The 50's, and 60's - arguably the best years of British motorcycling. The designs were simple, and nothing but bare necessities were present making the ride and experience almost visceral. At the same time however, the envelope of engineering was pushed again and again, advancing motorcycling one kick at a time to the next kph. Be it the classy combination of black and chrome, the open-air designs, or the performance and engineering advancements, there's no doubt that it was a great time to be a motorcyclist.
Combining these elements was Jason’s aim with the "Distinguished" Bonneville. The idea was to take a modern Triumph and build a machine that, like the earlier Triumphs of Meriden, would be timeless.
"There have been dozens of modern Hinkley Triumphs that were customized to look old, but were just that, old looking. And while I think the rough and rustic look is cool and has its place, I myself prefer things to be tight and have a certain fit ‘n finish. So, with the Distinguished Bonneville Jason aimed to create a bike that looked old but still looked new. If that makes any sense."
With the Distinguished bonnie, or "Elizabeth" as Jason likes to call her, some might not see all the hours of work that went into creating this machine. That was on purpose. Discrete customization was the target with many aspects of the build. A bike that looked factory, if you will. A chord that runs the same in all of Dime City's builds.
Starting at the front, the stock headlight ears were removed, along with the blinkers and keyhole mount. Pieces of sheet metal were cut and formed to match the complex radius and were then TIG grafted into the factory mounts. Given the finish would be chrome, there was zero margin for error, or filler. A simple enough project one might think, but in the end it required almost 8 hours.
The stock gauges were omitted in favor of a single DCC mini speedo unit with integrated indicators for vital signs, and it was mounted securely with a high quality gauge bracket from D9. The stock headlight bucket was also changed in favor of one of DCC's British style buckets to help with the classic look. The front fender remains stock, but like the headlight ears, they earned a bit of massaging and a final re-coat of thick juicy chrome. Under the fender rolls a classic Avon Speedmaster, the only tire that would fit this bill.
The bars are Dime City "Classic" bars made from .083 steel tubing. They follow the basic style and fit of an original 7/8" Bonnie bar, only with a few tweaks. By slightly increasing the pullback, taking 1/2" out of the riser portion and 1/4" out of the height they become an easy to control, comfortable retro bar that completes the classic look of the front end. Stock controls were retained with small additions, like welding in the sight hole on the master cylinder reservoir, and made make stainless lever mount bolts. The POSH grips were a gift from friend Alan Stulberg of Revival Cycle in Texas.
Moving to the focal point of the bike, the tank is actually a stock Bonneville tank (with slight massaging.) In an effort to achieve that classic looks found on 50's machines a major emphasis was put on chrome. To the tune of the entire tank being covered in it... Then Moe Colors carefully and painstaking applied House of Color products to ensure a high quality finish that would adhere to the chrome properly and stand the test of the time. The badges seen are stock units with custom painted lettering. The seat is custom item that mounts just like the factory seat, two bolts and vio-la! It features a much more comfortable shape and foam along with a retro square section stitching.
The rear fender, again, has lots of discrete work, and as seen here was removed and completely reshaped. The stamped portions from the factory Triumph taillight assembly had to be hand-hammered and English wheeled out, then filled and worked to a perfect finish. The side rails on the fender were also shaved and trimmed to follow the contour of the new Coker Diamond Tread tire mounted on a 17" Excel wheel. It then received a full chrome job and finished paint work by Moe Colors. The taillight is a 1960's Honda CL unit given to Jason by championship winning AHRMA racer, Scott Turner.
As for the rest of the bike, there are tons of little details. You see, Jason actually received this bike in pieces. Literally, in boxes. One might think, "How on Earth does a 2005 Triumph with less than 5,000 miles get torn apart and NOT put back together." Well, the story goes as such according to Jason:
"I picked up Elizabeth from a friend who runs a local Triumph dealership. Apparently the original owner bought the bike, rode it for a year and then got bored and parked it on the side of his house on the beach with no cover. Two years go by...yes, two years. And he decides he wants to ride it again. Obviously it's been torn to shreds by the sand and elements of salt water, so he took it to the dealer.
He asked what it would take to re-build it, and after seeing a quote gave them the go ahead to tear it apart. Every single nut and bolt was taken of the bike and set aside, the engine was completely torn down, powder coated and re-assembled, and so on…
After about four months the owner got antsy and asked how much longer it was going to be. When the reply of a few more months came out of the service writers mouth the customer said: "Well, that's just too long. Do you want it? I'm just going to buy a new one and you can keep it and finish it."
So, despite my buddies desire to get it finished, the project just proved to take too many resources and it sat and sat for over a year. In the end he felt horrible that this "could-be" gorgeous Triumph was just sitting in pieces and knew he needed to get it into the hands of someone who knew what they were doing. And that was where Jason came in!
To date he says "It was one of the the most challenging projects yet for us. Building a bike from scratch is a whole other story. You make things up as you go and adjust this piece to fit that one and just keep on fabricating. When you need to work within the lines of another factories image, it's much harder.
DCC Factory-fit Retro Square Stich Seat
DCC Classic Bars
DCC Retro Headlight Bucket w/ Diamond Lens
DCC Fork Gaiters
DCC Ignition Relocation Kit
DCC Steering Damper Kit
DCC Polished Aluminum Velocity Stacks
DCC Factory-fit Stainless Steel Brake Line Kit
Re-worked OE Triumph Headlight Ears
Retro Fuel Cap
Coker Diamond Tread Rear Laced to Excel 17" Aluminum Rim
Avon Speed Master Front w/ Stock 19" Wheel
D9 Low-pro Gauge Cluster w/ DCC Speedo
Progressive Front Springs Performance Springs
Progressive 412 Series Rear Shocks
British Customs Sleeper Exhaust
British Customs AI Removal Kit
Reworked OE Rear Fender w/ 1960's Honda CL Taillight
British Customs Regulator Reloc. Kit
Triumph Tank Badges & Knee Pads
Triumph Thruxton Pre-load Fork Caps
This fine motorcycle is for sale. For inquires contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Chad Martel Photography