Rider Highlight:
John Hebert & his Bonneville

From Cafe Racer to Desert Racer

Photographer John Hebert was featured in a previous "Garage Builder" Q&A we did a while ago, back when his bike was still a cafe racer. Read the previous Garage Builder article here

Since then, John's bike has grown with him and gone through multiple iterations, turning into a scrambler as he began to explore rougher terrain, and more recently, transitioning into more of a desert sled as he embarked on his first race in the dirt.

RACE SLED

STREET SLED

THE FIRST RACE

John came to us with the wild idea of racing for the first time in the Biltwell 100 on his Bonneville, his daily rider with high mileage. It's already a feat to reach over 100,000 miles on any motorcycle, and have it still running in great condition. But to race in the dirt on one with that many miles is downright crazy.

We were interested in supporting John in this challenge, as most of the contenders are dirt bikes or well-equipped scramblers. We decided to provide support, adding some upgrades, including the Mule Tracker Handlebars for a wider race stance, Air Box Removal Kit to let the engine breathe better, switching out the roughed up Predator Pro Exhausts for new ones, and other components.

We then loaded up the bike in our van and headed out to Ridgecrest, California with John for the race.

Watch the video below.

Biltwell 100 RACE

THE REDEMPTION

After the mishap at the Biltwell 100 Race, John was eager for another chance to be on the track with one goal: to cross the finish line.

Kevin Stanley, mechanic and owner of Moto Chop Shop ensured that the mechanical issue which occurred in the previous race was fixed, and dialed in the bike for the next race.

With John's newly refreshed bike in tow, we drove out to Nevada for the Pioche Grand Prix race for a chance at redemption.

Watch the video below.

PIOCHE GP RACE

BRITISH CUSTOMS: You've come a long way in your customization journey, where does it end ?

John: I don’t know if it ever ends! I think we are close though. In heart, the bike is a desert sled to me. I’ll continue to use it in this way until I don’t feel comfortable riding it that far. But then again, I’d probably just do a motor swap if it ever started to go. It has a lot of miles. But it still runs like it’s new! 

British Customs: How many miles do you have on the bike now ?

John: I don’t know exactly, but right now it’s somewhere around 110,000. Maybe a little more.  And they’re hard miles. I’m not babying the bike. It slams, it’s at high RPMs a lot, it’s out in the dust and dirt, getting knocked about. It lives outside. I have Kevin Stanley at Moto Chop Shop to thank for that. It’s never even had any overhauls! I think my stator went out once. But other than that, just routine maintenance. Kevin’s great at identifying things that you might need to look at before they go. He sees a lot of modern triumphs. Actually, that’s all he works on in there.  He just knows them so well.

MOJAVE ROAMING

A LINE FROM THE TRIUMPH ARTICLE ON JOHN:

John: Owning a Triumph Bonneville really is just an extension of yourself, in a way. You can make educated inferences about somebody just by looking at their bike. Mine is covered in dings and scratches after covering so many miles, and if you swipe a finger across the tank or seat, you’ll find out that it’s actually black under there. But that’s why we ride. For the freedom, for the fun and for the experiences.

The Bonneville stands for simplicity and adaptability, which I think are two important components of life. A true Bonneville also symbolises timelessness and avoidance of trends and quick fads that are here today and gone tomorrow.

The Bonneville will always look good and will always be relevant no matter what form it takes.

Read the full Triumph article linked in the icons below

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UPGRADE YOUR ADVENTURE

Every rider is unique, each with their own story to tell. No matter what adventure you’re seeking or what style of rider you are, you want your bike to express your individuality.