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Discussion Starter #1
All,
I'm a newbie to the group. I'll start by saying I haven't ridden a motorcycle since the seventies, and just purchased a fairly basic 2004 Bonneville. It is a beautiful bike, single owner, well documented and maintained with 10K on the clock.
I should have it in about a week or two.
I've been a 'car guy' all my life and love stock/OEM cars, if I modify/upgrade anything, I usually do my best to keep things 'period correct'. Since I'm re-introducing myself to motorcycles, and buying the bike for a hobby, this 790cc should be perfect! Although, in 2004, the Bonnie only come in solid colors (mine is Cardinal Red), it was not my first choice as I prefer the two tone paint scheme w/scallops on the tank. There was something about this bike that kept drawing me back to it...it a good looking basic machine, and not all chromed out. Now my mind is going a mile a minute on what I can do, vs. what I should do. I was tempted to start ordering 'stuff' just because, but know I need to give it time and get to know the bike before doing anything (or nothing). I know that the bike is not a rare collectable, and is worth what it is worth, but as I said, I like stock/OEM vehicles, so here is dilemma, and what I think I want to do, but need feed back for the group;
  • Would changing the color/paint scheme make a big difference to anyone other than a purist who buys the bike in 40 years? I would consider possibly changing to a two tone color scheme on the tank, and fender color change as well. It would be 'period correct' (2001-2007), and be a winter project.
  • Possibly upgrade the following items over time.
    • Add OEM tach
    • BC - Custom pipes
    • BC - Air box removal kit
    • Re-jet the carbs, or replace/upgrade carbs
    • High Performance Piston Kit (904cc)
    • Possible swap out seat to a Thruxton seat
If I do any/all the upgrades, maybe the paint stays the same color and it is kind or a 'sleeper'
I would love the new piston kit, but the cost may be too high, but since it is on my 'wish list', does any of this make sense? I understand the cost (dumb), but that's the 'hobbie' part of it...

With everything that I mentioned above, it would still look 'stock' and remain a 'Proper British Motorbike'. I would love to hear back from all you seasoned veterans on which mod might make sense, and which ones don't.

Thanks,
ACC
 

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I cannot speak to the engine and carb upgrade since I have never owned a Bonneville, I have ridden a 2003 though and it ran very nice in stock form.

Personally:
Add a tach, pretty typical upgrade IMO
Exhaust, they sound great with an aftermarket exhaust
I think you can paint it any color you want unless of course you paint it pony pecker pink

Congratulations and enjoy your new to you Bonnie!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I cannot speak to the engine and carb upgrade since I have never owned a Bonneville, I have ridden a 2003 though and it ran very nice in stock form.

Personally:
Add a tach, pretty typical upgrade IMO
Exhaust, they sound great with an aftermarket exhaust
I think you can paint it any color you want unless of course you paint it pony pecker pink

Congratulations and enjoy your new to you Bonnie!
Thanks BRG-BIRD, your comments are much appreciated.
Like i said, i will give it a few weeks before committing to anything, but the adding a tach, exhaust and possibly the air box removal kit, seam to be a no brainier. Also, per your recommendation, I'll hold off on the 'pony pecker pink' paint job!
ACC
 

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It's commendable of you to consider keeping the gas tank stock looking for 40 years so the next person can enjoy it ! Or, gasp, he might want to change it to a different color combination because he might like a two color paint job himself.

My 2006 T100 -- 865cc -- is almost identical to your 'new' 2004.
It does have the red paint stripes over black perhaps like you are referring to, and that is one of the primary reasons I bought the 2006 T100. The colors reminded me of the early 60's Bonneville that I had way back then.

You may want to consider painting the tank how you like it, enjoy riding it like that for 40 years, or more. Then paint it again back to the stock color when you are ready to sell it.

