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#110353 - 02/19/07 3:47 am harris bonneville  
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hunt the Offline
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wellington, New Zealand
hi all, does anyone have any views on the harris bonny, so far all i know is that they were mostly triumph with a combo of other manufactures parts, did they have any problems from new? are they frowned upon from triumph purists? any comments welcomed, thanks

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#110354 - 02/19/07 11:44 am Re: harris bonneville  
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AussieOn81Bonne Offline
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Sydney
Hey There Hunt the - i myself own an 81 Meriden T140E and because of the BMW headlights i have a get a lot of question asking if its a Harris (square block looking things) - I think the Harris era is the start of the Jap migration - slowly but surely it went east from there so to speak. I have not herd any overly negative comments about the harris but it is the same with all brit bikes ( lots of elec probs - and constant love and care laugh ) Throw up a picture if you can i would be interested to see the difference between your little beauty and mine.

Cheers and well done in the cricket and go the cane's but not as much as the reds

Parko
beerchug

Mine can be viewed on the thread titled "newby in need of help"


Once was blind but now can see
81 T140E
50's T'Bird
#110355 - 02/19/07 1:59 pm Re: harris bonneville  
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meriden4ever Offline
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The Harris Bonnie featured Paioli forks and rear suspension units unlike the Meriden models which although utilising Paiolis on the TSX generally used Marzocchis out back and their own fork design upfront.

Magura switchgear replaced the Lucas items as did the Merit horn. Other German items such a Bumm mirrors, Merit sperk plug caps and ULO indicators were already being fitted as OEM by Meriden from 1981. The Lafranconi (?) silencers and short front mudguard that Harris fitted were to have been fitted by Meriden on their 1984 models. The Brambo rear disc was already used by Meriden on their TSX and , for 1984, TSS models but Harris also fitted twin Brembos upfront as standard replacing the AP Lockheed units avoured by Meriden

Harris apparently tried to fit the alloy barrels that Meriden were developing but Triumph (Hinckley) forbade this as well as using the stronger TSS bottom end. It's been said that these barrels were still fitted in contravention and painted black to overcome this decision !

Harris did though fit a hybrid AMAL carb, the Mark '1 1/2', sort of a Mk 1 with a handlebar mounted choke.

As far as reputation went, Harris Bonnies suffer most particularly due to poor finish, Italian components being particularly notorious.

I have read road tests and they seem generally ok about the Harris but one dissatisfied customer left a detailed complaint that was on Wikpedia about a Harris Bonnie he had from new and exonerating the dealer, blamed Harris himself for the bike being so rubbish !


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#110356 - 02/19/07 2:02 pm Re: harris bonneville  
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jimsigs Offline
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Swindon,England
Hi Hunt,

can't be much wrong with the Harris bonnies as they have been in use for many years with the Royal Signals Display Team (known universally as the White Helmets). They are one of the best motorcycle display teams in the world and have given many displays of their courage and the bike's testiment to it's durability.
Check out their site for some background and photos at :
http://www.army.mod.uk/royalsignals/whelmets/index.htm

Regards
jimsigs

#110357 - 02/19/07 2:11 pm Re: harris bonneville  
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meriden4ever Offline
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I can no longer find the dissatisfied customer who vented his spleen on Wikpedia- perhaps they have deleted it- but I did send a copy of it to a German friend (Germany being an important Harris market) beforehand so here it is , together with my German friend's comment ...enjoy (!):

"I owned two of the Harris sh*tes (refuse to call them bikes) in 1987. The first one I purchased brand new from White City Motorcycles Manchester and I returned it after just one day and got a refund of my money. Blaming the dealer for the faults (I got it wrong and soon found it was Harris's fault) and for a bad pre delivery inspection I the went to Wileman's of Derby and bought another brand new one. That turned out to be the worst bike I have ever owned. The list of failures/breakages and trips to the dealers for warranty work is so long you just wouldn't believe me if I told you. This included new pistons and barrels despite it still being under 600 miles old and being treated with care .
I took the bike on a tour of France and covered over 2,000 miles and below is a list of faults that developed.

