eastern neighbors.

Classic drivers always have a claim

For example, after filling up with that dirt-cheap German petrol, a father and son got into a conversation with a villager. And that villager knew another villager /V, a widow. Before you think we're headed for cougarism and romance, the widow had been married to a motorcyclist. And - how funny - the late motorcyclist also had a Triumph had. Considering location and estimated ages, father and son were mildly interested. Senior estimated that it was a German Triumph from TWN, Triumpf Werke Neurenburg would be a two-stroke from the XNUMXs or so.

The widow, but not Van Nelle's

The communicative German happily reported that the widow was a good friend of his wife and that the Triumph may have been for sale because it was in the way. He wanted to introduce our acquaintances. Long story short: In the German shed was a 1970 Bonneville with a whole out of parts. An immaculate Bonneville with a lot of parts. The widow was friendly, the visit took longer than planned. Father and son bought the Bonneville and broke all plans. They went home to borrow a van. In short, it was a weekend to remember.

151 euros plus an apple pie

You then hear that story while you yourself have just responded to an email: “I have a motorcycle here. For every serious offer above € 150, he can go. I actually had no space at all and thought I'd get rid of the purchase by answering: “Then I'll offer € 151 plus an apple pie”. Within a minute I got the answer from Dirksland: “Accepted!”.
Now a Yamaha XZ 550 with some missing keys and without papers is of course very different from a very nice Bonnie T120R with about an extra engine of parts. But it must be a matter of karma.

After the peak it always gets less

De Triumph The 120 Bonneville T1970 was not only the pinnacle in the development of the Triumph 650, 1970 was also the year most people refer to as “the best” Triumph Bonneville ever built,” it was also the last year before the nearly cursed Oil-in-Frame bikes arrived, and all the problems with the struggling owner BSA began to surface. At that time, the Meriden factory was producing 900 Triumph Bonnevilles per week.

Overtaken by time – and the Japanese –

De Triumph 1970 Bonneville truly represents the best of what Triumphmotorcycles had to offer at the time. But compared to the changing market at the time, the now firmly established Honda 450 DOHCs and 750/Fours, Kawasaki triples and the like, the Bonnie lacked scoring points in a number of key areas: It had no five-speed transmission, no disc brake and no electric starter. And now that the public had become accustomed to the high level of quality and "just throttle in and go" maintenance regime that the Japanese bikes offered, the Triumph Bonneville from 1970 a somewhat dated, unreliable oiler that vibrated a lot. In 1965, no one cared because all the heavy bikes vibrated, required a lot of maintenance and weren't full-throttle. But when people had a choice, so did most of the traditional buying public Triumph for a Japanese bicycle, because they sometimes wanted to arrive somewhere with clean hands and they didn't want puddles of oil on their garage floor.

But still: If anyone knows of a widow with a Bonneville – or let it be a Tiger – in the barn? That person can call me directly!

Read also:
- Triumph Bonneville. A memory
- Theo, "Somebody Else" and an old man Triumph Tiger
- A BSA, a reenactment and… It was Theo's birthday - column
- More stories about classic engines


Give a reaction
  1. Hey Dolf,

    Another wonderful story , you see , it comes unexpectedly and happens to you like in love ( wink ) !

    Best regards ,


  2. Good evening Dolf Peters.
    What knights who help such a widow from being 'overcomplete'!
    As a single I am more interested in the man/widow than in the valuable 'old iron'.
    How is that lady?
    Greetings from Paris

    • The lady is out of the picture for a while. But there should be enough choice in that segment 🙂 Maybe we should start the AMK dating app. Because there are much less complicated ladies than the real Parisians!

  3. A title with "two old ladies" could also apply. In terms of styling, the TLS front brake and some more (hidden) improvements, certainly the better Bonnie, but as yourself already indicated, with the 'old' defects such as incontinence. At the time, there was quite a bit of ridicule over a British executive's comment that "motorcyclists loved nothing more than tinkering with their bikes at the weekend" - or words to that effect - but this is, or should be, still true for the average English classic owner. These bikes simply require attention and maintenance, after, but often also before a ride.
    But if it's your hobby, the boundaries are wide, and the mantle of love is up for grabs. Beautiful and special find, and an excellent and inspiring example of how a flying bird always catches something.

    • I received an email from a befriended garage mechanic from South Holland. Look what I have now. I immediately thought of you! I am open to any serious offer above 150 e. I didn't want that thing at all and offered 151 euros plus an apple pie. An e-mail will arrive by email “According!” So ​​that was 400 km drive to pick up a Yamaha XZ550. A neat thing. Without papers… First try to get the license plate back at the RDW. But good luck, that was what it was

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