Rage Stewart’s 1969 Triumph Bonneville T100 “Buttercup”
Los Angeles denizen Rage Stewart has 12 bikes and says they are like 12 wives. He recently purchased this fine 1969 Triumph 500cc T100, and noted that he bought it like this but it needed a lot of “cleaning up.”
He says he found out about this Bonneville T100 at the Orange County Born Free show while on the hunt for something new: “I often get bikes and flip them but this one’s gonna be a keeper. When I’m a Grandpa this will be in my living room.”
The “Buttercup” name was inherited from the previous owner based upon the color, which has now been repainted. His idea was to go with an updated factory look, with the frame and tins all soaked in PPG Vibrance “Brown Sugar” and “Peanut Butter Pearl” by Mike Clary of Clary’s Custom Color in Lakewood, Calif.
Rage went through engine and polished it up, but nothing more. It has the original wiring and he needs to fix the pipe wrap. He is “thinking about adding small front brakes because with only a rear drum brake I must plan all stops in advance. I ride it. It’s not meant to be a museum piece.” There are no signals or instrumentation. He says the big thing now is getting his brain accustomed to the brake pedal on the left and shifter on the right.
He likes a minimalist look. He’s had it for only two months, as of our photo shoot, but has gotten right into perfecting this T100 as he thinks it should be done. “It needed a lot of little things. All the nuts and bolts (were pitted). I gotta go through a lot of stuff. Nothing would tighten anymore. It’s an old bike. It needs a little love and it will always need a little love.”
Here is a statement from Rage about the earlier metamorphosis of the machine: “It’s been rebuilt in every aspect over a two-year span. Wheels have been re-chromed and laced with stainless steel Buchanan spokes. New brake pads with fresh powder coated drum and wheel hub. Motor completely gone through, sandblasted, piston, valves, gaskets, etc. by Tim Hickerson at Century Motorcycles in San Pedro Calif. (with only 12-15 hours on the re-build motor). All the motor covers and rocker boxes were sent to polish”
Rage installed a Boyer magneto (battery eliminator). Riders of magneto equipped machines will agree when he says, “I have to keep the revs up a night. I try to avoid the night.”
His list goes on, “Mooneyes aluminum oil can, custom molded original English hard tail with a 2″ drop and 4″ stretch. One-off double wheeled chain tensioner. 21″ front wheel with aluminum Harley hub wrapped with Avon speed master. 18″ rear wheel with a Firestone Deluxe. The front end has been lowered 3”, forks shaved and re-chromed. It won 1st place for Best European Custom at the Tank Farm Vintage Motorcycle Show in Seal Beach, Calif.”
Buttercup will be entered into the Ultimate Builder Bike Competition at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach this November. Go check it out and vote for it if it pleases you as much as it does me.
Photos by Jonathan Handler