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Triumph Bonneville T120R ...and how KAWASAKI went GREEN ! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lars H   
Thursday, 12 March 2009 13:54
1968....the epic film Easy Rider...left me trembling....made me discover the motorbikes....but alas I was too young...so I bolted from the cinema to buy a 50cc Puch moped and within few hours had it tuned and trimmed to triple the legal speed limit for this kind of minor motorbikes.

Come summer 1972 and finally I could purchase my first real motorbike, one of the tuff irons of that time, a true beast, a Triumph T120R 650cc with fearsome 52HP !  It had clip on handlebar and it prooved to big for me to kickstart... the seller did start it for me despite him laughing his belly off.....next day found me practising all day at home starting the bike without being kicked off myself !

When I finally knew how to kick this beast into life...my, did I start biking around this tiny country of Denmark...summer '73 took me to Paris, where I spendt most my time looking for spare clutch parts...and on the way back home enjoying non-stop rain which had me stoping every so often to disassamble the f***g  ignition breakers to dry them out...eventually having to leave the bike in Kassel and having dad come and get me home, embarrasing yes.

With the bike safe home, I promptly invested in the first contactless ignition system available, from Boyer Bransden...only one moving part : a small disk with two tiny magnets whirling around...inside a fixed pick-up sensor, a small black box...and I never ever again had to fiddle with the ignition again....working problemfree until I sold the bike 16 years later and more than 100.000km on the clock.

The next years saw me on this bike, in several different colour-combinations, high handlebars, low bars etc. in Germany. France, Holland, Belgien, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Suisse, Austria, Sweden, Monaco, San Marino, Luxembourg, Lichenstein, Andorra....and many good bikers meets such as the famous Elephantentreff in Köln in January 1976....where in good Forrest Gump style I happened to be the unvoluntary center in a shooting drama which caused this event to be exhiled to Austria....but then again that's another story !!

In 1974/1975 I was living in London, of course had my bike with me, and had my chance to visit the Isle of Man TT Races....and blast around the full track on the Open Circuit Day...man that was exhilirating !! I even managed to make the famous jump over the bridge...without getting killed as some others do. 

This picture below shows the bike in July 1975 in London in its homemade green livery ( daring yes ??) ready for the trip back to Denmark...via Spain & Portugal, with a newly fitted fairing.....the "luggage-rack" is home-made and slideable forwards/back to suit a single driver or two up....in this case it is made ready for two : my future wife was to cross Europe with me, daredevil yes.


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And by the way : Want to know why KAWASAKI has GREEN as their brand color ? Read on.

In spring 1975 I went to see a bike race in the Lydden Racing Circuit southeast of London. When the circuit was opened for "normal" bikes I took the opportunity to clock a couple of fast laps.....then when driving out through the pitlane I found myself suddenly harrased by a mop of screaming and jumping japs...wondering what the heck I had done wrong I decided to speed off....leaving the excited the japs howling.

Now fast forward to the Isle of Man TT Races June 1975 : after racing the circuit I turned into the pitlane to leave the circuit...and by jove I found myself again surrounded by the same crazy mob of screaming japs, this time they held fast on me so no escape was possible...one man started shaking a camera in front of me and asked if I pliiiiis would just stop long enough for him to take some shots, I dared nothing else but give a nod,  the people moved back, he got his pictures and with a large smile and bows from everybody he said politely many many thanks...and I went of like a bat out of hell.

Come 1976....guess what was the new brand name color of Kawasaki ?  Jup, the same greens as seen in the picture above.

I believe KAWASAKI owes me ........





Ok, lot of stories to be told about me and my Bonnie, but here condensed the main upgrades done which made it possible for this bike to cross Europe, as such the longest trip without any need for servicing was Copenhagen-Napoles-Copenhagen-London-Copenhagen-London within one month !...and the Naples-Copenhagen was non-stop but for fueling bike and driver. 
  • Morgo cylinders/pistons to 750cc
  • Larger oilpump
  • Ceriani front forks and brakes
  • Steering damper
  • Akront alu rims
  • Solid state voltage regulator (USA)
  • 2-1 headers/silencer unit (USA)
  • Girling Gas-shocks....however they lasted only 1500km...switched to KONI
  • Dell Orto PHF carburators...which increased mileage from 21 to 24km/l
  • All screws stainless steel ( A4)
  • Various designs for intake filters
  • Gearbox converted to engine oilreservoir for topgrade synthetic oil.
  • Oil-cooler
  • Cartridge oilfilter.
  • Clip-On's, wide bars, narrow bars, high bars....etc
  • ...and of course several repaintings, mostly shades of greens and yellows..

In all, it became a trusty bike, and a real low-weight powerbike capable of out-accelerating most newer multicylinder bikes : I would start in 2nd gear and just keep it there until changing to 3rd after crossing 120km/h....and look smartly back into the surprised face of the other biker fighting trough the gears......

...one day my wife said it had to go....after 16 years of companionship.....sic transit gloria....and shortly after the marriage took a wrong turn.....I now again have a Triumph, a new generation Daytona 1992.

Lesson for any wife : let the big kid keep his toy and pride !!

Below my first kid screaming for a ride....and yes, he too is now a biker !!

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Below in pearl white the Bonnie in its last configuration, ready for another bikers meet somewhere I don't remember.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 18 October 2012 10:44