Triumph Bonneville – A Personal Moto Blog One regular guy's experience with a 2008 Hinckley Triumph Bonneville and after market products, do-it-yourself garage modifications, racing and rides! Thu, 23 Apr 2020 11:15:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Triumph Bonneville – A Personal Moto Blog 32 32 2019 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride – Madison, WI Tue, 20 Aug 2019 12:23:11 +0000

2019 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

September 29, 2019 - Madison, WI

I will be participating in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride again this year on Sunday, September 29, 2019, in Madison, Wisconsin. I think this is my 5th or 6th time participating since this event began.

This global event raises awareness and funds for men’s health issues… prostate cancer research and mental health issues, to be more specific.

If you care about these issues as I do, please consider sponsoring me on this ride using the button below! Your donation will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your support!


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Illinois iPass Rule Changes for Motorcycles is a Bust Fri, 25 May 2018 11:31:54 +0000

Illinois i-Pass Rule Changes for Motorcycles

Like most Illinois motorists, I received an email from the Illinois Tollway Authority in December 2017, notifying me of a change in the iPass rules. The state in its wisdom had decided that every vehicle using the iPass system must have a working iPass mounted to it, or the vehicle would be charged the full toll price instead of the half-price reserved for iPass users.

As an Illinois motorcycle rider, and like most other Illinois riders I know, I had become comfortable and familiar with registering my motorcycle license plate to my iPass account and allowing the toll video feature to take a photo of my license plate and then charge my account. This system worked great for a number of years.

So, being the good citizen that I am, I went to their online link and purchased a new separate iPass to be used for my motorcycle. It arrived in January 2018. I registered it in my online iPass account to my motorcycle license plate. It sat unused until May 2018 when I started riding and using it on the tollways.

I had previously purchased a handlebar mount for the iPass at a website called Wrap ID Pass. I had the iPass mounted at the highest point on my 2008 Bonneville which is the handlebars. I also positioned the iPass inside the pouch/holder with the back side up, similar to how it is mounted when used inside on a vehicle windshield.

On May 22, 2018 I received an email, again from the Illinois Tollway Authority, stating that:

License plate XXXXXX has incurred more than five video tolls this month. As a result, for the remainder of this month, subsequent video tolls on this license plate will be charged at a full cash rate instead of the discount I-PASS rate.

So, being the responsible citizen that I am, I called the Illinois Tollway Authority the same day to get to the bottom of thie issue. The “customer service” representative took awhile to comprehend my issue. Once they did, they could offer no solution other than that I take the iPass to an authorized tollway office to have the iPass unit tested.

I did note to the customer service representative that it is highly unusual, and almost unheard of today for a customer purchase an electronic product, and then have to take it physically somewhere top have it tested! I can’t think of another situation where this occurs. No real response to that…. surprise!

So, I took the iPass to the Illinois Tollway Authority Headquarters at 2700 Ogden Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515 on May 23, 2018. The customer service person there, understood my issue more quickly, and took my iPass unit behind the counter and “tested” it. No surprise that it passed due as the expiration date on it was 06/26. The customer service person looked at my Wrap ID Pass, asked questions about how and where it was mounted. All she could come up with was that the iPass was mounted to near “metal” which blocks the signal. I pointed out that the entire motorcycle is made of “metal.”

She suggested that I put the iPass in my jacket pocket located up higher and away from the “metal.” She also gave me a new iPass in case the one she tested was, in fact, defective in some way. I rode home from that meeting with it in my pocket and it still did not register going through the toll booth.

I have some questions for the Illinois Tollway Authority:

  • Did you do the appropriate research to know that your technology solution would work on all validly licensed vehicles in Illinois?
  • Why would you select a technology that was highly “metal” sensitive, since all motor vehicles are mostly composed of “metal”?
  • What is the difference between mounting an iPass at the top of a windshield, inches away from a huge metal roof, to mounting it on the font highest point of a motorcycle’s handlebars?
  • What is to be gained by this rule change other than to require law-abiding citizens to jump through additional regulations, and to purchase additional items, and then to penalize them financially (ie, a tax) when that required system doesn’t work?

