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dont get me wrong, i think its a great bike and like all the hinckley triumphs (i have a 955i sprint ST) has a great engine. triumph only sell bikes on the basis of giving test rides, because if we took a long cold look at the average finish and cycle parts in places we'd walk away. but go for a ride 1st and they got you by the balls, they know that, thats why they have such a huge demo fleet, thats why i got mine and good luck to em i say
hi mike, did you get to norway with the ferry boat or have you gone the long way round, via denmark? a friend and i are thinking of going up into the arctic circle next year (someone told us we would either freeze our nuts off or get them chewed off by mosquitos, who could resist?) and id be interested on the best way
I took the Harwich-Esbjerg ferry and rode north through Sweden and Finland to Kirkenes and Murmansk. The route is called the Inlandsvagen -- inland road -- which I chose as the rest of the trip I'm hugging the coast all the way. Very straightforward and good road conditions almost all the way.
More details on my website ;-)
The mosquitos are the size of sparrows. (I'd been wondering why there were so many sparrows).
But don't be fooled by the term 'polar'.. if you're as lucky as I was you'll be sunbathing far, far north of the artic circle. Of course I'm paying for that now as it's raining steadily in southern Norway!
cool mike, thanks for the tip, the ferry would take a massive chunk out the trip and avoid all the euro-beuro ubercops who want to empty your visa card and anal probe you for doing one kph over the limit
the bonneville is a great road bike, but off road?
the scrambler is just a bonny with scrambler "looks", like different wheels and tyres and colour scheme etc.
Well... that's what Triumph's Scrambler was back in the 60's too. It was a street machine, not a purpose-built dirt bike. It had slightly longer suspension travel, dirt tires, and high pipes, but was otherwise a bonnie. No different today.
And when it really comes down to it, that's all the big BMW Adventure bikes are. Street bikes with some marginal off road capability, good for dirt roads and such, but totally overwhelmed on the gnarly stuff. I think the Scrambler fits that role perfectly, but does it with style and at roughly half the price.
I wouldn't hesitate to take either the Bonnie or the Scrambler off road... but look at it this way. The Scrambler costs $500 mor than a new Bonneville (and $300 less than a T100). It comes with dirt tires, a flat bar, longer shocks, and high pipes. It'd cost more than $500 to put all those things on a new Bonneville.
To me, the Scrambler has more of the things I want. To me, it's a lot closer to what I'd take on an adventure tour. Add a luggage rack, a Givi top case, some tank panniers, an aluminum case on the left side only, a small windshield, connections for heated clothing, and a plug to charge my cell phone and I'd call it ready for a trip from NY to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.
My Bonneville is from September 2003 but I bought it last September - just after the 3rd "birthday". It is a stock machine fitted with an alarm.
I still like it for the reasons I bought it - it looks great and I love the easy riding style. Problem has been it's electrics, reliability and tendency to corrode as soon as the clouds pass over.
I have tried to nurse it through a very mild Scottish winter - with a lot of difficulty! My bike seems to cut out in any wet weather - very quickly indeed. Then, if you try more than a few times to get it back to life after some use of WD40 and tissues around the sparks, you will suffer the click of the dead battery. And do not travel at night. 3 trips I made of any distance after dark, twice the headlamp blew - it was wet but I cannot believe that should happen! Dual carriageways, at night in the rain without lights are a bad experience. Last weekend it died for about the 5th time in a fortnight and it now has new coil fitted.
I am going to put on a switch to cut off the headlamp when it fails - I am resigned to it failing now! - to help with the battery issue. I am spending heavily to make this bike keep going and ride well. However, given that it is housed every night - and under an Oxford bike cover, gets cold washed and treated with AC50 almost every time it gets used - it has corroded like a lump of pig-iron in a riverbed. Two rear spokes have gone - I was kindly informed to try and avoid riding in wet weather by the Triumph dealership to help the huge corrosion issue around the spoke/rim connection? What?
The crowning glory was the head of one of the two brake caliper retaining bolts dropping to the ground outside Halfords - with the remainder still in the thread. Great fun trying not to damage the rather tender parts remedying that! Also - I am going to try some heath-robinson contraption involving lollipop sticks and fishing gut to stop the mirrors going jiving any time I get over 70!
