Wednesday, October 17, 2012

1981 Triumph Bonneville M/C - Not Approved

This one is a little odd in 2012. There are no dates associated with the applications, or when they were not allowed. This 1981 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle turned 25 years old in 2006, becoming NHTSA exempt. It was over 21 years old in 2002, and EPA exempt. So even though its not allowed under Show or Display, it has met the age requirements to be exempt.

The 1981 Triumph Bonneville attempted to address dwindling sales with what had become "Limited Edition"-madness. Not that it was a bad thing, they turned out some pretty nice bikes. But, the problems Triumph was facing couldn't be solved by cobbling together yet another tarted up version of the same old tired 1937 design. But, that didn't stop them. More power to 'em!


Meriden came out with no fewer than 3 new versions of the 1981 Triumph Bonneville. The first two were variants of the 1981 Triumph Bonneville Executive, meant to be the touring version, in both kickstart & electric start versions. These came with fairings, top box (touring pack) & panniers (hard saddle bags). The third bike was intended for Police duty & was being evaluated for that purpose. This final 1981 Triumph Bonneville variant was called the T140AV, the "AV" ambitiously designating "Anit-Vibration", which used rubberized engine mounts to quell the vibes. At that time, BMWs boxer-twins were getting the lions share of Police business in Europe & the UK, partly because they were very smooth, but also very reliable. Neither of which could be said for the Triumph Bonneville, unfortunately.

The 1981 Triumph Bonneville model year began with Engine #KD28001. Engine mods were few. The TDC locating hole was itself relocated to its former position in front of the engine, because the starter was now in the way & the crankshaft was notched accordingly. There was a new heavy duty 4-lipped roller main bearing on the timing side. The oil feed to the exhaust tappets was blocked off. The old-style screw-in exhaust spigots & finned clamps made their return. Oil seals were added to the exhaust valve guides."


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