The Evolution of the Triumph Bonneville
Many people call the Triumph Bonneville motorcycle a legend. In the 1950s, a team of motorcycle builders used a Triumph engine to create the fastest motorcycle of its time, after setting a land speed record at 214 mph. It was in 1959 that Triumph introduced the Bonneville to the buying public. Similar to the same motorcycle that set the speed record, the Bonneville T-120 had a 650cc air-cooled, overhead valve, parallel-twin engine and a four-speed gearbox with a chain final drive.
So how exactly did the Bonneville get its name? The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah is one of the most unique places on earth, stretching over 30,000 acres. It’s been called a “place so flat it seems that you can see the curvature of the earth’s surface.” In other words, Bonneville is the perfect place to set a land speed record. Three Texan motorcycle builders and racers created a streamliner called the “Texas Cee-gar” which was powered by a Triumph Thunderbird engine. After setting the land speed record, this streamliner was the inspiration for the iconic Triumph Bonneville motorcycle.
After this first record breaking model, a Bonneville-powered twin-engine streamliner motorcycle ridden by Bob Leppan set a new world land speed record of 245.6 mph in 1960. A labor dispute grounded the production of Triumph bikes in 1973, however despite that a new 750cc Bonneville T140V was introduced this year. Years later, in 1990, the first of the newly designed Triumph motorcycles with modern design and engineering were launched at the Cologne Motorcycle show.
The Triumph brand may have realized its heyday during the 50’s and 60’s, with the pinnacle of the Bonneville being in the late 60’s, but the Bonneville is still around today, regaining popularity in the early 2000’s. The biggest news for the Bonneville motorcycle in 2009, on the 50th anniversary of the first Triumph Bonneville, was the addition of fuel injection, a change that has occurred across all of the Triumphs Modern Classics. This Triumph Bonneville was a special, limited edition model that commemorated the original.
No matter what type of classic or vintage motorcycle you own, we can insure it at Condon Skelly. Your vehicle will fall into the antique motorcycle insurance category if it is completely original and at least 25 years old. We insure many different types of antique cars, trucks, and motorcycles so we’ll be able to craft the perfect policy for your vehicle. Please contact us today for more information. (866) 291-5694