Macco Motors T120 Taniwha
By Ross Sharp - 16 Aug 17
Triumph's designers did such a good job with the new Bonneville range that it's tricky to improve upon without ripping the thing to pieces and throwing a big budget into the ring. A flick through the burgeoning official aftermarket parts catalogue would do the trick for most owners but some are a little more discerning. Andrew, a Kiwi living in London, had his heart set on a Macco Motors flavour for his T120 Bonnie and shipped this 2016 model to Jose & Tito's Malaga workshops for a sophisticated overhaul. Andrew wanted a burlier front end and better brakes, a perfectly valid request for anyone wanting to push a T120 harder than the stock RWU fork and brake setup will comfortably cope with. A pair of Showa big piston upside downers from a Thruxton R were earmarked for the project. Being slightly shorter the stance is instantly improved and the chunkiness adds aggression to the otherwise retro silhouette, especially with the black powder coated legs. The shorter mudguard is from Rizoma's phonebook-esque catalogue and well engineered upgrades. Spacers were machined to mate the original front wheel to the new fork and the Brembo calipers are from a Ducati - floating discs are stock Thruxton R. An LSL triple clamp kit and risers with Biltwell bars completes the conversion. One of the most effective ways of improving the looks up front is to adjust the clock mounting angle (see Dutch's Thruxton here for a side-by-side comparison) so the Macco guys did exactly that, moving the ignition to just below the throttle body on the right hand side, freeing space to drop the stock clocks. Below is a simple 6.5" headlight from a Harley which does away with side mounting brackets, instead it bolts directly to the lower yoke - much neater.
The current Bonnie subframe is still a chop 'n' loop affair requiring a degree of finesse to make the end result appear factory. Rizoma mini bullet type indicators disappear into the background and simple taillight attaches to an own-brand Macco fibreglass mudguard. The side panels are also a part the guys have developed as a replacement for the slightly bulbous and overly retro stock versions. The Macco saddle is particularly considered, the proportions and shape suit the overall silhouette but also deal with the Bonnie's sticky-up frame - the outgoing T100's tubing was more horizontal allowing for flatter boneline.
Brit suspension stalwarts Hagon specced a tasty pair of adjustable Nitro rear shocks to Andrew's weight and the T120's tweaked geometry. The rear tyre is a Tourance by Metzeler and the front a Dunlop F20. The clumpy stock pegs are gone, replaced by LSL for the pillion and Rizoma for the rider, and the levers are the adjustable, race derived type. A brace of Predator mufflers by British Customs look meant-to-be and unleash more bass from the 1200cc twin's melodic, 270 degree cranked soundtrack.
The signature Macco Motors paint scheme is the icing on a very tasty looking cake, which we'll hopefully get the chance to taste soon, if Andrew pops into the Bike Shed at some point. And the name... Taniwha is a name from Maori mythology he chose - some form of deep water monster apparently.
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Photos by Sergio Ibarra