Christmas Comes to the Garage
I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a couple of cash gifts for Christmas, which I quickly turned into upgrades for my Bonneville. All the items came from New Bonneville (http://newbonneville.com/), a great source for aftermarket parts for Triumph Bonnevilles, in all their flavors. My Hepco-Becker engine bar I installed recently also came from New Bonneville.
First up is a new gas cap, a little thing, but if you use a magnetic tank bag a lot the low profile of this gas cap will be appreciated. I bought a chrome cap ($39.95) but it also comes in black ($44.95). Now the bag can lie relatively flat, instead of being humped up over the stock gas cap. You just press in the middle and turn, and the center pops up allowing you to screw the cap on our off, then press the center and turn, and it lies flat again.
Another thing not very convenient on the Bonneville in stock form is the seat attachment, requiring an allen wrench and a reach back under the dark recesses under the rear of the saddle. Hand turnable extension screws make taking the saddle off and on an easy task. These are the new antique copper, but they also come in plain aluminum, bright nickel, and black anodized, ranging from $21.95 to 27.45.
While at it, I went ahead an ordered a speed bleeder ($6.99), which came in handy on the next modification.
One of the Bonnie's weak points, if you do any off road riding on dirt or gravel, is the vulnerable position the rear caliper is mounted in. It sits forward forward of the center of the wheel and below the swingarm and is a prime target for rocks and dirt being slung up, or for a large stationary rock hitting it. Free Spirits makes a relocation bracket ($124.95) that replaces the stock one and locates the caliper above the center of the wheel. (Triumph Twin Power, I found out later, also makes a bracket, but I have no experience with it, although it looks very similar to the Free Spirits model.)
Here is the caliper in the new location.
This photo shows the stock location of the brake caliper in a vulnerable position.
Installation is straightforward—you remove the caliper from the old bracket, take the stock bracket off the bike, put on the new bracket, and reattach the caliper.
Mounting the new bracket does not require a new rear brake line, but does require you to reroute the stock one. I discovered this while installing the bracket, but it would have been nice to have had some instructions in the box so I would have known this in advance.
Rerouting the stock line requires removing it from the caliper, and pulling it out to the master cylinder side and then poking it back through under the airbox. It is not hard to do, but removing the line from the caliper requires you to rebleed the cylinder (enter my new speed bleeder!). All you should have to bleed is the caliper, but I accidentally let too much fluid out of the system when I did this and ended up with air at the master cylinder. This is a mess to bleed in place, and once I did I still had a soft pedal. Then I read at the triumphrat.net forum that it is much easier to bleed the system if you angle to slave caliper screw upwards when bleeding. I did this (making sure there was something in place to keep the pistons from closing) and got pedal, finally. The I reinstalled the caliper on the bracket.
Little by little my Bonnie is shaping up, with an aim for occasional use as an adventure tourer. The caliper relocation I think is one of the best upgrades that can be done. Even for tarmac use, it gets the caliper up out of most of the flying road debris one might encounter.
Next up, new tires (My rear Metzeler needs replacing.) with an eye to find something more suited to a occasional off road romp and, hopefully, with a little more useful life.
"Ride Your Own Ride"