1979 Triumph T140E Bonneville

Traditional

2-cyl. 744cc/49hp

#1 Concours condition#1 Concours
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#2 Excellent condition#2 Excellent
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#3 Good condition#3 Good
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#4 Fair condition#4 Fair
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Model overview

Model description

The words “pedantic bureaucracy” came up in describing Triumph’s operations during the1970s, but the company still managed to field a desirable motorcycle in the 1979 T140E Bonneville. The past years’ insistence that Triumph was the marque for expert riders would be amplified by new advertising to come, which asserted the Bonneville was “a motorcycle for men.” The copy said “every detail [was] carefully planned by men who ride—and ride hard.” This appeal always worked. The T140E Bonneville had been introduced in ’78 with modifications that met new standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, who decreed against escaping fuel and oil vapors.

The familiar air-cooled, overhead-valve 744cc parallel twin got a makeover then, receiving a new cylinder head. With the compression ratio reduced to 7.9:1, output fell to 49 horsepower at 6,200 rpm. For 1979, the engine adopted Lucas Rita electronic ignition, one of the biggest steps forward for the Bonneville before electric start was added. New Veglia instruments were added, along with Lucas switches and a lockable seat with a rear rack. There were few other changes. Three color combinations on the teardrop tank tantalized buyers: red with black flashes, black and silver, and a quite striking scheme using dark blue with silver flashes. This was an aging motorcycle, but even with a bit of clutter—the left-foot shift lever sticking from the primary case cover, for example—the Bonneville still had hard-to-match heritage and character. It made a statement from 100 yards away.

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