I am left to conclude that yet again, Illinois is determined to drive away, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens with yet another “tax” by making up regulations that don’t make any sense in the real world, and that don’t actually work.

It is way past time for me to exit this state!

Elkhorn Half-Mile Flat Track Racing Mon, 02 Oct 2017 16:34:36 +0000

Elkhorn Half-Mile Flat Track Races

On Saturday, September 30, 2017, I rode my 2008 Bonneville from the Chicago area to Elkhorn, Wisconsin, with a buddy, to attend the Elkhorn Half-Mile Flat Track races at the Walworth County Fairgrounds. The grandstands were packed full of spectators as the various singles class heat races took place, and then the twins heat races.
I have to say I was very impressed by the size of the crowd for such a local flavor and type of event. I have been to many other AMA Pro Flat Track events, that did not have much more spectators than this event.
The event was simple and straightforward, focusing entirely on the racing and competition. There were no “umbrella girls”, massive sponsor ads, or fancy equipment. Everything was local and home-grown.
Judging by the t-shirt and clothing brands and slogans, there were fans there supporting every imaginable motorcycle manufacturer and brand including Harley-Davidson, Indian, Triumph, Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, KTM, Kawasaki and more.

We saw many very nicely preserved vintage bikes as well.

One highlight for me was the swap meet that was winding down as we arrived for the racing event. One of the first vendors I walked up to had this 1963-1979 Clymer Triumph Twins Repair Manual laying out on display. I picked it up for $10.

Biltwell Recoil Handgrips Sun, 16 Jul 2017 23:13:34 +0000

Biltwell Recoil Handgrips

I’ve been using the 1″ Granturismo black handlebar grips from Bellacorse for a number of years now.
This April, I went on a 4 day trip with some buddies to visit Aerostich in Duluth, Minnesota and we ran into some rainy, cold weather on the way. At Aerostich, I picked up a pair of Triple Digit Covers, which are really nice weatherprood nylon rain covers designed to fit over your regular gloves and keep them dry. Using them on the way home I realized how hard it was to keep a grip on the Granturismo rubber material when wet. They are harder rubber/plastic in makeup than most of your modern, more “gummy” hand grips.
So, I went online and did some research, discovering the Biltwell Recoil Grips in the process. They have a similar shape to the Ganturismo’s – which I like – but are made of softer, “gummier” material, with a nice “cross-hatch” grip pattern.

So, I used my trusty Amazon Prime account to order a pair of Biltwell GR-GCY-01-BK Black 1″ Recoil Grips for $17.95. They arrived 2 days later as promised!

After they arrived and I inspected them, I realized they were not designed for bar-end mirrors. They had having closed just like the Granturismo’s. In the past I have cut off the ends by hand with box cutters, with varying degrees of success on the cleanliness of that cut. I wanted the finish look of the Recoils to be better, so I went back online to do some research. Using trusty Google, within a few minutes I discovered that Motion-Pro made a handy kit specifically for this purpose that includes 1″ and 7/8″ cutters. So, I ordered the Motion Pro 08-0335 Grip End Cutter from Amazon for $24.29, which arrived 2 days later!
Today, I had a chance to use the cutter and then install the grips on my 2008 Bonneville. The Motion-pro cutter worked flawlessly. I screwed the 1″ cutter onto the end of the punch shaft, inserted it into the Biltwell grip, laid the end of the grip against a piece of scrap wood, and hammered it a couple of times until it cut through the end of the grip. I pulled it out and inspected my work and voila, a perfectly round 1″ hole at the end of the grip! I repeated the process on the other grip, and was ready to install them.

Next, I removed my CRG Hindsight Lanesplitter Bar End Mirrors with Billet Internal Adapters that I had purchased from Revzilla and installed in June of 2016.

I know from experience how much work it can be to get the Granturismo grips off, so to make things easy and take less time, I simply sliced them off with a heavy duty, sharp box cutter.

