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Thunderbird Cruiser Chat Cruiser chat for the the Thunderbird twin

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Old 11-22-2012, 09:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What A Motorcycle Should Be

So, I’m flipping through Motorcycle Cruiser magazine’s 2013 buying guide and I’ve just got to comment. Now, I’m not trying to start yet another Harley bashing thread and I also know that style is a matter of individual taste, so this is just my opinion.

There are 99 bikes described and most of them (81) share the same characteristic … they are V-Twins with the exhaust running down the right side of the bike and the engine crammed into the frame. Many of the 18 that aren’t V-Twins are really smaller "mini" cruisers. Then of course there’s the Ducati Diavel … yeah, right … that’s a “cruiser”. A lot of these V-Twins look like a Vulcan warship straight out of Star Trek, with their weird farings, swept fenders, extended forks, etc. Many of them are trying real hard to look like a custom chopper and wind up looking like what they are … imitation choppers.

And then, there’s our Thunderbird.

Clean, classic lines with a powerful vertical parallel twin powerplant that delivers gobs of torque and that doesn’t look like it was stuffed into the frame as an afterthought. Clean fender lines. Handlebars at a comfortable height and set-back. A CLASSIC motorcycle that doesn’t look like the rest of the pack, with world class performance at a price that isn’t inflated by a brand name.

Just thought it was worth mentioning. After all, it's good to be brilliant, like all Thunderbird owners are ...
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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no argument from me
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Nor me. I am a parallel twin fanatic and always have been. So when the Tbird was hinted at even long before we were finally told it was no longer just a rumor, i was all in, and i mean ALL in. I knew i couldn't get a demo ride but i didn't care. I knew there was very little chance it wasn't going to be my idea of the ultimate bike. It's what I always envisioned in my mind when i dreamed of the ultimate bike, but thought I would never see it come to fruition because it seemed as tho P twins had gone the way of the dinosaur after the 70's. I was a triumph fan since i had my 750 back in the 70's and i figured if anyone would do it it would be triumph. But i figured there were technical reasons it wouldn't likely happen. So i tried to be happy with the speedmaster which was still the biggest P twin ever mass produced. But as much as I loved that bike i always wanted a bigger engine that would be monstrous. So when rumors started about the Tbird (tho no name at that point) i anxiously awaited to see if it would end up being my dream bike. Boy did i ever hit the jackpot !

And on a side note, i don't really see the Tbird or the speedmaster/america as cruisers. I realize they technically are, but to me they are simply standard motorcycles as i have always known them but with a few differences that i would have liked to do to my bikes back in the day. Custom standards if you will.
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigGuy82 View Post
There are 99 bikes described and most of them (81) share the same characteristic … they are V-Twins with the exhaust running down the right side of the bike and the engine crammed into the frame. Many of the 18 that aren’t V-Twins are really smaller "mini" cruisers. Then of course there’s the Ducati Diavel … yeah, right … that’s a “cruiser”. A lot of these V-Twins look like a Vulcan warship straight out of Star Trek, with their weird farings, swept fenders, extended forks, etc. Many of them are trying real hard to look like a custom chopper and wind up looking like what they are … imitation choppers.

...
Not to argue, but it's sort of 'what else did you expect?' when talking about cruisers. They are probably the most traditional and rigidly defined class of bike. When somebody does try to mix it up, say with the Ducati, even you question if it's a cruiser at all.

The cruiser ranks are not the place to look for styling innovation. You could build a better bike to cruise on, but then it may well not fit the stylistic definition of a cruiser.

The things you mentioned basically ARE what define a bike as a 'cruiser'.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, on the ducati....i mean come on. The thing doesn't remotely resemble a cruiser and to a T resembles a sport bike with a lowered seat and regular bars instead of clip ons. Even the engine is pure sportbike with big HP up high (about 10k as i recall) and lower torque than most big cruisers that peaks up high. Even harleys have better torque numbers down low. I'm not saying any cruiser touches the diavel in performance, but thats not the point. It's as much a cruiser engine and the Tbird is a sportbike engine. Why WOULDN'T anyone question that? Even the testers who did that last (or the one before) cycle world cruiser shootout said they didn't understand why the duc was even in the same shootout as cruisers. Great bike, but in no way a cruiser. You can't simple take a sport bike and lower the seat and add regular bars and have a cruiser. You can make one and CALL it a cruiser if you have marketing reasons to do so. Just ask ducati.
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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One of the reasons I bought a Thunderbird is because I did not want another V-twin, but I still wanted a cruiser. My previous 3 bikes were V-twins, and I was tired of the buzzy engine, and having both pipes running down the right side. I like the balanced look of the parallel twin much better with one pipe on each side. I like not having to worry about burning my leg or boot on the exhaust since it sits so low at the bottom of the frame. I also like how each cylinder gets equal air flow unlike the rear cylinder on a V-twin. That just seems to make more sense to me from an engineering perspective. Lastly, no buzzy feeling. The bike is butter smooth, with just the right amount of vibration when you punch it.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't really think of the Duck as a cruiser, but neither is it a sport bike or even a standard. It an odd hybrid, but probably looks most like a cruiser and of course Ducati calls it one so I suppose the magazine boys had to compare it to something.

Really, how well have any of the oddball cruisers done in the marketplace? The power cruiser segment has typically been quite small compared to the traditional V-twin. I'd put bikes like the Ducati, the V-max, Honda's Magnas, and even the V-rod in this group. All have been attempts to make a different kind of cruiser but none of them ever sold as well as the traditional bikes AFAIK.

And I think that's why you don't see a lot of variation in the segment. People vote with their wallets, and they vote for a certain look as described in the opening paragraph.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lantesh View Post
One of the reasons I bought a Thunderbird is because I did not want another V-twin, but I still wanted a cruiser. My previous 3 bikes were V-twins, and I was tired of the buzzy engine, and having both pipes running down the right side. I like the balanced look of the parallel twin much better with one pipe on each side. I like not having to worry about burning my leg or boot on the exhaust since it sits so low at the bottom of the frame. I also like how each cylinder gets equal air flow unlike the rear cylinder on a V-twin. That just seems to make more sense to me from an engineering perspective. Lastly, no buzzy feeling. The bike is butter smooth, with just the right amount of vibration when you punch it.
Exaaactly ...
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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This is not a harley bash, just an observation. I have a knee brace for my right leg that I use to sleep at night from 6 years riding them. so when I threw my leg over the storm and the airbox didn't push my leg out at an akward angle it was a relief. everything else is just gravy.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zelatore View Post
Not to argue, but it's sort of 'what else did you expect?' when talking about cruisers. They are probably the most traditional and rigidly defined class of bike. When somebody does try to mix it up, say with the Ducati, even you question if it's a cruiser at all.

The cruiser ranks are not the place to look for styling innovation. You could build a better bike to cruise on, but then it may well not fit the stylistic definition of a cruiser.

The things you mentioned basically ARE what define a bike as a 'cruiser'.
Actually, returning to the classic motorcycle look isn't "styling innovation", although I guess you could call it that when someone designs a motorcycle that doesn't look like every other cruiser out there, even if it means going retro. My point was that the Thunderbird isn't the product of "styling innovation" ... it is a solid, classic design that in effect is timeless (at least to me), combined with technology that is absolutely excellent.

Regarding the Diavel, to my eyes, that thing is fugly even though it is likely a great machine performance wise.
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