Triumph Bonneville Bobber Build, Part 1

Motorcycle Classics and Dairyland Cycle Insurance are building a retro bobber — and you could win it!

| May/June 2010

We’re building it, but you could own it. When we’re done, the Motorcycle Classics/Dairyland Cycle Insurance Bonneville Build could be yours. Just sign up to win . We’ll be giving the bike away at the 6th Annual Barber Vintage Festival Oct. 9, 2010, and we’ll be showing it off at shows across the country this summer. Look for more info online and elsewhere in this issue! 

Coming off our last project, the 1973 Honda CB500 Four we transformed from a junkyard reject to a smooth looking and smooth running café for the street, working on this new Triumph Bonneville is almost like taking a vacation.

Where every nut and bolt on the Honda was stuck in place from 35-odd years of accumulated rust and grime, the Triumph’s are held only by thread locking paste and torque. It’s a bit of a surprise to put a wrench on a bolt and have it actually turn with applied force instead of sticking solid while the wrench tries to spin on the head.

A bobber?

Yeah, a bobber. We know there might be a doubting Thomas or two out there, but the fact is the bobber theme has been around long enough to make it a classic in its own right.

Although a lot of folks will tell you the bobber style — bobbed fenders, minimalist decoration and lots of self-made parts — originated with returning servicemen in the post-World War II era, it’s a lot older than that, reaching back to the “California Cut-Downs” of the late 1920s and 1930s.

Hugely popular in the late 1940s and into the 1950s, the bobber style fell somewhat out of favor for a few decades (thanks in large measure to the emergence of the chopper). However, it’s been making a steady comeback as more and more riders, tired of cookie-cutter sport bikes and cruisers, look to the classics for inspiration.

5/15/2010 10:19:34 PM

good luck with your project. i found flanders flat track bars to work well on these bikes. i also used a pro one mirror (smaller diameter) and machined an adapter to use the stock mirror stalk. i only ran one mirror. since the bars are one inch, plenty of nice old skool grips around to choose from. i like the "lucas" retro tail lites several aftermarket suppliers stock. my bike was "trackered" more than "bobbered". i didnt want to cut the fenders due to possible resale value. i bought the bike new. a 2005 T-100. if i could ever figure out the albums here, i would post a pic.

William Schmidt
4/18/2010 4:17:25 PM

RE: Bonnie Build I am so excited about your build. I purchased a used '06 Bonnie Black for just this purpose. After consulting with numerous "experts" I find that my bike is not any further along than when I first started. I plan to read each and every build article and double check your webpage for any other updates. I will be following closely and plan to keep pace with the build. Woohoo!!!

4/12/2010 5:59:16 AM

Gonna be fun to watch this Bonnie be put back together.

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