Tour Reports

What’s this all about you ask? UK based motorcycle gear mail order company Motolegends have built their own version of the Bonne T100 used by David Beckham on his manly, hair challanging adventure in Brazil last year. The really interesting part is that Motolegends have gone and lost their sanity and have decided to give this bike away in a free prize draw to some sickingly lucky winner. Please the Gods, let it be me…

Motolegends Custom Bonne

Motolegends Custom Bonne

For those who inexplicably missed David Beckham and his mates no football related endeavor let me bring ye up to speed. On the 9th of July the BBC aired the documentary ‘Into the Unknown’ in which the legendary British footballer David Beckham and three good friends; Anthony Mandler, David Gardner and Derek White go on a Brazilian motorcycle adventure. An adventure in which the group go to ‘find themselves’ which seems a bit ridiculous these days with SatNav’s and Google Maps aplenty. In reality, the documentary was filmed to attract more tourists to this wonderful country and to remind us that Brazil has more to offer the world than crotch waxing. I have to admit it worked for me (no – not a waxing) as I’ve since put Brazil on my list of countries to ride before I’m too old to swing an unwaxed leg over a saddle.

Beckhams Bonne

For the trip, the boys didn’t ride the kind of BMW or Yamaha off-road bikes that one might have expected. Too obvious, and possibly because David could not find a BMW Rallye Suit in a color to match his highlights. Instead, they mounted themselves on modern, customised Triumph road bikes. This could arguably be called a daring if impractical retro choice, but in my mind it just goes to prove you don’t need to spend a fortune on a monstrously sized 1200GSA or similar then spend another couple of grand on Touratech Adventure Suits, SatNavs and the rest to survive a adventure tour. In this case all you need is a degree in beard maintenance, and the ability to manage a retroesque wardrobe with matching Bitwell Gringo helmet, BBC sponsorship, potentially massive spiders, hairless thong clad beach bunnies, and any cool looking motorbike you can get your hands on. Eh, and the finances to customise the bike to match the retro wardrobe otherwise known as the “I’m homeless and have scurvy” look so popular these days with rich kids who want to look poor so they won’t get mugged ;)

OK, I might be taking the piss a bit but I actually admire the spirit. It’s far to easy to buy into the big ADV touring bike marketing. And I’ve come to realise one thing about big adventure bikes, while they are practical and comfortable on long road trips, I honestly don’t think they are as much fun as smaller bikes and somehow miss the “feck it – lets just go” free spirit of youth in some ways. On the flip side, while the whole Ducati marketing engine is in full swing flogging the retro Scrambler fashion line – which I admit makes me cringe, these retro scrambler bikes without doubt have the easy going loutish fun factor thats missing in big ADV bikes and I’m unashamedly looking forward to a test ride on one of the Scramblers “by Ducati” after I get back from the Pyrenees for the TT in June.

Motolegends Custom Bonne

But why did Beckham and crew decide on the T100 and not Triumph’s modern take on the sixties Scrambler? Well, the answer is surprisingly simple, the Triumph Scrambler, as yet, is not homologated in Brazil, meaning, currently (at time of writing) you can only buy a T100 or Thruxton in Brazil. So, three Triumph Bonneville T100 were sourced locally, and modified for their upcoming adventure by Triumph, who did all the preparation on the three bikes. Including, fitting wide bars, custom seat and fabricating the ‘functional’ upper, rear exhaust mount. Before fitting Arrow 2-1 exhausts, Metzler, Karoo 3 tyres and removing the front and rear mudguards including the lower fork brace.

Motolegends Custom Bonne

Despite the apparent unsuitability of the bikes, they held up well in even the toughest of conditions, demonstrating perhaps that modern Triumphs are just as rugged and dependable as their famous antecedents.
Shortly after the TV documentary about David Beckham’s trip to the Amazon had aired, Motolegends decided to make a replica of the Beckham bike and better yet, decided to give it away in a competition.

This is their build story:

Motolegends Custom Bonne

We acquired a donor bike, a 2001 model, from a local ex-policeman. Even though it was over 10 years old, it had been meticulously looked after, and so presented an excellent starting point for the project. The build was actually incredibly simple, and although the end result is quite dramatic, the work is well within the scope of any budding ,‘bike-shed’ mechanic.
Part one was the strip-down. Off came the mudguards, the indicators, the rear grab rail, the exhaust, and so on.

Motolegends Custom Bonne

What was left was treated to a matt black paint job that included the wheels, fuel tank, engine casing, cylinder head and handlebars.

Motolegends Custom Bonne

The wheels were re-shod with Metzler Karoo 3s as per the original bike; rubber fork gaiters were added, the seat was re-trimmed, and a new rear mudguard and number plate holder was fabricated.

Motolegends Custom Bonne

The pièce de résistance, and the most expensive single part on the bike, was the Arrow exhaust. But it only comes in a metal finish, so it was sent off for a black ceramic coating. A bracket was fabricated, to allow it to hang correctly off the side of the bike.

Motolegends Custom Bonne

Final touches involved moving the rear brake master cylinder to a new location, as the rear brake positioning couldn’t have been at all convenient on the original bikes.
Discrete indicators were then fitted front and back. On the Amazon bikes there were no rear indicators; just front ones. The end result is a bike that somehow seems more than the sum of its parts.

Motolegends Custom Bonne

There are hugely complicated and intricate builds out there that sometimes fail to hit the spot. With the baffle removed, the bike sounds far better than a Bonneville has any right to. Being lighter than the original, it handles well, and the Metzeler tyres give a purposeful look, without any real detrimental effect as far as rideability and comfort are concerned. This bike is simplicity itself, yet has an undeniable wow factor to it.

To enter the competition, all you have to do is complete the entry form. Details on how to enter competition:

The only stipulations are that you must complete all the fields. We need your name, your home address, your email address, and a phone number. If any of the fields are empty, you won’t be entered. Sorry!

Motolegends will be announcing the winner during the NEC Motorcycle Show in November 2015.

Note: The entry form stipulates that you must be a UK resident in order to win. However I have been in contact with Motolegends and they have confirmed that the competition is open to ALL. However if someone were to win and lives outside of the UK then any overseas winner must expect responsibility for shipping, import duties, and so on.

See the bike at – BikeShed, Tobacco Dock 23 – 24 May, Beaulieu International Autojumble 5 – 6 September, Goodwood Festival of Speed 25 – 28 June and Motorcycle Live, NEC 28 Nov – 6 December

Anyway, good luck. All I can say is that the bike is a stunner, and I hope you’ll forgive me because when I say good luck I don’t really mean it, sorry but this is one competition I really want to win for myself ;)

Ride safe,

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