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#329429 - 08/22/10 2:42 pm Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R  
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1968T120R Offline
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Denver, Colorado
I am looking at acquiring a 1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R and I need some help with a couple of questions. Because the bike is titled currently as a 1970, and all indications are it is a 1969, I want to get the title corrected. I have confirmed it doesn't have the removable front engine bracket that was used in 1970. The VIN DC16072T120R from I have been able to determine indicates the bike was produced in April 1969. The bike has a rear grab rail that appears to be what was installed on the 1970's Bonneville and the paint color is maroon or burgandy and silver which is in the 1970 runs from what I can determine. I had a 1969 Bonnevillle back in the day and this bike is a twin sister...Does anyone know if Triumph might have installed a grab rail from the next years run based on when this particular bike was built? Same goes for the color...Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Bob


[IMG]http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af246/Bob80220
/1966%20Bonneville/1969TriumphBonnevilleT120003.jpg[/IMG]



Last edited by Bob80220; 08/22/10 3:11 pm.
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#329468 - 08/22/10 4:49 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: 1968T120R]  
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kommando Online content
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Scotland
I thought the 70 (69 as well?) rear mudguard support was black with a chrome grab rail riveted on, looks like you have the OIF rear rail which was all chrome or someone has had the orginal chomed. I have a pic of a 69 with the black support rail with the chrome grab rail so it may be factory fitted.

#329492 - 08/22/10 7:11 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: kommando]  
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I have seen pictures of 1969 Bonnevilles with the grab rail as you describe with the black support rail. This appears to be a factory install. I was hoping someone here could confirm the build date from the VIN or direct me to a VIN decoder reference. From what I have googled, the information is telling me this T120R had a build date of April 1969. As I referenced earlier it for sure does not have the removable front engine bracket which from what I was told is an indication of a 1970 model year...


Bob

Last edited by Bob80220; 08/22/10 7:13 pm.
#329493 - 08/22/10 7:11 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: kommando]  
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Steve Erickson Online content
Steve Erickson  Online Content


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The Northwoods... Michigan
The 70 US 650s had the black/chrome rail early in the model year, but later the same year changed to the all chrome as shown... with no reflector, though the hole is there.

Though this bike has 70 items on it, by the 1969 number, and especially by the engine mount set-up, I'd guess it is pretty definitely 69. The front mount would be difficult to alter cleanly, everything else just kinda bolts on interchangeably.

Do the frame and engine numbers match?

#329494 - 08/22/10 7:21 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: Steve Erickson]  
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Yes...it is a numbers matching bike...I confirmed that with my own eyes. There is no mention that this bike had changes done by the previous 2 owners to install 1970 items like the grab rail and the bike has not been repainted. Other than mechanical maintenance this T120R is original with 4K miles...

Bob

Last edited by Bob80220; 08/22/10 7:22 pm.
#329495 - 08/22/10 7:29 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: 1968T120R]  
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Steve Erickson Online content
Steve Erickson  Online Content


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The Northwoods... Michigan
That DOES become a puzzler then. Lemme see... a 70 chainguard would not have the inside "flap" that the previous years had. A later 70 would have black face gauges. Different breather and hose-exit system for 70. Fender stays were chromed for 70.

There should be a build date stamped on the rotor, if you can go so far as to get access.

#329497 - 08/22/10 7:46 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: Steve Erickson]  
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I showed pictures to another gent and he said the breather hose is not a 1970 set up. This is why I am posting for some insight because all indications are this T120R is definately a 1969 but has a couple of 1970 production items...that is why I was curious if perhaps Triumph built some bikes in late 1969 and installed 1970 parts or paint??? I appreciate you saying this is a "puzzler."

Bob

Last edited by Bob80220; 08/22/10 7:47 pm.
#329506 - 08/22/10 9:01 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: 1968T120R]  
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John Healy Online content
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Little hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like the seat cover is from a 1967-68 (pleated but with no perforations). Actually it looks like one of the seats we assemble here (seat trim is one give away).

