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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm sure all of you have seen Marlon's highly entertaining Bonneville 865 review, and are familiar with his phrase "Nanna's Panties Gold".

This is what I started off with:

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It looks good from some angles (the rear end view kinda "works" for me - but credit for this mostly goes to the megaphone cans and their penchant for flaring up and out to the sides). Mostly, however, I just find it to be dumpy and awkward-looking. The painted side covers, front mudguard, cheap-looking chrome rear shocks and seat curves just give it a mish-mash of angles and textures that create a messy, thrown-together feel. It doesn't evoke the least bit of retrophilia in me - it just looks old-fashioned. The delivery-bike-esque lamp assemblies, ugly dash, risers and what can only be charitably described as ape hangers, are the final nail in the coffin. Sure, I can change the seat, and change the shocks and put lower bars or clipons and what have you - but that'd always be a boob job on a pig, aesthetically speaking.

The mag wheels, on the other hand, can give it a 70s musclebike feel when viewed from the front - but in turn they let the rear view down and don't work in the least with that brobdingnagian awning hanging out the back. It is a motorcycle that doesn't know what it wants to be, but was shoved onto the roads by bean-counters who decided it must be all things to all people as much as possible, and positioned as a bread-and-butter model.

The bike rides fine for the most part. It is more than competent enough. Coming from an SV650S and a GSR600, dynamically it is horribly flawed by comparison, but for what it is, it is charming in its own way. The problem is, however, that I cannot rely on it looking like a million dollars in order for me to overlook its shortcomings. The buzzy engine (I'm an L-Twin gal, through and through), short highway gearing, uncomfortable seat, lack of QoL accoutrements like a fuel gauge or gear position indicator - and of course that horrific rear suspension - are all stick with no eye candy carrot. I had hoped it would be more comfortable than either the SV or the GSR on account of it being heavier, more wallowy and having high bars and bench seat - but both of those bikes put this one to shame. The SV in particular is all-day comfy and I miss it a lot.

You really can never get any sort of sense of long-term ownership by taking a test ride. I didn't even bother - I just wanted to have something to potter around on and get lost in my surroundings. The price was right, the mileage very low, I got a nice new lid and gloves thrown in for free, &c. However, the single biggest problem with this bike is that it was not my first bike. It forever lives in the shadow of the many great bikes I've ridden, some of which I've been fortunate enough to own. Those kinds of comparisons might be unfair, but if I consider what else I could have bought for similar money, I always afterwards had a generous dollop of buyer's remorse and felt a bit suckered by the promises the overall style and brand cachet made versus the reality that followed. When you think about, in the Bonnie's case, the statement that it makes a great first bike is actually kind of insulting because really this relies on you not knowing any better!

All of this yarn is by way of saying that the bike needs a major overhaul in the way it looks for me to not merely be kinda meh about it, but to love it. There is a diamond in in the rough underneath all that chintz, and that vision has brought me to this point.

My idea of cosmetic upgrades is not bolting on utterly pointless tat like a bloody brass stem nut - oh no, sir. It is this!

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I will say it straight - I would own the hell out of this and polish it until my fingers bled, and would ride it with a song in my heart no matter how bad it was.

The aesthetic is to evoke the 30s without being overtly art-deco. This is also not a cafe racer - I want it to look like an elegant GT. And yes - that's a monoshock. And yes, I am going to do it. The keen-eyed among you might be reminded of PI Customs' Blue Arrow, which serves as a lot of inspiration and affirms what I've always wished the Bonnie to look like. However, I don't agree with some of his decisions (particularly his solution for bracing the frame and swingarm and that he is forced to ditch the silencers at the rear) and I believe there might be a more elegant and unobtrusive way these particular things can be executed without compromising safety and the torsional rigidity of the frame.

It is the only major engineering challenge ahead of me - everything else you see there is ball-parkably achievable. The wheelbase is the same, the forks are stock, the swingarm is unmoved and unlengthened, etc. Even the colour is similar. It is a collection of small changes that together absolutely transforms the whole bike and turns it into an objet d'art.

Most of this work lies within my technical abilities and available equipment without blowing the bank, a lot of it is unavoidably idealistic (the clutch actuator and cable arrangement on the left cover comes to mind - something that I only have the luxury of hiding in a virtual world as above), and a lot of it can only be solved by spending money - I have mag wheels for example and the switchgear housings are black plastic - not billet items. But - I am at the engineering stage now and the aesthetics must take a back seat to what lies ahead immediately. I have many, many problems to solve and hurdles to overcome, however, I will cross each of those bridges as I get to them and for the kind of person I am, that is all part of the journey.

I intend this thread to be my official build thread and I hope I can rely on both the seasoned and the opinionated among you to guide me and help keep me motivated.

Thanks for looking!
Rhianne
 

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I agree that part of this being a wonderful first bike is you really don’t know what else is out there. Lol. A couple years ago, 4 years post purchase of my mag wheel, I rented an MT07 to ride in southern cali. I believe the MT07 sticker price was the same as the mag wheels, and was a sick performer.

After a few thousand $ I’m happy with the look and performance of my bike, but I would be lying if I said at least once a week I’m not window shopping for a second bike (or replacement).


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Opinionated response here.
First, congratulations are in order, the proposed finished bike would be an impressive effort on your part. And yep, it would definitely be most unique almost anywhere you would ride it. The monoshock particularly gives it a rather distinctive and unique look.

