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The Bonneville --A Short Trivial History

There are many websites detailing the history of Triumph motorcycles so this briefly provides a few interesting insights into the T120 Bonneville and its evolution to the New Bonneville.




        One might ask why a British company would name it's motorcycle after an American landmark?  Attribute that to a Triumph setting the world speed record (214mph) at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah back in 1956.  But the Federation of International Motorcyclists for some questionable reason, did not  recognize it.  In 1959, as a rebuff to that ruling, Triumph created it's most powerful motorcycle to date   ... and called it the "Bonneville".

          The Bonneville became Triumph’s best known  model but it's roots go back to the Speed Twin of 1937.  It first introduced the 360 degree vertical twin engine that defined big Triumph's for decades to come.   Today, the

look of the New Bonneville's engine

hearkens back to the mill that made

a naked bike truly beautiful!

        Triumphs made their reputation in competition but the movies are what many say gave the Triumph almost universal appeal.   When Marlon Brando rode a Thunderbird 6T in "The Wild One" (1954), the Triumph motorcycle became more than fast, more than famous --it became "cool".  

The aura grew when Steve McQueen made that famous jump in "The Great Escape" on a Trophy TR6 ( not really, even though Steve wanted to, a legendary stunt man  --Bud Ekins-- actually made that jump). But Triumph's weren't "cool" only because of the movies; the bike just looked "right" and still does.

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