The 50s and 60s were arguably the best years of British motorcycling. Invariably finished in black and chrome, the bikes repeatedly pushed the envelope of engineering—until the Japanese arrived. It was a golden era, and it’s the inspiration for the latest build from Dime City Cycles—the ‘Distinguished Bonneville.’
“The idea was to take a Hinckley Triumph and build a machine that would be timeless, like a Meriden Triumph,” says Dime City’s Jason Michaels. “Dozens of modern Triumphs have been customized to simply look ‘old’, but I prefer things to be tight and have a certain fit and finish. With the Distinguished Bonneville, Herm and I have aimed to create a bike that looks ‘old’ but also looks new. If that makes any sense!”
The bike is a 2005 model Bonneville with less than 5,000 miles on the clock. But it was a wreck when it rolled into Dime City Cycles’ Florida workshop. The previous owner had parked it outside his beach house for years, leaving the elements to wreak their havoc. After a rebuild was halted part-way through, Michaels collected the bike as a box of bits.
The target was discreet customization: A bike that looks ‘factory.’ Starting at the front, the stock headlight ears were removed and new sheet metal was formed and TIG-welded onto the factory mounts. Given the finish would be chrome, there was zero margin for error—or filler. A simple enough project one might think, but in the end it required almost eight hours of painstaking work.
There’s a sprinkling of DCC parts throughout the bike. The stock gauges have been replaced by a single mini speedo unit, and the headlight bucket was changed in favor of a DCC British style bucket. The front fender remains stock, but like the headlight ears, it earned a bit of massaging and a coat of thick chrome. Under the fender rolls a classic Avon Speedmaster, the only tire that would fit this bill.
The bars are DCC’s new ‘Classic’ bars, made from .083 steel tubing. With a slightly increased pullback and half an inch taken out of the rise, they complete the classic look of the front end. The Posh grips were a gift from Alan Stulberg of Revival Cycles in Texas.
The tank is a stock Bonneville tank re-covered in chrome. The two-up custom seat, with retro square section stitching, mounts just like the factory seat: two bolts, and viola!
The rear fender was removed and completely reshaped, with the side rails shaved and trimmed. They follow the contour of a Coker Diamond Tread tire, mounted on a 17″ Excel wheel. The taillight is a 1960s Honda CL unit given to Jason by a famous vintage racer.
The finished result is stunning, but it wasn’t easy getting there. “It was one of the most challenging projects yet,” says Michaels. “Building a bike from scratch is a whole other story. You make things up as you go, and adjust this piece to fit that one, and just keep on fabricating. In the end, though, it was all worth it. It’s the most comfortable bike we’ve built to date and can be ridden for hours on end—which is always a plus!”
Dime City Cycles will soon be launching a line of ‘Classic’ Triumph accessories, similar to those found on the Distinguished Bonneville. And it looks like there’s a market already.
“I recently spoke with someone at IMS who showed an interest in modern Triumphs and what we were doing with them,” says Michaels. “Well, Mr. Reynolds, this one’s for you.”
Images by Erick Runyon.
Dime City Cycles Bonneville Specification
DCC Factory-fit Retro Square Stitch Seat
DCC Classic Bars
DCC Retro Headlight Bucket w/ Diamond Lens
DCC Fork Gaiters
DCC Ignition Relocation Kit
DCC Steering Damper Kit
DCC Polished Aluminum Velocity Stacks
DCC Factory-fit Stainless Steel Brake Line Kit
Re-worked OE Triumph Headlight Ears
Retro Fuel Cap
Coker Diamond Tread Rear Laced to Excel 17″ Aluminum Rim
Avon Speed Master Front w/ Stock 19″ Wheel
D9 Low-pro Gauge Cluster w/ DCC Speedo
Progressive Suspension Performance Springs and 412 Series Rear Shocks
British Customs Sleeper Exhaust and Airbox Removal Kit
Reworked OE Rear Fender w/ 1960’s Honda CL Taillight
British Customs Regulator Reloc. Kit
Triumph Tank Badges
Triumph Thruxton Pre-load Fork Caps
Powder coating by Profab Customs, paint by Moe Colors.