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Book review: Bonneville Bible

2013-08-14 09:01

BONNEVILLE BIBLE: An in-depth look at the iconic Triumph Bonneville motorcycles built from 1959-83 - and their history. Image: Supplied

The Triumph Bonneville Bible (1959-83)
Author: Peter Henshaw
ISBN: 9781845843984
UPC: 6-36847-04398-8
£35, $54.95

Peter Henshaw has had an enthusiasm for anything with wheels from an early age – from bicycles to tractors. He was the editor of Motorcycle Sport & Leisure for five years before going freelance and now contributes to a whole range of transport magazines including Motorcycle News, Twist and Go, A to B, and Tractor, as well as The Telegraph (UK).

He’s also written more than 40 books, including 10 about bikes, and is an all-year-round motorcyclist who does not own a car.

This one is a meticulously detailed history of the Triumph Bonneville: its antecedents, how it came about, and year-by-year production changes, with detailed technical specifications and contemporary road test reports showing how the Bonneville compared with its rivals.


However, the history of the bike cannot be separated from the turbulent story of the company that built it. Triumph went from huge success in the 1960's, when the Bonneville conquered North America, to troubled times in the early 1970's, leading to the formation of a workers' co-operative that heroically kept the Bonneville alive for a further nine years.

All this is covered here, plus details on how Triumph spares producer Les Harris took over production into the late 1980's.

Unlike other Bonneville books, this one also tells you how to buy used models of these iconic bikes – the pitfalls, what to look for, and what they are really like to live with.

Whichever one you choose, it should be fast, agile and good looking... on a twisty country road, there's nothing like a Bonnie, and with information on clubs, websites, spares, and the latest modifications and upgrades, this book will help you get the one you deserve.

Featuring comprehensive appendices of facts, figures, contacts, technical specifiations (including correct colours for each year), engine/frame numbers, and road test performance figures, this is the definitive book of a bike that truly deserves the term "practical classic". Find out about:

Triumph’s background
How the Bonneville came about
Year-by-year details of all production changes
Detailed technical specifications
In parallel, how Triumph conquered America, struggled to survive, and died
Buying a secondhand Bonnie – pitfalls and points to look for
How Triumph rose again and a new Bonneville was born
Useful contacts – clubs, parts suppliers, restorers

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