1971 Triumph Bonneville T120R Bobber

The Highlights

・Expensive custom build
・Rebuilt engine
・Tried and tested Bobber
・Cool appeal

The Background

From the late 1940’s Triumph designed and built bikes for ‘the people’. As more and more working people aspired to owning their own motor transport rather than relying on public transport or their bicycle, Triumph offered appealing motorcycles such as the small 150cc Terrier and the 200cc Tiger Cub - great names!
By the time the Triumph Bonneville 650 twin first hit the streets in 1959, Triumph were at their peak and the Bonneville was one of the fastest bikes on the road - nothing else could touch them!. It’s sporting successes on the racetrack undoubtedly helped with sales and increased the demand from the public for even faster machines.

During the 1960’s competition of another kind - from the Japanese - meant that Triumph had to up their game by adding 5 speeds, electric starters, etc. In 1971 Triumph (and BSA) came out with a new frame - the much debated Oil-in-the-frame. Despite this, Triumph continued to produce some wonderful machines, improving and increasing the power output until 1983 when the 750cc Bonneville literally became the last classic motorcycle produced by the old British motorcycle industry. 

The History

The current owner purchased this Bonneville in Cape Cod in 1997, carried out a part restoration, 
and rode it as a stock bike in Florida until importing it to the U.K. 5 years ago.

Originally a 1971 OIF (oil in frame) bike, the owner, who is an engineer, then set about creating the great looking Bobber custom machine you see today.

The Paperwork

The V5 is present along with a an A4 envelope stuffed full of receipts from specialist parts and services suppliers in the U.S.A. and here in the U.K.   

The Condition

The overall condition of this Bobber appears to be very good. The powder coated frame and ancillaries look very good. The light blue petrol tank has a small scratch on the right hand side and the mud guard has some damage from the chain (a chain tensioner is now fitted). The number plate also some slight damage to it’s outer edge and a few areas like the front brake cable brackets have some surface rust visible (see photos). The chrome and alloy parts look very presentable and the leather saddle (which was custom hand made in Italy), looks great. 

No doubt of interest to the Bobber enthusiast, the current owner has an invoice for the custom frame (at a cost of over £800) with the following geometry specifications:

The stretched and dropped Bobber frame by Fenland Choppers Ltd. has a +2” stretch in the neck and +2” stretch in the rear. 32 degree rake set up for 29.5” long forks. Top tube set at an angle to suit stock export T120 OIF fuel tank. Stock size wheels being used (19” front, 18” rear). Frame neck to suit stock T120 conical hub front end.

The Mechanics

In recent years this bike has had some serious money lavished on it to the tune of £5,000 plus!
Thus the oily bits are in very good condition. The engine was fully rebuilt (at a cost of £1,000 plus in parts alone) and included some porting, a lightened valve train and sludge trap. There are no leaks and the owner says it “starts first kick”.

The gear change is by way of a ‘King Dick’ extended spanner with a foot operated suicide clutch pedal (Which can be easily converted back to hand operated). The brake hubs are original specification and the owner says these operate as they should.

In addition, numerous upgrades include:

- Oil pressure gauge.

- A Morris Mag (tacho drive now unavailable), Bob Newby Racing belt driven dry clutch with a lightened pressure plate - so no sticking plates or heavy clutch lever effort required.

- A Tolle (Swedish) internal throttle.

- MaundSpeed Velocity stacks, inverted lever and number plate bracket.

- A Bunn Breather system, oil seal and 71 breather (dry primary belt).

- A 7 Metal West Beehive oil tank (imported from the USA).

- Fuel tank cut and shut to slimline style.

The Appeal

Once built, this Bobber was taken for a 1000 mile shakedown cruise from Grosseto, Italy, to Venice without fault. So it appears to be ready to ride, with confidence, anywhere!.  

The Triumph Bonneville is undoubtedly a British icon spanning almost 60 years of production and the Bonneville certainly adapts well to the 1930’s racer inspired stripped back look. So if you are
looking for a cool, stylish classic Bobber that has been very well engineered with a newly rebuilt engine, then you shouldn’t go far wrong with this one for years to come.  

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1971
  • Make Triumph
  • Model Bonneville T120R
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 1,000 Miles
  • Engine size 649
  • Location Hampshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
16 bids
  • Ro•••• £7,900 10/08/21
  • GW•••• £7,800 10/08/21
  • Ro•••• £7,700 10/08/21
  • GW•••• £7,600 10/08/21
  • Ro•••• £7,500 10/08/21
  • da•••• £7,250 10/08/21
  • ho•••• £7,000 09/08/21
  • da•••• £6,600 06/08/21
  • a3•••• £6,500 06/08/21
  • ni•••• £6,200 05/08/21

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