1965 Triumph T120R Bonneville


2-cyl. 649cc/46hp

#1 Concours condition#1 Concours
#2 Excellent condition#2 Excellent
#3 Good condition#3 Good


#4 Fair condition#4 Fair
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Model overview

Model description

While the model had already been an exceedingly popular motorcycle since 1959, the 1965 Triumph T120R Bonneville 650 reached new heights. Refinements from the immediately preceding years—the thick frame, unit-construction parallel-twin engine, and stout front fork—combined with the classy Pacific blue-and-silver tank and two-tone seat to give great performance and just the right look. The Bonneville was tidy and purposeful, yet also very sporty.

Exactly the right amount of bright trim added elegance, and sleek pipes seemed to indicate the bike’s potential. 1965, though, was the last go-round for the flashy “mouth organ” tank badge, which suggested an automobile grille. A more discreet badge was in the offing for the following year. Introduced in 1963, the twin-carbureted engine operated with an 8.5:1 compression ratio and produced 46 horsepower at 6,500 rpm. In May of 1964, a magazine test of that year’s model had recorded a top speed of 112 mph along with highest accolades from the editor, so it was known the Bonneville had plenty of punch.

For the 1965 Bonneville, changes were made to alleviate problems with drive chain wear and main bearing failure, to ease the setting of ignition timing, and to improve rear brake engagement. The Triumph T120C street scrambler and high-compression Triumph T120C TT Special were companion models. Japanese bikes offered in the U.S., while built very well, couldn’t yet match the Triumph’s performance and appeal. This meant that for a lightweight sporting bike, this Bonnie reigned at the top of the market.

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