It also has a new front disk since the previous disk was so uneven as to render it more liability than asset.
In spite of all this - I love the bike! However, personally I would no more use it for a long journey than a skateboard. Especially in cold and wet conditions.
Sorry for such a negative post but I did want to be honest. I really wanted a Bonneville and am pleased with how it looks and the ride - but next winter I shall use a cheap 2nd hand Honda, or such, for travelling about and keep the Bonnie charging over, indoors!
Dave - I am sorry for my comments - you already covered that! Are you able to make a good suggestion - hopefully not eye wateringly expensive - for replacement rims and spokes? The Triumph ones truly do fail dreadfully - the cobble roads of Edinburgh appear to have done for them! Also - any advice for how best to fit that switch to the circuit for powering off the head lamp?
Mike - great journey site - but how in the name of all that is holy did you manage thousands of miles with so little pain near the salt and sea??!
I live on the coast and that combined with the road salt means a never ending battle - is your bike brand spanking new? How is it coping? I noticed your brake disk went - mine was not just buckled - when checked with a guage the width was also wildly fluctuating going round the disk - made for flutter and wobble on the front brake. Hopefully the new one will manage better.
Last year I rode my Bonnie from Grantown-on-Spey to Findhorn on the Moray coast everyday for 2 months - most days I would have the road to myself... great... Like having your own TT circuit. Ah, but when it rained, she would splutter and conk out. Once I stopped out on the moors took my helmet off and got bitten to hell by the midges - didn't think until the next day to keep my helmet on. A good spray with a silicon spray has sorted out the electrics. And don't forget to keep the battery topped up and to start her up every week, or it's new battery time. The rust is another matter... next winter shes going to be put away for a couple of months.
Nice journey. Road to yourself, I have not had that privilege often. In the summer I may use it for travelling up and down to Oban from Edinburgh - I take the ferry across to Coll on the West Isles and it is a lot cheaper than the car to take over!
I try to use the bike a little most days - it is proving too much for it! I am also cursed by a rain cloud permanently following me this past couple of months.
Shall try silicon for the electrical components - thanks for the tip. The bike is run most days - when it's going ;-) Been slightly unfortunate I guess.
I have done 1800 miles, roughly, and had a spill - which meant I needed a new cover for the clutch. Also new tyres just fitted have made the rear of the bike feel a lot grippier. It is not the fastest bike by a very long way but if pushed a bit is still fun to nip about on.
If I could just get a single day of warm, bright weather it would be such a blessing! And when it is polished and sitting outside the office window it doesn't half look smart - I admire the engineering of modern bikes but so many look the same and I can never tell them apart. I am not currently planning any big trips but if I was I think I would choose something a bit better prepared to mix it up. I quite fancy the big V-Strom. Or possibly I would prefer the new Triumph Tiger... Shall keep daydreaming
I have a Bonneville that I bought new in 2001, and it now has given me 53 000km. of pure joy.
The electric problems your bike is suffering from is something similar I have experienced on my bike, but not as serious as you have. Mine started to stop when it was raining. This problem started when it was a bit more than 4 years old. The solution for me was to clean and put contact grease on every electric contact on the bike. After that I have not had any problems with the engine stopping when it's raining. Two months before that I had to replace the pick-up coil after it failed. The symptoms was the engine lugging and stopping. It would start with no problem and idle ok, but when using the throttle it would die. It could be forced to go on high revs but it killed the spark plugs and it was shooting and lugging. I went trough the carbs, and all the electrics, and ended up replacing the pick-up coil, then the problem was gone. Other people have had their pick-up coil replaced because their engines had started to die when they got warm. Their bikes was ok when cold but stopped on the road when they got to normal engine temp.
The information you got from your dealer, to avoid riding in wet weather, is not acceptable. The Bonneville is a modern motorcycle and should manage all sorts of weather and temperatures, no matter what any dealer says.
