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Triumph T 140 V Bonneville 1976

18721

Make: 

  • Triumph

Model: 

  • T 140 V Bonneville

Year: 

  • 1976

Power: 

49.00 HP (35.8 kW)) @ 6500 RPM

Top speed: 

177.0 km/h (110.0 mph)

Transmission type: 

Chain

Cooling system: 

Air

Category: 

Classic

Engine type: 

Twin, four-stroke

Front brakes: 

Single disc

Rear brakes: 

Single disc

Displacement: 

744.00 ccm (45.40 cubic inches)

Bore x stroke: 

76.0 x 82.0 mm (3.0 x 3.2 inches)

Valves per cylinder: 

2

Gearbox: 

5-speed

Fuel control: 

OHV

Front tyre dimensions: 

4.10-19

Rear tyre dimensions: 

4.10-18

Fuel capacity: 

18.50 litres (4.89 gallons)

Compression: 

7.9:1

Weight including oil, gas, etc: 

197.0 kg (434.3 pounds)
There are very few British institutions left that haven’t been mismanaged into oblivion, much like the present country really <Ed – ha ha ha ha ha>, and Triumph could well have been another consigned to the scrap-heap if it hadn’t been plucked from receivership in ’83. Yet no one in their wildest dreams could have imagined that when the first Bonneville was developed eleven years before the moon-landing, and meekly shown at Earls Court Motor Show, that 2018 would herald celebrations of its 60th year.
 
The story started with the T120 Bonneville, a four-speed, parallel-twin 650cc, oil-in-frame motorbike topping out at 120 mph. Launched by Triumph as "The Best Motorcycle in the World" <Ed – what happened to meek?> it was enough for the legendary Steve McQueen to add a Bonnie to his vast motorcycle collection. The T140 reached, as the same suggests, 140 mph, dispensed with the oil in frame idea, included fancy innovations like front-disc brakes and indicators (yup), and added the V moniker to indicate the five-speed gearbox.
 
To cater for a more worldwide audience, the 1976 models were the first to adopt a left-sided gear-shift, sitting oddly high on the primary case, and replaced the rear-drum brakes with discs that were interchangeable with the front ones. The good old kick-start still prevailed though. British Motorcycles then held a collective identify-crisis full of disputes, back-biting and acrimony with variations of Norton, Triumph, Villiers and BSA all racing to the wall. The company scraped out last variations such as the T140J Silver Jubilee in 1977, T140D Special, T140E Emissions-Compliant, T140ES Electric-Start in 1979, T140LE Limited Edition in 1981, T140AV Anti-Vibration, T140W TSS and T140 TSX. Less flogging a dead horse, more taking an emaciated pit-pony outside and shooting it repeatedly with a million potato guns until it collapsed from being starched to death.
 
And yet it all started the way it ended: through dispute. For years, thrill-seekers would flock to the eponymous Utah Salt Flats to break the motorcycle speed records – check out the uplifting The World’s Fastest Indian for a glimpse. In 1955 Texan Johnny Allen had achieved an AMA*-ratified world-record on his Triumph adapted Devil’s Arrow motorcycle, which the world governing body refused to accept as there were none of their officials present. Triumph and Allen set another record two years later, the governing body again refusing to acknowledge for lack of officialdom. Seriously, where the hell were these scoundrels? Triumph were having none of it though, disputed the entire affair, gained huge publicity and subsequently launched the Bonneville in James Allen’s honour, sneaking in the stickers proclaiming “World’s Fastest Motorcycle” to boot. Triumph triumphed.
 

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