The "text book" 1969 model had the chrome grab rail mounted to the under side of the seat by four 1/4 UNF bolts. If the hand rail was used to put the bike on the center stand, it broke the back of the seat in few attempts. The rear fender bracket was black and had no provisions for a hand rail.

The horn is typical for the 1969 model.

The handle bars are more like the ones used in 1973.

The engine is earlier than 1970 as there is no breather on the back of the primary. As indicated by the motor number it would be a 1969 year model. This would also not be an interim model that might of had 1970 paint scheme as the switch over would have come in late August early September for the next season.

The bike is missing the front yellow reflectors and brackets that mounted to the front gas tank bracket. It also looks to have Taiwan air cleaners with paper filter elements. If it was a 1970 they would have "dished" backs. The original were gauze. The breather seems to be exiting above the right rear shock. It should have extended back to the end of the rear fender. The front fender brackets would have been chrome for 1969 and 1970, not black as shown.

On the face of it this appears to be a very nice motorcycle, but IMHO is a bitsa and it is not an original 1969 Bonneville! Someone like the 1970 pains scheme.

There are too few good pictures of the US Spec 1969 Bonneville. Although a real important bike, Gaylin rambles on in his Triumph restoration book about the 1969 supplying absolutely no pictures. The 1969 US sales brochure is of little help having been blurred by artistic light bursts. But it clearly illustrates the points I made above: chrome front fender braces, yellow safety reflectors, etc.

There are other details that make me believe the bike has been worked on
John

Last edited by John Healy; 08/22/10 9:04 pm.

#329514 - 08/22/10 9:32 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: John Healy]  
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Hey John,

Thanks for your input on the items mentioned. I will get with the owner this week and ask some questions based on your knowledge. I see you are from Boston....born in Boston and raised in Braintree. I lived in the Back Bay and Beacon Hill back in the late 60's relocated to Denver from Chatham in 1973...

Bob

Last edited by Bob80220; 08/22/10 9:57 pm.
#329520 - 08/22/10 10:03 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: 1968T120R]  
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Steve Erickson Online content
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There are a couple good shots of an original, unrestored 69 (last paint scheme) in Gerald Kane's "Original Triumph Bonneville", as well as small info about annual changes.

#329526 - 08/22/10 10:46 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: Steve Erickson]  
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I am puzzled by the discussion of what grab-rail went with what model and when, etc., etc. Bikes can be changed subtly by POs. If I were an administrator on the receiving end of an application to change the year of manufacture in the title, I would be most impressed by a dating certificate from an authorised source. The two best sources for Triumphs are the TOMCC and the VMCC. The VMCC has taken over the factory records previously held by the Science Museum, London and both organisations hold a full set of records (except those destroyed by enemy action during WW2)of the very day the bike left the factory and where bound, plus frame, engine and gearbox numbers. To my mind, lesser details which could have been changed later, are irrelevant.


mike
Member #: 147
1960 T120 Bonneville
1999 H*%^a VFR 800 FI
V4 Triton Project (still keeping me sane (Ha-Ha!))
#329539 - 08/22/10 11:27 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: t120mike]  
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John Healy Online content
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Mike: If this bike wasn't being presented as a 4,000 mile original bike bike none of this would mean anything.

But If it isn't, it reflects on the value.

Quote:
Other than mechanical maintenance this T120R is original with 4K miles...


It is also titled as a 1970 which, beacuse it isn't, reflects on its value. It also makes it difficult to sell later on and getting the title changed is becoming much harder and expensive. While BSA retitled a bunch of left over 1969 BSA motorcycles as 1970,it is not legal in many states and can cause problems to the buyer. Unlike the UK there are 50 different motor vehicle bureas. The book of all the individual laws for the fifty states fills a book six inches thick.

While I would buy this bike if offered at a reasonable price, and sort it out later, I would not pay a premium price for it.

