This is the story of a very special Triumph Bonneville T140 which one of our technicians, Dave Emms, has owned from new. The bike started life as a 1981 Bonneville T140 ES (electric start) US-spec model finished in a 2-tone candy blue colour scheme and powered by Triumph’s classic 750cc parallel twin engine. Dave used the bike regularly for several years before taking it off the road for a complete ground-up restoration in 1991.
As part of that restoration, Dave replaced virtually everything on the machine. One of the first jobs was to remove the electric start as he prefers the traditional kick starter. The engine was rebuilt with a replacement cylinder head and everything was lightened and balanced as part of the rebuild.
The teardrop fuel tank on this bike is a feature of the US-spec models (UK bikes came fitted with a more angular, almost ‘coffin’ shaped tank) as were ‘ape hanger’ handlebars. The bars were replaced with a flatter pair, but Dave kept the stylish teardrop tank – which still wears its original paint and hand-painted gold coachlines to this day.
Exhausts and brakes were upgraded, as were the wheels and seat. The original chunky sidepanels were replaced with slimmer items specially painted in a ‘black with blue metallic flake’ colour to complement the ‘fade to black’ effect on the tank.
Dave still uses the bike regularly although he tends to use his 2007 Hinckley Bonneville T100 as his regular daily ride.
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