When I returned from holiday and because I was sick of going to the dealer I trailored the bike the 255miles from my house to the Harris factory in Devon. The bike was just 4 months old and had less than 3,500 miles on the clock at this time.

Here's just some of what I can remember of what was on the list of faults I gave them with instructions to put right : crankcase joint leaking oil; alternator rotor nut came loose and the rotor destroyed the stator and wreck the end of the crankshaft; and also burst through the primary case; neutral light faulty (sometimes came on even when in gears); broken spokes in the back wheel; front wheel out of balance; one of the rear dampers collapsed; oil leak rocker box; oil leak tacho gearbox; oil leak kickstart shaft; chainguard rubbed through side wall of rear tyre; ignition switch failed, internals fell to bits; silencer was damaged by rear wheel spindle; horn fell off; offside mirror fell off whilst doing 60mph and hit my mate who was riding behind me; the seat took in water if the bike got rained on; the fuel tank leaked; the brakes were crap despite there being two discs up front; the chrome on the silencers was crap and rust was showing through; the wheel rims also showed rust; the bike consumed more than 10 pints of oil in 2,000 miles;

Brian Jones who was the former Chief Design Engineer at the Triumph Meriden factory was working in management at the Harris factory in Devon, and he said he would get everything put back to new condition. Eventually after 12 weeks and numerous telephone calls the bike was delivered back to me. It was during one of these calls that Les Harris himself made the statement that he didn't give a f*ck about me or my bike. The bike came back with almost all the original parts replaced including a new cranckshaft,new crankcases and new barrels and pistons (second set of replacements). New wheels,rear tyre, shock absorbers, ignition switch, seat, petrol tank, new exhausts & silencers;chinguard,brake pads, mirror,etc. etc. etc.

I rode the bike only once after I got it back and it broke down at 4am when I was 200 miles from home and on the way to the ferry for another holiday in France. It turned out that a coil had failed. I took the train home and the bike was sold. Good ridance!!!!!

Steve NW England"

mad shocked :rolleyes: eek laughing

And My mate's reply ...

the Harris Bonnies also had no good reputation here in Germany. The father of a good friend of mine and very experienced Triumph owner and rider had one, too. They sold it within a few weeks, as Michael, my friend, couldn't fix it. One of the worst points was, that it's front brake-discs didn't run true ...
Michael's father got himself a Hinckley Thunderbird, which served him well until he gave up biking about 3 years ago. Michael's brother Claus is now riding the T'bird ...


frown


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#110358 - 02/19/07 11:21 pm Re: harris bonneville  
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OriginalScott Online content
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NY
The Harris suffers from the same garbage that all OIF bikes do. "Real" Triumph riders just don't think they are up to par with the hallowed 68-69-70 Bonnevilles. Never mind that the OIF bikes handle better and the T140 is quicker where it counts, not to mention the disk brakes and general oil tightness (later Bonnevilles). The OIF is always seen as the "affordable classic" and not the "classic". Like somehow the OIF is an immitation of the real thing. That's OK though. While the "real" Triumph riders are fiddling with points or boyers, drums and OEM horns that cost way too much, you can be out riding that bike the way a "real" Triumph should be ridden.
Scott

#110359 - 02/19/07 11:43 pm Re: harris bonneville  
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Grin Offline
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The dissatisfied Harris customer is Steve Reeves,he contributes to another forum called the Bonneville owners club which can be found here-http://www.bonnevilleownersclub.com/

#110360 - 02/19/07 11:57 pm Re: harris bonneville  
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porge Offline
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Tasmania, Australia
As an owner of a TR6 from the "hallowed" period, I've never thought that the term "affordable classic" relegates the later bikes to a lesser status. 2c

When I was shopping for a bike, my mind was set on a T140, but I still heeded all the talk about Harris-built bikes. It was NOT a question of OIF vs "hallowed", but Harris Vs everything else. To add the Harris rhetoric - whether the storis are based in truth or are apochrophyl - I think is misleading. Again, my 2c