Following the instructions on the Biltwell box, I used WD-40 to lubricate the inside of the grips, and the outside of the bars, and just slid them on and into place. Within minutes they were dry enough and good to go.

Then I re-installed the CRG mirrors and positioned them for optimum rear viewing. Once I had everything back in place and checked over, I took it out for a spin. Wow, what a difference! The Recoils are so much more comfortable than the Ganturismo’s, and require less grip to twist and maintain the throttle position. My hands immediately fell in love with the new grips!

Here are the results of today’s work.

I am very pleased with how this upgrade and modification went, both in function and in visual appeal. The acid test will be when I ride on the next rainy day and test out the Aerostich Triple Digits on these grips. I am pretty confident my grip is going to be much easier and better with these than when compared with the harder, slicker surface Granturismo’s.

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New YSS Shocks (or Now, I Don’t Want A Tiger So Much, Anymore…) Sat, 15 Jul 2017 23:19:35 +0000


In a previous post, I mentioned Aad and Mike Schram, a father-son team who rode around the world. Aad (the dad) made the trip on a Bonneville T-100. Along their journey, the pair stopped in at the YSS headquarters in Thailand. Aad had been running the same shocks I have been: a pair of Hagon 2810’s. So, his story about replacing them caught my attention. His shocks had finally given out. While at YSS, the R&D technicians mapped a new design for the suspension of the Bonneville and produced a set of rear shocks and fork adjustments that would make the Bonneville a lot more ADV capable — able to handle punishing roads, or even non-existent ones, with ease.

Aad and Mike run Nomad-ADV in their home country of The Netherlands. Through Nomad-ADV, they are selling the suspension configuration developed for them by YSS. I got in touch with Aad and discussed my wants. Since my bike is a mag wheel Bonnie, I don’t have the 19 inch front wheel that Aad’s T-100 has. I was concerned that might make a negative difference. But, we decided to forge ahead and try to arrive at a good configuration for a Bonneville with 17 inch front wheel.

I decided to do this project in two phases: install Scrambler length rear shocks first, then add 20mm (and a PD Valve) to the front forks. To make the fork adjustments, I have to send the forks to The Netherlands, so that Aad can modify them and send them back to me. If nothing else, that sounds to me like something I should wait until winter to do. 😉

Aad presented me with two rear shock options:

  1. The RZ, which has adjustable damping, adjustable compression and adjustable length (+/- 5mm each way)
  2. The RG, which has all of the features of the RZ, plus adjustable rebound. The RG has an external reservoir.

I decided to go with the RZ’s and ordered them from Mike (Aad’s son) on June 16. I received them 3 weeks later. Nice and fast!

Installation Day

One of the first things I noticed about the YSS Shocks was the bushings. They don’t use a rubber bushing like my Hagon’s did. Instead, they use a sealed metal bushing, which pivots inside the eyelet. I like this — I’m thinking it will not deteriorate as severely over time as the Hagon bushing did.

The 360mm YSS RZ, from Nomad-ADV.


My 330mm Hagon 2810’s. These are almost 4 years old, now.


Sadly, I realized I was going to have to remove the exhaust to do this work. I *hate* removing the exhaust, especially the one on the right side. For some reason, it’s a REAL pain in the ass to remove.


A comparison of my outgoing Hagon 2810’s and the incoming YSS RZ. That extra 30mm really shows!

After removing the Hagons, I gave them a close inspection. Overall, they’ve done well. But, I can see the bushings beginning to deteriorate. So, it’s good that I’m removing them.

Close-up of the removed Hagon 2810.


The new RZ in place.

Exhaust re-mounted and Holan frame re-attached.


Everything back on and buttoned up! (Except for my focus, apparently…)

Right side detail.

With the extra 30mm, the rear wheel is now at almost the exact same height as my Triumph center stand. As such, it makes the center stand a little bit more wobbly than I expected. Not sure what to do about that.

YSS RZ rear shocks, seen from the rear.

Also, the raised rear wheel gives a bit more lean on the sidestand. I may end up getting a Scrambler sidestand, to help equalize things.

