Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tribute to a special friend, 80.000 km!

Four and a half years ago, end 2009, I bought my Triumph Bonneville T100. At the time I had no intentions to travel around the world or shipping it to other continents, I simply wanted to enjoy the Tasmanian roads. Come to think of it, part of the reason I bought it in the first place was to be able to retire our 40 year old VW Kombi, that was still in daily service, and stop driving a car altogether. It was going to be my main mode of transport. Little did I know then just how 'main' that would become... 

Having learned the hard way not to buy a motorcycle on impulse, I came back 3 times to the bikeshop before finally taking it for a test ride. From the beginning I liked everything I saw about this motorcycle, and after 3 visits I still hadn't found anything I didn't like, which bothered me. After just one kilometre into the test ride I liked the way it rode too. It fitted me like a glove. Thinking there must be something I wouldn't like about it, I extended the test ride to 50 km… and liked it only better! For 3 years it took me to work, on holidays, took Mike to college as a pillion passenger and I even did the shopping with it. We racked up the kms quickly. The longer I had it, the more I liked it. After only a month I said 'I hope it will take me to 100.000 km, not knowing how quickly that would be!

When this trip came up, the Bonnie had already clocked up 40.000 problem free kms. The only repair needed had been a fuel pressure regulator under warranty. Right from the beginning I wanted to do this trip on the Bonnie. Yet I did look at alternatives as well, as can be seen in the preparation section of this blog. The Adventure bikes might have the edge on suspension, but everything else about them I didn't like and they still don't make any sense to me.
For starters they are all too heavy, too high (and thus top heavy) and too much speed orientated. I don't want to fly across the continent I'm visiting, I want to see it. Whatever alternative I looked at and took for a test ride, I kept coming back to my own Bonneville as being the better option. It rides better, handles better, is much easier to manoeuvre around and looks much better too!

As I'm writing this, almost at the end of the Mexican part of our trip, I like it even better than at the beginning of this trip. The roads it has taken me over have been incredible. It has shown me parts of the world I hadn't even dreamed of and racked up the kms like it's nothing. Never during this whole trip has it given me the impression of being stressed, far from it.

It's unbelievably smooth for a parallel twin, I've had 650 and 750 Triumph twins in the past that vibrated like a jack hammer but this one is silky smooth. It's tractable, runs on crap petrol without hesitation, is frugal and after 80.000 km still doesn't use or leak a drop of oil. The flexibility of the engine has its effects on the rest of the bike too. Despite being seriously heavier than Mike's Yamaha XT660 it's much better on tyres, chains and sprockets. It also lacks the Yamaha's numbing vibration (while the Yamaha vibrates less than the Suzuki and BMW650s). It handles dirt and sand roads very well, the only limitation being the ground clearance as it is a road bike.

Today it clicked over the 80.000 km and did so with the same effortlessness as it did the previous 79999. All in a days work. I love this bike even more than I did on day one. The only thing I do hope is that it takes me well past the 100.000 km goal I had set myself, as I have some more travel plans after this trip. If the past 80.000 are anything to go by, that shouldn't be a problem!