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Discussion Starter #1
https://www.motoindex.net/detail/us/ygIIKyIbSccySyrIrKiH/Triumph-Bonneville-1969

Not me, but my cousin. He's new to bikes and looking for that vintage look. Not looking to mod it in any way so that should be some relief. He called me today and asked me if I would go look at it with him this weekend.

Sounds stupid expensive to me. I would never pay that much for it, but it is what it is. If he likes it and it's his money, then whatever.

Looks like the cylinders were bored to 750cc or did that require new sleeves or a whole new block? Odometer not working.

Biggest issue is making sure he has a title in his name. But after that, any suggestions?

I;m talking about practical stuff like where to look for leaks, stripped oil pan bolt, missing airbox parts, frozen brake cylinders, rust in tank, frame, master cylinder maybe even a compression test? Asking where the engine work was done.
 

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linky no worky, for me anyway.

Pre- Oil in frame Triumphs are probably one of the most coveted mass produced motorcycles of the 60's brit bikes. Good clean examplestrade for between $4 and $10K easily. A perfect restored example worth of barber or the AMA museum could be worth as much as double. I can't see what the price is on the one you are looking at but it may not be as unreasonable as you think. remember is is looking at the most desirable model in one of the most desirable years - he's got to pay to play.

750CC conversions are usually a more-go kit, which is a new set of cylinders, pistons, and rings. No point in doing it if he didn't do cams as well.

here read this and you'll get an idea of the basic problems:
1969 Triumph Bonneville
Oil leakage from vertical split cases is always an issue. make sure it doesn't sound like a wheat thresher in the bottom end.

If he is looking to spend he should buy a new thruxton.
 

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I would advise against having a vintage bike for a first bike unless it was totally restored.
Reliability issues can really ruin the motorcycle experience for a new guy.
My first street bike was a 15 year old ninja 250, and it was very dependable, thus kept me interested in the hobby.
 

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Ya, how much is it? The only one more desirable than the 69 is the 70 model before they went to Oil In Frame, which dropped drastically in value. The 70 had plates at the front motor mount to ease exit of the motor from frame. Slight difference in the forks, etc. The early triumphs are probably the easiest bikes to work on and trouble shoot, they are so simple in design.
 

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I would advise against having a vintage bike for a first bike unless it was totally restored.
Reliability issues can really ruin the motorcycle experience for a new guy.
My first street bike was a 15 year old ninja 250, and it was very dependable, thus kept me interested in the hobby.
That's one way of looking at it chief but the benefit is that it is a very simple bike. My first was a 67 T120R, still have it. You're right about reliability issues but it taught me allot and the more I learnt the more the reliability issues disappeared. A good manual and basic tools and I got schooled. Just a thought.
 

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The Triumph is probably the easiest vintage bike to work on. I'd choose a Triumph before any other brand if shopping vintage. The only think holding back the Triumph sales are the high resale value they hold. You don't normally see anyone wanting a Triumph to "cafe". Felt bad even saying that.
 

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I'm sure there's not much I could tell ya you don't know but the primary cover was always leaking on mine. The rest wasn't to bad for dripping. The top oil lines to the valve shafts tend to leak and make a real mess of the cylinder heads. Drum brakes so not much to'm. They all seem to have that "way" of being started. Once you get it down they go every time but stray from that and they'll wear a leg out. He will want a boot with a bit of a heal for kicking it over, I've gotten kicked back and limped away many times. Other than that I love my old Bonnie and plan on handing it down through the family. Great character.
 

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I went through unreliable with cars, and have ended up making a living from the skills I honed.
But cars don't fall over on their own ;)
But I definitely agree with you about learning from trying to keep it running.
And he's obviously not too broke to fix it, if.he can afford to buy it in the first place, especially at that price.
Good luck!
 

