2004 Triumph Bonneville - Raw Metal Cafe Racer

790cc - Project Bike 3

Team Power Center – Janesville, WI – One of the Best Triumph Motorcycle Dealers in the USA!

2004 Bonneville purchased and loaded up in the 93 Chevy Pickup.

DECEMBER 26, 2018

Based on previous conversations, inspection, and a handshake, I drove down to Team Power Center in Janesville, WI to meet owners, Todd & Darcy Ligman to purchase a 2004 Triumph Bonneville.

This bike had been purchased at auction some years earlier and was intended to become Darcy’s bike. However, since that never happened, Todd offered to sell it to me at a fair price. It has a number of issues:

  • Bent front fender
  • Missing right tank badge
  • Dented headlight bucket
  • Missing fork lock key
  • Missing odometer adjustment peg
  • Tear in the seat vinyl
  • Missing crankcase breather filter

Other than these few items, the bike looks pretty good and runs well.

In addition:

  • The Air injection system (AIS) has been removed
  • A new petcock was installed
  • New rear brake pads were installed
  • New Nology coil and spark plug wires were installed

Damaged front fender

Missing right tank badge

Dented headlight bucket

Odometer reset peg missing

Seat tear

Missing fork lock key

2004 Bonneville during deconstruction


What a difference a few hours can make!

  • Battery and Airbox removed
  • Headlight bucket and ears removed
  • Fenders, seat, and side covers removed
  • New and replacement parts list being developed

Starting to mockup the 2004 Bonneville cafe racer ideas.


After deconstruction, I started playing around with some ideas for the direction of this cafe racer. So far the ideas include:

  • Airbox Removal Kit
  • K&N Pod filters
  • Bobbed fenders
  • Number side plates
  • Single seat or custom shortened seat
  • New headlight bucket
  • Drag bars
  • Bullet style turn signals
  • Bonneville Brackets custom instrument panel and “Sharky” headlight ears
  • Drilled shift lever, rear brake lever, front sprocket cover and chainguard
  • Sun alloy rims and Avon Roadrider tires
  • Custom taillight
  • Rejet carbs
  • Predator exhausts
  • Wrapped headers

DECEMBER 28, 2018

Further planning, mockups, and ordering of parts continued today. Orders were placed with:

  • British Customs
  • New Bonneville
  • Dime City Cycles

Progressive Suspension rear shocks

Engine undergoing cleaning. Carbs removed for rejetting.

DECEMBER 31, 2018

On the last day of 2018, I spent time cleaning and planning. Tasks included:

  • Removal of the headers
  • Strip paint from chain guard and drill 6 holes
  • Drill holes on right brake lever
  • Drill holes in the shift lever
  • Drill holes in the front sprocket cover
  • Rejet the Keihin CVK carb main jets (#140), and order new pilot jets #42)

Airbox removed and new aluminum battery box installed.

Drilled items.

Paint stripped and drilled chain guard

Drilled shift lever

JANUARY 2, 2019

Today I accomplished the following tasks:

  • The first ordered part arrived from the UK, the Triumph Dresser Rail part #A9738012 and I installed it.
  • Marked and cut (bobbed) a Triumph factory rear metal fender (the shorter version)
  • Marked and cut (bobbed) the damaged front fender that came on this Bonneville

Tail section without Triumph Dresser Rail #A9738012

Tail section with Triumph Dresser Rail #A9738012

Front and rear metal fenders marked for cutting (bobbed).

Front fender bobbed and ground to bare metal

Rear fender bobbed and ground to bare metal

Front and rear fenders bobbed and ground to bare metal

JANUARY 3, 2019

More progress was made today.

  • Continued sanding and grinding on the front and rear fenders and the gas tank
  • Mockups of possible directions for the cafe racer

Gas tank in the process of going to bare metal

All black paint gone!

Remembered that I had a “Sixty Eight” tank cover and decided to mock it up… interesting.

“Sixty Eight” tank cover on bare metal tank.

JANUARY 4, 2019

Today got up near 40 degrees in the Madison, WI area and was sunny. So, I opened the garage and worked part of the day in and outside of my garage, refining the finish on the bare metal pieces of the project bike. The general process I’ve arrived at is as follows:

  • Use a 4.5″ angle grinder with an 80 grit flap disc to remove most of the paint and primer/filler
  • Step that up to a 120 grit for finer paint/filler removal and smoothing
  • Use a 6″ wire wheel on a post mounted bench grinder to remove additional paint and filler in crevices and seams
  • Use a 5″ orbital sander with 150 grit paper to smooth out and refine the metal finish
  • Step this up to 220 grit for finer smoothing
  • (There may be additional steps I will take when I get ready to coat the bare raw metal with 2-stage urethane clear coat.)

Front fender finer sanding

Rear fender in sanding process

Gas tank sanding

Left side view

Left side – higher view

JANUARY 5, 2019

Another warm day in the Madison, WI area, so again I opened the garage and worked on the bare metal pieces of the project bike.

  • I used a 400 then 600 grit sanding wheel in my angle grinder, to get an even smoother and shinier finish.
  • I also used 600 grit sandpaper on my orbital sander to get at more difficult sections.

Additionally, I went through the parts delivery from Dime City Cycles and did the following:

Discovered that the taillight, front turn signal clamps, and billet footpegs will not work on this bike project – so those will need to be returned.

I did however, successfully wrap the headers with the DIE Titanium Black pipe wrap for a pretty nice look.

The DCC Billet Foot Pegs do not fit as advertised.

The front turn signal brackets do not appear to work with my turn signals!

Ready to start header wrap with DEI Titanium Black

One header wrap completed

Completed header wrap mounted on bike – looks good!

JANUARY 7, 2019

Today I managed a number of tasks:

  • Opened my first order of parts from NewBonneville!
  • Explored options for getting a headstock lock key, and another ignition key from Team Power Center
  • Installed 2 Baldwyn luggage spools on the dresser rail
  • Installed billet Joker Machine handlebar risers/clamps
  • Mocked up the new Motone bobbed front fender (brushed aluminum) for a look (waiting on the matching rear fender to be delivered as it is back ordered)
  • Installed the Motone ignition relocation bracket on the right side, front of frame
  • Installed the DCC 8″ Flexible Slimline LED Integrated Tail Light / Indicators on the back of the Triumph seat pan and temporarily wired them up for a mockup test.
  • Modified a $20 swap meet metal fender to use as the rear fender on this build, and fabricated a license plate holder/frame

Measuring the gas tank for potential stainless steel strap

Wiring up the LED taillight/indicator strip

LED taillight test

Baldwyn luggage spool attached to dress rail

Motone Ignition Relocation Bracket

Joker Machine billet anodized handlebar risers

JANUARY 8, 2019

I worked on the following tasks:

  • My first British Customs order arrived
  • Installed the BC Shorty Predator mufflers
  • Installed the BC Mule Swing Arm Bushings
  • Test fitted (visual only) the BC pleated seat cover
  • Fabricated a right rear side, chain guard mounted, license plate holder bracket
  • Test fit a Triumph Heritage tank badge (left) for visual decision
  • Ordered a replacement headstock lock and keys from Team Power Center

Overall view of tasks completed today.

Right side rear view of items completed today.

Right side BC Shorty exhaust

First British Customs parts delivery

Mule swing arm bushing – left side

Right side BC Mule swing arm bushing, plus new 16 tooth front sprocket

Fabricated license plate bracket

Closeup of LED taillight/indicators assembly (off) mounted to OEM Triumph plastic seat pan

Closeup of LED taillight/indicators (on), plus new stainless steel extended seat bolts

Follow this page for regular photos and updates as the project develops over this winter.