A new posture: raised rear wheel = more lean on the sidestand.



I took her for a ride after finishing everything. What a joy! Around where I live, there are some streets that are concrete slab and which don’t have the smoothest transition at the expansion joints. After the rear shock switch, I still felt those bumps — but, only through the handlebars.

More important was the railroad crossing test. We have some pretty rough crossings where I typically have to stand (a good practice anyway!) in order to avoid bottoming out the rear. With the new RZ’s, those crossings were dead easy. Very pleased! I continued my ride to some of the crappiest roads I know around here (Butterfield Road, anyone?) and the experience was very smooth.

Also, now that the back end is up higher, the front drops into corners more quickly. This, along with a 17 inch front wheel, makes for an extremely nimble Bonnie. This will diminish after the front fork extension work is done. But, until then, it’s more fun!

Until now, I had been thinking in the back of my mind, “If you’re really serious about taking your riding off of the pavement, you may need to seriously think about a Tiger, an F800, a KLR650 or a KTM, in order to get the ground clearance you need.” After today’s installation, though, I’m not so sure that will really be necessary.

If you’re like me and looking to adventurize your Bonneville, increased ground clearance and suspension travel are two things you’ll need to address. The YSS setup from the fine father-and-son team at Nomad-ADV will definitely get you on the right track. Please, drop by their website. Also, check out their travel blog. It’s inspiring stuff!


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The History of Triumph Motorcycles Video Tue, 18 Apr 2017 15:56:19 +0000
Here’s a great video putting the entire history of Triumph Motorcycles in a single little neat package.

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Holan Racer Panniers for the Bonneville Mon, 20 Mar 2017 13:29:08 +0000

UPDATE: 5/2/2017

Just back from the Duluth trip. After 5 days of cold temperatures, rain and even some rain mixed with snow, plus your basic horizontal prairie rain storm, the panniers stayed bone dry. They also stood up well to an accidental bike drop. Very happy.



I’m an adventure spectator. I like watching the videos of the back country discovery routes, I’ve watched Ewan and Charlie ride “The Long Way Round” and I will probably watch their second series, “Long Way Down” (Scotland to Africa).

I’ve driven ’round Newfoundland and envied the riders on their ADV bikes (Triumph Tigers, mostly) from my rental car. I’ve read “Jupiter’s Travels”. I listen to the Adventure Rider Radio podcast (and have spent a small fortune on their sponsor products). A lot of these dreams will probably stay dreams. But, it’s healthy to dream.

I’m working my way toward longer touring, in small steps. Duluth and Lake Superior are my next steps, this coming spring. I’d like to see what I can do to change my Bonneville’s status from commuter bike to something a little bit more ADV-ish.

So, after reading about some folks who are traveling the world on a couple Bonnevilles and a Yamaha, I became interested in the panniers they were using. They’ve chosen some made by an firm in Poland, called Holan. Before releasing their own pannier design to market, Holan had been a manufacturer for Touratech. As they broke off on their own and expanded their design portfolio, Holan added designs for the Bonneville to the normal stable of pannier designs for Triumph Tigers, KTMs and BMWs. The folks from Earth Roamers chose Holan’s pannier for their Bonnevilles and, after two years of constant travel, they seem to be holding up quite well.

Now, my Bonneville a) is a mag wheel version, which is smaller than the Earth Roamers’ T100s and b) has slightly upswept exhausts, where the T100’s are more of a straight line. My exhaust will interfere with the square, stock pannier design — which is quite tall. Holan recently came out with a design to accommodate this type of exhaust: the Racer Pannier. I liked the look of it well enough to give it a try. So, I ordered a pair.

The experience of working with Holan

Well, it can be a bit of a challenge. They don’t tend to be very communicative. You place your order, you see it enter a status of “Payment Accepted” and then you watch it stay that way for about a month. Or more. Then, one day, suddenly the order is marked complete. There was no intermediate “In Production” stage. You do not get a tracking number, as the shipment is sitting in customs, in Germany, for however long customs wants to take with it. After it clears customs, if you ask Holan, they will get you the UPS tracking number. But, they will not simply send you the tracking number as a matter of course.

