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Old 17 Oct 2008
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Touring on a Bonneville

Looking to do a three week tour through France and into Spain early next year. I have a Triumph Bonneville, not the ideal touring bike but I like it, never done a long distance run on it. Do you think I should change the bike for a more suitable one.
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Old 17 Oct 2008
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Hi Dodger, I've only ridden a new Hinkley Bonnie as a "loner" whilst my Tiger was in for a service but I was impressed with it. You didn't say if yours was an original Hinkley or not. Assuming you have one of the new ones I'd say it was almost the perfect touring bike. Easy to ride, comfortable, economic. It has a low seat height which really makes life easier when loaded up with gear. There are lots of luggage options from soft bags to full RTW alloy boxes.

It may appear that you need a fully tourateched up GS Adventure to ride to France these days but I've been on my XT250 and even met a guy on a C90 on the ferry! Just load the Bonnie up and go!
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Old 17 Oct 2008
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Go for a Bonnie

Hi Dodger,

Welcome to the HUBB. Yes, a Bonneville is a great choice for touring, albeit you'll have to kit it out a little whereas other bikes already have screen, luggage, etc.

I took an '04 Bonneville on a three week trip to Scandinavia this summer, all the way to North Cape and back. Did 5,800 miles without any problems. Averaged 50+ mpg, didn't burn any oil, checked the tyres pressures once. The bike has a Scottoiler and it had a full service before I left. Only annoying thing was awful numbing vibration through the bars and the useless NewBonneville rack I bought which couldn't handle bumpy Norwegian roads.

Some owners complain about ride comfort and fiddle with the seat or change the rear shocks but I was fine. There are lots of luggage options, Renntec or Triumph rack and soft panniers is probably the cheapest and easiest. Check the threads on the Triumph tech forum for what others have done. One member is on his way to NZ at the moment on his Bonnie.

Prior to my trip and a long weekend in Germany, I would have baulked at doing more that 150-200 miles on a bike but in Norway, I was regularly doing 300+ miles a day without any problems. Longest day was 422 miles in 14 hours.

Photos of my trip are here if you're interested: Flickr: Triumph trips' Photostream

I also have to agree with flyingdoctor about GS's. Far too many Ewan & Charlie wannabees who seem to think it's the only bike you can trust outside of the M25. The only ones I saw were at North Cape itself and bombing up through Sweden on the Inlandsvagen. I'm sure it's a great bike but for touring on tarmac around Europe, you don't need a big (& expensive) bike with go-anywhere RTW capability.


P.S. The Bonneville was a good ice-breaker with locals who were surprised to see one or who used to have old Triumphs themselves. Fooled a few people who thought it was a '60s - '70s machine too.
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Old 17 Oct 2008
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If as you say you like the bike then do not change it. I assume it is a modern Hinkley bike, the only downside with them is their short range. I have yet to figure out why all the anti pollution measures seem to cause bikes to do less mpg than their predecessors. I dont see how it can be eco friendly to use more fuel.

But ride you bike and enjoy. Petrol can be had in France at most supermarkets. Make sure you have a chip and pin card and you will be able to use most of teh 24 hour automated pumps. Do not pay the peage tolls by card as you will get charged the car rate. You will probably find using the old 'D' roads a lot more fun and much less stressful.
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Old 18 Oct 2008
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Bonnevilles are only meant to go to your local coffee shops on sunny Sundays when the chome has been suitably polished. You should imeadiately go out and buy a brand new R1200GS, the whole Touratech catalogue and that book by the actors special friend

Seriously, the new Bonneville does now exactly what they did in the 70's when Ted Simon took his Triumph Twin RTW, just without the oil leaks. There are people riding or who have ridden them UK to Australia and other trips. Personally I've only done as far as North Cape, the Elefant rally, Poland and a few other places. Even two up there is very little that'll stop it. I've had it on snow and mud and it's fine (knobbly on the rear for snow). The range (180 miles max) would be an issue outside Europe and extending it with a big tank is stupid money. Luggage wise I ran two TT boxes on a MM frame up to fitting the chair. We did two up camping 3000 miles in two weeks with ease (the old ball and chain doesn't travel light either!).

Next big trip for me is Morrocco in 2010.

Only real tip is watch the speed. As you may have found out by now the Bonneville is happy at about 80 on the autobahn. At 60 you get about another 20 miles out of a tank.

Go for it & Enjoy yourself

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Old 18 Oct 2008
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Touring on a Bonneville.

Thanks to everyone who replied, I would not got rid of the Bonnie anyway wanted to now what others thought, have had the bike for a year now it is a 05 Hinkley Bonneville and think it is brilliant, a change from the Bandits I have had in the past. Thanks again.
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Old 18 Oct 2008
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its not much help as you've got a new one but i did 2,010miles in a week touring scotland on my T140v. yes i was riding most of the time but it didnt felt rushed & nothing important went wrong (worst problem was water in the non-original ignition switch).
sort of planning spain on her at somepoint, after all why use the comfy modern one ive got with luggage when i can ride this?

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Old 19 Oct 2008
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38,000 miles and two years since I left Murmansk on my '06 Bonneville, I have an iron butt, several sets of rear shocks and nothing but praise for the Bonnie.

ps Indoors is right -- lots of people will stop you to talk about the bike. One note of caution, though -- they won't be gorgeous young women. They'll be the gorgeous young women's grandfathers.
---I'm back. Now what?---
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