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3rd April 2003


Triumph Bonneville Year by Year by Paul HazeldineTriumph Bonneville Year by Year

Triumph? Disaster! That's how it feels to read Paul Hazeldine's Bonneville year-by-year book. What can I say? There are some interesting black and white pictures (at 1 less than the usual Crowood books, you don't get the colour section).

Having ploughed this particular furrow myself, I may be prejudiced but at least I do know you have to be careful. This book contains errors both general and particular. Example: Hazeldine writes, of 1964, 'in those days of 'Export or Die' economics, production for the US market took precedence over supplies for the UK market.' First, the 'Export or Die' era had been the late Forties/early Fifties. Second, the US market took precedence because from then on it was, vastly, the majority market; the bottom dropped dramatically out of the UK motorcycle market from 1960 on, and that was how it would stay for the rest of the decade.

And again, writing about 1961/62, we find: 'Doug Hele and the Meriden development shop gave the Bonneville an increased fork trail and stiffer rear fork pivot, which radically improved handling.' Hele didn't even arrive at Meriden until late in 1962. The swinging-arm improvements were for the new '63 unit construction Bonnie, and they consisted of bolting the ends of the lug carrying the rear fork pivot to two welded-on struts on the rear frame. Pretty crucial stuff, as any Triumph fan can tell you. But you won't read about it here.

Still, this is from a guy who thinks that with the new-for-AD2000 Triumph twin, 'evidence of the Hinckley Bonneville's genealogy is startling.' Since the latter machine is an all-new design, whose soft touring character is in complete contrast to the fire-breathing original, and whose retro styling details have even been fudged, all I can say is, if you're after a Bonnie book, go for John Nelson's original, or David Gaylin's Restoration Guide. But not this one.

Steve Wilson

Triumph Bonneville by Paul Hazeldine.
Published by Crowood, ISBN 1861265131, for 18.95.
Buy a copy from Amazon for 13.27


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