WHILE AT a swap-meet in Brisvegas, I came across this Bonny that had been imported into Oz and then left in the shed corner while other projects were underway. It had been the personal ride of the local Triumph dealer in Long Beach, California, and had been ridden up until 1982, then parked up until its arrival in Brisbane in 2007. With the bike being in untouched condition and only 7000 km original miles on the clock, I made an offer of $8k and the deal was done. My first road bike had been a ’77 Bonneville as a teenager and after 20 years on Harleys, I had been looking for a good ’77 to restore.
I rode the bike as is for a year while deciding whether to leave it alone or do a rebuild—the rebuild won out. The bike was completely stripped with the engine being sent to Martyn Adams of Birdwood Engineering in Adelaide for a complete rebuild.
The engine cases were vapour-blasted back to better-than-new with the outer cases polished to a mirror shine.
On the primary side, the clutch was given an SRM conversion with the chain changed over to belt. This conversion has made for smooth gear shifting, no clutch drag, and neutral is no longer a problem to find.
Internally, all bearings and bushes were replaced with the crank getting a static balance to smooth out vibration.
The head has been reseated to take 98 octane and runs Black Diamond valves and guides.
On the oil side, a Morgo oil pump is used with an internal paper filter to keep the insides clean.
Electrics are Three Phase PODtronics with a Boyer Bransden ignition system for first kick starting.
Once on the road, this bike runs as good as a modern day Bonny; just looks better doing it.
The wiring loom was custom made by Gary of Tarzali Cycles on the Atherton Tablelands so as to ensure a perfect fit to the updated electrics.
Paint was handed over to Paul Yipo of Yipo’s Airbrushing in Townsville. I asked Paul to match the standard colour but add metal flake to brighten it up. The skull design came from a small statue I had given to Paul and asked him to come up with a design for the side covers, and I’m very happy with the result.
The frame and other parts were all black powder-coated for better wearing and the overall finish it gives.
Apart from some light surface rust, all the tinware was in good condition so it was sent off to Pine Rivers in Brisbane for re-chroming; the results speak for themselves; I highly recommend their work.
For cheaper rego and good styling, I used a Corbin classic single seat. It felt hard at first but is great out on the road.
The old-style tin gauge mounts were replaced with a billet set I found in the USA made by Triples Rule. They make some great gear for the Bonny, and as the name suggests, they look after the early triples as well.
The wheel rims had been unaffected by time so they were retained with the spokes being replaced with stainless by Ash’s in Brisbane. New wheel bearings and polished hubs finished the wheels back and front.
A finish to the project was a brass centre piece polished and engraved with a dedication to a good mate, Micky P, who was killed on the road while on a ride with fellow Patriot members. A great bloke who loved the road and riding with his mates.
With the bike now finished it will get plenty of local rides with a few longer rides to the Tablelands, my favourite riding location.
The fact that the cost has now gone out to over $20k including purchase price won’t stop me from riding it as an everyday bike. I don’t believe in keeping them stored away—build it then ride it as much as you can. You never know when it will be your last ride.
TABLELANDS TRIUMPH RIDER