One of three relatively minor considerations might be to give some consideration to a bit more comfortable handlebar height. Yeah, the low bars give a good artist rendering look, but, practicality has some value too.
Also, the 'gold' color is definitely good looking, however, perhaps some other subtle custom and lighter color may give the bike a bit more distinctive pizzazz.

And some creative tank badges (not necessarily Triumph) might make an interesting statement.

That's two cents worth of opinionated response. If and when you do it, as you indicate, keep us appraised of your progress including challenges, if any. Good luck !
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you!

This also works - if not quite as sleek.

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On longer trips I've found that wind pressure is the greatest source of fatigue and not pressure on my palms and wrists. It will end up being a compromise between form and function and time will tell what I end up with.

Sticking with gold has a number of advantages - I do like Nanna's panties gold (but don't like gloss finishes over it - it looks faux to my eyes). I will go for a sheen, anodised look as in the pictures. Secondly, in this part of the world, if you change the colour on a vehicle, it needs re-registering and there's the possibility of the authorities requiring a new roadworthiness certificate. I can prevent the need for all that by simply sticking to gold.
 

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Still looks pretty sleek.
As you suggest, you can always make handlebar modifications as needed after the initial build has been completed. The whitewalls look cool -- help give a 'classic' look. Have you considered the possibility of having a different colored frame and/or forks since you clearly are on an interesting comprehensive track to uniqueness. And if you really want to push the creative envelope there's stuff like LED decor lighting (I had it on a bike and it added a real custom aura), and over the top stuff like spoke wraps available in various colors, and custom plating if dinero is not a big factor, maybe a couple of items like a stem clock, oil temperature gauge, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm firmly in the less-is-more camp. The aesthetics are a fascinating playground. For example, I can instantly give it a 50's mien by simply changing the colour of the rims alone:

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I will only spend the minimum amount of money possible to get away with what I aim to achieve. I wish I had more pesos to blow but like most people it's a hard constraint and I intend to reuse as much as possible from the original bike as I can get away with.
 

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I'm firmly in the less-is-more camp. The aesthetics are a fascinating playground. For example, I can instantly give it a 50's mien by simply changing the colour of the rims alone:

View attachment 751242

I will only spend the minimum amount of money possible to get away with what I aim to achieve. I wish I had more pesos to blow but like most people it's a hard constraint and I intend to reuse as much as possible from the original bike as I can get away with.
 

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Having withstood the onslaught of purist thought many times myself, I have to say that the concept is very pleasing. The hard part is putting the practical and physical aspects into practice. Cables, wiring, brake lines and linkage causes clutter. Extending the swing arm to facilitate the mono shock will require bracing and stiffening. With the swing arm pivot in the engine case, some sort of out board triangulation may be required at the pivot. Having those heavy stock mufflers levering unsupported from the foot pegs back probably won’t last very long, etc,etc. but don’t take my opinion as anything other than supportive. Nobody likes a custom builder more than I do...everything mentioned can be overcome with enough head scratching and swear words, burns and blood.. View attachment 751341
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The prodigal son weighs in! I looked at your monoshock build threads with great interest.

What's giving me nightmares is the fact that the rear swingarm experienced no torque moments along its length with the twin shocks mounted over the axle. I am now introducing what amounts to a fulcrum with tremendous mechanical advantage that will make the pivot end absorb a lot of up and down force - something it didn't have to do much of before.

It's one thing to make it work, entirely another to make it last. I don't want to end up in a situation where I die (or worse) because it worked well enough for me to get complacent about it.

I'd be lying if I said that it isn't costing me any sleep. I might be ruining a perfectly good motorcycle.
 

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At the end of the admittedly short day, it turned out that the increased rear wheel travel allowed the chain to begin making a trench through the front of the swing arm. Woulda probably been easier to just build it as a rigid with a clean, reinforced extended arm and a sprung seat. Lol..
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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I'm mulling this lot over, over my morning joe. Retaining the footpeg brackets and rearswept uprights they bolt to seems to me as the key to making this work. They will need to be securely afixed to the bottom of the spine member - and not look like ****. This also allows me to keep some sort of triangulated brace for the cans on either end. There are also 3x roughly 1"x1" gaps between the end of the engine casing and the swingarm cross brace - one could fabricate some hefty bracing that fits through there to be welded to the engine crossmount and which uses the bottom crosstube (or centerstand mounts) as the lower stress carrying members. Bracing the spine itself seems like the least worrysome issue - the floating seat subframe can be incorporated as an extension of that.

This might just work - issue now is I don't own a bandsaw! FML!

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
At the end of the admittedly short day, it turned out that the increased rear wheel travel allowed the chain to begin making a trench through the front of the swing arm. Woulda probably been easier to just build it as a rigid with a clean, reinforced extended arm and a sprung seat. Lol..
I am hoping that I can avoid these issues and get the pivoting geometry of the rear wheel as close to stock as possible. But I might need some luck. I won' be touching the swing arm apart from adding bracing (and maybe adding relief to the crossbrace to allow for frame bracing between it and the case). We'll see! Thanks for the headsup!
 

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Like that monoshock look . A simpler solution in twin shock would be to lay the twin shocks down , I think it was Husqvarna in the 70's who did that as a lot of the other manufacturers were going mono .
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Wots dis den?
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Spring not-on-mutters unknown, need to find the ser# and decode. This is off a bandit 1250, which is a very similar weight as the bonny. Mileage unknown, but shaft is immaculate (and who doesnt like an immaculate shaft?)
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Anodising on remote res is sun-faded, but that's SA for you.

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Wooot! Wheres my measuring tape?
 
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