John Wheeler’s 2005 Triumph Bonneville


CRTV Team,

Kind of  a sad, but interesting story on this bike. My good friend passed away from a heart attack the day we finished reassembling the motor on this bike.  There were four of us there that day, working on the bike, a typical “garage day”  on a Sunday afternoon in May 2008. He suddenly stood up and was sweating very profusly and was very disoriented.  He then collapsed and died of a massive heart attack at the age of 53.  His widow gave his bike collection away to his good friends and I ended up with the cafe bonnie you see here, mainly because it was the project the 2 of us worked on so long, and the year before we had traveled from ATL to Cambria CA for the New Triumph Bonneville Rally that is a yearly event out there. About 70 Bonnies from around the country were there in 2007.

Anyway, back to the bike.  Originally this bike was never intended to be as you see it.  It started life as a totalled 2005 Bonneville Black.  The plan was to use this bike to build a 100 RWHP Bonnie motor and kinda use it as a “test bed”.  So it was rebuilt using used (some very used and abused) parts and lots of black tape on the frame to hide all the “crash damage”, and it was kinda thrown together with the big plan being a custom built “featherbed” style frame with modern upside down forks, and high tech shocks, disc brakes, etc to replace   the current rolling chassis. Kinda a modern version of a Triton using state of the art suspension, brakes, tires.  So this bike was never intended to “live”  just hold the motor for a awhile.

The motor – 904 big bore kit, carrillo rods, forged high comp pistons, porting, bigger stainless valves, HD valve springs, billit intakes, FCR 39 carbs, stroker crank taking it 988 cc.  Barnett clutch,  custom grind cam, shim under bucket conversion, custom programmed ignition module, and from the attached dyno sheet you can see we made the 100 RWHP goal.

So after I inherited the bike, I can’t bring myself to just part it out and save the motor.  So having built 3 other custom Bonnie/Thruxtons, I had  parts and a vision.   So I stripped the bike to the bare frame, removed all the tape and had it powder coated silver, added Norman Hyde Thruxton rear-sets with Linkage I modified.  Located some steel side covers to replace the plastic ones, the bike has Excel polished alloys with Buchanan stainless spokes. I added Thruxton forks, polished the lower legs and engine cases, cam cover myself, got an old alloy fender I modified and fitted to the rear, added a MAS alloy Thruxton front fender and it has the 320mm floating Thruxton rotor, and EBC HH pads all around. Stainless Steel Brake lines, I put on Hagon Nitro rear shocks with adjustable preload and compression / rebound damping. My friend who passed away had the bike tank painted with PPG candy apple grape over a gold base coat and the PPG white accent and added I added the Monza fuel filler.  I added the Hyde M bars, and a friend made the billet gauge cups, and gauge mount and did the cutting of the Union Jack on the sproket cover. I replaced all the damaged handle bar controls with some adjustable T100 controls.  I also added the Hyde fork brace and some progressive fork springs and lighter oil. So basically I built the bike as a “keeper”  and plan on riding it as long as I’m able.

Thanks for the interest.

John Wheeler