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Triumph Bonneville: choice of celebrities

Paul Newman on Triumph Bonneville
Paul Newman

I ride a Triumph Bonneville. It’s far from the greatest performance bike in the world, but I’m in pretty good company!

If you Google search for “celebrities on motorcycles”, as I did, you may come up with a similar result where almost 50% of the celebrities are on a Triumph Bonnevilles.

They include the very sexy Anne Margaret, folk poet Bob Dylan who actually crashed this bike and has never ridden again, square-jawed Clint Eastwood, rock legend Keith Richards, Hollywood star Paul Newman and the king of cool, Steve McQueen.

Now that’s a pretty cool bunch to be included in.

However, I also came across a photo of Sonny Bono vainly trying to kick start a Bone as Cher looks on.

Sonny Bono and Cher with Triumph Bonneville
Sonny and Cher

Ok, so we’ll just forget about inviting them on our next celebrity Bonne rally.

So what is it about the Bonneville that makes it so popular to celebrities?

Is it the fact that the name comes from its speed records at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah?

Maybe, in the case of McQueen and Newman who were both speed freaks.

Is it the bike’s unwavering style over the years, its simplicity, its raspy note or its free-revving heart?

All I know is, it puts a smile on my face every time I ride it.

It’s the only bike I have ever owned that I take out for just a short run around the block. The other night I even took it for a short ride in the rain, just because it’s such fun.

Ann Margret on Triumph Bonneville
Ann Margret
Paul Newman on Triumph Bonneville
Paul Newman
Keith Richards on Triumph Bonneville
Keith Richards
Clint on Triumph Bonneville
Clint Eastwood and friend
Bob Dylan on Triumph Boneville
Bob Dylan
  1. Hi Mark here follows some information about Clint Eastwood photo in your article. Clint Eastwood isn’t with just a friend, that famous photograph was taken during the filming of “Coogan’s Bluff” in 1968. The girl depicted on the photo is the actress Tisha Sterling who has a role on the film. Two Triumphs where used for the final pursuit on the motion picture. Some people say that this bike action sequence is as classical as the car chase on “Bullit”, filmed that same year. On Clint´s movie, the electrifying chase took place at the Cloisters in Manhattan. The bikes used for the film were one 650cc TR6 (Eastwood) and a 500cc T100 R Daytona (rode by Don Stroud). Please don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mean to correct you, but contribute to your informative and fun text. Regards from Brazil.

  2. Hi Mark,
    Actually Bob Dylan did continue to ride after his infamous accident; if you read his auto-biography he talks about going for rides around New Orleans while he was recording Oh Mercy with Daniel Lanois.
    I own a 1967 Bonneville and I love it!
    Thanks for the article.
    Regards from San Francisco

  3. Interesting info guys thanks for sharing, my love of Triumph Bonnevilles stem from those amazing movies & era when i was a kid now proud owner of my own Triumph Bonneville total joy & beautiful
    Kind regards from isle of wight uk

  4. Hello,
    It would be great to know the details (model, approx year etc) of the blue & white Triumph that Steve McQueen had at the time of Bullitt and of Paul Newman’s in the photo you had with the article.
    Thank you


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