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Return of the Cafe Racers - Ugly as sin Triumphs by Paul Smith

Ugly as sin Triumphs by Paul Smith

For a designer who's range of clothing has had such an enormous impact on men's fashion I am disgusted by what Paul Smith did to these Triumph Bonneville T100's back in 2005. The Bonneville pictured below is, in my opinion, is the only one that looks half decent...but I'm not so sure…

For a designer who’s range of clothing has had such an enormous impact on men’s fashion I am disgusted by what Paul Smith did to these Triumph Bonneville T100’s back in 2005.

The Bonneville pictured below is, in my opinion, is the only one that looks half decent…but I’m not so sure I’m keen on riding around with a rainbow explosion between my legs.

Here’s what they say on the Paul Smith site about these Bonnevilles…
Paul Smith and Triumph joined forces in an exciting collaboration of bikes and clothing for AW 2005.

Triumph by Paul Smith is a modern and fresh collection of accessories and jeans wear inspired by the cult motorcycle company. Vintage feel motorcycle jackets, with unique stud detailing and printed logo, heavily washed denim jackets and jeans, with red and navy embroidered Triumph logo and a vintage Triumph logo T’s were among the signature clothing pieces.

(Blueck!)

Alongside the clothing, Paul Smith customized one of Triumph’s most famous bikes – the Bonneville T100. Nine Triumph Bonneville T100’s were customized with one-off paint schemes and were used for display and promotion within Paul Smith shops but were also for sale through Paul Smith shops only.
Two of these original designs, nicknamed the “Multi-Union” and “Live Fast”, have been put into production globally. Only fifty of each design were produced and each bike was individually numbered and authenticated with a certificate, signed by Paul Smith and John Bloor, Triumph’s owner.

I’m sure there was a significant hike in pricing for one of these Paul Smith limited edition Bonneville T100s and I’m sure some tasteless, cashed up plonkers happily handed over the cash. The range of Triumph accessories he produced, however, was tasteful and stylish…I Paul Smith needs to stick to what he knows best.

It seems that Triumph really can’t get it right when it comes to having a “special guest” customise their motorcycles. Some other failed attempts at making a cooler Bonneville include the Tag Heuer – Steve McQueen special (which is really just a couple of stripes and huge TAG emblems)…

the Ewan McGregor Copper cop out…


“Jesus Ewan! Is that the best you can do!”

 and of course Belstaff’s 50th anniversary Triumph Bonneville with gold pinstripes…underwhelming to say the least.

Not to totally undermine the designers themselves I feel that the lack of any really exciting designs coming out of these partnerships is Triumphs fault. The designers were most likely given a very limited number of customisable options which resulted in these lack lustre “special editions”. If Triumph really want someone to make a really exciting modern Bonnevilles they need to hand them a box of tools, not just a can of paint.

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