Triumph, Would You Please Stop Exploiting Dead People?

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This is the Triumph Bonneville T100 Steve McQueen Edition. It’s exactly the same as every other Bonneville, except for the presence of a signature on the airbox cover. That’s a fake signature, because the guy that is said to have made it is dead. Well, dead as in physical reality, he’s-under-the-ground, but you wouldn’t know that for Triumph’s shameless exploitation of his name.

“It is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability.”


In that movie, some actor who happened to ride jumped an old Triumph over some barbed wire. It was supposed to be a BMW. It wasn’t actually that actor who did the jumping. But, he was really, really, really good looking, so everyone just ignored that he had a drinking problem and beat his wives (yes, plural, asshole) and instead decided to fetishize his existence into something excessively manly. He was used in some car commercials, that movie became famous again and an otherwise really cool bike brand from Britain licensed his name a few years back.


Until now, they’ve just stuck some t-shirts with his face on them in dealers, but now they’ve made a bike with his name on it. It’d be a lame special edition anyways, as it’s just paint, but the signature just seems to devolve the whole thing into something crass. Honestly, does the bike world really need HFL to tell it this shit? Look in the fucking mirror. You make good bikes, there’s no need to stoop to this.

  • Joe
    • Dumptruckfoxtrot


    • Dennis

      And don’t forget…

      Clearly, HFL needs HFL to tell HFL this shit.

      Personally I think it’s fine to appreciate an actor’s work and what it was meant, without needing it to be literally true. McQueen might not have literally done a particular stunt, but neither did Mark Hamill literally get his hand chopped of with an actual light saber. Because that’s not the point, and light sabers aren’t real. And aren’t “sabers” supposed to be curved, not straight, anyway?

      I suppose next Wes Siler is going on a rant against helmets that cost a little more because they’ve got a number 46 with a sun and moon on them, and didn’t that particular racer cheat on his taxes and chase too many girls? For shame! My stars, that Mr. Rossi is a bad, bad man. I do believe I’m getting the vapors!

  • overunder

    That horse is nowhere dead enough. I say go for it, garage it with a Mustang Bullitt™ edition, draped in some Troy Lee Design McQueen™ Tshirts, a Gulf Oil liveried McQueen™ Bell open face helmet hanging from it’s handle bar with a pair of Persol McQueen™ Sunglasses placed inside it. I am sure I missed a whole lot of other ones. But I say it’s a start.

  • th3w3s

    Look, while I agree that this is a pretty lame “special edition”, you need to at least acknowledge that the McQueen / Triumph relationship extends far beyond Bud Edkins’ stunt in the Great Escape. For those who don’t know McQueen rode Triumphs for many years, competing in a number of offroad races including representing the US in the ISDE. So yeah, Triumph is being a little tacky. But hey, I’d buy a military green Bonney any day, regardless of whose signature is on the side ;)

    O yeah and it’s been more than just a few tshirts. There’s the McQueen special edition riding jacket too don’t forget :P

    I never got why Troy Lee Designs has a bunch of McQueen Tshirts in their range though :/

    • overunder

      Yes, actually most of those brands have at least a connection to McQueen. The TLD/McQueen tie in thing always bugged me, it’s a pure and simple exercise in “we licensed the name to make us look cooler” I don’t know what offended me more when I walked into their Costa Mesa store. The blaten leeching of the McQueen name, or the god awful tacky designs they put on those $50 McQ Tees. I hope Jaguar never do a McQueen edition XKE or something like that.

      • Thom

        Its in the works I’m afraid

        The Jaguar XKSS Steve McQueen Edition ( built on what ever they call their new smaller sports car )

        Jag isn’t pushing the McQueen name all over the UK press of late for their health you know .

        Maybe this is me being cynical , but it seems the family ( McQueens ) is desperate for money and is selling off the Old Mans name for every last dime they can get out of it before his memory fades .

    • doublet

      Let’s not forget what was subtly mentioned here… he did happen to ride but he surely didn’t jump that triumph.

  • Anders

    Why stop at McQueen? How about a Dylan Daytona, a Clooney Speedmaster or a Cruise America?

    • stempere

      My money’s on a Hugh Laurie Bonneville once this one is sold out (cynicism and cane rack optional).

      • th3w3s

        Don’t forget the James Dean or Marlon Brando special edition leather jackets from Triumph :P

        Ok actually the James Dean jacket is pretty damn cool :P

      • Thom

        That’d have to be the ” House ” special edition as most trogs wouldn’t recognize Hugh Laurie’s name if their life depended on it

        An interesting HL aside . As of last year the word on the Street was ” House ” would be riding a Triumph ( which Laurie does in real life ) ) in the show , which obviously never happened . Missed/messed that one up , did we Triumph ?

        FYI there Anders , you got Dylan’s M/C wrong

        Try a Bonneville TT , not a Daytona ( got your racing venues confused ? Hell everybody knows it was Bob on a Bonneville )

        • Anders

          Haha, I know, I just wanted a to create a catchy name for Triumph..

          • Thom

            So how’s about the Neal Pert BMW R1200 GS ” Ghost Rider ” Edition ?

            Or better yet , have Triumph buy Pert’s M/C allegiance and stick the moniker on their Adventure M/C

            Good luck with that one Triumph !

    • Thom

      @ Anders

      Oh but Bob is riding Classic Harley FL’s and FLH’s these days , so even with the correct model ( Bonneville ) I don’t think that one would work

      Triumph could do the ” Piano Man Cafe Racer ” though . LoL

  • raphmay

    A bit lame, yeah. But each to their own right?…. Apparently not!

