BONNIE MOD #15
TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping (Thruxton Length)

TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir with Adjustable Damping Shocks (Thruxton length) mounted on the Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir with Adjustable Damping Shocks (Thruxton length) mounted on the Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
I’ve had ‘upgrade suspension’ on my list for six months now. I’ve wanted something beefier than the stock shocks. The bike bottoms out quite a bit on some of the roads around here. It’s New York City – we’ve got some bad infrastructure.

I spent the last six months researching the major options available: Öhlins, Progressive, Hagon, TEC, IKON, Yadayadayada

I seriously entertained – for a moment – the idea of plunking down $1000 for a pair of Öhlins. I thought that it would be amazing to experience them but then I awoke to the realization of how much money that was. Furthermore, it’s like Del-Boy (Del-Boy’s Garage) likes to say, “you’re putting Nike trainers on your grandma.” The Öhlins are simply much more than the Bonneville can exploit. (BTW, he has a superb ‘how-to’ video on youtube.)

I finally went with the choice that I found myself always coming back to – gas reservoir shocks from TEC Bike Parts USA, tecbikepartsusa.com. I have their 2-1 exhaust already (see Bonnie Mod #6) and am quite pleased with them, especially for their price. The TEC shocks provided the same temptation – they’re less than $200. That is a pittance compared to the other brands out there. I see a lot of good feedback in forums and Del-Boy is a big fan so I did the deed and ordered a pair.

I’m 6’2″, so I wanted to put some height into the bike and I ordered the Thruxton version. Quick spoiler – they perked the bike right up. More on that later.

The day that they were to ship out, Dave from TEC Bike Parts emails me and tells me that the day before they had just received their newest shock – the same Alloy Gas Reservoir unit BUT with adjustable damping, and lucky me, he would send those to me instead. Aside from him, I was to be the first person in the US to have these. Talk about a score! I never win anything. So, of course, now I was super excited and super impatient.

They arrived in a reasonable amount of time, coming from California to New York. I had issues with the delivery of my last order (no fault of TEC) so this time I had the box delivered to the neighborhood UPS Store (for a nominal $5 surcharge) and picked it up after work. Easy peasy.

As before, the contents were very well packed. (BTW, I also ordered a center stand to help facilitate swapping the stocks; ie, lifting the rear of the bike off the ground.) Included with the shocks was an adjusting spanner and a bottle of Blue ThreadLocker.

A packaged pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. A center stand is also in the package. Bonnie Café.
A packaged pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. A center stand is also in the package. Bonnie Café.
A packaged pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
A packaged pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
A packaged pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
A packaged pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
So naturally, I proceeded to rip the package apart…
TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
Closeup of a pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
Closeup of a pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
Closeup of a pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
Closeup of a pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
Closeup of the reservoir of a pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
Closeup of the reservoir of a pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
Closeup of a pair of TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
Closeup of a pair of Eyelet Bolts for the TEC Gas Reservoir Shocks with Adjustable Damping for Triumph Bonneville. Bonnie Café.
I was very impressed with these – they look very well made and the price is OUTSTANDING! Honestly, I’m surprised they don’t charge more but I’m glad they don’t.

Okay. The weekend finally arrived and it’s time to install. To spoil any schadenfreude, overall this was a very easy install.

The first thing I did was to attach a center stand to the Bonneville. I suppose that if you were swapping shocks that were the exact same length, you might be able to get away with using the kick stand but I suspect that it would be very difficult. The swing arm will collapse the rear end once the shocks were removed. I personally haven’t tried it so I can’t really say. What the center stand does is lift the rear of the bike off the ground, so much so that the rear tire is 2-3 inches off the ground, and then once the shocks are removed, the swing arm will drop the tire to the ground. Obviously, a lift or jack will work. I even know people who have used milk crates.

Once the bike is lifted it’s extremely straightforward to remove the shocks. Four 12mm bolts (two on each shock, top and bottom) is all that you’ll need to remove.

The right side stock rear shock of a Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
The right side stock rear shock of a Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.

Removing the right side stock rear shock of a Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
Removing the right side stock rear shock of a Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
How easy, however, all depends on your exhaust system. On the right side, my TEC 2-1 silencer sweeps upward and interferes right where I needed to put a socket wrench.
Removing the right side stock rear shock of a Triumph Bonneville T100. The lower bolt hindered by the aftermarket exhaust. Bonnie Café.
Removing the right side stock rear shock of a Triumph Bonneville T100. The lower bolt hindered by the aftermarket exhaust. Bonnie Café.
This was fairly easy to rectify by simply removing the buddy peg and releasing the silencer from its hanger brackets. I’ll show you a better shot of that in a minute.
The right side stock shock removed from the Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
The right side stock shock removed from the Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
By the way, have I apologized for the state of my bike? I commute on the bike almost every day and in this weather lately, it gets hammered a lot with road dirt and salt. I actually washed the bike the morning of this install, if you can believe that. Anyway, I digress…

Oh, before we move on, take a look at the two shocks side by side.

A TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir Shock with Adjustable Damping on the left; the stock Triumph Bonneville T100 rear shock on the right. Bonnie Café.
A TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir Shock with Adjustable Damping (Thruxton length) on the left; the stock Triumph Bonneville T100 rear shock on the right. Bonnie Café.
I would guess that the TECs weight about a 1/3 less – not tremendous but definitely noticeable. Compared to the stock Bonneville shock, the Thruxton-length TEC is longer and the spring looks to be much more progressive and not bottom out as easily as the stock shock. The TEC also has an adjustable ride height/spring pre-load at the top and adjustable damping at the bottom. All of this will be real-world tested.

Now go and remove the shock from the other side. You’ll need to remove both shocks in order to free up the rear end to put in the new shocks. Unless your new shocks are exactly the same length, you’re going to need the free play as you seat in the new shocks. Be careful when removing the second shock. It is supporting the rear at the moment and as soon as you remove it, the weight of the tire will bring the swingarm down and drop the tire to meet the ground. Don’t worry, nothing life-threatening or spectacular happens. It just drops a couple inches. Propping up tire while removing the second shock might make things a little easier.

The left side stock rear shock of a Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
The left side stock rear shock of a Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
Removing the right side stock rear shock of a Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
Removing the right side stock rear shock of a Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
The left side stock shock removed from the Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
The left side stock shock removed from the Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
Putting the new shocks on is simply a reversal in process. Hold on to the 12mm bolts. You’ll need to reuse those. In terms of bushings, TEC supplies new ones with their kit so no worries there. Make sure to use a bit of lithium grease (or such) on the posts. This will make it easier to slide the shock’s eyelets on. I highly recommend having a rubber mallet handy to help seat the shocks. I don’t have one and found myself wrapping a heavy tool in a towel to make a soft hammer. It wasn’t a pretty sight but it worked.
Mounting the TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir Shock with Adjustable Damping mounted to the right side of the Triumph Bonneville T100. These are the longer Thruxton version, hence the gap. Bonnie Café.
Mounting the TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir Shock with Adjustable Damping mounted to the right side of the Triumph Bonneville T100. These are the longer Thruxton version, hence the gap. Bonnie Café.
The above photo shows the one bit of difficulty that I had. The Thruxton length version is quite a bit longer. Remember, the tire has already dropped a couple of inches and there is still an extra inch needed to seat the shock. (All in all, I’m guessing that this mod probably lifted up the rear end a good three inches.)

At this point, this became a two-person job. A guy in the garage helped me out. He lifted the rear end enough for me to be able to seat the shock. Make sure to have the bottom of the shock only partially seated while you seat the top. If you seat it fully on the bottom first, you’re going to have the top angled outwards making it difficult to push the eyelet onto the post. Once the shock is anchored in enough, grab your rubber mallet and knock the top and bottom a few times till the shock is fully seated. Grab two of the 12mm bolts, spread a bit of ThreadLocker on them, and torque them in at around 25lbs.

The mounted TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir Shock with Adjustable Damping mounted to the right side of the Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
The mounted TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir Shock with Adjustable Damping mounted to the right side of the Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
Pretty simple, right. If you look at the photo above, you’ll see where I needed to drop the exhaust down in order to access the bottom of the shock. For me, this involved removing the buddy peg which also served to secure the muffler hanger and then also releasing the intermediate pipe hanger from the frame (not shown). Your set up may vary. I would imagine with the stock peashooters, this would be a super easy mod since they don’t angle up and get in the way. You’ll have to let me know.

Now that one shock is done, the other one will be easier as you won’t need a friend to lift the bike anymore. That’s it. Pretty easy. Just a couple tools and a tiny bit of brute force.

I know that your next question is, “Well, how do they ride???” I don’t know. I installed these on Saturday and our weather here in New York City has been nasty the whole time. I’m hoping to be able to start riding these tomorrow. I plan on playing with the adjustments quite a bit to see how they function and how they alter the ride. Still tuned, I will post my findings in a follow-up. I will say, though, just sitting on the bike in the garage is very exciting. I love the extra height. My stance feels more natural. I suspect the bike will be a bit more responsive in the front. I also think the bike looks aesthetically much better with its rear up, but that’s just my opinion.

I’ll leave you with a parting shot along with a before and after in which you can see the height difference. Enjoy! Thanks, Dave!

TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir with Adjustable Damping Shocks (Thruxton length) mounted on the Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir with Adjustable Damping Shocks (Thruxton length) mounted on the Triumph Bonneville T100. Bonnie Café.
The Triumph Bonneville T100. Stock shocks on the left. TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir with Adjustable Damping Shocks (Thruxton length) on the right. Bonnie Café.
The Triumph Bonneville T100. Stock shocks on the left. TEC Alloy Gas Reservoir with Adjustable Damping Shocks (Thruxton length) on the right. Bonnie Café.
201501_d8h017341-017444_crop

Tools Required:
12mm Socket
Rubber Mallet
Center Stand or Jack
Blue LocTite
Lithium Grease

Company URL:
TEC Bike Parts, USA

Price:
$199 + Shipping

UPDATE: January 13, 2015
I finally got a chance to ride these shocks. The temperature has been seriously frigid so testing conditions are not good but I’ve got to say… These things are ahhhMAZING! I can really tell a huge difference in the feel of the suspension. The bike sticks really well when traveling over bumps. The big bumps in my path that were bottoming me out before no longer do so.
Once I’ve ridden these in better weather and fiddled with the adjustments, I will post my findings. In the preliminary meantime, a DEFINITE thumbs up!!!

UPDATE: April 12, 2015
A reader wrote me asking about the sizing of the reservoirs. His concern was whether he would be able to fit his saddlebags. This was a very good question. I shot a couple shots with a ruler and felt that this might be a benefit for others. So let me post them…

Showing the measurements of the TEC Alloy Reservoir shocks for a Triumph Bonneville T100 by holding a measuring stick against them. Bonnie Café.
Showing the measurements of the TEC Alloy Reservoir shocks for a Triumph Bonneville T100 by holding a measuring stick against them. Bonnie Café.
Showing the measurements of the TEC Alloy Reservoir shocks for a Triumph Bonneville T100 by holding a measuring stick against them. Bonnie Café.
Showing the measurements of the TEC Alloy Reservoir shocks for a Triumph Bonneville T100 by holding a measuring stick against them. Bonnie Café.

30 Comments

  1. You lucky so and so ! I’ve got the same TEC shocks but I bought mine about a year ago and at that time they didn’t have the adjustable damping, just the pre-load. They’re great shocks but [not] quite as fancy as yours !!!!

    Cheers
    Dave

  2. Another project successfully completed, well done! I will be ordering the same shocks soon, should me getting the updated version as well.

    Thanks Rudy!

  3. Hi. Just installed TEC shocks on my bonnie. Did it alone by changing one shock at a time (you do not have to remove both old shocks). Makes life easier:)

    1. You are quite correct when swapping out the same length. My shocks were the Thruxton length (ie, much longer than the stock Bonneville shocks), so because the old Bonneville shocks were shorter, both had to be removed first in order to provide the clearance to install the new longer Thruxton shocks.

      So tell us, what do you think of your new TECs?

    1. Hi Rich. Thanks.
      I still like them but I haven’t done any fine tuning yet. The weather is just now warming up, so I plan on it soon. The roads on my daily commute here in NYC/NJ are horrible and any road repairs seem to begin deteriorating within a week, so I have plenty of bumps to test them on. I’ll let you know. Rudy

  4. Hmmm.. Seriously considering a pair of the damped ones myself- although I’m running the Ventura Rack brackets as well as (as of this week… hopefully…) a set of luggage guards- a bit worried about cross-frame spacing…- one could always mount them upside-down since the physics don’t really change… 😉

  5. Thanks for the review, well done. Did you consider replacing the front shock springs with the recommended progressive springs from TEC?

  6. I’m confused about the length of the metal column used in the front forks spring, delboy shows cutting it off to fit the length with the progressive spring and you showed using as is, isn’t there a column that fits for the T100 without modification? It seems if the column is too long that by compressing to fit reduces the effectiveness of the new spring. Thanks. Norman

    1. Hi Norman. How are you doing?
      I need to watch the DelBoy video again but I believe that he was fitting the springs to Penny’s SE which was lower, or she wanted it lower… can’t remember. Regardless, he was cutting them due to needing a lower length. For me, however, I was fitting the TEC Bonneville T100 springs to my T100. Rich pointed out a good observation in the comments… I was probably finding it a bit difficult to seat them because the stock springs had already sagged a bit. I found that the TEC springs had an additional 2-3mm of height, undoubtedly because of no sag. This required a bit of extra muscle. Am I making sense? As such, there is no need to trim the spacers if you’re placing in TEC’s stock version.
      Rudy

  7. I bought a pair of these in early June for my Scrambler. To be honest they are riding rough as hell. I tried to convince myself otherwise but there’s no way around it. They look great but after 300 plus miles they feel the same. The good news is that I took the bike to a suspension shop and they’re going to break them down and do a little rebuild. This will run me about $200 but it’s still cheaper than going with high-end shocks. Let’s hope that the end result is good. Keep you posted.

