How to Restore Triumph Bonneville T140

If Mark Paxton’s new book from Veloce Publishing, “How to Restore Triumph Bonneville T140,” had been available back when I had my 1977 Silver Jubilee Triumph Bonneville, I would have happily paid the cover price of $70 (USD) and would have been smart to do so.

That silver and blue T140 I had acquired was a gorgeous bike, but that is not to say it didn’t need all the usual mechanical TLC British bikes of that vintage need, plus a few items of repair besides.

How to Restore Triumph Bonneville T140Among those items were some wiring issues and the rear hydraulic disc brake. Had I had Paxton’s book back then, the wiring mysteries would have been but minor problems and the rear brake work considerably less of a pain.

The book covers 750cc twin-cylinder models built from 1973 to 1983. In it, Paxton carefully documents the total restoration of a 1979 T140E. The completely restored bike is a testament to both his mechanical skill—and his courage. Here is his assessment of the project bike as-acquired:

“My Triumph didn’t appear at all bad sitting in the autumn sun, but looks can be deceptive. The fuel was a sinking, sludgy brown slime, the carbs were stuck solid, and the petrol taps bunged up. The front master cylinder was empty of fluid and the front caliper was solid. The rear brake was also seized, and, by the feel of the lever, so was the clutch.

“Cosmetically, it was let down by non-standard paintwork, which was peeling from what appeared, initially, to be a leaking tank equipped with non-standard and partially missing decals. The frame had patches of scabby rust and flaking powder coat.

“The tires were rock hard, although it was obvious that neither had seen any miles since being fitted, which made me very suspicious about why the bike had come off the road in the first place. There was no battery, just to round things off, but there were four packets of fuses, which indicated that electrical problems were sure to be on the list of defects.”

On that list, he didn’t even mention the non-standard after-market oil cooler and oil filter modifications he had to deal with. All things considered, most people would probably be inclined to think twice about attempting the restoration of something like this—but fortunately for those of us with less nerve and skill, Paxton takes it on and takes the reader along for the educational ride.

In the book’s eleven chapters, which are comprehensively illustrated with 957 clear color and black and white images, Paxton takes on every system, assembly and problem on his way to completion of the pavement-up restoration. He also provides sage advice on the tools and chemicals to have, workspace and safety. He also points out the difference between his book and a true model-specific shop manual and parts list and the value of having and using each if such a project is in the reader’s future.

By the end of the book, his project Triumph motorcycle looks as-new and proves that with time, planning, the right tools, skills and information, even a badly compromised British classic can be restored to its former glory.

Title: How to Restore Triumph Bonneville T140

  • Author: Mark Paxton
  • Published: 2017 Paperback. 160 pages. Measures 8.0” x 10.6.”
  • Publisher: Veloce Publishing, Parkway Farm Business Park, Middle Farm Way, Poundbury, Dorchester, DT1 3AR, England
  • ISBN: 978-1-787111-49-3   MSRP: U.S. $70.00 U.K. £45, CAN. $91.00