Welcome to the Bonneville Build-off. Think X Factor, but for motorbikes. Instead of sob stories, there’s souped-up suspensions, and the only thing singing are the perfectly tuned engines on the custom built Triumph Bonneville bikes.
The rules to this annual competition are simple, every Triumph dealer in the UK is invited to build a custom made bike using a mix of genuine Triumph accessories and other components. Nine bikes have reached the final, which will be voted on virtually this year, and here’s the ones that have caught our eye…
VE Day Commemorative Triumph Bobber
Inspired by the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2, this design is based on British military motorcycles of the time. Army green (no other colour would do) bodywork sits atop a blacked-out chassis, engine and exhaust. Super thick tyres offer extra support in uncertain terrain. But should you get lost, you can forget Satnav, a vintage brass compass mounted on the extra wide handlebars, does the job in style. And the headlight wears a bespoke blackout cover featuring a Triumph logo cut out. Even in war, there is beauty. And this is a beauty.
The Spitfire Tracker
Here we have a race bike stripped back to its bare essentials - think Nirvana Unplugged. It’s frame has been opened up by doing away with the factory airbox and replacing it with a set of pancake style filters (breakfast is served, very quickly!). A coat of pure white powdercoat to the frame, forks and swingarm add a bold styling statement, but if the paint isn’t enough to capture your attention, the roar from the extra short, custom pipes certainly will. A great set of pipes. And we’re back to Nirvana.
Triumph Twin ‘Speed Racer’
This is the outlier of the group. With an early model Triumph Daytona 750 fairing, this bike is a total departure from the ‘modern classic’ theme. Bold move. The Speed Racer is based on one of the newest additions to the Bonneville family, the 1200cc Speed Twin. It’s been stripped down to the bare minimum before custom mounting the Daytona fairing. The icing on this retro cake though is the classic blue, white and black paint scheme which is a hat tip to Hinkley’s Daytona 1200 livery.
Reggie’s Cafe Racer Bonneville T100
Taking styling cues from post-war Triumph 100 production racers, this entry is on point. Modifications to this breathtaking blue model include a host of Triumph catalogue parts such as a blacked-out sump plate, finned header flanges, and drilled chrome chain guard. But it’s the visual details that really sing (we know, we know, it’s not actually The X Factor). Modern Triumph branding has been dispensed with in favour of handpainted fifties Triumph emblems. Racing plates, a retro taillight, a set of Dunlop TT100 classic tread tyres and a matching blue pudding bowl style helmet, complete the look. It’s the whole package.
Vote for your favourite now at the Bonneville Build-Off website.