  • robotribe

    Agreed. The association is implied and for those who care, it may mean a sale. It’s a cool bike on it’s own and appealing enough, but that signature shit makes me walk away.

    I guess one could just replace the airbox cover with something from British Customs.

  • Myles

    HFL – can you please at least put a simple RIP page up for Simoncelli? We all lost a great rider yesterday.

    • damien

      yeah, what an absolutely horrific accident. totally gut wrenching to watch.

      RIP Sic.

    • Ax

      +1. Especially since Jobs got one and wasn’t even a rider (that one photo notwithstanding). RIP Marco.

      • Thom

        They did . Just later in the day

        Sheesh Can’t please some folks it seems

        • Ax

          I’d be pretty pleased if you’d STFU.

  • Scott-jay

    Are specials like this so different from Kenny Roberts Yamahas, Respsol Hondas, Ducati Ducatis, etc?
    We all pose, er, rock our own lone-wolf, right?
    I want a “Then Came Bronson” edition of KTM’s Freeride350.

    • damien

      I think you make a great point here. Many “special edition” vehicles tend to be light on actual specialness, and more about the livery.

      • stempere

        Yeah but there’s a difference between rocking a race-rep color scheme or some riders colors and putting a dead actor signature’s on the bike.
        Bit of a stretch don’t you think?

        That being said, yes it’s a poseur choice but if you like the livery i don’t see the harm (talking about repsol here).

        • Thom

          Hey ….if its good enough for Gregory House … ( the Repsol edition Honda ) well then ………….. uh ……… never mind

          Come to think of it I’m damned surprised Big Red hasn’t already done a ” House ” Edition Repsol Replica . complete with Cane Holder , ‘Snakes on a Cane’ T-shirt and a poorly done New Orleans Blues ( cough .. hack… gag ) Tribute CD .

          How the heck did Honda miss out on that one ?

        • darngooddesign

          There isn’t a difference between a Repsol Honda and a Steve McQueen Bonnie. You purchase them if you want something different and are a fan of the things those paint schemes represent.

  • tomwito

    Can I get a Speed Triple in that green color? Please?

  • Kirill

    What’s getting lost in all the rage is that pictured at the top is one sweet-looking Bonneville.

    • Devin

      Agreed, but I like almost everything painted army green.

      Also, I don’t think that skid plate is standard on the regular Bonnie, that could be the value added component unique to the bike.

  • rohorn

    As long as it stops here – and we don’t see a Che whatsisname BMW – I’m happy.

    • Thom

      It won’t . Guaranteed .

    • Wereweazle

      Che Guevara? Probably not. Especially since that whole Motorcycle Diaries thing was on a Norton.

      • rohorn

        Right – I could well be wrong, but I thought he had the beemer many years later. In case anyone cares, I’m not a Che fan at all.

  • fasterfaster

    In a market segment where many purchases and certainly a trim upgrade are largely an expression of individuality, who would want someone else’s signature (aside from artist or builder) on their bike? “hey look at how unique and original I am… I’m just like steve McQueen.”

  • dux

    Harley: when are we getting the Richard Nixon Special Edition Fat Boy? I’ve been waiting for YEARS!

    • Thom


      You weren’t supposed to leak that one out . Coming next year in the first wave of imported H-D’s from India . Also coming in the ” I’m Not Guilty I’m Responsible ” Limited Nixon White Edition

      But seriously . Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh . Someone might be listening/recording etc .

      • rohorn

        There’s a secret stash of film in the fake gas cap…

    • Dumptruckfoxtrot

      I thought Carter was the motorcycle president.

  • ike6116

    I’d rather have a Steve McQueen Triumph Bonneville than a Monster Energy Alpinestars jacket

    • Wereweazle

      The thing that always bugged me about Monster/Red Bull/Moose Urine/Whatever gear is that the reason the pros have it is because they’re sponsored. If the jacket slathered in advertising cost less because it’s free advertising, then I’d definitely consider buying it. No way in hell I’m shelling out more cash to imitate the appearance of being given money.

      • th3w3s

        Unless of course you’re given said gear :D I have a Fox / Monster beanie that I won in a lucky draw, I wear it with pride (mainly because it keeps my pip warm though)

  • TuffGong

    One more time with feeling…Steve McQueen was a world class rider,who competed in the ISDE representing the U.S. These were hugely difficult events and were comprised of the finest riders the worlds nations could produce. McQueen was also a top Desert racer. In the context of Motorcycles,calling Steve McQueen “some actor” ,as has been done here repeatedly, is just plain ignorant. He had a long association with Triumph and owned hundreds of motorcycles. You yimyaps might also sit down someday and watch Papillon,and then maybe you won’t be quite as apt to publicly deride something that you clearly know nothing about. While his acting skills are a matter of subjective taste,his riding skills are a quantified commodity….Any product endorsed by a deceased person without a prior endorsement is a shabby thing.

  • Stephen Wuebker

    Who is Matt Khaki? Unless of course you mean “Matte” ;)

    • darngooddesign

      He’s the guy who invented casual slacks.

  • Funwithguns11

    I have this bike (#931) and let me tell you, people freaking love it.

  • sidecar bill

    I put a sidecar on a customers bike check it out on facebook cozzi side by side cycles and subcribe it looks ausome.
    I used the matt kacki and was able to find the color match. It is not an easy task to get the color matches since the color codes dont line up with most of the computers.
    Anyway ill try to post a pic.