Triumph Bonneville T 120, 1959-1972

 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Traffic & Transport
Road Traffic
1970 - 1979
While the Bonnie was still benefiting from the fame of The Wild Ones, the motorcycle itself had far more to offer than the subsequent fame of a 1950s cult film.

In 1953 Marlon Brando rode across the silver screen on a Triumph Thunderbird in The Wild Ones. Since then this make has been the motorbike of choice for all of Hollywood’s true action heroes. Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood also rode a Triumph on the screen. In the early 1960s Triumph was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world.

The Bonneville T120 was a further development of the Triumph Tiger 110, which in turn was based on Marlon Brando’s legendary Thunderbird. The Bonneville is named after the Salt Flats in Utah where motorcycle companies regularly made attempts at motorcycle speed records. Johnny Allen achieved a new motorcycle world record on a methanol-fuelled T 120 with streamliner fairing with a speed of 214.5 mph (approx. 345 km/h).

While the Bonneville T 120 for the average motorcyclist was not quite as fast, it still had plenty to offer. The parallel-twin four-stroke engine with cast iron cylinder bloc, 650 cm3 and 50 bhp achieved a top speed of 178 km/h.

The Bonnie became the road sport model par excellence and was manufactured right up until the 1980s. More than 250,000 units were sold in almost 30 years.

The Bonnie was also a success as a racing model. The Austrian racer Hans Bahmer won many races on a Triumph in the 1960s.

Inv.Nr. 39281

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