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I've been dreaming about owning a bonneville for several years now and have finally decided to take the plunge. I'm most likely looking at getting a gently used bike and wanted to get anyone's advice about which model years, engines and mods to look after?

Specifically:
1) is there a good model year to look after or others to avoid?
2) any big difference (outside of horsepower) between the 790 and 865 engines?
3) what about carberator vs. fuel injection

I found an interesting '03 Bonny (8k miles) that has several mods (big bore kit, custom carbs, off-road pipe, several aesthetic add ons and customizations for about $6.5k. The mods alone are said to have cost about $5k...is this a good route to go?

Any thoughts, comments or advice you can share would be greatly appreciated!

Chris
 

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With those changes, I do not know if that is a good price - but it is 6 years old. Much later models can be had for less.
The engine and carb change my suggest a ballsy rider who hit it pretty hard. If I were looking for a used bike, I'd want an essentially stock machine, preferably owned by a fat. sedate retired accountant who rode only on Sunday afternoons in September.
 

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my opinion

That sounds like a lot for a 6 year old bike. I am not too hep on buying a modified bike like that either, you don't know the expertise of the guy doing the modifications or how hard he rode it. I think you'd be better off finding a unmodified maybe newer model.
 

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I've been looking for an older Ducati or Speed 3 as a second bike, but after seeing some used Bonnies may just go that route to allow swapping parts around. I've seen some very good buys and there isn't a year model that should be avoided. I'd go with an 865 since that is what I have now, and it is more common, but not because of durability or quality.

The primary thing is condition and service records. If the bike has more than 12,000 miles (I'm amazed by how many are well below this), look for valve adjustments.

Regarding milage. If the Bonnie is cared for, you can rack up the miles and have no fear. There are many discussions on this, but I doubt much internal work is needed until late 80k to 100k.

I like the idea of FI, but those are new bikes at new bike price. I wouldn't have a problem at all buying a well cared for early 2000 model and save the extra cash for upgrades. Depends on how much you prefer to spend, and like to tinker.

Have fun shopping. Keep us posted.
 

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triumph purchase

Thes fellas have made about all the valid points.... that you can think of.I have to run with dave c. thats the best way to go. you won't have to worry as much about it stopping somewhere.:(And as far as buying a hot rod, thats your individual choice. I have built kustoms and street rods all my life,$5000.00 in parts means nothing if the wrong man installed them.
 

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The 904 kit has proved to be a reliable performance mod through the years... If it was done correctly, and depending on the other upgrades... the $6500 asking price for an '03 with 8k miles on it is not unreasonable... and can actually be a good buy...

I'd have to have some other info to totally evaluate the package...

Is it a T100 or base Bonnie?

Type of carbs and has the air box been taken out/carved?

What kind of pipes?

Igniter upgraded?

Suspension upgrades?

Brake pads/lines upgraded?

If the answer is yes to most of those... that's a pretty decent sounding deal...

Try finding a low mileage, clean Bonnie of any year for much under $5 grand... they're rare... especially with desired mods/accessories...

And the above listed mods are ones you want to do anyway to bring out the real Bonnie hiding under all the strangled, muted stock crude....

Advisor02... check your personal messages, I sent you a two parter...
 

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if you want a bike that has a bit of performance over stock but will still pretty much be a safe bet that will have a solid motor and still score a good deal, then i'd look for one where someone spent the money and added aftermarket pipes, AI and airbox removed. you'll save yourself the added cost of having to do these mods yourself, as it seems like these mods don't really increase the resale value of the bike, which means the savings are transferred over to you.

as long as they havent cracked open the engine for a big bore kit, etc. you can pretty much be assured that the thing will be solid. these engines are definately overbuilt and under-tuned from the factory, and even it was ridden hard with just a basic performance package installed the bike will be fine (unless there is something that went wrong that the owner isn't telling you).
 

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Hi Chris,
Welcome to the forum.
Personally I would be hesitant to get into something that has been modified like that. Now if I were interested in the modifications that are on this bike and if I had some way of being certain that the machine was cared for properly .. then.... maybe. I do not see how you could know those things even if you were buying this from someone you knew well.. much less a stranger. The advice given on the other posts in this thread seem very sensible in this regard.
I have found that with a bit of patience you may very well be able to find a fantastic machine that you can be certain about for that kind of money.
For example, this past fall we purchased a 2007 T100 Bonnie with TORs and a solo seat which only had 300 miles on it for $6500.
The machine had been originally purchased from and the TORs had installed at very well known and respected dealer in the area. Some folks in the forum said I could have done better than that but I was happy with the deal. It was like brand new. I checked it out thoroughly and had a bike mechanic friend with many many years of experience check it out too and everything was in perfect condition.
What I'm getting at is SOME people buy these things for garage ornaments and hardly ride them. Personally I am more interested in something like that. Machines like that are out there... quite a few of them I think. Patience in the search may be well rewarded.

Good Luck
 

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Man!! y'all make it sound like it some sort of special voodoo thing to put a 904 kit on a Bonnie!

It's just the top end of an overhead cam engine! Crikey... you pull the head and cylinders, deal with the liners and replace the pistons and rings... bolt it back together. Piece of cake if it was done correctly... and just as bullet proof as the stock engine...
 

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AAAHHHH yes............the fact remains. If it was DONE correctly!!:rolleyes:
That is why you ask questions and ask for receipts for the work done!

To reject this bike out of hand just because it has a 904 kit on it is pretty dumb...

Chris needs to do his research and evaluate the bike and the deal... From the little information he posted, if it checks out, just as you would with ANY vehicle purchase, it sounds as if it could be a pretty decent deal...

.
 

