Real Classic - - From the Front - Frank West­worth [email protected]­

Atip of the hat to Stu­art Urquhart, whose ter­rific tale about a Tri­umph opens this month’s is­sue. The bike’s a Royal Wed­ding Bon­nie, one of Meri­den’s oc­ca­sional at­tempts at boost­ing the ap­peal of their only slightly ar­chaic twins by latch­ing onto a lit­tle pa­tri­otic ap­peal. Or not – those Bon­nies sold well over­seas, as well as in the UK. And in­deed, Stu­art’s test vic­tim is an ex­port model. I have some fond mem­o­ries of those, too.

Many years ago, I was an un­will­ing par­tic­i­pant in a de­cently de­struc­tive traf­fic ac­ci­dent, one re­sult of which was that I couldn’t walk for quite a while and couldn’t ride for a while longer. And the first bike I rode after the shunt was an ex­port T140 LE Royal Wed­ding, ex­actly like the one in this month’s story. I loved it – but un­der­stood even then that a bike with so much shine was never go­ing to have an easy life in The Shed. Clean­ing and pol­ish­ing have never been my forte.

The bike’s owner sug­gested that I might pre­fer the UK ver­sion? I looked around his show­room and failed to see one. He agreed that my eye­sight hadn’t en­tirely failed or be­come too se­lec­tive for its own good. He didn’t have one in stock, but he knew where there was one for sale. Good sales­men usu­ally do know things like this. Of course the UK bike duly ar­rived, and I duly rode it. Sil­ver frame, chrome tank, cast wheels and twin discs, as well as an al­most en­tirely black-coated en­gine and a noted lack of spu­ri­ous bling. I bought a TR65 in­stead. Caprice is as capri­cious does, they say.

But I never for­got it. Many, many years later, an­other trader friend showed me an­other Bon­nie, and at first I thought it was an­other of the Royal Wed­ding ma­chines, and dis­played my re­sound­ing ex­pert knowl­edge of Tri­umph twins by shar­ing it. ‘Not quite,’ sug­gested my friend. ‘It’s a Royal.’ And in­deed it was. The Royal was a lot less glam than the UK Royal Wed­ding, but just as func­tional. I bought it on the spot, hav­ing a rare im­pul­sive mo­ment.

It ran re­ally well, that Tri­umph. I tried re­ally hard to like it. But I didn’t. I just didn’t. In the end I sold it to an­other friend who didn’t like it enough to keep it ei­ther, so he sold it on again. These are great bikes, these late Tri­umph twins. They re­ally are. But that doesn’t mean we all have to like rid­ing them. Be­cause we are not all the same, de­spite what some might tell you…

Ride safely!

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