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2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 – Ride Review

Photos by Megan Harris

"I've had a look at this motorcycle of yours whilst you were having your supper," my wife's grandmother says upon my return from the pub.
Grandma, as she allows me to call her, is upper-middle class and English to the core. She is naturally wary of Americans and has been known to suddenly burst out laughing at the idea of my being able to make a living writing about motorcycles. Add to this the fact she is somewhat deaf, a condition not helped by my natural Texas mumble, and it's easy to see why she and I don't chat a lot. When my wife is around, Grandma prefers to deal with me in third-person terms: "Now then, Jenny, does Chris want tea?"

My wife isn't around this time, though. I've ridden the 2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 down to Devon on my own, staying the night, so I can get meet photographer Megan at the beach the next morning before tourists arrive. Without my wife as interpreter, Grandma and Grandad (who is also…

I am going to win this bike, so don't even bother entering the competition

Did you see David Beckham: Into the Unknown last summer? It was a one-off TV show that incongruously linked to the soccer World Cup, featuring David Beckham riding around Brazil in ridiculously fashionable gear astride a custom Triumph Scrambler.

A few people were critical of the show because it did very much feel like a long advert for Triumph motorcycles, Belstaff clothing and whatever skin and haircare products Beckham uses to keep himself so handsome. But I didn't really care.

Firstly, because I like Beckham. He is about as "normal" as you could possibly expect anyone with so abnormal a background to be. I mean, the man was effectively raised by a soccer team, for Pete's sake. He was shipped up to Manchester at the age of 14 and indoctrinated into the professional footballing machine. He was raised by a multinational corporation, for whom winning served as the moral backbone. 

This is the culture that produces rapists, drink-and-drive killers and wife beaters. That the most lamentable thing about Beckham is his extraordinary prettiness is a testament to the inherent goodness of the man.

And I respect his appreciation for motorcycles. Obviously his athletic ability helps him in this, but when you see the man ride it's clear he's not just fired up the bike because the cameras are rolling. He knows how to move a bike around. Even in the mud. In Into the Unknown he mentions that one of the things he loves about riding is the anonymity afforded to him by wearing a helmet. And that's something I can relate to. Not on his level, obviously; I'm not internationally famous (yet). But one of the many things I love about riding is the feeling of freedom that anonymity brings.

As I wrote not too long ago: "inside your helmet and gear there is freedom from judgement. If you're fully geared up, an onlooker may not be able to tell your age, race, or gender; they likely can't guess your religion or politics, probably not even your socio-economic status.. and in that you are free."

Secondly, the reason I liked Into the Unknown was the bike. Beckham and his pals all rode customized Triumph Scramblers. Or well, customized Bonneville T100s made to look like Scramblers, according to Triumph. I can't begin to guess what the difference would be.

Either way, they were really cool bikes. Totally inappropriate for riding through the rainforest, I'd think, but cool nonetheless. I am surprised Triumph didn't choose to issue a special-edition Beckham Bonneville off the back of the show.

Turns out I'm not the only one to think such a thing. The folks over at Motolegends felt so strongly it should exist that they built one themselves.

Motolegends is a motorcycle clothing/gear website run out of Guildford, England. Guildford, as you know, is the stop before Woking when taking the train from Portsmouth to London (a). And Woking, of course, is the stop before London Waterloo, which means you should get up and go use the toilet unless you want to be stuck paying to pee.

I have a tendency to salivate over the Motolegends catalogue, which is why I'm effectively giving them a free plug here. They sell all kinds of cool gear, including the Halvarssons and Rukka stuff that I daydream about owning.

Daydream is probably all I'll ever do; a Rukka Armas jacket will set you back £1,000 (roughly US $1,500). And that's just the jacket; the trousers cost another £700 (US $1,000). How on earth can a jacket cost that much? What does it do? For that kind of money, I'd expect it to... uhm... perform marital functions.

Anyhoo, inspired by the show, the Motolegends kids took a 2001 Bonneville and transformed it into their own Beckham machine. They used it as a display piece for a while but have recently decided to make it available to win in a prize draw.

They got in touch with me and asked that I tell you about the prize draw. Because they are nice people who read the blog and claim to be fans of the Minnesota Vikings, I decided I would do just that. So, click here if you want to win a really cool motorcycle.

Though, in all honesty, I'd prefer you didn't enter the competition. Because I want to win. And the fewer people I have to compete against, the better my chances.

Here, we'll make a deal, OK? If you really want the bike, I will sell it to you when I win. Then I'll have the money to buy one of those Rukka sex suits. That way, we'll both be happy. Especially me.


(a) I was a student at University of Portsmouth many moons ago.


  1. Dreams do come true. Hoping that you will win it :)

  2. Hmm... Three aesthetically road-grimed, perfectly coiffed, sunglasses-wearing (w/ exception of the one guy...) men nonchalantly yet perfectly posed by customized classic-looking machines that go fast...

    When did ZZ Top shave their beards, yo?

    That's a pretty cool looking bike! I won't be entering, as I'm not a U.K. resident. It is tempting to get an older bonnie and a couple cans of flat black paint to whip up my own version, though...

    "For that kind of money, I'd expect it to... uhm... perform marital functions."

    Yep, for that kind of money, I'd want it to laugh at my jokes and make tea sometimes too. Wait, what did you mean?


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