Stop us if you’ve heard the story about ’60s hearthrob Steve McQueen and his friendship with Hollywood Triumph dealer/racer Bud Ekins, who went on to be a great stunt rider/driver in a slew of McQueen moving pictures. Stop us even if you haven’t heard it, because it’s in Triumph’s press release below. These cool Bonnevilles are Bud’s payback.
The one with the white fender and the red over white tank is the 2020 Triumph Bud Ekins Bonneville T120. The red fender with the white over red tank is the 2020 Triumph Bud Ekins Bonneville T100.
Triumph Press Release:
Celebrating a Genuine Motorcycle Legend
In 2020, Triumph will launch two very special editions of the iconic Bonneville T120 and T100 that celebrate the name and legend of Bud Ekins. A motorcycling icon, Bud was a top motocross and desert racer and professional Hollywood stuntman, landing arguably the most famous motorcycle jump in film history when he stood-in for friend and fellow racer Steve McQueen in the WWII film, The Great Escape. These two new beautiful special editions feature a paint scheme complemented with a range of dedicated special details, inspired by Bud Ekins and California’s culture of desert racing.
Two Very Special Editions
Higher Specification Details and Finish
Based on the Timeless Bonneville T120 and Bonneville T100:
Original styling inspired by the legendary 1959 Bonneville, with iconic cues, detailing and features based on the timeless Bonneville T120 and T100, the new-for-2020 Bonneville T120 and Bonneville T100 Bud Ekins Special Editions celebrate Bud Ekins, a genuine motorcycle legend. Bud also ran his era’s biggest American Triumph dealership in Sherman Oaks, California, where he became a close friend and riding partner to a host of Hollywood stars from Steve McQueen, to Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood.
The 2020 Bonneville T120 and Bonneville T100 Bud Ekins Special Editions take all of the classic style and modern capability of the standard Bonnevilles and bring an even higher standard of finish, including:
In addition to their standout paint scheme, the T120 and T100 Bud Ekins Special Editions also feature a host of premium details that further enhance their individual style and positioning, including:
As these are official Triumph Special Edition motorcycles, each Bud Ekins Bonneville T120 and Bonneville T100 motorcycle is sold with a certificate of authenticity, which includes an exclusive account of Bud Ekins’ incredible story and is signed by Triumph’s CEO Nick Bloor and Bud Ekins’ daughters, Susan and Donna Ekins.
Bud Ekins – Desert Racer. Stunt Rider. Genuine Motorcycle Legend.
Born in Los Angeles in 1930, Bud Ekins learned to ride in the nearby Hollywood Hills, honing his off-road skills long before he could legally ride on the road. Luckily, California was host to a thriving off-road racing community and by his late teenage years, he earned a formidable reputation as one of SoCal’s top motocross and desert racers.
When U.S. Triumph superdealer Bill Johnson provided Ekins with a TR5 Trophy, on which he won the Catalina Grand Prix, Ekins had found a manufacturer in Triumph that built the kind of strong, fast and light motorcycles with the agility, responsiveness and power that he yearned for.
Ekins’ success in the mid-1950s coincided with Triumph’s emergence as a major player in world of motorcycling, with both parties playing their roles in re-defining motorcycle capability. Triumph’s famous managing director and design chief, Edward Turner, continued to develop incredible Triumph twin-cylinder motorcycles, which were becoming increasingly powerful, efficient and reliable. As his racer contemporary Johnny Allen was setting motorcycle land speed world records in 1955 and 1956 using Triumph factory engines, Ekins was forging a lasting alliance with Triumph Motorcycles that would ultimately see him regarded as America’s top off-road racer and also a celebrated Triumph dealership owner.
In 1956, when Ekins finished 2nd in the 153-mile off-road Californian Big Bear Motorcycle Run, the first-, second- and third-placed riders were all on Triumph TR6 Trophy motorcycles. Triumph’s racing domination was such that when Ekins won the same race the next year, 20 of the top 25 finishers rode Triumphs.
Top US Dealership
Shrewdly understanding the massive potential and performance superiority of Triumph motorcycles, Ekins’ racing successes led him to open a Triumph dealership in North Hollywood amidst the growing demand for the more reliable, lightweight and powerful British bikes. His store quickly became a magnet for many young up-and-coming movie actors including Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen. Ekins lived and breathed Triumph motorcycles. Selling them seemed to come naturally, leading to considerable business success along with his considerable racing achievements.
