Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Bonnie Lass

If you were around when Britbikes made up a big part of the American motorcycling landscape, you probably remember they weren't without their faults. They shook, they leaked, they stopped dead in their tracks for no reason. But the Brits got a few things right. Those leaky, glitchy twins handled well, they had good power, and they were light and simple to work on (good thing considering how often you had to). Those virtues were handed down to the Triumph Bonneville I bought at the beginning of the year, on which I now have more than 4000 miles.

The Bonnie has outlasted a GL1800, which I sold not long after the Triumph took up residence in the garage, and it'll soon see off a Silver Wing scooter I took as partial payment for the Wing. I just can't get excited about riding anything except the Bonneville. I've made it even more enticing by outfitting it with a few accessories that make it a practical weekender--all I need now is a free weekend.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Am Triumphant At Last

I've had a simmering lust for a Triumph Bonneville since 2005, when Rider sent me a T100 to road test. Last Friday I finally bought one. I have only a few hundred miles on it, but it's already true love. It reminds me of all the good characteristics of the motorcycles I grew up with––it's light, and narrow, and about as complicated as a ball-peen hammer––as well as the not-so-good, like the lack of wind protection, the thin seat, and appalling fuel mileage. But what really counts is every time I look at it I smile.

When I brought it home and parked it next to my GL1800, it looked like a scale model of a British bike next to a museum exhibit of a blue whale. It didn't take long before the Bonnie looked right and the Wing started to look huge and bloated. I'm at a very fortunate place in my life where I could, if I chose, keep both. Whether I will is unclear right now. But last night I took the GPS off the Wing and put it on the Triumph, along with a tank bag wired for 12-volt power. Tonight I tried combinations of soft luggage to find a good touring set-up. By the time I was through the Gold Wing seat was piled high with tank bags, tools, and wires––an 1800cc work bench. So I might have answered my own question without realizing it.