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Triumph Bonneville

The Triumph Bonneville is a motorcycle designed in England. It is a standard motorcycle, with a four-stroke parallel twin engine. The Bonnie has gone through three incarnations between 1959 and now. The Bonneville motorcycle has been a symbol of risk-taking and innovation since the 1960's. It gets its name from the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA, where it first raced. Triumph has produced three generations of Bonnevilles, and they are still in production today.

History

Although the first Triumph motorcycle hit the market in 1902, it would take over a half decade for the Bonneville to reach customers. Racer Eric Lyons and Hollywood star, Marlon Brando popularised previous models, and the Triumph Bonneville's name comes from a 1955 race, where Johnny Allen reached 193 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats on his Triumph Thunderbird. After the Bonneville appeared in The Great Escape in 1963, it reached new heights of popularity and infamy as a symbol of freedom and rebellion. Between 1959 and 1983, the first generation of Bonnies hit the market, followed by the second generation between 1985 and 1988. The third generation is still in production today and began in the 1990's.

First Generation

The T120 Bonneville models were the first models on the market. The earlier motorcycles were four speed, while later versions reached five speeds. Early Bonnevilles took after Triumph's popular Tiger series of motorcycles. Over time, the model was fine-tuned. The body was more compact and the steering angle changed, including adding better forks. During this period, the T140 Bonneville, with a larger engine, was introduced. Brakes improved, as well. The first generation ended when production shut down in 1983.

Second Generation

The second generation of Triumph Bonnevilles occurred when John Bloor acquired the company and set out to make more T140's. Had he not purchased the company, 1983 would have been the end for the Bonneville. These T140's were Devon Bonnevilles and had a limited release, not even making themselves available in the United States where they were well known.

Third Generation

In 1990, Bloor went in a different direction and began producing new models of Bonnevilles. The 800, 900, and 1200 models had the classic look of the first generation of Bonnevilles, but modern engineering. These newer models have electronic fuel injection and more powerful parallel twin engines. Newer models have better handling and gear less toward speed. Instead, the company now focuses on the roadster and trail bike market.

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