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Less But Better: Auto Fabrica’s Triumph Bonneville T120

Less But Better: A 1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 by Auto Fabrica
There are bikes that look ‘busy,’ full of angles and ancillaries, pumped up like a bodybuilder on show day. Then there are those with a few deft lines, a little empty space here and there, as if a thumbnail sketch has been transformed into metal.

Auto Fabrica’s bikes fall into the second category. As the famed industrial designer Dieter Rams would say, they are ‘less but better,’ with a timeless appeal and an air of simplicity. This new build, called Type 19 and based on a classic Triumph Bonneville, follows that philosophy.

Less But Better: A 1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 by Auto Fabrica
It’s a simple, classy roadster with a hint of a scrambler vibe, and was commissioned by a client in Austin, Texas—almost five thousand miles away from the English workshop.

“This is the second bike that he has bought from us,” says co-founder Bujar Muharremi, who runs the company with his brother Gazmend. “The other one was the Type 4B. He fell in love with the simplicity of that SR250, and wanted to create something special on a slightly bigger platform.”

Less But Better: A 1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 by Auto Fabrica
After a little back and forth, going over a few different donor options, they settled on the oil-in-frame Triumph Bonneville. A 1972 T120 650 donor was located.

To create something special means building as many new parts as possible, so Bujar and Gaz have designed and installed a new tank, seat, and exhaust system—plus smaller details such as fork covers and lighting.

Less But Better: A 1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 by Auto Fabrica
“The idea was to give this scrambler the same level of fit and finish as our Type 6 and Type 16, with the pipes a close match to those bikes.”

In the process, Auto Fabrica have given us another lesson in refinement: the sleek, pared-down lines hide a tremendous amount of work—and most of it is traditional craftsmanship.

Less But Better: A 1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 by Auto Fabrica
The brothers broke down the parallel twin motor, and rebuilt it with new seals, bearings and pistons, then added brand new Amal carbs with velocity stacks. “We didn’t want to push the engine with hot cams and high compression pistons or any head work—the client isn’t that way inclined,” says Bujar.

“So other than a full strip down, aquablast and replacement of wearable parts, we left it as is.”

Less But Better: A 1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 by Auto Fabrica
The exhaust is crafted out of 316 stainless steel, with oversized pipes sand-bent in house, and stainless megaphones seamlessly into the headers. The lines are worthy of a French curve, and it’s an effect only the very best metalworkers can achieve.

More metalworking skills are evident in the low-profile tank. “It had to be simple and elegant,” says Bujar. “We hand-beat it using 1000-series aluminum, at 2 mm or 2.5 mm depending on which area.

Less But Better: A 1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 by Auto Fabrica
“Being able to manufacture our own tanks enables us to create unique designs, and integrate the seat with the tank. We decided to integrate rather than have them ‘butt up’ against each other—it finishes the intersection nicely.”

There are even two sections notched out of the tank for the carb cables to run through, which tidies things up and adds interest to the design. The tank is topped off with a classic Monza fuel cap, with fuel running through tiny petcocks.

Less But Better: A 1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 by Auto Fabrica
The seat is finished in brown suede, with a brushed aluminum Auto Fabrica logo badge and stitching following the signature style used on previous builds. The rear fender was custom made in-house too, again using aluminum.

To bring the suspension up to date, Bujar and Gaz installed Yamaha SR500 forks, with fully adjustable inners from Maxton. “It’s an amazing, must-have upgrade,” Bujar enthuses. “There’s so much adjustability, and it modernizes the performance without compromising the looks.”

Less But Better: A 1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 by Auto Fabrica
The stock triple trees were heavily machined to fit and the forks are sheathed with stainless steel covers built in house.

The front wheel uses a conical hub from an SR400 and houses an SR400 brake disc and a Nissin caliper hooked up to Brembo master cylinder—a practical upgrade from the stock TLS hub. The rims are stainless steel with stainless spokes, 19 inches at the front and 18 at the back, finished with Mitas trials tires.

Less But Better: A 1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 by Auto Fabrica
Twin Maxton shocks suspend the rear, and like the modified forks, offer excellent adjustability for fine-tuning. They’re hooked up to a new rear loop, which houses discreet rear lighting. The rest of the frame has been detabbed and cleaned up, with the huge main downtube still storing the engine oil.

The flat bars are cut from 316 stainless steel, sand bent in-house, and finished with Renthal grips. Underneath is a fully custom headlight with an H4 bulb, and in between is a Motogadget Tiny speedo with a custom 3D printed cover.

Less But Better: A 1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 by Auto Fabrica
There’s even a custom brake master cylinder with integrated switches on the clamp—an appealing vintage touch.

There are so many details to take in, we wish we could see this one in the metal. But if you’re in the south of England this weekend, you’re in luck—you’ll be able to see the Type 19 for yourself at Kevington Hall in Kent, on display at the Malle Mile.

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Less But Better: A 1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 by Auto Fabrica

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