If the members on this site cannot make a reasoned legitimate argument why the bike is not as presented when asked, what is this froum for? The person buying this bike should have as much information as possible before making the purchase.


#329542 - 08/22/10 11:40 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: t120mike]  
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I notice the bike has black front fender stays. 1969 and 1970 Bonnies sold in the USA had chrome stays.
I suspect someone (maybe a dealer?) switched fenders, tank and
passenger hand grip to make the bike look like a 1970 model.
Also, the photos show the mounts for the clutch and front brake levers are 1963-69.
The 1970 models had mounting holes for mirrors and 1970 was the only year where that type of mount was used
(1971-on used entirely different lever arrangements.)
As Triumph's model year production would end late in July, and your serial number indicates this bike was built in April,
I find it difficult to believe Triumph would be using 1970 parts on a '69 bike as early as April.
As to the title: years ago, some states allowed dealers to
title "leftover" bikes using the year they were SOLD, instead of the model year for which they were made. The dealer who sold this bike originally may have changed parts to "make" a '70 from a '69 to clear it from the showroom floor.

#329543 - 08/22/10 11:42 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: John Healy]  
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This link (which is referenced often) has the 69 ad John mentioned, and there are some period piece magazine pictures of a 69 Tiger and a 70 Bonnie.

http://www.classicbike.biz/Triumph/Triumph.htm


Bruce


#329561 - 08/23/10 2:26 am Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: Atlanta Bonnie]  
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Back on the mainland!
Here's some shots of a US 1969 T120R restored by Kenny Dreer, should be of some help:

http://triumphmotorcycles.typepad.com/photos/1969_triumph_t120r_bonnev/index.html

Cheers,

Steve


'77 T140J
"Vintage Bike". What's in your garage?

"The paying customer is always right."

Fitting round pegs into square holes since 1961...
#329587 - 08/23/10 10:23 am Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: JubeePrince]  
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Kenny Dreer's bike has two lugs on the lower front fender bracket where the the guard fixes to the bracket, '69 bikes had one.

Two is better but not original.

If you go to Atlanta Bonnie's link and click pictures of the '69 Tiger one photo shows chromed front fender brackets and the other photo black painted brackets [which were "home market" I think].

All this is done for the gratification of Anoraks I reckon.

The grab rail bolted to the seat pan on the '69 was apparently a lash up to comply with newly introduced US legislation, does your seat pan have the grab rail mounting holes ?

Sure is a nice bike, maybe a dealer did make some small mods to "update" the bike back in '70 ?

Last edited by Tiger; 08/23/10 10:29 am.

1969 TR6R
7.62 x 51 is not a maths puzzle.
#329598 - 08/23/10 11:53 am Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: Tiger]  
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Allan Offline
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Ellisville, Ms.
The USA Bonnevilles made later in the 1969 production run had a lower front fender stay with two lugs on it. Allan


member GABMA(Greater Atlanta British Motorcycle Association)
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#329606 - 08/23/10 12:56 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: Allan]  
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I want to thank everyone who has provided information from their knowledge base regarding this 1969 T120R. It is interesting this particular bike has had things done, it appears for whatever reason, that are from 1970. She is a very nice looking numbers matching Triumph and for me the most important thing is that this T120R is a 1969, and based on the VIN and confirmation that it does not have the removable front engine mount bracket it appears to be, no doubt. I would ask the seller to correct the title to show it as a 1969 before a deal was finalized. Now comes the difficult part...what is this 1969 Bonneville T120R worth in todays resale market? I know this is a very subjective issue...The price the seller is asking for this bike is $8,500.00. Is this a realistic price? I'm sure there will be lots of opinions....Thanks

Bob

#329636 - 08/23/10 4:12 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: 1968T120R]  
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Steve Erickson Online content
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The Northwoods... Michigan
I'd suggest that you do some tracking on eBay, especially Completed Sales, to get an idea of the current values. Note that I said an idea, each bike and sale of course is unique. And I guarantee none will be like yours!

