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  #1  
Old 15 Jan 2014
kentfallen's Avatar
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Triumph Bonneville 2004 - POOR STARTING

My goodness this sub forum is nowhere as busy as my beloved Yamaha XT sub forum.

Nevertheless I need some advice from those of you with a better understanding of all things mechanical.

My newly acquired 2004 Triumph Bonneville is a low mileage (4,000 mile) minter. It looks lovely BUT it does not start well.

It's currently laid up for the winter in my warm dry garage. I tried to start it up today but had great difficulty doing so. I had to press the button up to 20 times before it coughed into life. I experimented with the choke and it eventually fired up on full choke. If I tried to open it up during this process it just died.

I appreciate it's not always a good idea to start the engine up when in storage. I'm also aware of fuel issues. The fuel tank contains recent fuel (1 month old).

I always allow the carbs to run dry before putting it into winter storage.

My question is -

Is it normal for the Triumph Bonneville to have starting difficulty? My understanding is that it normally fires up instantly.

I don't trust that the bike has been properly serviced or maintained. The idiot I bought it from had stored in in the garage for over a year without protecting the chrome wheels with WD40, result rusty rims. He obviously had more money than sense. He did tell me it was serviced in July last year but said he had lost the paperwork.

I did not get any history with the bike - He lost it all in just over a year.

When I bought the bike, I noticed his son (a proby Copper) enjoyed tinkering with the carb settings on his own bike (a rusty knackered old Fazer 600).

The seller and his son literally laughed at me when I started to clean the brake disks with a cloth (I was looking for a older low mileage minter as I knew this would get me a bargain). After seeing the rust on the wheel rims, I knocked him down from £3,800 to £3,000. It does annoy me when a seller can't be bothered to even clean what they are selling. His loss - I got a bargain due to his laziness.

The battery had been recently changed but the battery strap was missing (replaced now).

By the way, I only paid £3,000 cash for the bike which seemed a good price for a sub 4,000 mile bike.

No doubt the bike is a good one apart from rust on wheel rims. Everything else is now immaculate (due to hours of cleaning, polishing and getting rid of surface rust).

I suppose the best option will be to service the bike properly?

Is there anything in particular I need to check or adjust such as the carb balancing etc?

Any advice gladly accepted....
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Old 15 Jan 2014
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The OEM coil is a POS. You want to get the tank off, clean, lightly bend all the electrical contacts into the tightest possible fit and blather it all in waterproof spray. Replace with a Nology as soon as you can afford it.

The main Earth would make Joe Lucas feel his legacy lives on. Run a nice heavy cable off the battery negative to one of the studs holding the halves of the crank case together or similar.

The air filter box slowly fills with oil blow back if the PO liked to keep it full to the line and you get smoke that would have shocked Jawa's service department.

Why I know this is here: https://sites.google.com/site/threew...10/the-repairs

Not sure if these are your problem but might be useful. A well set up Bonneville should start first press of the button. The carbed ones did like full choke and no throttle when cold.

My carb balance never changed and it had one valve shim in 8 years/40000 miles.

Andy
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Old 18 Jan 2014
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I have had a good close look at your excellent web blog.

I'm interested in learning why you picked a Triumph Bonneville for towing the sidecar outfit? I'd guess it was because the Bonnie looked old school and had the right image for a sidecar outfit....

I presume your own 790cc Bonnie had plenty of low down power (torque) to pull the sidecar like a train. I think the 790cc engine develops about 61 bhp & 44 ftlb of pull. The newer 865cc bike produces slightly more - 67 bhp and 47 ftlb respectively. I have been told the small increase in performance between the two versions is hardly noticeable.

Goes to prove how much power this modern bulletproof Triumph twin cylinder engine produces.

I understand the twin engine used (790/865) is de-tuned and as a consequence under stressed and capable of so much more. This is what makes it so reliable.

Are you still using a sidecar outfit and if so, what are you now using to pull it?

By the way, I see you are wearing a Union Jack (Union flag) open face helmet on your blog. I am looking for a similar helmet. I am considering two of these (one for me one for the Mrs) -

LS2 OF583 OPEN FACE LOW PROFILE MOTORCYCLE MOTORBIKE CUSTOM BOBBER CRASH HELMET | eBay

I understand LS2 helmets are made in China. They certainly look the part for a Triumph Bonnie rider.

I also looked at the cheaper Vulcan helmet but it looks inferior compared to the LS2.

I prefer to stay well away from the usual over-expensive Japanese top shelf makes. They sell similar helmets for £200 plus. I really don't think you get much extra apart from donating towards their huge advertising costs...

Thanks for your valued advice. I'm a Triumph Virgin.
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Old 19 Jan 2014
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I sort of aimlessly wandered into Bonneville ownership. I cooked my F650 courtesy of Rotax and their water pumps lack of a bearing so wanted air cooled. I got an XT600E which was great until I met the wife whose politest comment about the seat included the word plank. The rest should be limited to certain pubs in Naval ports. I went looking for a R80GS but found them old, bodged together by previous owners and over priced. There were however these air cooled retro bikes that on paper are pretty close. First choice was the W650 but the dealers barely knew anything except 150 mph bogies existed. Next I tested a Sportster and almost bought one but the salesman wanted me to buy into the whole 6-months a year ridding, leather chaps, upgrade to a mans bike when you are confident lifestyle crap. The Triumph bloke across the road was doing a lanch event (Rocket 3?) And had been on the champagne. He made me a stupid offer.

The sidecar went on as a way of replacing a bigger BM outfit for snow and carrying dogs. Made sense to hack the Bonneville as my MZ's and Enfield were going to be too slow.

I am now down to the WeeStrom and one non-running MZ, both solo. I found myself spending too much time fixing and jumping through insurance and MOT hoops to ride. My last outfit was a K100.

I don't really do image. I'd ride a Chinese scooter with diving helmet if it was trouble free and I could see in the fog. I have an interest in history and don't automatically assume new is better. Open face didn't mist in 1930 over heat in 1950 so it won't now is my thinking. I view vision as part of the total safety package and do rather detest the race technology that we seen to get rammed down our throats. The Union Jack design was one of two choices, the other was black, so camouflage for night riding. It is a fun design. Its a Modena. Basically a rather cheap scooter lid. I like it.

My next new bike will be this shape. I don't think you can beat the basic open design that evolved. The Wee is great, just a bit too heavy to be fun and too capable to be any sort of challenge. I think you'll enjoy a Bonneville if you want anything except insane speeds.

That turned into a bit of an essay. hope its useful

Andy
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Old 19 Jan 2014
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It's official - We're now FRIENDS.
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