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HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R

Pick of the Day: 1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R

A proper bike for summer

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With spring upon us and summer just waiting in the wings it’s the perfect time to make today’s pick of the day a motorcycle. Not just any motorcycle, but one of the most iconic motorcycles of all time, the Triumph Bonneville.

The Triumph Bonneville was introduced at the 1958 Earls Court Motorshow and then launched in 1959 as a high-performance version of the Speed Twin. It had a 650cc engine, dual carbs and was capable of a top speed in excess of 100 mph. The bike was named after the Bonneville Salt Flats speed trials, where in 1955 a Triumph set a speed record, with American rider Johnny Allen, of 193.3 mph on a modified Triumph-powered Streamliner. Then in 1957, after losing the title in 1956, Allan upped the speed to 214.17 mph.

1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R
1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R

The original 1959 Bonneville was a good bike, but not perfect due to a somewhat weak frame and pre-unit engine construction. (This is where the engine and the gearbox are separate parts)

In 1964 Triumph created the unit-construction engine and gearbox, and over the years improved the frame. The sweet spot to most eyes for the Bonneville was in 1969 where everything came together to make the Bonneville as good as it could get in the era.

The Pick of the Day is a 1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in Elkhart lake, Wisconsin. (Click the link to view the listing)

The seller describes the bike as completely restored six years ago by Wes Scott Cycle in Florida. They go on to state that this T120R was done to the highest of quality; paint work is absolutely beautiful, and chrome that is flawless. Mechanically it is one of the nicest running and riding Bonneville’s they have ever tossed a leg over. In addition, after the restoration this bike was completely shaken down and is 100% ready to ride.

Looking at the pictures of this Bonnie I noticed a few small issues, such as faded and worn decals, and a little lifting of the knee pads on the tank. The knee pad lifting is something pretty easily rectified, and the decals could be original making the preserved wear a bit of patina on the bike.

1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R
1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R

In many ways the Bonneville is the classic British two-wheel equivalent of the Austin-Healey 3000. It was the end of an era of the classic British sporting motorcycle, much in the same way that the Healey 3000 marked the end of the traditional British roadster.

I have owned a 1970 Bonneville, which is basically a carry-over model, and loved every mile I spent on it. These are bikes that are simple to maintain, fun to ride and represent a blue-chip classic vehicle.

The asking price for this Bonneville is $14,900. Which is the going rate for one of these iconic bikes and likely only covers the owner’s restoration cost for a Bonneville this nice and correct.

If you doubt that, consider that my last restoration on a Norton Commando cost in excess of that. If you love classic British motorcycles, and don’t already own a 1969 Bonneville, this might be just the bike for you.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Hagerty
Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Andy for this review. My late brother bought a 1970 Bonneville new and it was his love after his wife and kids. It was one of the best looking bikes I have ever seen and was great to ride.

  2. AH3000 representing the end of the British sports car era? On what basis? Similar cars were produced many years after AH3000 was discontinued. Namely Triumph TR6, Jaguar XKE, Lotus Europa, TVR…continued the legend.

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