Now, when all was done, I did not come out of the experience feeling in any way dissatisfied. But, be forewarned, you will not find it like ordering from Amazon, or RevZilla. It takes more work than that. If you can handle that, please read on.

The Pannier Frame

The Holan Racer Pannier Frame

Last fall, I ordered Holan’s frame and installed it. It’s a solid piece — really heavy duty. A couple years ago, I converted some ammo cans into panniers and mounted them on some very wobbly frames, for a weekend trip. These are much sturdier.

Ideally, the frame should probably be off the bike to facilitate fitting the mounting hardware as tightly as possible. In a case where you order the frame and the panniers together, this will probably be how you do this project. But, since I had already installed the frames, I decided to leave them on the bike and trace the profile onto the boxes, before fitting the mounting hardware. You’ll see the details in a minute.

Arrival and Unboxing

A box from overseas! 🙂

…with a couple pretty black boxes inside.


Featuring optional carrying handle.

Mounting hardware. You have to mount this to the pannier yourself.

One other point on the experience — there are no instructions for installing the mounting hardware. Now, I knew about this from a video where Ron West installed Holan panniers on his BMW, so I expected this. But, it was still a bit of a disappointment that the only instructions are on Holan’s site in the form of a CAD illustration of the finished product — that’s it. So, you have to be inclined to figure it out for yourself. I generally am. But, the realization that you can drill a hole in the wrong place (leaving you with a NOT waterproof pannier) can be a little nerve wracking.

This is all the instruction you’ll get. It’s enough for some, I suppose.

Product Overview

Taking a close inspection of the pannier, I was very pleased with the workmanship. I may have been disappointed with the lack of instructions, but I was not at all disappointed with the build quality.

I chose the optional matching keyed locks for these. They are very good locks.

The locks serve as hinges, as well. This is a detail of the lock on the opposite side of the pannier. The lid is pivoting open on this lock.

There is some really nice welding that goes into the construction of these. The black powder coating is nicely done, too.


As I said, earlier, I positioned the panniers along the installed pannier frame and traced the outline on the pannier box. This can be a little inaccurate, so if you follow the same process, you should check your work as you go. I found that it’s best to install two of the three mounting points and then check how it’s fitting. Doing that will help you get the best position for the third mounting point, and the best overall fit when the pannier is mounted to the frame.

Tracing the inside circle of the frame onto the pannier.

Aligning the brackets to the outline.

You will need three drill bit sizes for this project. The main bolts involved are 8mm and 6mm. In addition to that, there are two stabilizing fasteners — one is a lag screw and the other is a bolt and nut combination. These are both 2mm. (All measurements taken with caliper and quoted from memory.) My drill bits didn’t cover the two larger sizes, so I had to buy some. Of course, my local Ace only had SAE — no metric. The ones that come closest are shown below.

The nearest equivalent to 6mm and 8mm.

Ad-Hoc Instructions.

From this point on, I’d like to treat this write-up as a fill-in for the instructions that I would like to have received. These will be somewhat informal, so I hope you’ll indulge me. I’ll try my best.

We’ll start with what I’m calling the anchor point, or “Bracket A”.

Bracket ‘A’: the anchor point. This is the part that grabs the frame first. (2 x 25mm M6x1.0 allen head bolts.)

NOTE: the photo shows an incorrect mounting. The external metal bracket is threaded. If I had thought it through better, I would have realized that the bolt heads should be inside the pannier box, with the tail end of the bolt grabbing the threads in the bracket and securing the whole thing from within. I didn’t catch on yet, before taking the photo. You should take note.

“Bracket B” is located directly above Bracket A. In addition to the primary bolt, this bracket is stabilized with a secondary stabilizing bolt and nut. You’ll see the hole for it in the interior picture, below.

Bracket B.

Bracket B, inside the pannier. The second, smaller hole is where you drive through a small stabilizing bolt and secure it with a nut.

