Blue Remembered Downpipes

bonnieI spotted this advert for a US-spec T140V in the recently revived Riders Digest mag. The new editor, Stuart Jewkes, seems to have given up chasing new advert money to try and cover the production costs. Instead, he threw in a few evocative old ads that probably chime better with the TRD readership, if not most UK bikers these days.

magnumpiIn case you can’t tell from the guy’s Magnum-style ‘tash, flares and the salt lake setting, it’s an advert for an American magazine.

‘Some bikes challenge egos’, runs the headline. I presume it’s supposed to mean ‘Are you man enough to kickstart, let alone ride a Bonneville instead of these namby pamby Jap bikes?’ rather than: ‘trying to live with this NVT-built dinosaur will drive you nuts!’.

whx791sWhat a great picture though, because it’s that very stance – the ‘triumphant, manful lunge’ as I describe in the book, that’s one of my fondest memories of my ’78 Bonnie. It wasn’t the thoughtless prod needed to stir a TS185 into life, nor the nail-biting ‘will she, won’t she?’ stomp on an XT500. Something about the tickling ritual, the required pose, the gearing and the swing of the solid lever against the mild 8.5 compression made firing up the Bonnie very satisfying. Like spinning the prop on an old biplane or treading on an empty cigarette packet.

Triumph Bonneville - 1978

As you may have read, a couple of my other bikes from that time have turned up recently. And, according to the DVLA motor registry my old Triumph ‘WHX 791S’ (left) is still around but off the road and perhaps laid up in a shed somewhere. If you’re reading this and it’s yours – get it back on the road, pronto!

Click this then click on the book cover for a free sample of the book. Or just scroll down a bit to read the start of the Bonneville chapter: ‘Blue Remembered Downpipes’.


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