Not long after I took delivery of a Triumph T214 Bonneville, I realized I had made a mistake – not in buying the bike, but by buying it without a passenger grab rail around the rear of the two-up seat.While the bike looks leaner and cleaner without a grab rail, the simple fact is, it’s a lot easier to move the bike around with the grab rail and it provides a place to hook bungee cords and baggage to.
So, recognizing the error of my ways, I got in touch with Baxter Cycle in Marne, Iowa, ( HYPERLINK “http://www.baxtercycle.com/” http://www.baxtercycle.com/ ) where I got the bike and ordered the grab rail. Since the bike has a blacked out engine and black frame for the competition look it is designed to commemorate, I ordered the rail in black and it looks great and looks stout enough to pull stumps.After getting some pointers on the installation from the folks at Baxter Cycle, I gathered up my ratchets, Torx T30 driver, thread locker and 5.0mm Allen wrench and went to work.Much as I love this Triumph, I will admit to having no love for the way the seat attaches to the bike. Up front there is a molded-in hook that goes into an opening at the rear of the fuel tank. Twin steel hooks protrude down from the seat pan that also hook under a cross-piece on the frame and finally, at the rear, there are twin Allen head cap screws with stepped spacers that have to be removed to take the seat off.It is a pain to take the seat off to get at the battery and all else that is tucked under the seat. The 5.0mm Allen wrench necessary to take the seat off is provided and is tucked in behind one of the side covers—which both also require a tool to remove.Now, admittedly this is not a really big deal; an inconvenience at most, but it is ironic that as long ago as 1959, the Triumph line-up included models with the “hinged twinseat” feature that allowed the seat to be lifted in an instant.Once the seat is removed, the next step is to drop the rear fender out of the way. The cap screws that secure the front of the grab rail must go into pre-tapped holes on the inside aspect of the top of the rear shock mount. There isn’t enough clearance to get them in with the fender in place, so disconnecting the fender and lowering it down out of the way is necessary. Only four Torx head cap screws hold the fender in place, so it is a quick task.The next step is to slip the grab rail into place. Since it’s a little difficult to align things up under the rear of the frame, this takes a little fettling. To help hold the rail in the general area, it’s helpful to partially thread in one of the four cap screws that is provided that secure the rear of the rail to the rear-most frame cross piece.Then, with a little threadlocker on each, the Torx head cap screws that secure the front ends of the grab rail can be threaded in—but don’t tighten them all the way just yet. Putting in the remaining three cap screws at the rear cross piece of the frame is a lot easier if the grab rail is loose enough to move around a little to align all the holes. Once all of them are started, again each with a little thread locker in place, then all the capscrews can be tightened down.Next, the step I was sure would be a hassle—the reattachment of the fender. Much to my surprise—and delight—this step went easily. The four screws aligned with their respective holes easily and it was simple matter of re-tightening them.Reinstalling the seat is the final step and the awkward process of trying to see and handle the two Allen head capscrews without dropping the stepped spacers or cross-threading the screws under the rear of the seat was completed. Total project time was a little over an hour.Maybe somebody will offer a seat hinge kit sometime soon…hint hint.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.