“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art” - Oscar Wilde. Or to which we might add...ride a work of art. Husband and wife team Jimmy and Jil Baker were intent on doing just that. Artists and designers by trade, they approached the modification of this Bonny in the same manner they have approached a painting or renovating a 100 year old house - boldly, creatively and thoughtfully.
After a season spent riding a ‘73 CB350, it was time for Jil to step up to a bike with a little more nut. Since a CB750 was a bit too wide and awkward for her, they thought a Bonneville would be the answer and they found a deal on Craigslist. Jil is gung-ho on customization so she was the driving force on getting everything changed on the bike.
Jimmy explains their thought process with the look, “I was planning on doing those black Biltwell Tracker bars, and she was in love with the Natural Gum grips, so oddly enough, those became a design focal point. That sounds weird, but the grips led us to other decisions with a contrasting warm palette.”
“We had also seen a 1965 T120R that had a similar paint scheme and two-tone design. It's not a vintage bike though and we didn't want anyone to think we were fooling them, so we shifted the hue a bit, and tried to balance the color saturation.” Through this Jimmy had in the back of his mind a robin-egg-blue seen on Mini Coopers for use on the tank.
Jil wanted a rich medium brown seat with just enough orange to connect with the grips. “We had a general sense of where we wanted it to go, but it is more about one decision leading to another.”
Lead by their keen instincts on design, they sometimes test the limits - like when they tried to add brass tips to the headers. Says Jimmy, “Those brass tips looked absolutely amazing, but it lost so much low-end power, so we settled on some Emgo Shorty's as a compromise. In some ways our sense of aesthetic was compromised by functionality, but this bike is made to be ridden, so that comes first.”
Jimmy was getting tired of all the overpriced bolt-ons that a lot of Triumph owners are using these days and decided he was going to make his own brackets and mounts and hack up the airbox instead of buying an ‘Airbox Eliminator Kit’.
“Isn’t your hacksaw an airbox eliminator?” he asks unapologetically.
A big part of the challenge of this custom work was to see how cool they could make this bike for as little money as possible - and get it all done within a couple of weeks. After buying it for $2900, then selling off $350 worth of extraneous parts and putting $700 back into it in modifications the end result is a killer ride for $3250.
Slightly feminine, but rowdy and simplistic enough that it could also be taken as a vintage inspired bike that is a blast to ride.
Check out this husband and wife team at http://jimmybaker.com.