Since you asked, though yours appears to be a very nice bike, in my opinion it is priced at over twice it's value. As there are many unexplainable unknowns, and even possibly mis-representations regarding it's history, I would be even more leery than usual.

#329640 - 08/23/10 5:22 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: Steve Erickson]  
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Denver, Colorado
I have tracked some classic Triumphs on eBay Steve and yes, they are all somewhat unique as you say. I appreciate your opinion regarding value but with regard to the "unexplainable unknowns" I have heard a number of explainations which in my opinion are reasonable ones...from added on 1970 grab rail by a previous owner, built that way by Triumph because the Brit's did things like that, installed by dealer at the buyers request when the bike was purchased. The important factor is this bike is a 1969, which by VIN and front engine mount it is. I have spoken with a State of Colorado certified VIN inspector, who is a guru on classic motocycles, and he said with proper documentation from me and what he has, that getting this T120R titled correctly is just a procedural process. I first need to go to the state and get the title chain from the 3 previous owners...the seller being the 3rd. Again, thanks to you and others for your well appreciated input.

Bob

#329656 - 08/23/10 6:29 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: 1968T120R]  
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John Healy,

Although I take your point about free dicussion, I was not denegrating it, just questioning the direction. I had, perhaps wrongly, assumed that the correcting of the year of manufacture in the title was the main aim, in which case the nubers will be the final arbiter. What is now suggests itself to me is that whatever experts over here might postulate, the dealer-modifications scenario in the States offers the real possibility that for some years of manufature, there may not be one definitive, correct US specification.


mike
Member #: 147
1960 T120 Bonneville
1999 H*%^a VFR 800 FI
V4 Triton Project (still keeping me sane (Ha-Ha!))
#329675 - 08/23/10 8:18 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: 1968T120R]  
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John Healy Online content
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Boston, Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: Mike
What is now suggests itself to me is that whatever experts over here might postulate, the dealer-modifications scenario in the States offers the real possibility that for some years of manufature, there may not be one definitive, correct US specification.


While there were some variations within a US model year, and east and west coast versions, this bike is so far from being an original, 4,000 mile bike (key word here original) it is certainly worth bringing it to the attention of the person asking the question. That said, nearly all of the variations are well know and documented. This bike has parts on it that weren't even available in 1969 (it is not a 1970 grab rail and from an even later bike). But Gee Whiz... We might be in the colonies, but we are not living in the dark.

Originally Posted By: bob
I first need to go to the state and get the title chain from the 3 previous owners...the seller being the 3rd.


This is no easy task, as the previous titles are given up, along with all of the information on them including year, model and numbers, but more importantly the current owner, each time the bike is re-titled.

Unlike the UK, where there is a log book with all of the previous owners, a new title in the new owners name is issued each time the bike is re-titled. All of the previous information is lost somewhere in of one or more states archives where it had previously been registered.

To make matters worse, a lot of department of motor vehicle work in some states has been farmed out to independent businesses. A customer of mine in New Jersey, where they have farmed out the DMV, just when through DMV Hell trying to get his Norton titled because Norton didn't appear on the current approved list of manufacturers of vehicles. It was finally sorted, but not without a lot of phone calls and several trips across the state.

A lot of you know I worked with Jerry Wood at the Daytona Auction for 20 odd years. If we tried to get a 1969 Triumph past the DMV inspector who set-up his office at the auction for the week before the event titled as a 1970 he would not let us auction it. The title would have to be fixed before it could be auctioned in Florida. That said this could be different in one of the other 49 states.

Hell the UK has its problems with bikes. When I walked through one of the auctions at Stafford with David Holder and Bill Getty, we picked out nearly half of the bikes with bogus numbers. Silly stuff goes on on both sides of the pond!


