Down & Out T120 Bonneville

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Triumph have done such a good job of hiding all the water-cooling paraphernalia on their latest T120 Bonneville that from a glance it can be a challenge to spot an old one from a new one. Here in London it seems that there are nearly as many Bonnies as there are scooters which kind of sucks if being an individual is important.

We’ve been waxing lyrical about the Down & Out Café Racers formula for a few years now. Because it works. Everything is finished properly, components are well engineered and importantly for those not in the mood for standing at the side of the trying to resuscitate some old shitter, D&O’s bikes are mostly based on brand new donors. You just get on and ride, a strange concept for some of us to get to terms with but some people do actually enjoy hassle free riding.

D&O bossman Shaun built for himself. He’s not a man with time or inclination to carry a spare condenser in his pocket, just in case. Much as he still loves building bikes, he’s also insistent on riding the things.

The new High Torque motor from Triumph has bags of grunt so there’s not a lot of point trying to squeeze more life out of the thing, better to spend time and effort engineering-in a degree of uniqueness and tidying up the inevitable shortcomings of mass manufacturing.

Switchgear is a particular bugbear for Shaun and on nearly all builds leaving the D&O HQ in Rotherham do so with a set of Motone push button switches, running off internal wiring through the LSL bars and Motogadget’s M-unit system. Adjustable levers and LSL fluid reservoirs also play a part in shrinking the ugly bits.

Triumph’s clocks though are a more complicated beast. The crew up in Hinckley have their own special and very secret formula required to keep the T120 running and this knowledge is entrusted only to miniature boffins. One of these is installed into each clock binnacle. Try to tamper with this and the boffin will escape, rendering the Bonnie as little more than an expensive garage ornament. Despite this challenge Shaun’s bike features a micro start button grafted in-between the speedo and tacho.

Headlight brackets, mudguards and mounts are stainless steel and straight off the shelf, the D&O shelf. These parts and more are available as kits. If you’re one of the lucky people with both time on your hands and a place to tinker, you can order these upgrades and fit them yourself.

The other quite obvious difference between Shaun’s bike and a stock one is the fat front end with wide 17″ wheel and Continental TKC80. The yoke kit developed by D&O is also available from their webstore. YSS rear shocks are a welcome upgrade on the slightly soft originals.

Thankfully Triumph have ditched the smooth sounding 360 degree fitting order for a far more melodic 270 degrees, enhanced here by a partially baffled pair of reverse megas. The double skinned headers and clever crossover catalytic converter has been binned, replaced with neat, stainless headers. We’re looking forward to hearing this one run.

And that’s exactly what we’ll do. Shaun is dropping his latest T120 with us for a couple of weeks so everyone can inspect the bolt-on parts and custom work more closely. There’ll also be a few samples of components to add to Santa’s list for next month’s Christmas blow out. If you’re in the neighbourhood drop in and see for yourself.

Photography by Simon Krajnyak