1969 Triumph TR6R
1956 Matchless G80S
1964 Royal Enfield 350 Bullet
1964 Honda CD125
#110361 - 02/20/07 9:38 am Re: harris bonneville  
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meriden4ever Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by porge:
When I was shopping for a bike, my mind was set on a T140, but I still heeded all the talk about Harris-built bikes. It was NOT a question of OIF vs "hallowed", but Harris Vs everything else.
I agree- my German pal owns from new, loves and rode extensively an '81 TR7T Tiger Trail which like 71-88 bikes is OIF. I love my OIF bikes, too, and would have no other but I would stick to Meriden only for as the sit-in worker's banner said 'Triumph Stays At Meriden Where The Legend Was Made' The Harris Bonnies-well, yer pays yer money & takes yer choice ...(I did read in Classic Bike Guide of one satisfied owner so much so he bought another Harris Bonnie ! Maybe his choice of dealer, ex-Meriden stockist, Carl rosner, had something to do with the quality )


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#110362 - 02/20/07 11:29 am Re: harris bonneville  
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hunt the Offline
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wellington, New Zealand
hi all, thanks for the replys, thinking about buying one thats for sale locally, heres a link if anyone wants to check it out,
http://www.trademe.co.nz/a.asp?id=88486584

#110363 - 02/20/07 11:38 am Re: harris bonneville  
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Tiger Offline
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Melbourne Australia
Quote:
Originally posted by OriginalScott:
The Harris suffers from the same garbage that all OIF bikes do. "Real" Triumph riders just don't think they are up to par with the hallowed 68-69-70 Bonnevilles. Never mind that the OIF bikes handle better and the T140 is quicker where it counts, not to mention the disk brakes and general oil tightness (later Bonnevilles). The OIF is always seen as the "affordable classic" and not the "classic". Like somehow the OIF is an immitation of the real thing. That's OK though. While the "real" Triumph riders are fiddling with points or boyers, drums and OEM horns that cost way too much, you can be out riding that bike the way a "real" Triumph should be ridden.
Scott
Wondering how much experience you have with the '68 thru '70 650 ?


1969 TR6R
7.62 x 51 is not a maths puzzle.
#110364 - 02/20/07 11:40 am Re: harris bonneville  
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Jeff B Offline
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Germany
HI All,

in 1987 I purchased a Harris Bonneville from new.
While I found the quality of the cycle parts was good, the whole engine unit was a mess. The original set of pistons lasted for 8000km before it was worn out completely. The gear box failed 5x during 22.000km which i did total on the bike. On a holiday trip in England it suddenly holed a piston. Carl Rosner in Surrey checked the bike but could not find the cause of the problem. The Harris was generally vibrating terrible, so the muffler brackets and some others broke all the time. It was eating bulbs too.It was my first Brit and nearly put me off from Brits and over to Italian bikes.
I swapped it for a 1967 BSA in 1990 which I still own, ride and enjopy today.

I have been told, Harris bought all the worn out tools from Meriden but had no money to rework them.

Today I think nearly all Harris Bikes should be sorted unless some very low mileage examples.

Regards,
Jeff


Jeff B.
__________________
67'Hornet
71'B50SS
73'Ducati 450 SCR
95'Ducati 900 SL
82'H***a FT500
#110365 - 02/20/07 12:31 pm Re: harris bonneville  
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meriden4ever Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by hunt the:
hi all, thanks for the replys, thinking about buying one thats for sale locally, heres a link if anyone wants to check it out,
http://www.trademe.co.nz/a.asp?id=88486584
I guess adverts for Harris machines are the only ones that boast that they are NOT as good as new & NOT as they left the factory !!! bigt


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#110366 - 02/20/07 11:21 pm Re: harris bonneville  
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porge Offline
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porge  Offline
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Tasmania, Australia
Quote:
Wondering how much experience you have with the '68 thru '70 650 ?
Whilst I agree with Tiger's sentiment - my TR6 is oil tight and a sensational handler - reference to this does reinforce OriginalScott's core argument that we somehow frown on OIF bikes and see them as lesser classics. I, for one, do not. Maybe we should start calling '59 T120's "Unaffordable Classics"? Maybe even as OBE triumphs? (oil bl**dy everywhere) laugh

As for Harris bikes, the testimonies seem to stack in favour of avoiding them, or finding one that has been really well sorted - and is not part of the stupid argument about OIF bikes.