It’s at this point that you should take the pannier to the frame and check the fit of the two mounting points you have just installed. Bring the hardware for the third and final mounting point along with you, and mark where you should drill the holes for it, taking into account how the first two points are lining up with the frame.

This last mounting point is “Bracket C” — the corner bracket. It consists of a primary bolt, which secures a V bracket over the pannier frame, using tension. In addition, this mounting point is stabilized through the use of a lag screw, which is driven into the plastic puck from inside the pannier box, using a T20 torx bit.

Bracket C.

Stabilizing lag screw, for bracket C.

Stabilizing lag screw for bracket C will require a T20 torx bit, to drive it in.

Bracket C inside the pannier. It is stabilized with the previously shown lag screw, which threads into the plastic puck, on the outside of the pannier.

Both Bracket B and Bracket C have tension adjuster knobs screwed onto the main bolt, on the interior side of the pannier wall. The bolt threads receive a black nylon end nut as a cover for the thread ends.

Tension adjuster knob and nylon cap. (Bracket C.)

All brackets in place. Ready to fit the pannier to the frame.

“Wait: so, what about Bracket A?”, you may ask. After all, mounting those bolts backward can’t possibly have provided anything like a solid fastening — there were no nuts! Exactly so. That’s why I ran to the hardware store and bought 2 M6x1.0 bolts that were 5mm longer (30mm), along with some M6x1.0 nuts. Those are what you see in the photos, doing what the Holan designers intended the 25mm bolts to do when driven in from the inside of the pannier. I will probably change it within the next week.


Reverse and repeat.

Adventure Bonnie is ready for a trip. (Even if it’s only to the grocery store, for now.)


I have yet to log any long distance miles with these panniers. But, so far, I’m really happy with them.

  • Sturdy, high quality construction.
  • Waterproof.
  • Lockable (if you add the option).
  • Endorsed by experienced riders.
  • Communication throughout the production process can be a bit scarce. Be prepared to nag them.
  • Lack of instructions for installation. (Hopefully, this blog post fixes that.)

If you’re looking for some good hard luggage for your Bonneville, I can wholeheartedly endorse Holan’s. Check them out. And let us know if you have any questions.

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The BSA brand may be coming back? Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:01:33 +0000
Here’s an interesting new development for British motorcycle brand enthusiasts!


Read more here:

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EFI Tuning – Triumph Twin Power Fri, 07 Oct 2016 11:52:30 +0000
My bike is an EFI Bonneville. Tuning it is a different procedure from tuning a carbureted bike. Tuning an EFI involves computers and software and, even though I program for my living, on most days I feel I’ve had enough of computers. Fortunately, this isn’t too difficult.

Why Custom Tune?

Not long after I got my Bonneville, I started hearing all about the merits of removing your O2 sensors, removing the airbox (or the baffle from inside, but leaving the box — an alternative that has the advantage of leaving behind a little extra waterproofing), removing air injection and adding “free flowing exhaust”. Once you’ve made these mods, you want to tune your engine to take full advantage of them.

Randy has documented performing this kind of tune on his carbureted Bonneville — I thought I’d write up how I did it on my EFI Bonneville.

Tune Software

The primary app people use to carry out their tune is TuneECU.

From its website,

“TuneECU is a software for  reprogramming, diagnosis and testing of the Engine Control Unit (ECU)
fitted to Electronic Fuel Injected (EFI) models from Triumph, KTM, Aprilia Benelli, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Gilera, BMW, Husqvarna & Moto Morini. “

The home page of the TuneECU site contains some rather scary warnings about use of the software and how dangerous it can be in the wrong hands. Fair enough. But, no need to be scared: a sizable community has grown up around it. You can find a lot written about its use on Triumphrat. Some examples:

The aftermarket tune community have a lot of “homebrew” tunes. These tunes are free (usually) and can be found at various places online. Often, people take these tunes to their local dealer’s dyno to use as the basis for a customized tune for their bike.

