The T140 Bonneville arrived in 1973, a 750cc adaptation of the 650cc T120 Bonneville. Featuring a five-speed transmission, the 750cc T140 was a direct response to the popularity of 750cc bikes from Honda and the other Japanese manufacturers, which precipitated declining sales of the T120. Between 1973 and 1980, the T140 underwent many running changes, several to accommodate ever-stricter requirements in the United States, and was released in several special editions. The 1979 model year introduced the T140E, the “E” signifying that the bike was emissions compliant. The engine featured revised cylinder heads and new Amal carburetors. Which brings us to this model, which is a T140D Bonneville Special. Launched in 1979 and designed by Triumph’s Tom Higham, the Triumph T140D Bonneville Special was a styling exercise inspired by the Yamaha XS 650 Special. Several T140D features such as the top-mounted rear disc caliper and revised grabrail became standard on the T140E. The Bonneville Specials were finished in gold-pinstriped black with a stepped seat and seven-spoke USA-made Lester mag-alloy wheels and a tuned two-into-one exhaust for the USA market. The T140D had polished fork sliders and a shortened chrome mudguard fixed in place by its central bracing strip. The new-for-’79 T140D Bonneville Special, again it was mostly an appearance package. Both models of Bonnieville shared the same “E” engine, mandated by US Smog Regs. Other than Allen screws to replace Phillips on the outer covers, nothing really changed with the engines, with two notable exceptions. First, a new negative-ground electrical system was installed for the first time with a new 3-phase alternator. Then, the T140D got a slick new 2-in-1 header that was unique to the model & quite nice. Work was done to the shift mechanism to make neutral easier to find & to install a US-mandated Neutral Warning Lamp. Last year’s Velgia gauges returned sporatically, with Meriden logos on their faces. Although some units got through with Smiths gauges, presumably when Meriden paid its bill. Few changes were made to the frame & running gear. Slight mods to the steering head allowed the fork lock to be moved to make room for a new console between the gauges that housed the ignition swithch & warning lights. A lock for the folding seat was installed for the first time. The T140D’s swing arm was widened to make room for the uprated 4.25 X 18″ Dunlop TT100 rear tire. “D” models had higher footpegs by 2″ to clear the new exhaust system on the right. The T140D got special 7-spoke cast alloy wheels made by Lester (USA) finished in matte black with the rim & high spots polished. They were gorgeous! The front tire was now 4.10 X 19″, but the rear tire, which started out at 4.25 X 18″, had to be downsized to 4.10 X 18″ when it found they scraped when carrying a passenger. The Special moved the rear brake caliper to the top. Of course the most unique thing about this bike is its low mileage, the Veglia gauges – and like new condition!
Beloit, Wisconsin, United States