1969 Triumph TR6R
1956 Matchless G80S
1964 Royal Enfield 350 Bullet
1964 Honda CD125
#110367 - 02/21/07 1:50 am Re: harris bonneville  
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trumpetloon Offline
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georgia
I agree with Jeff above. Unless the thing got parked when it last spit parts onto the owner's floor and has sat since,or bodged together for resale with no regard for longevity, all currently running Brits should be at least fairly well sorted by now. I would ask the service and restoration history of any classic I was considering, and if the owner hedges or says "I'm just selling it for my second cousin's girlfriends sister and know nothing about it", I would simply walk away. In general there are two types of classic Brit owners: well heeled individuals who pay to have the bikes maintained... who will have service receipts, and do it yourself enthusiasts who will likely present you with a stack of parts receipts and a photo history of their ownership bound in a notebook with the service and parts guides. Receiving any other documentation would make me leery of the bike's integrity!


1974 TR5T
#110368 - 02/21/07 3:33 am Re: harris bonneville  
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Tiger Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by porge:
[QB] [QUOTE] Wondering how much experience you have with the '68 thru '70 650 ?
Whilst I agree with Tiger's sentiment - my TR6 is oil tight and a sensational handler - reference to this does reinforce OriginalScott's core argument that we somehow frown on OIF bikes and see them as lesser classics. I, for one, do not. Maybe we should start calling '59 T120's "Unaffordable Classics"? Maybe even as OBE triumphs? (oil bl**dy everywhere) laugh

Has little or nothing to do with his inference that the '68/'70 bikes have brake/ignition/issues, see him on the road whilst the dry frame blokes are trying to fix things and saving up for a pair of windtones.

Pure BS which is why I politely called him on the issue.

The comments smacked of denigration of the late dry frames in an attempt to make the man feel better about his T140.


1969 TR6R
7.62 x 51 is not a maths puzzle.
#110369 - 02/21/07 3:57 am Re: harris bonneville  
Joined: Sep 2005
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porge Offline
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porge  Offline
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Tasmania, Australia
Tiger,

I understand and respect your point and agree about it being BS - the point I'm politely calling on is that the arguements on both sides of the debate are somewhat spurious. And not applicable in a discussion on the merits of a Harris Bonnie. If he wants to weild the flame in a "OIF rules supreme, OK?" thread it's a different issue.

Again, my 2c


1969 Triumph TR6R
1956 Matchless G80S
1964 Royal Enfield 350 Bullet
1964 Honda CD125
#110370 - 02/21/07 6:52 pm Re: harris bonneville  
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OriginalScott Online content
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NY
Tiger and Porge,
I didn't respond to Tiger's comment because it was off topic. My response was on topic as the man asked what the opinion of Harris bikes were within the bb community. My opinion is that the Harris suffers from the same bias as all OIF bikes do. My point was not to put down the the 68-70 bikes but to raise the point that the OIF is not inferior as many people think. I don't think the OIF reigns supreme over the earlier bikes, rather it is the evolution of those bikes. From the outside the bb community looks like one big happy family but from the inside the bias comes out. We do not all ride the same Bonneville (or Tiger or Trophy). The year of our machine relegates it to Hallowed or Affordable.
Tiger, the OIF is a better handling machine than the earlier bikes. This is fact. The all welded frame with the huge backbone gives the OIF more stability in cornering than the brazed & bolted earlier frames. I am not trying to "denigrate" the earlier machines but illustrate the point that the OIF has merit and is a better machine in some respects. The bit about the windtones was a shot. Sorry for that. : ) Points vs electronic ignition is moot. When they are working there is no difference.
Scott

#110371 - 02/22/07 6:43 am Re: harris bonneville  
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porge Offline
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porge  Offline
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Tasmania, Australia
Quote:
My opinion is that the Harris suffers from the same bias as all OIF bikes do.
I don't know why, but I suppose it's the historian in me that likes to argue these points, so...

