T120R 1972 Bonneville - From Carnival Clown to the best in town?? - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
Member's Restoration & Rebuild Projects Details of member's own projects.

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post #1 of 130 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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T120R 1972 Bonneville - From Carnival Clown to the best in town??

Probably not the best starting point for a first (ish) full restoration, but having looked for a project bike for a couple of months, and feeling that the price of projects were going up daily, i bought this one. A 1972 Bonneville in pretty poor condition. The last bike I bought in a similar condition was some boxes full of a Triton for 90, but that was 35 years ago!!


Having agreed the purchase remotely, it took nearly 2 months to actually get the bike to my home. In the meantime, regret had set in. I examined the photos forensically and started to spot more and more that made me question the purchase!! I realised that it had at some time been painted in Captain America (Easy Riders, Panhead) colours, although this wasn't at all obvious through the rust, which appeared to be commensurate with having been stored outside for a decade or two!!! I noticed the non standard Keihin carbs, not to worry, they look completely shot at!!! The more I looked the less I thought I had made a good decision. However the price wasn't horrific compared to some of the other projects I saw sold, and it did look like the frame and engine were usable, but I realised the forks would need replacing, but it did have new rim and spokes on the front wheel. My son discovered a likely reason for the new wheel when I got the bike, but more of that when I tell you about stripping it down.

I had already built a workshop to work on it in. This had been a year long project frequently helped by my brother-in-law and son. It gives me around 16 square metres of floor space attached to the back of my garage. Oh and the good lady wife did most of the painting.


The intention is to work towards a stereotypical Triumph Bonneville, rather than an authentic nut and bolt restoration. I do intend to reuse as many parts that I can salvage or refurbish as I can along with as many original parts as I can find. I realise though that I will have to make use of some reproduction parts, and I will probably use mostly new fasteners. I do have some mechanical knowledge and aptitude, and I am looking forwards to learning new skills along the way.
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post #2 of 130 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 04:06 PM
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You're a braver man than I am!

But I'm full of admiration for the skillset of anyone who even consider tackling such a job.

Good luck with it.
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post #3 of 130 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 04:48 PM
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looks like its gonna be a fun project. I've done many of these types of projects and in my experience if you want to do it all it costs just as much to restore a decent runner as it does a basket case so in the long run its a lot cheaper to start with a junker than a good bike. Good luck with it
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post #4 of 130 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flynbulldog View Post
looks like its gonna be a fun project. I've done many of these types of projects and in my experience if you want to do it all it costs just as much to restore a decent runner as it does a basket case so in the long run its a lot cheaper to start with a junker than a good bike. Good luck with it
Thanks for the advice. I had thought this as well. There was the added factor that if it definitely needed to be done, I was more likely to do it than bodge it. Maybe through stupidity I am not to daunted by what is ahead!!
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post #5 of 130 (permalink) Old 02-19-2018, 10:00 AM
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That will be a great "before" photo to contrast with the eventual "after" photo!

Get on with it.

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post #6 of 130 (permalink) Old 02-19-2018, 11:32 AM
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Ditto, Flying Bulldog. If you are doing a full restoration, starting with a rough bike is no big deal as long as you bought it for a low price. After all you are going to take everything apart, repaint, rechrome, and replace worn parts anyway. What really kills the budget is to pay a fair bit for a bike that looks really good and then finding out you need to do almost a complete restoration on it anyway. Happened on my Trident. It looked really good when I bought it and I paid accordingly. Ended up doing a complete crank up rebuild of the engine, gearbox and primary. Also, rebuilt the forks, brakes, new wiring harness, new tires ect, ect. I've got way more invested in than it is worth.
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1978 T140E Bonneville, 1974 Trident, 1972 Commando, 1971 Commando
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post #7 of 130 (permalink) Old 02-19-2018, 12:21 PM
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Tridents - they could be sneaky that way .
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post #8 of 130 (permalink) Old 02-20-2018, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htown16 View Post
Ditto, Flying Bulldog. If you are doing a full restoration, starting with a rough bike is no big deal as long as you bought it for a low price. After all you are going to take everything apart, repaint, rechrome, and replace worn parts anyway. What really kills the budget is to pay a fair bit for a bike that looks really good and then finding out you need to do almost a complete restoration on it anyway. Happened on my Trident. It looked really good when I bought it and I paid accordingly. Ended up doing a complete crank up rebuild of the engine, gearbox and primary. Also, rebuilt the forks, brakes, new wiring harness, new tires ect, ect. I've got way more invested in than it is worth.
yeah that's exactly what happens - bikes that look and run pretty good command a decent price but to a restorer it's worth no more than a complete bike that doesn't run and looks like a total loss. You end up spending virtually the same amount to restore the good bike as you would on the junker.

If you want a rider and dont want to restore you should buy one that's already been done or the best you can find / afford. But if you intend to restore, bikes like the one above that go for peanuts are the perfect choice.

I have a bunch of examples I could post but I dont want to step all over the OP's thread. I look forward to seeing his project unfold.

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post #9 of 130 (permalink) Old 02-20-2018, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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After what really did seem an age, and two broken delivery promises, the bike finally turned up. Not having a connected front brake, added a little fun into getting it out of the van. However accident free I got it straight into into my new workshop space, so I could spend a little time sitting on a seat that coordinated with the tank, check it out, surveying the bike. First impressions weren't too bad, I didn't spot anything that gave me more concern, than I already had. If anything it seemed a little better than I expected, but my expectations weren't that high.

I then took photos of everything I could from a number of angles so that I had some reference of what I am starting with. Although I didn't intend to restore it back to the Captain America look it had now, I thought it best to have something to remind me how some of the parts fitted together when it arrived. I then roped in my young niece to squirt WD 40 on everything that looked like a nut or a screw. Took her a while, but she did a good job.

I already knew the engine was seized, aren't they all!!! The kickstart was stuck partway through its stroke. I suspected that this was probably just one of the mechanical issues I would need to look at. I was worried that the spark plug threads in the head would be pretty ropey, so it was with some trepidation that I started to remove the plugs. After a little careful application of force, they actually came out pretty easily and I found that I had two different makes, one looked new, the other pretty old. This bike would have some very interesting tales to tell, mostly of torture from what I have seen so far!! I poured some light oil (I know everybody recommends diesel or Mystery Oil) in through the plug holes, hoping that it might just free the pistons up in the bore if I leave it in for a while.
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post #10 of 130 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Other Motorcycle: 1972 T120R Bonneville
Started to strip things down now. My son is a dab hand with a set of spanners, and soon had the mudguards off. To be honest there weren't may other parts to take off. We removed the tool tray, the air filter housing and side panels. Then took off the coil brackets and all of the other electrics. The wiring seemed better than I expected as we took it off, so I am hoping to reuse most of it.

I then removed the silencers, which were totally rusted through, the header pipes are solid, but don't have a place in my plans for this bike. I could use them with a wrap on them if it was some kind of custom, but I think new ones will be needed. The WD40 that my niece had liberally sprayed everywhere has soaked in well, and most fasteners are coming off reasonably easily.

The carbs are Keihins, and do look pretty poor, but the debris in the inlet pipe doesn't bode well for the rest that I am going to find. I can't work out what it is, I am hoping that it is general workshop dust and rubbish that has found its way in to mix with a little rust. Maybe sawdust and paint spray, living in hope.
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