Time on a dyno at my local dealer is fairly expensive. But, in the discussions I read on Triumphrat, I learned about Triumph Twin Power (TTP) (owned by Mike Cripps, aka “PieMan” — you can hear an interview with him on the Cafe Racer podcast).

TTP sells several tunes for Triumph Twins, each one customized for a combination of modifications:

  • airbox removed, or only airbox baffle removed
  • short free flowing exhaust, or long free flowing exhaust, or just TORS
  • performance cams
  • 2-into-1 configuration
  • etc…

By my last count, he has 17 different tunes for the Bonneville alone. He has other sections covering Scrambler, Speedmaster and Thruxton.

Mike has designed each of these tunes around a dyno run with the specific model of twin (Bonneville, Thruxton, Speedmaster or Scrambler), fitted with the specific modifications. My configuration is:

This configuration is covered by Mike’s Bonneville tune #3.

I should mention that when you purchase a tune from him, it comes with a custom version of TuneECU.

Well, enough background. Let’s get on with the process.

Things You Need

Prepping for an EIF tune installation.

Prepping for an EFI tune installation.

You need very little, but a lot of what you need is fairly atypical for an “ordinary” day of motorcycle maintenance.

First, you need a bike. (Okay: that’s not atypical — that’s a constant…)

First (really!), you need an ODB-2 cable.

ODB2 cable. This one was purchased from Triumph Twin Power.

ODB2 cable. This one was purchased from Triumph Twin Power.

One of the above links goes to a thread on Triumphrat, where people discuss the fact that there are good cables and there are bad cables. I bought mine from Triumph Twin Power and I’d recommend you do the same.

Computer Configuration

You will need a computer and it’s got to be a Windows computer.

Before you connect the ODB2 cable to your computer, you will need to install drivers for it. I know that sounds like a pain, but it’s really pretty easy. The instructions for installing the drivers and the download link are here. I chose to download the EXE (rather than downloading the DLLs and having to find where / how to install them) for my OS (Windows 10) and ran it as administrator. It installed the drivers without any problems.

The tune process can take about 30 minutes, at most. Before you begin, make sure your computer isn’t set to go to sleep, or has any other power saver features enabled. You can re-enable them later, if they’re important to you. But, turn them off for now. You don’t want the tune process interrupted. For that reason, I’d also recommend using a laptop, so that you won’t need to worry about power outages. (Built-in battery backup, and all that.)

Windows PC. (I'm ordinarily a Mac user. But, I can flex...)

Windows PC. (I’m ordinarily a Mac user. But, I can flex…)


I can’t stress this enough: *ventilate!*. You will be running your bike at idle for at least 10 minutes, maybe as much as 20. If you’re in a garage, you need to move the air in and out of your space. Carbon monoxide poisoning sneaks up on you.

Garage fan. Indispensable in the hot summer, also vital for this particular task...

Garage fan. Indispensable in the hot summer, also vital for this particular task…

Prep Work

Establishing a connection between bike and computer requires a good healthy charge from your battery for the duration of the exercise. You will have your ignition on, but you won’t have your engine running, for at least 3 minutes (based on my experiences). So, there are a couple things you should do to prepare for this.

First, about an hour before you start, I’d recommend hooking your battery up to a battery tender. There are many ways to do this: one of the most common is to hook directly to the battery terminals (just like you were going to jump start your bike). In my case, I have added a Powerlet outlet to my bike, on an unswitched circuit. So, I can simply plug my battery tender directly into the Powerlet socket and my battery will receive a trickle charge. This will help get your battery up to its best level for the work to come.

Connecting a battery tender through the bike's Powerlet socket.

Connecting a battery tender through the bike’s Powerlet socket.

You’ll also want to disable any device that puts a drain on your battery. The instructions from TTP suggest pulling fuse number 9 (shown below), which powers the headlight. I suggest additionally pulling #8, which is the 5 amp fuse to the left (sadly, not pulled in the photo), which powers the tail light. With both fuses pulled, you should have little trouble with low battery charge during this operation.

Fuse number 9 pulled. Consider also pulling the fuse to the left of it.

