Carbon-fibre Triumph Bonneville

Old bike meets modern technology. A Bonnie idea.

Posted: 25 January 2011
by Visordown News

IT'S so easy for custom bike builders to fall into the trap of building endless variations on the traditional chopper/cruiser/cafe race theme that when one does something really different it's worth sitting up and taking note.

And this work-in-progress, from deepest Wales, shows just that sort of lateral thinking. It's a Bonneville, destined to be a cafe racer when completed, but the entire chassis is handmade from carbon fibre.

Taimoshan Cycle Works in Cardiff is responsible for the project, and from the look of their completed bikes the finished article should be impressive. Designed to be used with any T120 or T140 Bonneville engine – not the modern Hinckley-made machines – the chassis weighs just 3.5kg, saving 12.5kg compared to the steel original. Add in a single shock swingarm at just 1.5kg and, with aluminium used for the tank and seat, the finished bike is expected to come in at under 150kg.

The firm is also working on a hardtail bobber frame from the same material, weighing only 3kg, and once development is finished both versions are set to be offered as made-to-order parts for other people's Bonnie projects.

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Discuss this story

It's amazing they don't make it to house a Hinkley motor.The old ones look good but they are shite when it comes to reliability.Space age frame with an antique motor. W T F ?

Posted: 25/01/2011 at 14:07

 I used to ride my pre unit triumph all over the continent back in the 60s and only ever had one breakdown,I then raced a unit construction motor fitted with a Weslake conversion in the early 70s where it was reliable if it was not over revved so Im not sure that the comment about the  unreliability of the pre Hinkley motors is fair.I can only presume that if poor reliability was experienced first hand ,rather than just anectotal hearsay, it was down to poor engine preparation.

Posted: 25/01/2011 at 15:34

Michael, I agree with your comments regarding reliability. My first big bike was a pre-unit Triumph and it never failed to get me to my destination. Ditto with the other British bikes I owned, including a late Norton Commando. Like you say, it's down to preparation.

 But I can see your point Frank. It strikes me as a bit weird to wrap all that lovely CF around a motor so ancirnt - but may be that's just the point.

Posted: 25/01/2011 at 16:15

I'm not sure I'd want to put my faith (and life) into a carbon frame made in what looks like a shed. The selection of cheap files attached to the wall isn't really that confidence inspiring either!

Posted: 25/01/2011 at 17:27

I'd much rather put my faith (and life) into a carbon frame made by someone who's total care and attention to detail is focused on crafting the whole job from start to finish, rather than someone sat tediously pushing a button every few minutes on a machine in a massive shed. Their the sort of person who would stick with a tool they know works rather than someone with all the gear and no idea who think that the best tool for the job is the most expensive!

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Posted: 25/01/2011 at 18:40

Yep, what were they thinking? 

Posted: 25/01/2011 at 19:39

Was refering to Frank Meyer's post.  Why would you build such a frame for a shite engine? 

Posted: 25/01/2011 at 19:40

Why no Hinckley engines?

I'll tell you why... weight...  the Hinckley engine/gear box unit is a heavy, overbuilt lump... I have 1 and 1/2 (ones a torn down project bike) Hinckley Bonnies and I had one I wrecked... I love them for what they are... but they were not designed to be performance engines... they were designed to give a nod to the history and heritage while being ultra reliable and delivering excellent low to mid range power... Although a good amount of reliable power can be fairly easily liberated from them through some easy mods.... but you can't shed any of the approx. 225 lb. weight...

But if light weight and thus, a high power to weight ratio is what you're after...  and from the use of the carbon fiber, I would think that that is the design brief... then a properly modified and built T120 or T140 engine would be a better choice... 

Posted: 25/01/2011 at 23:53

I'm with Frank Myer on this one, why do you need a mega hi-tech frame built for a (lets be honest here) relatively old, but reliable underperforming engine. Yes it's nice to have something super light and exotic but isn't that the point? lighter,  for higher performance?..... with the engine that doesn't produce it!

Posted: 27/01/2011 at 19:13

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