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I went through unreliable with cars, and have ended up making a living from the skills I honed.
But cars don't fall over on their own ;)
But I definitely agree with you about learning from trying to keep it running.
And he's obviously not too broke to fix it, if.he can afford to buy it in the first place, especially at that price.
Good luck!
"Especially at that price", and what price would that be?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sorry the link didn't work for some. I'll check it again.
$5400 I think was the asking price.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Title is all in order.

Thanks for all the suggestions. No matter how small or insignificant. I'm learning.

Did not know the Meriden triumphs were that much more coveted.
I posted a neglected 76 t140 here I was looking at ($500 sans title) and knew a little about the history, but did not know the older ones commanded that much a premium.

My cousin is late 40's. I'm in my mid 40's. Just for reference...
 

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Yeah, price is definitely not bad, I was under the impression it was a young kid looking for something to learn to ride on, not a grown up with some sense, haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I can understand why the whole hipster café racer thing is so attractive after seeing the '69 Bonneville. It's a very pretty bike. I mean that in not a degrading way.

Anyway, it was fun going over the bike with the owner and his dad who also had a '67 T120TT racer, '67 T120, a couple NSR50's, a 3/4 midget car, and some car under a cover that I didn't even get around to asking about. Unfortunately, in the end, they were only $400 apart in price but my cousin wouldn't/couldn't budge.

He must be cut from a different cloth than me because I would have happily been to the ATM in a heartbeat and then regretted it later. Alas, I do not have almost $6K for a new bike in the budget at the moment.

 

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I can understand why the whole hipster café racer thing is so attractive after seeing the '69 Bonneville. It's a very pretty bike. I mean that in not a degrading way.

Anyway, it was fun going over the bike with the owner and his dad who also had a '67 T120TT racer, '67 T120, a couple NSR50's, a 3/4 midget car, and some car under a cover that I didn't even get around to asking about. Unfortunately, in the end, they were only $400 apart in price but my cousin wouldn't/couldn't budge.

He must be cut from a different cloth than me because I would have happily been to the ATM in a heartbeat and then regretted it later. Alas, I do not have almost $6K for a new bike in the budget at the moment.

Except you rarely see hipsters building cafes from Triumphs. The first thing that is usually done to a Triumph is a hard tail is installed, which completely takes away any comfort or superior handling. Seller was asking $5400 and your cousin would't budge off $5K?, Ya, probably a mistake, you won't find better for the money and anything selling for less will surely need at least $400 in cleaning up.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Live and learn, i guess.
Some triumph enthusiast will surely snap it up. Particularly when it gets warmer.

My cousin isn't stupid though. He's done his homework and knew that the bike was missing the horn just from the pics. And knew what a horn costs for that bike. This bike and the '73 1/2 BMW R75/5 LWB are the two bikes he's been holding out for for about 3 years now.

But ohhhhh mannnn that tank was damn sweet. Original paint. Clean as snot on the inside.
 

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Live and learn, i guess.
Some triumph enthusiast will surely snap it up. Particularly when it gets warmer.

My cousin isn't stupid though. He's done his homework and knew that the bike was missing the horn just from the pics. And knew what a horn costs for that bike. This bike and the '73 1/2 BMW R75/5 LWB are the two bikes he's been holding out for for about 3 years now.

But ohhhhh mannnn that tank was damn sweet. Original paint. Clean as snot on the inside.
Your cousin may not be stupid, but.... if he's been holding out for 3 years and hasn't found what he likes in his price range, he's going to be sorely missing out. He turned it down over the cost of a $30 horn, really? The bikes and parts are not getting any cheaper at all. If he's looking for a clean, original, all stock, everything there for less than $6K he will never own one. And that would be something HE will miss out on.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Your cousin may not be stupid, but.... if he's been holding out for 3 years and hasn't found what he likes in his price range, he's going to be sorely missing out. He turned it down over the cost of a $30 horn, really? The bikes and parts are not getting any cheaper at all. If he's looking for a clean, original, all stock, everything there for less than $6K he will never own one. And that would be something HE will miss out on.
I'll be sure to let him know you disapprove... :)
 
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