#329688 - 08/23/10 9:23 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: 1968T120R]  
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Steve Erickson Online content
Steve Erickson  Online Content


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The Northwoods... Michigan
Just to drive Mike crazy, back to the grab rail... now that I look closer, I do see that it is a 2 piece rail... the late 70 was just one piece. Good eye John, it is a later rail.

In the US, getting a DMV clerk to accept the dating authority of a private, overseas motorcycle club (visions of Lee Marvin here), regardless of the source of their records, might be a most difficult chore.

Here in California, I have never had a problem with verifying and even changing the titled date by bringing in literature supporting my claim (Gaylin and Brooks or Bacon books, for example). Additionally, the Highway Patrol Code Enforcement officers have very complete books verifying VIN dates for motorcycles at all their stations. But that is California, there are 49 other sets of rules to contend with.

#329689 - 08/23/10 9:27 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: John Healy]  
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1968T120R Offline
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Well it appears my inquiry has unfortunately created some significent differences in opinions...for that I am sorry. I have spoken directly to a few sources that were in the Triumph business back then and they all brought up an interesting point. It wasn't unusual for them to take a tank and fenders from one bike and put them on another becuse the customer liked that color better than what was originally on that bike. I wonder if that might be the case with this particular 1969 T120R as the VIN numbers confirm it's a 1969 but the color for sure isn't. From what I am seeing and hearing it is a 1970 color scheme. As for the rear grab rail it appears to be a 1970 as well from what I see in pictures of 1970 Bonnevilles...of course I certainly could be mistaken. That being said this particular bike would not be an "original 1969" because of those changes...but it is a 1969 T120R none the less even though it has 1970 model year color, etc. My purpose is to acquire a nice classic Triumph to ride. I'm not looking to put it in a museum, have it featured in a magazine or book, or haul it to an auction with the hopes of making a profit. This is a very nice numbers matching 1969 T120R...that for me is the most important issue. I have seen a number of bikes from this era repainted to what the owner desires and this was a very common occurance. I want to thank everyone for their input as it provided me the opportunity to gather more information and knowledge than I had when I first posted. I have no idea, but I will ask, if the original owner is still around. Perhaps he purchased this 1969 T120R in 1970 and when he saw a 1970 on the dealers floor he asked him to make these changes...then maybe he decided to title it as a 1970 even though the VIN is a 1969. Sounds plausible to me. If I am able to back track and get more information I will update the board. Again, thanks all for your insight and direction...


Bob

#329693 - 08/23/10 9:47 pm Re: Questions Regarding 1969 Bonneville T120R [Re: Steve Erickson]  
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1968T120R Offline
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Originally Posted By: Steve Erickson
Just to drive Mike crazy, back to the grab rail... now that I look closer, I do see that it is a 2 piece rail... the late 70 was just one piece. Good eye John, it is a later rail.

In the US, getting a DMV clerk to accept the dating authority of a private, overseas motorcycle club (visions of Lee Marvin here), regardless of the source of their records, might be a most difficult chore.

Here in California, I have never had a problem with verifying and even changing the titled date by bringing in literature supporting my claim (Gaylin and Brooks or Bacon books, for example). Additionally, the Highway Patrol Code Enforcement officers have very complete books verifying VIN dates for motorcycles at all their stations. But that is California, there are 49 other sets of rules to contend with.


Steve, the process is similar here in Colorado as what you describe in California. CSP will do VIN verifications and after confirmation from sources as you referenced will allow for a change of title. There is a fee of $15.00 to have this done...I have contacted a State of Colorado certified VIN inspector who happens to be a local law enforcement officer. I discussed the situation with him and he understood completely my intentions and indicated it wouldn't be an issue with proper resources for documention. I will get with him next week when he is back in town. Question regarding the rear grab rail...it appears to be a one piece chrome frame and rear grab rail, and from what I remember when I looked at the bike the other day it certainly seemed like it was one piece to me...I could be wrong. What am I missing where you say it is a 2 piece?

Bob

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