One local motorcycle enthusiast at that time was Hollywood legend Steve McQueen. Ekins’ Sherman Oaks dealership serviced McQueen’s cherished TR5 Trophy, and the pair struck up an instant rapport. Ekins introduced McQueen to the burgeoning California desert racing scene and McQueen was instantly hooked, spending as much time as he could hooning across the dunes or enjoying the anonymous normality of passing time with Ekins and his riding buddies back at the dealership.
In spite of the demands of running a successful Triumph dealership, Ekins was still racing, competing in several off-road races including the Hare and Hound, Mint 400 and Baja 1000 (which he helped establish). McQueen often joined him to race, most times using another name to withhold his identity. He was a fast learner and a fast rider. So much so that the highly-regarded Ekins facilitated McQueen’s famous entry to ride for the U.S. team in the 1964 East German International Six Days Trial, regarded as the Olympics of motorcycling. Both Ekins and McQueen would be riding Triumphs. Ekins would go on to win an impressive four ISDT Gold Medals in just seven years.
The Great Escape
In autumn 1962, McQueen was preparing to fly to Europe to film what would become one of the following year’s highest-grossing movies, The Great Escape. McQueen pushed for motorcycle stunt riding in the film and recommended his good friend Bud Ekins to the producers. Ekins was employed on a four-month contract, though it took far less than that for McQueen (with Ekins’ help) to conceive of and rewrite the dramatic highlight to his character’s storyline.
McQueen’s character, Captain Virgil Hilts, escapes a prisoner of war camp, commandeers a bike, and is chased through stunning meadows as he attempts to locate the Swiss border. As enemy soldiers close in, Hilts must complete a spectacular motorcycle jump over a twelve-foot-high barbed wire fence to reach the relative safety of neutral Switzerland.
Between them, using small trial and error practice jumps, McQueen and Ekins worked out the capabilities of their motorcycle of choice, a 650cc Triumph TR6 Trophy, to squeeze maximum dramatic effect from the scene. They calculated that an 80mph run-up was required to clear the barbed wire fence and successfully land some 60 feet away. Much to McQueen’s frustration, the movie’s insurers sensibly prevented him from performing the stunt himself. Ekins stepped in.
‘The Jump’ as it would come to be known, remains a defining moment in Hollywood movie history. In 1962, a TR6 Trophy would redline at 6,000rpm with peak power at around 42bhp, but the powerful Triumph engine’s responsiveness and the torque from the parallel twin made it McQueen and Ekins’s first choice, and the restored bike on which Ekins successfully completed ‘The Jump’ is currently on display at Triumph Motorcycles’ Factory Visitor Experience at Hinckley, which is open to the public free of charge.
Hollywood Stunt Rider
Bud Ekins’ racing success and friendships opened up a new career path. As ‘The Jump’ gained distinction as the most famous motorcycle stunt ever seen in a movie, the demand for Ekins as a stunt rider increased. Considered one of the best in Hollywood, he would continue performing movie stunts for the next 30 years, happily returning to Sherman Oaks in between filming responsibilities to continue his dealership business.
1200cc High Torque Engine
The authentic character of the Bonneville T120 comes to life through the 1200cc High Torque 8-valve, parallel Bonneville twin engine. Built specifically for the modern classic riding style, with immediate and exciting torque delivery, it produces a peak torque figure of 77 LB-FT at a low 3,100 rpm – an amazing 54% more than the previous air-cooled Bonneville T100 generation.
With the pinpoint accuracy and instant throttle response of Triumph’s next generation ride-by-wire fuel injection and engine management system, the six-speed 1,200cc Bonneville engine is engineered with a charismatic tone and 270° firing interval for characterful, linear power delivery.
The engine profile has been beautifully crafted to incorporate key heritage styling cues from the legendary 1960s Bonnevilles, sensitively incorporating contemporary components to maintain that iconic engine silhouette.
Behind the 1200 engine’s stylish exterior sits a cutting-edge liquid cooling system, carefully integrated to minimize its visual impact while achieving cleaner emissions and enhancing fuel efficiency – 13% better than the previous air-cooled generation. This, combined with an extended service interval of 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) dramatically reduces the overall cost of ownership.
Finally, elegant peashooter-style exhausts follow a clean ‘straight line run’ achieved through an ingenious twin skin design that covers the pipe run through the cat box and out again. It delivers the true sound of a British twin, with a deep and rich exhaust note that perfectly matches the T120 character, tuned to a level you would want and expect.
