Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Tach, Same Bonneville

This photo is from the Performance Triumph USA catalogue:
It was about time, but the job is done at last, and now I can count the revolutions of my engine as I ride. When the new Triumph factory at Hinckley in England brought out the original 800cc Bonneville in 2000 the machine was viewed as being a little lacking as it didn't come with a tachometer, the instrument that measures the engine revolutions.Traditionally, motorcycles have been supplied with this tool to help the rider determine the best gear to be in for the speed of the motorcycle. I don't remember buying more than two motorcycles that didn't have one, and then I bought my basic Bonneville in 2007. This was the "upgraded basic" Bonneville, with the 865cc engine but still no tach...So I decided I wanted a tach for my Bonneville and my wife came through for my birthday and I bought the little round object illustrated above from Performance Triumph USA's catalogue, priced at $200. It's illuminated at night too:

The T100 (Fancy) Bonneville's tach is also available from Triumph but it costs $325 and what's worse requires one to lose the rather attractive black instrument fascia and replace it with the bright aluminum of the T100 "upgrade":I decided to go with the "retro" upgrade instead, with the smaller instrument that fits alongside the original fascia. It only took Jiri at JK Motorsports two weeks to install it for me... ...his excuse was that he was rushing to fix his race bike for a meet at the Homestead track...whatever! I was delighted with the final result:The Parabellum windscreen does a great job of keeping the wind and weather off me and the instruments, and the windshield mounting system is simple and solid even though in this picture it looks rather bulky as it surrounds the instruments in the middle. I now have a plethora of instruments, speedo, tach, clock and air temperature gauge. My, we are sophisticated now on the carburetted basic Bonneville.The Triumph is known for sounding like it needs a sixth gear and riders of the Bonneville frequently complain that they would like one more cog. Personally I like the gearbox exactly as the ratios come from the factory, but there is no doubt the tach has a useful purpose to serve.I now know that when the speedo shows 70mph and the tach shows 4,000rpm I am in top gear and cruising comfortably and economically in 5th gear. When the tach shows 3,000 rpm I am in the same gear as the speed indicated- above 50mph I'm in fifth, above 40mph I'm in fourth, and above 30mph I'm in third, very suave I'm sure. I think I am congentially compulsive.The question then might be, if one wants a tach so desperately why not buy the T100 over the basic Bonneville, especially as engine size and everything in the performance area is identical? Well, the T100 was considered an upgraded model in the carburettor era when I bought mine. The T100 has chrome engine covers which I'm not a fan of, especially in salt air environments, it also comes with two color paint jobs; plus there's the matter of the giant tach and the fact that the T100 commanded a $2,000 premium over the basic Bonneville. However nowadays, in the new 2009 line up, the only Bonneville that comes with wire spokes and traditional "pea shooter"exhausts is the T100. This is the basic SE Bonneville from the Triumph factory website:The basic Bonneville called the SE, is aimed at a younger demographic with alloy wheels, reverse cone exhausts and smaller wheel size to accommodate the petite among us. I am very fond of my old fashioned carburetted Bonneville, at last complete with tachometer...