Another view: ‘old Triumphs can be great’
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In response to Paul Charman: When British bikes obsessed us
West Aucklander Nick Chandler has written to Driven saying he has owned a 1978 Triumph Bonneville 750 for almost 10 years — and has no regrets.
Having owned six English and three Japanese bikes, Nick says the old Triumph is the most reliable and fun bike he’s had.
“My longest trip with this machine was just less than 4,000 km, from West Auckland to the Burt Munro Challenge in Invercargill and back.
“Longest ride-in-a-day was 640km, from Auckland to Wellington. Then Picton to Oamaru, and from there to Invercargill, all in two-and-a-half days. The return trip was via the beautiful West Coast of the South Island was absolutely brilliant. But, what about the bike? Did it break down? No.
“Well in truth, I had to replace a blown parking lamp when I stopped for petrol in Kaikoura. Just under half a litre of oil for the whole trip, and No, neither I nor the bike left an oily calling card on the ground. An occasional blob of chain lube maybe.”
Nick says there’s a trick to keeping old English bikes from spilling too much oil, one he is happy to share that if anyone is interested.
“What is great about this almost 40-year-old motor cycle is that it starts, runs and handles really well.
“Okay, the disc brakes (front and rear) aren’t brilliant but anyone with sense rides within their own limitations and those of the machine. This era of Triumph was known to for great handling and performance, as well as being beautiful to look at. Next year the relicencing will cost less than $60 – that’s a plus in anyone’s books. It’s a great deal more comfortable to ride on a long trip than the big 1500cc cruiser I used to own too.
“The latest work was new progressive front springs, rear shock and a pair of bar-end mirrors, however, parts and spares are no problem.” says Nick.
“I bought the Bonneville because I consider that the art of using a kick-start needs to be encouraged, plus because I like to tinker and keep machines running and in good order.”