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triumph purchase

YES........my sentiments exactly!!Check out the receipts thouroghly then perhaps buy the bike, if you really have to go fast.I have bought more vehicles ;bikes cars and such, hot rods, i am a bit pesomistic. An awful lot of the sellers .......well they tend to neglect telling you everything there is to know about the vehicle you want to purchase.For one reason or another, like i overwound it a few times, or i forgot to put this part in, or i should have done this, or that.
With a good one owner [proven] bike you will most likely be happier and "worry free", depending on what i said before........... about wanting to go zoom zoom. You may not find my answer to your liking, ..........but i have been there , done that more than i wish to remember. GOOD LUCK in your search.:)
 

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Bonneville

Chris, I don't know where you are located but I am selling my 04 Balck Bonnie for $5900, Corbin Smuggler, Toga pipes, Givi Screen, New Metz tires, King & Queen seat, etc. 4500 miles complete stock. Jack in southern Utah. [email protected] If you want pics I can send em.
 

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Do not buy the 790cc engine - go for the 865.
Much more torque, more bottom end grunt.
Add the 19th inch front sprocket and you are on the home run.
790 is always screaming for a higher gear that even with the 18th sprocket upgrade is not enough.
I have an 09 EFI Thrux - and my ideal bike would be 08 865cc Thrux with carb - carb gives you more throttle control whereas EFI just shuts on and off like a light bulb.
A few other mods, like AI removal and Hyde silencers and rearsets, and you have a sorted bike, best of breed.
 

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Do not buy the 790cc engine - go for the 865.
Much more torque, more bottom end grunt.
Add the 19th inch front sprocket and you are on the home run.
790 is always screaming for a higher gear that even with the 18th sprocket upgrade is not enough.
I have an 09 EFI Thrux - and my ideal bike would be 08 865cc Thrux with carb - carb gives you more throttle control whereas EFI just shuts on and off like a light bulb.
A few other mods, like AI removal and Hyde silencers and rearsets, and you have a sorted bike, best of breed.
I hate to disagree... but "much more torque and bottom end" is a bit much... Have you ever seen a dyno chart between the two? The 865 has about 2 ft. lbs more torque up to ~4/4500 rpms... after that... the 790 is right there... and they don't die or run out of steam above 6500 rpms either... Oh, and my 790 is never "screaming for a higher gear" either... 4k rpms at 70 mph... But... what it will do is scream and build power all the way to its 8500 rpm red line!

My '02 (snorkel pulled, TORs, rejetted) would pull me, my sidehack and my two daughters with an 18 tooth sprocket, with no problems... 75 mph all day long on the freeway... motorway to you...

My '03, I'll put up against any like moded 865... Airbox elim., EPCO peashooters, rejetted and Thruxton needles and a tweeked igniter... 70 hp and I hit 50 ft. lbs. of torque at 4200 and then again at 6200 rpms (dreaded "torque dip", but not much of one with proper set up)... This is at the rear wheel...

The 865 and 790 are both excellent engines... the only difference between them is 4 mm in bore, different cams and a different igniter map...
 

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I recall Triumph saying there is 13% more torque in the 865 engine.
I do feel the 865 engine on the Thrux provides for a much smoother ride with power more evenly spread across the revs. It may not look like there is much between the two on paper, but in practice I would not go back to the 790 engine.

Whilst itmy 790 would do the ton, I always felt that getting there was harder work. My 790 was not modded to the same degree as yours - only having Thrux needles and Mototwin silencers, and dyno'd to 62hp. I also put the 18 th sprocket on, which made a big difference, but the 19th on the Thrux is way better still for cruising and reduced need to shift.

Everyone says these engines are way over engineered so ripe for development.

That is fine, but the purpose of my reply was to help the OP make a decision and I was simply saying that an 865 is more suited to immediate, satisfying performance out of the shop, and with minimum ££ needed to make it perform.
 

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Do not buy the 790cc engine - go for the 865.
Much more torque, more bottom end grunt.
Add the 19th inch front sprocket and you are on the home run.
790 is always screaming for a higher gear that even with the 18th sprocket upgrade is not enough.
I have an 09 EFI Thrux - and my ideal bike would be 08 865cc Thrux with carb - carb gives you more throttle control whereas EFI just shuts on and off like a light bulb.
A few other mods, like AI removal and Hyde silencers and rearsets, and you have a sorted bike, best of breed.
Your EFI shuts on and off like a light bulb because you haven't figured out how to tune it or ride it.
Your comments about the 790 is an insult to all the 790 owners out there. Some may even prefer the 790 to 865 bike but one thing is clear...a 790 bike is perfectly fine and a nice used example is desirable.
 

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Your EFI shuts on and off like a light bulb because you haven't figured out how to tune it or ride it.
Your comments about the 790 is an insult to all the 790 owners out there. Some may even prefer the 790 to 865 bike but one thing is clear...a 790 bike is perfectly fine and a nice used example is desirable.

How I ride my bike is a matter for me, not for you, and you have no right to make a comment about riding style or ability.
Going forward, it would be good, if you can, to try and stop attacking individuals in your posts and using the word 'insult' or 'insulting'.
 

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The 790 powered bikes are actually the one's you should be looking for. The cam's have more overlap, and the bike will make more power on the top end.

Dont be scared of a modified bike, several older long time members here have done this and not 1 904 kit has failed.


Find out more detail's about the mods to the bike...what kind of pipes/silencers. What kind of carbs..etc. Also, what color is the bike...Lucifer orange or blue/white?
 

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How I ride my bike is a matter for me, not for you, and you have no right to make a comment about riding style or ability.
Going forward, it would be good, if you can, to try and stop attacking individuals in your posts and using the word 'insult' or 'insulting'.
Saw that coming, and a fair response! But seriously, a gentler hand with comments is always good. :)
 
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