This heavily modified 07 Bonneville finds it’s home on the mean streets of New York. Where, I imagine it gets plenty of admiring glances, and a few raised eyebrows, as it thunders past to the tune of 2-1 exhausts. Life is tough for motorycles in New York, with bikes searching for ‘sanctuary’ in motorcycle-only garages.The Triumph belongs to Francis Choung, a man who like myself loves a modified Triumph. And also like myself, found much of his help to build his dream machine via the Forums. These forums are a key part to a shed build machine. It’s via these forums we can learn what, and how things can be done without making expensive mistakes. And in-turn, share with others just what we have done, helping continue the learning process of modifying the Triumph Twin.
The best person to tell you about a bike is its owner and builder, so again, in his own word, here is Francis Choung Bonneville….“I’m a video producer/editor and Motorcycle hobbyist living and working in Manhattan. My work keeps me behind a computer all day, which can be maddening in such a dense and cramped city. I’ve always built and ridden bicycles, but needed a better and quicker way to get out of the city when it was most stifling. Motorcycles seemed like a natural, two-wheeled progression, so I took my first riding safety course 3 years ago, and bought a used, stock 2007 Bonneville shortly afterwards. I also love working with my hands, even though I’m usually immersed in the digital world, so being able to wrench and transform something real and tangible has been much-needed therapy.”“This is my first and only bike. For anyone familiar with New York City, space isn’t cheap, and the gridlock makes it very motorcycle-unfriendly. It’s extremely difficult to own and maintain a bike here, much less multiple bikes. Parking on the street will eventually lead to tickets, impoundment, being knocked over by cars, vandalism, and/or theft. Luckily, there are a few motorcycle-only garages in Manhattan that provide sanctuary, with secure parking and a safe work area. I’ve been able to do 95% of the work on my bike thanks to one of these garages. Being my only bike, it has taken on the full brunt of my wrenching and fabrication needs, while also needing to be my daily rider.”“Since Triumph Modern Twins are ubiquitous these days (You can’t walk a block around here without seeing one and they make up a large majority of the modern bikes that show up to local motorcycle shows), I’ve attempted to stray as far from the classic stock form as possible. I’ve always been a big admirer of Richard Pollock of Mule and minimalist Japanese bobbers, and gravitated towards the street tracker aesthetic. And I love bare metals and patina, so it has taken on a somewhat post-apocalyptic look.”“The tank has been stripped, and old dents left alone. I made an aluminum face plate with vertical PIAA lights, and built up dual 18” wheels, powder coating the stock hubs and lacing them to wider Sun rims with Shinko 705 tires. Going 18″ on both rear and front allowed me to fill out the rear wheel well space a bit and add a beefier tire to the front. The subframe was looped with a slight upsweep, and a custom fiberglass seat pan made with new foam and upholstery.”“The pipes are a modified British Customs 2 into 1, which were shortened and mounted to a new bracket welded onto the frame. Side panels and tabs were deleted, a new battery tray built, and I mounted a car style ignition which starts the bike with the turn of the key. The key has a knurled brass topper that matches the gas cap. A cheap, digital Danmoto gauge was wired in. I also ditched the bulky 1” bars and controls, and converted everything to 7/8”, utilizing a much lower profile Grimeca MC. Performance-wise, I added a set of FCR 39 carbs to give it a bit more kick in the higher RPMs.”“Because this is my only bike, these mods were usually done on the quick and dirty, including rattle canning the frame and parts on the open, grimy streets. It has also been a constantly evolving beast, since there’s not much to do during the brutal winters here but wrench indoors.
As it stands, it isn’t the most refined bike, but that’s how I like it.”