The Bonneville T120 Bud Ekins Edition shares all of the T120’s advanced standard of capability, with a wealth of rider-focused technology to deliver exceptional control, safety and enhanced rider confidence – integrated sensitively and without compromise to maintain the authentic Bonneville style and character, including:
ABS Triumph’s variable anti-lock braking system brings a new level of safety and control to the Bonneville.
Ride-by-Wire For enhanced throttle responsiveness, safety, feel and fuel economy.
Traction Control Taking advantage of the ride-by-wire system, the switchable traction control system offers increased and optimized control.
Two Riding Modes Linked to the ride-by-wire system the two selectable riding mode options ‘Road’ and ‘Rain’ provide the rider with greater control and safety.
Torque Assist Clutch Bringing a light touch and feel to the clutch to make it easy to ride, and ride longer.
Distinctive Headlight Incorporating a distinctive light pattern and enhanced power efficiency for long-term durability.
LED Rear Light Built into the classically inspired tail set-up, bringing a distinctive rear light pattern and power efficiency, with an integrated number plate light.
USB Charge Socket Underseat USB socket provided so riders can charge up their essential devices.
Engine Immobilizer Transponder integrated into the T120 key.
Stylish Twin Clocks Feature packed clocks (speedo and rev counter) with beautiful 3D dial faces, cleverly incorporating a digital menu system. Key features include: – Road or Rain riding modes – Gear position indicator – Odometer – Two trip settings – Service indicator – Range to empty – Fuel level, average and current MPG – Access to turn off traction control – Clock
Additionally, riders can add official Triumph accessories (like cruise control) which would also then be accessed via the clock display.
Switchgear Elegant switchgear presents simple fingertip controls for easy access to the key features on the twin clocks.
Relaxed and Refined Handling
The Bonneville T120 features a chassis and suspension set-up developed for relaxed and refined riding every day, all day, alone or with a pillion.
Combining Triumph’s signature ride dynamic of neutrality, agility and stability with comfortable seat and suspension travel for an engaging, yet easy-going ride. With its relaxed riding position, center stand and passenger grab rail, the Bud Ekins Bonneville T120 Special Edition is fully equipped for maximum comfort and real world practicality.
Inspired by the legendary 1959 Bonneville, the new Bonneville T120 has been crafted to incorporate more of the original’s DNA and iconic styling cues, detailing and features. From the overall Bonneville silhouette, to the sculpted flowing lines of the fuel tank, the intricately detailed badges, lights and stunning twin clocks, the T120 is a timeless icon, beautifully evolved.
900cc High Torque Engine
Offering all the quality, performance, capability and comfort expected of the modern Bonneville family, the T100 is powered by the critically acclaimed Bonneville 900cc, ‘High Torque’ 8-valve, parallel twin engine that offers more torque, better fuel economy and a richer, deeper exhaust note than the previous air-cooled generation. Specifically tuned to achieve high torque low down, it produces a peak torque figure of 59 LB-FT at 3,200 rpm – an increase of 18% on the previous air-cooled generation Bonneville T100 for a more thrilling and engaging ride.
With enhanced throttle response from Triumph’s ride-by-wire fuel injection and a slick five-speed gearbox the T100 is engineered to deliver a 270° firing interval for a smooth, linear power delivery. A cutting-edge liquid cooling system, carefully integrated into the distinctive character of the Bonneville, reduces fuel emissions and significantly improves fuel efficiency by up to 29%. This, combined with an extended service interval of 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) dramatically reduces the overall cost of ownership.
The T100 distinctive twin peashooter silencers are crafted in a classic style and come with the Bonneville’s ingenious twin skin design for a superb finish and clean line, delivering a unique rich exhaust note for the unmistakeable sound of a British Twin.
The Bonneville T100 Bud Ekins Edition shares all of the standard T100s high quality detailing, finish, matched by its modern capabilities, which includes a host of rider-focused technology for maximum control and safety, including:
Ride-by-Wire Delivering enhanced rideability, feel, safety and control from a
single throttle body.
ABS The latest generation anti-lock braking system – introducing a new level of safety and control yet remaining unobtrusive and with minimal visual impact.
Traction Control Switchable traction control via the instrument menu helps to
maximize rider safety and comfort.
Torque Assist Clutch Designed to reduce clutch lever effort for the rider, bringing a
lighter touch and feel to the clutch and making it easier to ride, and for longer.
LED Rear Light Built into the classically inspired tail set-up, bringing a distinctive
rear light pattern and power efficiency, with an integrated number plate light.
