TT Cycles’ ’66 Bonny Blue Bobber

By Buck Manning Photos by Dennis “I’m never available to come to the phone for you” Harrold

 

TT Cycles’ ’66 Bonny Blue Bobber

 

There a still quite few low-key, but super enthusiastic custom builders out there that do what they do because they simply love what they do and have no desire to do anything else.
They’re immensely talented, knowledgeable, imaginative, and hard-working people who could use their God–given talents to probably be extremely financially successful in many other fields of work,
 but they wouldn’t change a thing. They love what they do and loving your job is something not a lot of people can lay claim to. Most do it because they have to and in some ways, the at TT Cycles lads,
 Dennis Harrold and Steve Blaufeder (AKA Frick and Frack), fall into that category too. They don’t do it because that’s the only good job they can get and they need health benefits or whatever crap gives one the excuse to stay at a horrible job.
They do it because resurrecting, customizing, and restoring Triumph twins from the pre-John Bloor/ Meriden era is what makes them spiritually live and breathe in a way
only true believers in Edward Turner’s original 1937 500cc Speed Twin design can appreciate. To them, Mr. Turner’s long line of continually-updated and enlarged line of vertical twins before the
Meriden works closed in the early ‘80s are living, breathing entities full of soul and style that’s missing from so many modern motorcycles. Speaking with them, they’ve got nothing personal against the re-birthed
Triumph models and actually say nice things about them, but to borrow a term from the King of Soul himself, the legendary late James Brown, it’s not their bag. Actually they didn’t say those exact words and
I have no idea if they like JB, but anytime I can make a reference to my beloved soul of soul hero, James “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” Brown, I’m running with it. I’v been a fan ever since I first
saw him in the obscure concert movie, The T.A.M.I. Show, back in ’64 and his version of It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World with the also late and legendary Luciano Pavarotti of all people still gets me where I live. See for yourself and click on this link. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Febr_t_qa9U)

 

Well enough of all that personal crap and it’s time to get on with the feature bike at hand. Man of few words, Mr. Blaufeder quickly describes TT’s build as “a ’66 Bonneville bobber,
blue with white stripes, white solo seat, blah, blah, blah . . .” I think that’s a little too short and sweet of a description so I push Steve for a bit more words. “We built the bike here at TT Cycles’
World Headquarters in the (toxic) glowing state of New Jersey. When out-of-towners show up here at night and are amazed they can see the Aurora Borealis. We have to tell them that’s just the
Exxon refinery burning off fumes.” Well we were still a wee bit off topic about the bike, so I quizzed him further and this time he delivered as only Steve can deliver. “We built the bike for a customer known as Gary M.
who lives in Melbourne, Australia and he told me the bike is going to be used as a rider in the city with some jaunts into the hills.

It took us about three months to build the bike and Gary M. had some ideas that we incorporated into the bike,” said Steve. “He wanted fender struts so we opted to do aluminum instead of our default stainless steel.
 He also wanted some engine performance mods so we figured aluminum would weigh less than stainless. As for the aforementioned performance mods, aside from the obligatory 750cc big-bore kit, there are lots of Old School
race mods in the motor like shaved timing gears, lightened rocker arms, solid rocker arm spacers, a few secret things that I can’t talk about even to Dennis, and my all-time favorite, a hollowed out transmission layshaft.”
All of that stuff along with the usual comprehensive TT rebuild.

Now that I finally got him going, he had plenty to say adding, “Other features on the bike are the nice freshly-laced wheels, the leather solo seat in white, 2"-under forks, a 6"-extended bolt-on hardtail,
UK- issue BSA handlebars, stretched 5.75" headlight, and a vintage-style drilled tail light. The flat rear fender has had a nice radius cut applied to the end which is a very pleasing contrast to the squared-off look of the vintage-style
Shinko tire. Of course all the modern electrical upgrades have been made, Boyer ignition, electronic regulator, etc. . . . The bike went together pretty smoothly. We just had to deal with a pesky little air leak on one of
the intake manifolds. Swapping the left intake manifold out took care of it. As always, our main parts supplier, British Cycle Supply, easily and quickly filled all of our parts orders ensuring an easy build.”

“For me, my favorite part of the bike is the paint. We knew the customer was interested in some kind of blue. As luck would have it, I drove my 1972 Chevelle SS to work that day. Dennis looked at the car and said,
‘Hey, why don't we paint it to match your car?’ So there you have it, Mulsanne Blue with a white SS stripe. Happy coincedence, the SS stripe is very similar to the stock stripe of the original Triumph paint job
used on the gas tank in 1966!” said Steve. “I wish I had taken a picture of it with my car. Dennis killed it on this one. The white stripes are laser straight and the metallic in the blue is flawless. Our favorite pinstriper,
Greg Ross, did some nice silver pinstriping on the white stripes. Oh, the hollow transmission layshaft. I love that too!”

So there you have it Triumph freaks and fanatics, straight from the horse’s mouth or in this case, Steve Blaufeder’s cake hole. For more information on getting your own surprisingly affordable
and even more surprisingly reliable, but not surprisingly wicked fun to ride and own Triumph, please visit www.ttcycles.net.