I completely disagree that anti-Harris rhetoric is part of any OIF Vs Ivory Tower hallowed period rhetoric. I don't do this because I've been trained to be contrary (we call it "critical familiarity"), and I do it with respect to all involved.

I base my opinion in the fact (facts that this hijacked thread has dredged up in the opposing arguments) that the arguemnts about Harris bikes are mostly based upon total negatives. That is to say (remember, I'm a historian, not a logician, so my arguement will be framed somewhat primitively): whilst some quarters will note the high collectability of certain models, others will talk negatively about affordability issues (and vice-versa); thus the trade-off for high entry point into ownership can transalte into high exit point. You can insert any amount of similar argument that surround this debate, but the simple fact is that it is mostly based in simple dualities - positive Vs negative.

The Harris rhetoric does not follow this pattern. PRemature holing of pistons, supposedly poor finish, mountains of other gremlins - anything that makes up the majority of the anti-Harris arguments - have no positive expression (unless alleged repeated mechanical failure allows one to spend a lot more time wrenching and spending ones cash is a "plus").

So as I don my asbestos underpants, I promise not to speak on the matter again (I need Tiger's help with my TR6 from over the pond wink )


1969 Triumph TR6R
1956 Matchless G80S
1964 Royal Enfield 350 Bullet
1964 Honda CD125
#110372 - 02/22/07 8:34 am Re: harris bonneville  
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Tiger Offline
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Melbourne Australia
And you shall have any assistance I can offer Porge.
Must get out to the shed and work on the brakes and ignition of the prototype XS1 bigt


1969 TR6R
7.62 x 51 is not a maths puzzle.
#110373 - 02/22/07 10:55 am Re: harris bonneville  
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Melbourne Metisse Offline
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Original Scott wrote : "Points vs electronic ignition is moot. When they are working there is no difference."

The point (no pun intended!) certainly is NOT moot amongst those of us that have fitted electronic ignition! I found there to be a world of difference in the improvement over standard AA & points...

#110374 - 02/22/07 2:57 pm Re: harris bonneville  

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A general comment on points vs. electronic: even with the same secondary (coil) voltage I suspect the voltage rise time is faster with electronic, which gives a bit more fouling protection. Some electronics also retard spark slightly with rising RPM - and the manufacturers claim otherwise (no, I can't mention any brands).
Is the Dyna ignition booster compatible with the original points? This works very well on some older systems, drops current load across the points to .1 amp, reduces rise time. Point wear is now rubbing block only, last and stay set much longer.

#110376 - 02/22/07 8:25 pm Re: harris bonneville  
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meriden4ever Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Paddy Keating:

Well, put it this way: it was better than some of the crummier 750's I had before I stopped bothering with T140's and their like.

PK
Makes me feel somewhat smug that all my Meriden OIFs have been indeed very sweet* - that's why I keep using 'em, day in, day out ...is it a case as with all Triumph models , of 'the later, the better' ?

(*TSX needed some help due to hamfisted previous owners rather than factory but is ok now, give or take an occasionally flooding Bing !)


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#110377 - 02/23/07 12:53 am Re: harris bonneville  
Joined: Jan 2006
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hunt the Offline
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hunt the  Offline
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wellington, New Zealand
thanks again for the comments all, would it be safe to say in regarding oif bikes only, that the the harris models be of lesser value/collectability compared with a meriden model, due to the fact that from new, the bikes were produced using other manufactured parts, rather than triumph and also, sounds like there were numerous faults from new, some being rather serious as in premature motor/gearbox failures,

#110378 - 02/25/07 11:53 pm Re: harris bonneville  
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meriden4ever Offline
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1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
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