Bonneville is the most legendary of all the Triumph models. Triumph started making motorcycles in 1903 and the culmination of years of manufacturing experience was the launch of their ultimate machine in 1959. Although by the time Triumph finally closed it’s doors in 1983 the Bonneville had a 750cc capacity, it is the 650cc powered T100 machines of the 1960s which created the legend.
From the onset the Bonneville was a performance machine capable of 180km/h off the showroom floor. The Americans and British loved the Bonneville. They were the fundamental Cafe Racer and their motors found their way into many Norton and BSA Cafe Racer specials. In South Africa the ducktails and bike gangs almost exclusively rode “Bonnies”. The better handling and performance of the oil tight Japanese machines together with Britain’s own labour unrest of the ’70s killed the British motorcycle industry.
The ‘new’ Bonneville debuted in 2001. With the retro looks of the T100 model of the 1960s but with modern technology and reliability the rebirth of the Bonnie is a success story which is growing in momentum every year. Initially it was a bike ridden by the nostalgic. Currently, as more and more customisers turn to Bonnevilles as the basis for their next creation, a younger more diverse market has developed.
Marnitz and his 2007 Bonneville T100 are typical of the new generation of Triumph owners. Although he was born 6 years after the last of the original Triumph Bonnevilles was made, Marnitz loves his Bonneville for its simplicity, performance and retro looks. All modifications, including the bumstop seat were executed by himself. The exhaust pipe is a one of a kind stainless steel two into one pipe manufactured by the colourful Gerry Anassis of Air Age. Gerry swears he will never make another one – too time consuming. This Bonnie looks and sounds the ’60s part. Brylcreem and a comb in the back pocket are optional extras.