The Bonneville Scrambler
I was sick of having to kick start the flathead all the time, sick of bouncing down the road with out any suspension and a bit tired of life in the slow lane.
So once upon a time I decided to buy a new Bonneville.
It wasn't a "new purchased at the Triumph dealer" type bike, but a dirty neglected 2006 standard Bonneville. The object was to have something modern to ride and not have to work on. 11 months worth of work later.......
Building the Custom 2006 Bonneville Scrambler 790cc
I worked on a red and silver 2005 Bonneville in 2011 and test rode it and thought "this ain't bad"... Having only ever had encounters with old style 650's and 750's it was quite different and smooth. Not overly fast, but definitely kinda zippy. Had a cool look to it, not so much like a new modern motorcycle.
Being a Harley mechanic it was unusual to build a bike and not have to rebuild the engine. That meant I could concentrate on the rest of the bike and design something good.
So I went on the hunt to see if I could find a newer Triumph Bonneville. It took a couple years and some really good luck, but I found one nobody wanted. That was unusual to make such a find, and that also made it so the price was right. It was dirty, been sitting up for about 5 years, neglected and was now outside under a bbq tarp. Even with green slim oozing out of the carbs, one of which wasn't even in the intake boot, it started and ran on one cylinder. So I bought it.
Oddly the whole time I was purchasing this bike I was looking at what you see in the picture, the black one, the real thing, but in my mind I was seeing the red one I worked on, thinking I'll tune it, go through it quickly and be riding in a few days. After all a lot of the purchase intention was based on that it will comfortably do highway speeds and not need to be worked on much.
The problem with that whole theory is that since I was a kid with a bicycle, I have never been able to leave things alone. It needs to be custom. It needs to be part of me and it needs to be that way now. I'm not talking custom with a couple of trashy chrome trinkets, or some bolt on kit from the dealer either.
About 6 weeks in, the bike is on the lift pretty much dissembled and I'm thinking.... What have I done? I wanted to be riding this by now, but I'm thinking about all the stuff I see that just isn't cutting it for me. More of this is going to have to come apart, I need to fabricate a new battery box, whole new wiring harness, I have this tank I built about 2 years ago..... and there was no front fender..... and the rear fender and tail light is really crappy.... and ya know I really like Scramblers because it was mini bikes and dirt bikes that really got me into the whole motorcycle thing........
It's actually hard to have the time to work on your own shit. You have to do customer work to pay the bills and then manage to squeeze in time here and there. Sometimes you just throw the customers under the bus and work on your own shit for a few days.
By March I figured out a lot of the bike. Custom sheet metal, the tank, head and tail lights and Honda 50 handlebars. It's a lot more work than what it looks like. The front fender mount is 3/8" thick steel and acts as a fork brace. I made the fender mounts like traditional English bikes. I needed to machine and weld bungs into the gas tank and do a front tank mount. Then finish up with a rear fender. Still to go was wheels, brakes, wiring, battery box and seat.