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My first exposure to Triumphs was my late father's '68 Bonnie when I was a teenager, and I fell in love with them then. Now, these many years later, I have my '08 T100. My question is, how do the engines compare in performance? What have we gained with the increased displacement in the new Bonnies? Anyone have any figures? Just curious...
 

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I happen to be the original owner of a '68 Bonneville. The '68 has more "character", but vibrates more, doesn't rev as high, has a 4-speed transmission, requires frequent (as in every 1,000 - 1,500 miles) valve adjustments, leaks oil from the vertically split crankcase, requires adjustment of the primary chain, the Lucas breaker points are "interesting" to keep timed. The Burgess exhaust on the '68 sounds better than my best efforts to recreate the same sonic pleasure on a T-100 with the Norman Hyde Togas. There is nothing more satisfying than listening to the '68 idle with it's tappets ticking way, and the front wheel dancing to the lopey idle. After 41 years I have the starting drill down cold, but others who try to start it are sometimes challenged to get it lit off. I am less able to coax the Monoblock Amal equipped '66's to run on the first or second kick.

The '68 is quicker from 0-to about 60 mph as a result of it weighing about 100# less, but after that the new T100 ouruns it. The '68 has a 2.5 gallon tank, so I'm always looking for a gas station.

.....I will never, ever sell the '68, but my "go to" bike for a ride further than 50 miles is one of the new T100's. There is no doubt the modern 790/865 Bonneville engine is a much, much better powerplant for a 'ride it every day' bike.

Dick
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Vibrations, oil leaks, b*tch to start.... Those things I remember. But I also remember the look and the sound.
;)


The '68 is quicker from 0-to about 60 mph as a result of it weighing about 100# less, but after that the new T100 ouruns it.
That's what I was after. Thanks, DK! And please pardon my jealousy... I can't help it.
 

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Vibrations, oil leaks, b*tch to start.... Those things I remember. But I also remember the look and the sound.
;)




That's what I was after. Thanks, DK! And please pardon my jealousy... I can't help it.
Your father had great taste in motorcycles.

take care,

Dick
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Your father had great taste in motorcycles.
He was something else! This was 1972... I was not yet 15, got my first bike, a Honda SL175 dual purpose job. He saw I was havin' so much fun, he jumped in with both feet at age 53--never having ridden before--and bought the '68 Bonnie for himself. He was a small-town, country doctor... round the Bonnie to the hospital 40 miles round trip each day in his suit, tie flappin' in the breeze, medical bag strapped to the bike.

I was privileged to ride his Bonnie a few times. I was scrawny, and that 650 seemed so huge to me then! Both my Dad and the '68 Bonnie have been gone for a long time. But now I'm 51 myself and enjoying my own T100.

Once it gets in your blood, I guess there's no cure for it except embalming fluid.
 

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ugh...points. pain in the arse.

my dad told me a story about getting stranded by his bonnie.
i'm trying to remember the culprit...something about forgetting to lube the point cam and having something seize. sound familiar?
 

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ugh...points. pain in the arse.

my dad told me a story about getting stranded by his bonnie.
i'm trying to remember the culprit...something about forgetting to lube the point cam and having something seize. sound familiar?
Yep, the centrifugal advance and incredibly Mickey Mouse breaker point lash-up requires attention to ensure it keeps on sparkin' . It works fine as long as it is attended to. Our new bikes are much better, and although it isn't easy to debug an ignition problem on the modern bikes, it truthfully wasn't easy for 99.9% of owners who rode the older bikes either. I worked as a Triumph mechanic so it is second nature to me - although my memory occasionally fails me on how to do some infrequent maintenance items:>((

Dick
 

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i've struggled to keep my old bikes going. i've found them to be remarkably inconsistent and very tempermental. they run strong one day and won't idle the next. definately need more attention than modern bikes.

i love my new bonnie. the worst thing i have to do is ride the choke lever and let her warm up a bit before taking off.

lemme see...reasons why modern bikes are awesome:

1- electronic ignition
2- reliable electrics
3- suspension
4- disc brakes
5- availability of parts
6- dealer support
7- better performance
8- dmv/insurance less of a pain
9- low maintenance


reasons why vintage bikes are awesome:

1- kickstart!
2- fewer people own/ride them
3- they force you to be a gearhead
4- toolkits!
5- oddities like 6v electrics and right side gear change
6- smaller and lighter
7- insane fuel economy on small bore bikes
8- it's fun & easy to tear them apart and rebuild them

i get a kick out of riding bikes that are way older than i am...sort of like going out and raising hell with your grandpa.

but having a modern bike is just fantastic.

apples and oranges man.
 

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That's the way it is for me! In '72, I was 24 and riding a '64 Honda Superhawk cafe racer...

Did it happen to look like this? Sorry for the slight Hijack but every time a read about an old bike I have to google it and this is a cool little bike for sure.



I love my 865 Bonnie and wouldnt trade it for a 650 Meridan Bike. That being said I would still like one in my stable. :)
 

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My first exposure to Triumphs was my late father's '68 Bonnie when I was a teenager, and I fell in love with them then. Now, these many years later, I have my '08 T100. My question is, how do the engines compare in performance? What have we gained with the increased displacement in the new Bonnies? Anyone have any figures? Just curious...
Performance? Guess it depends on how a guy views performance - other than hp. My 865 performs reliably, smoothly, frequently, and oil tightly, unlike my Meriden machines which were the exact opposite, and that is all the performance I need. LOL!
 

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Did it happen to look like this? Sorry for the slight Hijack but every time a read about an old bike I have to google it and this is a cool little bike for sure.



I love my 865 Bonnie and wouldnt trade it for a 650 Meridan Bike. That being said I would still like one in my stable. :)
Yeah, mine was like that except it was black and silver and I had installed Dunstall clip on's and megs as well as a Norton Manx style fiberglass seat and tank (with no rear fender). I'd love to have a stock Superhawk now to add to my collection! For 305cc, Superhawks were fast! Mine would pull an indicated 112 mph.
 

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Thos little 305 Hondas were great bikes, and they made tons of them. It just goes to show that you don't need mega muscle bikes to have a lot of fun.

Not that there's anything wrong with a mega muscle bike either, mind.
 

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Not sure of the year but my Dad had a 305 Dream - black with a white seat. Maybe that's why I had to shorten my rear fender ASAP! ;) His riding buddy had a Honda Scrambler (not sure if it was a 305 or 350). This was in the early 60's when we were stationed in Japan (Misawa).

-pat
 

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Early scramblers were actually 250cc until later, about 1967 when Honda changed them to 305cc. They completely changed the bike when it evolved to 350cc (about 1970).

Here's a photo of a 250cc Scrambler.



You can spot a 305cc Scrambler by the additional ugly muffler they hung on the end of the pipes.



These bikes were very affordable and popular in the 60's.
 

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Vibrations, oil leaks, b*tch to start.... Those things I remember. But I also remember the look and the sound.
I agree with all of that except the starting. I wish my 2007 T100 started as easily as my 1970 650. Tickle the carb and one kick,first time, every time.

Mike
 

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I owned a 77 Bonnie which was great. I think the big difference isn't in the hp figures. It's in the light weight and the absense of anything unnecessary on the old bikes, like emissions compliance, etc. They were built for go.

I know when I ride my Norton and get back onto the Scrambler it's like I'm riding a cruiser for a while because of the tonage of these new bikes. I'm hoping to get some aluminum rims, but after that there's not much substantive weight reduction options. I heard of custom made light frames, but the expense would put it way out of my reach.
 
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