Remember, the two tone paint work is a stock color on the upgraded bikes of those years, so in effect you will still have a stock paint color combination for the next 40 years. Plus, or perhaps minus, how much do you think you will lose financially by upgrading the tank colors on a mildly collectable bike.

And how much more difficult do you think it will be to sell the bike with the upgraded paint over the stock color in 40 years. Who knows, it might even sell easier with the fancier stock style paint work over the bone stock color.

As far as the exhaust, if you change, just hang on to the stock pipes and toss them in on the sale. I chose to use the Triumph TORS off road pipes as they look completely stock, but give a bit more sound. My neighbors like them because I don't wake them when I drive up. As far as pipe loudness, if you search on this website there's at least one place which ranks the aftermarket pipes according to loudness which you may want to check out.

Another reason I like the bikes like yours and mine is that they have the smaller gas tank which was used till about 2007 and they too look more like the 60's tanks. They increased the tank size in 2008 to accomodate a fuel pump for fuel injection -- they look good too, but are not as original looking.

Good idea going with the tach. Again, it's another upgrade which is stock on the T100's and was stock on some early 60's Bonnevilles. The tach adds a nice balanced look and is a nice tool if you are inclined to follow it.

You may want to ride the bike for a while before you decide on some of the other changes you are considering. See how you like it and what you think might be better with additional changes. Mine runs great with an essentially stock engine setup except for the pipes which didn't make any real noticeable difference in performance -- did it more for the sound.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to check the tires. They can make more difference than almost all the other items you are considering.

That's it for starters. Good luck with your new found ride -- good choice and welcome aboard !
 

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Discussion Starter #5
49erx2 - thanks for the comments, you appear to be a deep thinker!
I'm guessing that if I'm still looking at the Bonnie tank in 40 years, it is going to look darn good to me, regardless of color!
You are spot on with the 2008 tanks, that was the major reason for me looking at the 2001-2007 models. Although the convenience to having modern fuel injection would have been nice, I do love the 'old school - cool' tank and the carbs.
Looking forward to the nice weather and finally getting out on the road!!!
Best,
ACC
 

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Ride the bike as is for a week or two. Do some reading on air box mods in the ''great sources of info" on this forum and the TTP website. Removing the air box is not a no brainer IMO, maybe with the 904 kit? What color the tank won't make much difference 40 years from now, maybe four years not forty.
 

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Might consider vinyl...however, I have only seen it in pictures, sure would like to see it in person. It's something I've been thinking about for my solid color tank and it is just a peel away from being back to stock.
 

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Modify the bike however you want it, to your taste now, forget about what the next owner may or may not think about it or what it will be worth in 40 years time, it's your bike to enjoy now.
it's the same as people who buy a car or bike then don't use it as often as they'd like because they're worried about the mileage when they come to sell it, makes no sense to me. o_O

Regarding the tank, it may be worth looking out for a good second-hand tank and fender if there's a colour scheme you like from a different year, may not be much different price wise than getting yours resprayed and you'll have The originals as a spare.
 

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Personally, I'd ride it a bit, get to know it and then throw new exhausts on and re-jet it. Not sure I'd go straight for the airbox removal, but certainly pull the snorkel before re-jetting. Is it a 790 or an 865? I seem to remember there were hot cams available for the early bikes but it's a long time ago, so have a dig around in the air-cooled twins forum for the correct info. Not sure I'd go for the big-bore kit myself, but that's more because I like to be able to put stuff back to stock if I want / need to.