Fuse number 9 pulled (fifth position, top row). Consider also pulling the 5 amp fuse immediately to the left of it (number 8).

Finally, you will need to remove the seat. This will give you access to the ECM connection cable, on your bike.

Seat removed.

Seat removed.

Hmm: and I was worried about bugs in the *software*...

Hmm: and I was worried about bugs in the *software*…

Installation Steps

This section will mostly be screenshots, as Tuneloader’s onscreen directions are pretty clear and very straightforward. HOWEVER, there are one or two details that were not mentioned in the instructions. I will be calling those out, here.

Connecting the cable to the ECU.

Connecting the cable to the ECU. The other end is a USB connection, and connects to your computer’s USB port.

Launching TuneECU. Remember to Run as Administrator!...

Launching TuneECU. Remember to Run as Administrator!…

Yes. You really do want to do this...

Yes. You really do want to do this. (It’s not making changes to your computer, anyway. It’s making changes to your bike.)

Step 1

Step 1

Download screen

Download screen

Successful download. No error codes!

Successful download. No error codes!

Adaption Reset step: now's when you turn on your engine.

Adaption Reset step: now’s when you turn on your engine.

This is where I need to chime in with a note that was not included in the directions. Notice the third bullet point above:

“Once connected, pull out the cold start knob and idle the engine.”

In my opinion, that’s just not explicit enough for newbies, or even for experienced riders who are new to doing this particular kind of maintenance.

Specifically, you need to pull out the cold start knob only long enough to get your engine started! (You may not even need it at all.) Once your engine is running, you can push the cold start knob back in.

This wasn’t clear to me. As a result, I left the knob out for the full 20 minutes. I got two things for doing that: glowing, red hot headers and no TPS green light. So, I had to do all of this over, the next morning, once my engine was cold again.

So, in brief, this stage should go like this:

  1. Attempt to start your engine
  2. If your engine didn’t start, pull out the cold start knob and try again
  3. If your engine still didn’t start, you will need to figure out what the problem is and fix it. But, probably, your engine did start. Push the knob back in. Step away from the bike: don’t TOUCH the throttle (or the process will self-cancel and you’ll have to wait for a cold engine, again).
  4. Switch to the Monitor tab, like the directions say, and wait for the green light on the TPS sensor. For me, it appeared after 12 minutes.
TuneECU's Monitor screen. (Sorry about the reflections!)

TuneECU’s Monitor screen. (Sorry about the reflections!)

The TPS light (to the left of the tachometer, which is the large LCD readout at dead center) turned green for me after 12 minutes. At this point, you switch off the ignition and shutdown the program on your computer.

Disconnect the cable, replace the fuses you removed and put the seat back on. You are now done!

Final Assessment

As I mentioned, I was caught short by the directions to “pull out the cold start knob and idle the engine”. I took it literally and ran the entire adaption reset with the cold start knob pulled out. I never got a green light and so I stopped the procedure after 20 minutes. On a test ride, afterward, I felt hesitation and stuttering at about 3000RPM (which is where my bike “idled” with the cold start knob pulled out).

On a second day, with a cold engine again (and after some reading online), I re-did the procedure — but without the cold start knob, which I didn’t even need as my engine started fine without it. The engine idled at 950-1050 RPM, the adaption program gave me a green light after only 12 minutes. A test ride afterward was smooth as butter, through the whole RPM range.

Throttle snatchiness, which had been noticeable at the low end of rev, is now gone. Excessive fuel smell is now also gone. Can’t report on mileage, as I’ve only been doing local short rides. I’d rather get a long ride in, before quoting mileage.

I’m really quite pleased with what Triumph Twin Power has done with their tunes and what this tune has done for my Bonneville. Because of my good experiences, I’m looking at an attractive 6 Pot Front Brake Caliper from TTP, as a result. If I get it, I’ll write it up here.

TTP Tunes: Recommended!

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Triumph Announces 2017 T100 & T100 Black Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:39:46 +0000
More details coming on October 25th.

Get more details on the T100

Get more details on the T100 Black

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