  8. I bought a pair of these based on the nice looks and I thought it would be a nice upgrade to my 2014 Scrambler. I had preload and damping at the minimum as directed by TECBike. They mentioned that the initial ride would be stiff but what I experienced was pretty extreme. Even after 300+ miles the suspension was still such that even the front end was jarring me particularly at higher speeds over moderate bumps. The damping adjustments seemed to help a little but not enough to make it feel comfortable and certainly not even as good as the stock shocks.

    I decided to take it to a bike suspension shop here in San Jose. When I told the owner that they were TECBike shocks he rolled his eyes. He already had some negative experience with the older version of these bad boys (the model without damping control). He told me he’d break them down and see if there was anything he could do to smooth things out but wasn’t making any promises.

    I picked the bike up today and the owner explained what he found inside. He said oddly enough that one shock had 2 shims inside the main cylinder housing and the other had only 1. I don’t know if they are supposed to ship from the factory with 1 or 2 but his only option was to remove one of the shims to make them even. Secondly, there was very little nitrogen pressure in the piggy back reservoir. He explained that the pressurized nitrogen is supposed to force the oil back into the main cylinder after compression and obviously this wasn’t happening. He added a couple O-rings to each shock and it seemed to do the trick.

    I rode it home this afternoon and it made a world of difference. Felt great. That said, it cost me $210 on top of the initial cost of the shocks. The lack of quality control at the factory certainly makes me question the quality of the composition of the metal they’re made of also. Buyer beware of this product. You might be better served paying a bit more for something of better quality. I’ll see how these hold up but may eventually go for a real upgrade with some Ohlins.

    1. Sorry to hear your experience, Jason, but also glad that I’m not alone.

      Installed my TEC reservoir shocks and progressive springs on my ’14 Thruxton and have put a good 500+ miles on them and experience the same jarring pogo effect. I’m down in Orange County, California, and if anyone knows the OC, we have some pretty nice freeways by California standards. Even on our freeways, the TECs are noticeably stiffer and more uncomfortable than stock. I have the preload at the minimum as well.

      I’ve contacted TEC about these problems and they’ve suggested that I replace the outer spring on the shocks with a lighter rated one, which can be a costly fix. I weigh 150 pounds, which isn’t unusual for the average lighter male, so it seems odd to me that TEC did not construct their shocks such that the lowest preload setting would handle my weight.

      That said, there are benefits to the TEC shocks and springs. They do feel significantly more stable and grounded than the stock. This could however just be due to the lowering of the bike by 2/3″. The tradeoff for stability appears to be a reduction in steering responsiveness.

      The bottom line:
      For a 150 lb person, the TEC adjustable shocks + springs are stiffer and more uncomfortable than the stocks. However it does allow the option to lower the Thruxton and gain stability at the sacrifice of steering responsiveness.

      1. Dont know mate. I have them installed in my Thruxton, and are miles ahead from the stock shocks, just about perfect for a 164 lb (without gear) rider. You can also change the ride height. Ride great over bumps, and make for a much more composed ride. Of course, I´m talking about the 15 way adjustable ones, no idea about the ones in your post.

    2. Jason, which shop did that for you? I’m considering buying a set for my ’14 Thruxton but am a bit apprehensive about all the claims and the quality. Saw others on YouTube that didn’t speak highly of the quality, ride, etc. Although I trust Delboy & Rudy, I’m guessing it’s hit or miss with these from the factory in China.

      1. Hector, Sorry for such a delay. I just noticed your question. I took the bike to Evolution Motorcycles in Santa Clara, CA. They specialize in suspension. The staff was extremely professional and friendly. They came recommended from a friend and I would go back again if I decide to change things up. Good luck!

        J

  9. Hey Rudy… thanks for the site and the tips. I’m planning on upgrading the rear shocks on my T100 with the Thruxton length shocks. I presently have a bonneville center stand on my bike. Will I need to upgrade to a thruxton sized centerstand or will the standard bonneville size work? Thanks for your tips!

    kev

    1. Hi Kevin. I don’t know about the Triumph Bonneville branded stand but TEC’s Bonneville center stand was too short and left the bike very unstable. They made me a hybrid Bonneville/Thruxton stand. FYI, if interested, I have it for sale on my Used Parts page. Rudy

      1. Thanks for the idea… Good to know about your used center stand. I might just be interested…

        So the one you have is not the same as the standard Thruxton stand? Taller than bonne, but shorter than Thruxton?

        Thanks,
        kev

        1. That is my understanding. It measures 10 1/2 inches along the angle of the stand from bottom to the center of the bolt hole. In actual use, the stand is about 10 inches tall (due to it reclining).

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