Main thing is to enjoy the bugger :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ride the bike as is for a week or two. Do some reading on air box mods in the ''great sources of info" on this forum and the TTP website. Removing the air box is not a no brainer IMO, maybe with the 904 kit? What color the tank won't make much difference 40 years from now, maybe four years not forty.
Ride the bike as is for a week or two. Do some reading on air box mods in the ''great sources of info" on this forum and the TTP website. Removing the air box is not a no brainer IMO, maybe with the 904 kit? What color the tank won't make much difference 40 years from now, maybe four years not forty.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
rwed - thanks for the response,
from what I've read, the air box mods will allow the bike to 'breath' more freely, and with the muffler upgrade, it should have a bit more get up and go...or not(?).
I agree about the tank color, it really will not matter to anyone other then myself. I will ride it a while before I make any snap judgements.
ACC
 

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I'm well past the 40 year mark on my 69 tiger. Loved it entirely stock but that time was limited. Even so, there are plenty of originals and museum quality restorations left for folks who enjoy the experience, shows and for those that didn't get to experience them when they were still one of the top bikes on the street.

For me there were many things that eventually got changed. A lot of attachments that came with the bike were pulled right out of their molds and painted black (think farm implement.) The center stand actuation arm hit the pavement when you leaned hard to the left. Cloth covered wiring harness was prone to shorting out. I tried everyway to keep a front fender on but they always rattled and so I often didn't have one, which grit blasted off the original frame paint. The stock mufflers were expensive and rusted out annually. The clocks were hard to keep alive and, unnecessary once you had ridden it enough. I swapped the head and tank with a worn out 70 Bonny, as the TR6s of that era were quite unappreciated as compared to the 120s. Much sweeter than an actual 120 that had been over-revved it's whole life.

At this point it could be converted back to original looking - nothing even close to concours, but it's still a great old 650 Triumph. Enjoy your new (used) Triumph and don't worry about 40 years from now.
 

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Keep it stock or only slightly modded. The resale value of a highly modded bike isn't as good. The hell with 40 yrs from now,are you going to ridding it then ?
 

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Put in new pistons and carbs and it won't matter in 40 years if you painted the tank or not. It won't be original and it will be difficult and unlikely to be restored to original.

I personally haven't modified my bike much, beyond the usual tweaks and add-ons, but I definitely do not care what anyone will think of it in 40 years.

I think that you should do whatever you want to it, but ride it for a season to refine your thoughts on the subject. Factory tachometer is great, if you can find one.
 

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Keep in mind, you’ll never get anything back of the money you spend on it. But you don’t buy a bike as an investment, it’s for enjoyment. And you’ll definitely enjoy that one, its’s a good choice.
With both of my Triumphs, I bought them with the idea I wouldn’t change anything. They were perfect just the way they were, and I wanted them to look original. Then I started making changes, because that’s who I am.
Have fun with it, and make any changes you want. It’s your bike, and you deserve it.
 

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Make the bike your own, you will not regret it, colour, engine and exhaust upgrades. Please keep everyone informed, take photos of before and through your different stages. Personally I love seeing people's bikes evolve into something special. Enjoy your bike and ride safe mate.
 

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I got my first ever big boy bike in January, a 2013 Bonneville. However, long before I got it I had already made a list of all the new shiny things I wanted to get her. However, I did make a pledge to stick with bolt on parts, and keep hold of anything I took off. That way, in the future if I decide to sell it, the new owner cited decide whether to keep my changes or put it back to stock.

Every change I've made so far has served a purpose (progressive fork springs to make it handle better, sump guard and radiator protector to....umm....protect the sumo guard and radiator😁, preload adjusters on the front, new mirrors for better rear view, new footpegs (as the stock ones kept catching on my jeans).

Basically while you have the bike, do what you feel is best for you, and not what might be in the future.

In regards to changing the colour of the tank, as others have said, vinyl wrapping may be your best bet; a cheaper alternative to painting that can easily be removed before you sell it by a new owner if they don't like it.
 

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I was raised on motorcycles of the 60's. And I'm a long time motorcycle restorer. I've restored maybe 40 bikes; some to showroom stock condition and others modified.

I recommend doing everything you listed, except I'd leave the seat stock. And I wouldn't use super loud pipes. Make sure you do an excellent paint job; don't go cheap. I think you'll love the bike even more. It'll be a great sleeper.

Quit worrying about resale. Enjoy !

Good luck !!!
 
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