A couple of years ago, as I was finishing the restoration of an old Yamaha, a handsome gentleman in his mid-70s walked into my garage and introduced himself. He was a neighbor from up the street whom I hadnít yet met and he told me that he had often noticed many of the motorcycles that appeared on my driveway were British. He went on to say that he had one item that he wanted to strike from his bucket-list and wondered if I could help. That item took the form of installing a 750cc big-bore kit in his drop-dead gorgeous 1969 Triumph Bonneville 650. He had purchased the bike fully restored with zero miles on the odometer a few years previously and had only ridden just over 600 miles since.
They say "It's only original once" and this magnificent BSA triple is as close to 100% original as a 47 year old, perfectly running, iconic piece of motorcycling history can be. The only non-consumable parts (other than tires, tubes, spark plugs, breaker points, battery, cables, oil and air filters) that did not leave the assembly line on this motorcycle in April 1969 are the mirrors, the fork gators (originals finally separated into individual rings about six years ago) and the battery hold-down strap (suffered the same fate as the fork gators last year, buckle and retaining clips are original). The driver foot peg rubbers, the shift lever rubber, the center stand rubber and (I think) the kick start rubber was also renewed over the years since the originals had worn or were hardened by time. Only BSA NOS, British-made equivalent items or genuine original factory supplier parts were ever used as replacements. The original Royal Carmine red paint with hand-laid ivory pinstripes is in remarkable condition, but the luster is thinning in some areas (tank top panels) and showing some fading (tank right side and rear fender to the right of the taillight) in others.