Corrosion is something that seems to be quite normal on all new Bonnevilles, if they are used in rain, wet and salty conditions. I belive this will be happening to every motorcycle, no matter what brand, if you use them in salty and wet conditions.
You are saying that you have broken two rear spokes. That is something that has started to show up on later models of the new Bonneville, as a matter of fact I belive it started with the 2003 model. It's seems like some sort of design fault. Take it to your dealer and tell them to fix it! The know about this problem, even if the say something different to you the are well informed about this.
Your brake calipers retaining bolts head fell off??? How is that possible?
Check if the screws for your mirrors has been misplaced with your seat bolts. Other people with Bonnevilles has experienced that their dealer has mixed those bolts. The result is the mirrors folding back in high speed.
Your front disc damage could be caused of some sort of accident bending it. Do you use a disc lock?
What a detailed and informative reply. Thank you. The advice from the dealer about the rain was remarkable to me! I am still surprised by it.
Your comment about the spokes is interesting - I have already paid for the repair work and feel reticent about arguing after the event - next time I will be prepared.
The corrosion is an issue on all bikes, I accept that. I would, however, suggest that the corrosion on the rims, spokes, shocks and handle bars is more than a modern bike should experience after 3 very well maintained years. I am having to consider major replacements on a bike of 36 months old - not very good.
I have a very suspect way of fixing the mirrors... I put talcum powder on the mirror threads before screwing it in - this lasts a week or two I have discovered - am I risking ruining my mirrors! I use AC-50 spray on most metal areas - maybe this lubricant is causing the mirror to be a bit loose?
As for the bolt! What can I say - it was the third major issue I had experienced with my front brakes in a matter of weeks and I almost asked the dealer just to take the bike off my hands and get any replacement he could. Glad I didn't - it is all experience!
One thing about the Bonnie is very good - I have never had to strip a bike so often and learn so much so quickly before. I am glad to have had that experience! I feel I am becoming adept at fixing bike problems for myself! Some good comes of everything!
If you check out The New Triumph Bonneville Forum on http://forums.delphiforums.com/New_Bonneville/start and then find the "SPOKES THREADS ONLY !" you will find info on broken spokes. The forum has many interesting and useful tips. It's quite a friendly forum, so just check it out.
the press has had a field day with bonny spokes too, MCN are saying its dangerous and should be subject to a model wide recall to fit HD spokes.
as to what rims to put on, theres plenty of choice these days, steel or alloy rims, how much do you want to spend? is the problem the triumph rims or the spokes or both? you might be fine just putting in a decent set of spokes.
on my XT600 supermoto i went for the cheapest anodised alloy rims i could find which were EXCEL at the time, laced to the original hubs with HD stainless spokes and nipples. after five years ive had no bother from any of it, a quick wipe at wash time and the whole wheel comes up like new.
I picked up my '02 T100 in Seattle, Nov last year.
Headed up to vancouver and been heading south ever since. Right now I'm in panama city, taking my time in organising how to get over to Columbia, its not a bad place to get out of the saddle.
The bonneville can handle anything you throw at it. 12500miles and only a rear blowout in california (and yes a was a spoke missing.) But mechanically I can't fault it - runs a dream.
Through dirt tracks, horse trails, mountain passes, jungle roads it has surpassed my expectations.
All the previous road trips I've done before the breakdowns add to the adventure, the fact is it isn't breaking down - so I hooked up with some other guys who have plenty to keep me busy.
When we hit panama, we headed to playa lajas, north panama. Its a perfectly flat, wide, 16km long beach.
Riding fully loaded, with rack, engine bars, and god know what ever else I've got strapped to the back. I decided to go on a diet.........I stripped the bike down completely - lost the rack, engine bars, pipes, fenders, centre stand, signals..........And oh my god that is a beast of a machine. It looked fantastic, sounded fantastic and felt f*&ing awesome hitting 100mph on a panamanian beach.
This bikes a keeper.
It looks the tits.
The only faults I can think of are the weight and the brakes are underpowered - but I was used to sportbikes before. Just have to readjust my distances.
You can ride any bike anywhere its the mentality behind it that'll get you places. However with the bonneville you can look good when you arrive. haha.
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