USB Charge Socket Mounted underneath the seat for convenient charging of essential
Engine Immobilizer Immobilizer integrated into the T100 key.
Stylish Twin Clocks Feature-packed clocks (speedo and rev counter) cleverly incorporating
a digital menu system for fingertip control while riding, including: – Gear position indicator – Odometer – Two trip settings – Service indicator – Range to empty – Fuel level – Average and current fuel consumption – Clock – Traction control settings
From the extensive optional accessory range, cruise control and heated grips are available.
One of the key highlights of the T100 is the chassis and suspension set-up designed with a low seat height for advanced comfort levels for the rider, giving a great overall riding experience whether for long distance journeys, every day use or with a pillion.
The T100 features a unique longer rear suspension unit and cartridge front forks which work together to offer the rider an engaging yet easy-going riding experience.
The T100 is lighter than the T120 and also has a shorter wheelbase, rake and trail than the previous generation T100. This combined with the low seat height and relaxed riding position, make it more accessible and easier to ride than ever before for every rider.
To further enhance the superior handling of the T100, the bikes is fitted as standard with custom developed Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tires, designed especially by Pirelli for the Bonneville family with stiffness and profile changes to the front tire, and deeper tread on the rear for secure handling and improved durability.
Inspired by the legendary 1959 Bonneville and styled to incorporate more of the iconic design, silhouette and character of the original, the T100 has its own distinctive character, enhanced by the premium finishes and signature touches of a genuine motorcycle icon.
Bonneville T100 Bud Ekins SEBonneville T120 Bud Ekins SE
|2020 Triumph Bonneville Bud Ekins Specifications|
|Engine Type||Liquid cooled, 8 valve SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin||Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin|
|Bore/Stroke||84.6mm x 80mm||97.6 x 80 mm|
|Maximum Power||55 PS / 54 HP (40.5kW) @ 5900 rpm||80 PS / 79 BHP (59 kW) @ 6,550 rpm|
|Maximum Torque||80Nm @ 3230 rpm||105 Nm @ 3,100 rpm|
|Fuel system||Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection||Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection|
|Exhaust||Chromed 2 into 2 exhaust system with twin silencers||Chromed 2 into 2 exhaust system with twin silencers|
|Final drive||X-ring chain||X-ring chain|
|Clutch||Wet, multi-plate assist clutch, cable operated||Wet, multi-plate assist clutch, cable operated|
|Frame||Tubular steel cradle||Tubular steel cradle|
|Swingarm||Twin-sided, tubular steel||Twin-sided, tubular steel|
|Front Wheel||32-spoke 18 x 2.75in||32-spoke 18 x 2.75in|
|Rear Wheel||32-spoke 17 x 4.25in||32-spoke 17 x 4.25in|
|Rear Tyre||150/70 R17||150/70 R17|
|Front Suspension||KYB 41mm cartridge forks, 120mm travel||KYB 41mm cartridge forks, 120mm travel|
|Rear Suspension||KYB twin shocks with adjustable preload, 120mm rear wheel travel||KYB twin shocks with adjustable preload, 120mm rear wheel travel|
|Front Brake||Single 310mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS||Twin 310mm discs, Nissin 2-piston floating calipers, ABS|
|Rear Brake||Single 255mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS||Single 255mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS|
|Width (Handlebars)||715 mm||785 mm|
|Height Without Mirrors||1,100 mm||1,125 mm|
|Seat Height||790 mm||785 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,450 mm||1,445 mm|
|Rake||25.5 º||25.5 º|
|Trail||104 mm||105.2 mm|
|Dry Weight||213 kg||224 Kg|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||14.5 L||14.5 L|
|Instruments||LCD multi-functional instrument pack with analogue speedometer, analogue tachometer, odometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, range to empty indication, service indicator, clock, 2x trip, average & current fuel consumption display, traction control status display, throttle mode status display, heated grip status (accessory) and cruise control ready – controlled by a handlebar mounted scroll button (accessory).||LCD multi-functional instrument pack with analogue speedometer, analogue tachometer, odometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, range to empty indication, service indicator, clock, 2x trip, average & current fuel consumption display, traction control status display, throttle mode status display, heated grip status (accessory) and cruise control ready – controlled by a handlebar mounted scroll button (accessory).|
|Fuel Consumption||3.8 l/100km (74 MPG)||4.5 l/100km (63 MPG)|
|CO2 Emissions||89 g/km||103.0 g/km|