Pure and simple: A Bonneville T120 from Central Java

1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 custom
The 21st century motorcycle is a complex beast, crammed with electronics and trick engineering in the name of one-upmanship and regulatory approval.

But there’s something strangely compelling in the simplicity of an older bike from less complicated times. And they don’t come more stripped down than this 1972 T120 from Pitstop Motor Werk.

1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 custom
Pitstop is a team of three led by an Indonesian builder called Agung. They’re based in the hot and humid province of Central Java, and like most Indonesian builders they have to be incredibly resourceful and thrifty. Yet this does not seem to affect the quality of their work.

It helps that Agung has been wrenching on bikes for 20 years now. “I used to get called up by friends to repair their bikes,” he tells us. “Then Pitstop went public about seven years ago. We do engine rebuilds, custom work and restorations.”

1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 custom
This Bonneville is actually a T120R, one of the lesser-known Meriden models. It was an export version of the base bike, and branded as the ‘Bonneville Speedmaster’ by dealers in the USA.

It’s not an especially well-documented model, but the fuel tank was smaller and the bars had a slightly higher bend.

1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 custom
The tubular twin cradle frame also carried the oil, and the 649cc parallel twin pumped out a rorty 50 hp at 6,700 rpm, via classic Amal carburetion. It was enough to comfortably exceed ‘the ton.’

Triumph motorcycles are very thin on the ground in Indonesia, like most other European and American bike brands. So Agung had little chance of finding a complete T120R to work on.

1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 custom
Instead, he imported an engine from the USA, and decided to build a bike around it. He describes his vision as ‘minimalist chopper’ but we’d say it’s just as much a bobber.

Unfortunately, the 47-year-old motor was showing its age, and required a complete rebuild, including a new pushrod and valves. New clutch plates from Barnett went onto the shopping list too, and Agung converted the ignition to CDI while working on the engine.

1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 custom
The exhaust was a much simpler job: two straight shootin’ pipes, one set high and one set low.

The heavy lifting is in the frame, which is entirely hand-made and fashioned from seamless 28mm steel tubing. It’s hooked up to an old school hardtail back end, but the front end is much more contemporary—the forks are from a Kawasaki Ninja 250 and are a surprisingly discreet addition.

1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 custom
They’re topped with compact hand-made Z bars, with an equally compact Bosch headlight nestled up tight against the neck stem.

Agung has kept the brakes traditional, though. The T120R originally used drums, so he’s fitted a BSA A65 assembly to the front, and a vintage Ariel NH350 unit to the back.

1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 custom
The front rim has gone up a couple of sizes from the T120R original to 21 inches, but the rear stays the same at 18. They’re shod with Swallow and Unily tires, popular brands in Southeast Asia that sell mostly vintage patterns.

The delicate bodywork—a tiny peanut tank and a rear fender with a little old school upkick—is hand-made from galvanized steel sheet, and expertly painted in blue and warm grey tones by Danny P of Hacka Pinstriping.

1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 custom
It all harks back to the days when a motorcycle was little more than an engine, a frame, and two wheels.

And much as we love riding modes and ABS and traction control, we still find the charm of a vintage Bonneville custom absolutely irresistible.

What about you?

Pitstop Motor Werk Instagram | Images courtesy of Gastank Magazine | Instagram

1972 Triumph Bonneville T120 custom