Friday, May 11 2012

TT Cycles’ Purple Sparkly Bonneville

By Buck Manning Photos by Dennis “Sorry, I’m at my vacation house” Harrold

TT Cycles’ Purple Sparkly Bonneville


The boys from New Jersey are at it again with the pulpiest Bonneville custom this side of a Plum Crazy ‘Cuda. Maybe it’s just the sparkles in the purple paint or maybe it’s the white accents like the dual-stripe rear whitewall tire,
the white slash on the seat, the white grips, and the white header wrapping takes this ride straight to Whimsicalville. And that’s cool as customs are supposed to be about fun even if it’s shocking fun.
TT Cycle’s Steve Blaufeder commented on the paint job by Dennis Harrold, the other half of TT Cycles, saying, “I love the color of the bike. I am a sucker for sparkle paint!
The bike is owned by a local business owner and as a matter of fact, the purple matched part of his company’s logo colors.
” Hey, if the owner’s happy and Steve’s happy, then I’m happy for both of them even if I don’t have the balls to make such a sparkly color commitment.


Now that the sparkly purple color scheme has been worked over to a fare the well, there are actually more interesting developments behind this bike to discuss.
The preferred Triumph of choice to restore or customize for most Triumph freaks is one of the pre-1971 oil-in-frame models.
The large oil-bearing backbone of the ’71 and up models just doesn’t aesthetically appeal to what Triumph fanatics have in their head to what a Bonneville should look like.
Being the red-headed step-child of the Meriden vertical twins does have a distinct advantage, though, in today’s world and that is it’s a much cheaper (relatively speaking of course) Triumph to acquire.

Steve’s explanation of the situation is much better than mine as he said, “The bike was built in a month’s time here in our hallowed grounds [AKA Berkeley Heights, New Jersey].
The initial idea for the bike was to find a way to build an affordable custom Triumph. Pre-1971 Triumphs are getting quite expensive and post -1970 bikes are considerably less expensive due to their redesigned oil-bearing frames.
We scored some oil-in-frame bikes at reasonable prices and decided to have at it. I feel we accomplished what we set out to do.
We are able to build these oil-in-frame bikes and sell them for several thousand less than pre-oil-in-frame bikes. We learned a lot from this one.”

In a nutshell, what they ended up with was a welded-on hard tail with a two-inch stretch and a two-inch drop at the axle plates.
“We cut the rear half of the frame off and had hard tail welded on. All done in a jig by a certified welder. The only real issue was the fact that the hard tail was only a two-inch-over.
By the time the hard tail was trimmed to fit straight, we lost an inch and that made seat mounting a bit of a head scratcher,” said Steve. “Being that the hard tail was short and became even shorter during its mating to the frame,
 we ran into issues with mounting that nice solo seat. Just not enough space. That led to the nifty arched spring perches that extend back and allow the springs to mount.
On the next few bikes we did with the same hard tails, we used Chopper Shox to circumvent this issue. There was no room for a battery, so this bike runs a Sparx regulator with a built-in battery eliminator.
All the current oil-in-frame bikes we build have four-inch-over hard tails. We now run small batteries and no more seat mounting issues.”

Keeping things on the level with all the rear-end mods is a two-inch drop in the otherwise stock Triumph forks. Keeping things on the go was Steve’s unassuming and somewhat amusing take on the stock-size 650cc engine,
“I popped the motor open and did a little tidy-up of the innards.” That’s quite a casual engine-rebuilding answer from a guy who’s been successfully wrenching on Triumphs for more decades than he’d rather see in print.
I guess if you’ve been doing something as well as he has for such a long time it all becomes rather simple for such a well detailed job as he does making Triumphs run smooth, strong, and reliably.

Summing up the build, “As usual, our pinstriped, Greg Ross, knocked it out of the park again with his striping and graphics on Dennis’ killer paint job.
Shawn Appleman made us a great custom seat and I did a masterful job assembling the bike,” said Steve with a laugh.
“The owner of the bike is quite happy with the ride ability and he does ride it pretty hard and often. It’s a nice, quick-handling bike.”

As far as the other oil-in-frame bikes Steve mentioned they are building, he said, “They have become one of our most popular platforms to build from.
The current batch is a bit longer and sleeker. And most importantly, they are quite affordable which is a big draw.”
If you’re interested in getting a well built, fun-to-ride Triumph custom at an affordable price that will shock you a lot more than purple sparkly paint,
be sure to visit TT Cycles’ cool website ( ) or give Steve or Dennis a call at 908-464-2288.