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Thunderbird Twin - Technical Talk Technical talk for the big Thunderbird twin

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Old 10-28-2012, 10:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs down Paint Really Is A Problem

I love my 'Bird and can't say enough about the reliability, the handling, the looks ... you name it and it's clear I've got a love affair going with this motorcycle!

However, I do have only one complaint. It has nothing to do with performance but everything to do with looks and maintenance. It's the paint. I'm just venting here, but I am putting away my bike for the winter and can't tell you how much damn time I've spent rubbing out the minor scratches on the tank. Now, I know a little scratching may be considered normal, but I've been doing this all summer and it is a pain in the ass. It seems like if you look at this thing sideways, a fine scratch pops up!

I'm so dis-enchanted with this that I'm thinking of pulling all the skins and having the bike custom painted somewhere where they don't use some water based paint that takes three centuries to properly dry! Problem is that I like the look of this paint job ... I just don't like the performance. You'd think that with all of the money Triumph has spent to design this beautiful machine coupled with the cost of it, they could come up with something better than this! Another prime example of "environmental awareness".

Anyway, enough whining. I'm sure that I'll calm down after I'm done rubbing out, glazing and waxing the tank yet again and I'm already looking forward to my first ride in the spring!
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I agree the paint sucks. It does seem to get scratched by just thinking about it.

Water base paint has been around for years and I use it for helmets and bikes. It is actually a great product. However, I never use water based clear coat. Water bourne clear has not been around as long or as developed but I am sure it will over time.

To save money you could just get the tins re-cleared with a u2k clear by the body shop. Most water bourne paint can be cleared was the Eruo/u2k clear. They will most likely sand scuff with 800-1500 grit sand paper and clear it.

Myself, I will be doing a complete paint job as I never wanted a black bike and yet still loved blacked motor of the Storm.
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It's EPA cr@p. Just like engine performance. With the cat gone and a proper tune made for good performance and nonrestrictive pipes, my bird runs so much stronger it's like a much different bike. Runs cooler with less engine noise. Point is, look at all the cr@p they do to our bikes to fix the environment. Our bikes are compromised in every way due to regulations. I DO fully understand the environmental concerns and applaud the efforts, i just wish they would limit it to the largest part of the pollution culprits and the ones to whom it doesn't matter. 95% ofr the vehicles on the road, maybe more, are vehicles who's purpose is transportation and pollution control doesn't bother thier owners. I'm GLAD my car has it. But i would think they could make exceptions for bikes and high end sports cars, vehicles that are luxury/sport vehicle that people own for the joy of riding/driving them. Charge a extra fee, whatever. But to put $hit paint and choke the engine to death on a bike we paid $15-20k for IMO is just overkill and wrong.

As far as the paint maintenance, I have learned what products help remove and cover scratching and learned to try and not touch the paint in with anything and only lean it with a fresh microfiber cloth which gets thoroughly washed by hand after each use to remove micro particles that scratch. Still a pain, but i can live with it. If you think u have it bad gig guy, imagine what those with black paint go thru !
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Old 10-28-2012, 04:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you think u have it bad gig guy, imagine what those with black paint go thru !
I have a black Tuscon and the Storm. I did have a 09 black Sprint and swore I would never get another black anything. The Sprint's paint was not as soft but it was black.

The price on the Storm and look of the Storm vs the Thunderbird is why I bought another black bike-knowing I would change the color.
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Old 10-28-2012, 06:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I also agree the paint on the TBird sucks, it's cheap paint and put on in a cost effective way. What would you expect from a sub-$13K bike anyway? It's not a Harley paint job that's for sure. In any case I was going to have mine painted this winter while the cold hangs for 4 months or so but $2 to $3K to paint the Bird is not going to happen for a non-fancy paint job. I won't spend that kind of money on a bike that I couldn't get $9K US for on a great day. So I'm going to have the fairing painted to match the OEM paint and live with it until I sell and get something else. Scratch away stock paint, not gonna fix ya.
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well I just made this reply to another post; we should at least complain to triumph about the quality of the paint. I have a 2012 with the red marble haze and love the paint but its stupid soft, to the point of being unacceptable. If we all complain something may get done, yes I know wishful thinking, but it can't hurt. I'd rather spend the money on accessories then putting on the quality of paint I should have gotten from the factory.
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I also agree the paint on the TBird sucks, it's cheap paint and put on in a cost effective way. What would you expect from a sub-$13K bike anyway? It's not a Harley paint job that's for sure. In any case I was going to have mine painted this winter while the cold hangs for 4 months or so but $2 to $3K to paint the Bird is not going to happen for a non-fancy paint job. I won't spend that kind of money on a bike that I couldn't get $9K US for on a great day. So I'm going to have the fairing painted to match the OEM paint and live with it until I sell and get something else. Scratch away stock paint, not gonna fix ya.
I don't know about the "sub $13K part" ... the price is lower than a Harley, I believe, for two reasons. First, you are not paying a premium for the Harley name. Second, the T'Bird is pretty much a basic cruiser without all of the bling and goodies. Right now with bags, windscreen, dresser bars, pipes, etc., etc., I've got nearly $20K into this thing. The paint, however, sucks. Even so, once I'm done with the scratch remover, the glaze and the wax, she sure is pretty.

I'll be keeping this a while because I think it's a well built, reliable, superbly performing machine. I can probably do the paint for under $2K and as soon as the warranty is done, I'm going to add the BB kit.

For my money, still a great motorcycle and I'm in this one for the long haul. Even knowing what I do now about the paint, I probably still would have purchased the bike based on it's other merits.
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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My new ABS SE with Bags, Windscreen, Bars, Boards, Aux Lights, and heated grips was $12K. The add-ons don't provide any more re-sale value. I put Foran's on my bike but they'd come off and stockers back on before I'd give them away with the bike. My point was for an OEM paint job it's very hard to beat Harley which is part of the cost of a Harley. I'm not an HD fan but it's very hard to beat their fit and finish. One can pour as much money as you want into a bike, when it comes time to file that insurance claim or sell it for some reason, good luck getting back out what one poured in. That's all I'm saying.
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:02 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My new ABS SE with Bags, Windscreen, Bars, Boards, Aux Lights, and heated grips was $12K. The add-ons don't provide any more re-sale value. I put Foran's on my bike but they'd come off and stockers back on before I'd give them away with the bike. My point was for an OEM paint job it's very hard to beat Harley which is part of the cost of a Harley. I'm not an HD fan but it's very hard to beat their fit and finish. One can pour as much money as you want into a bike, when it comes time to file that insurance claim or sell it for some reason, good luck getting back out what one poured in. That's all I'm saying.
Wow! Must have been a lot of price increases over time. Mine, WITHOUT the windscreen, bars, boards, aux lights & heated grips was about $12.5K. I've got a 2012 purchased in May.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The water based paint is a environmental thing. I don't think it has anything to do with cost. It may be that the UK has stricter regs than other places, i dunno. In any case i don't find the paint to be less well done and nice a then harley. It's the softness i find bad, but as looks go when NOT scratchy it looks as nice as a HD. In fact, mine looks far nicer than my friend's dyna, and while more subjective, at least as nice and but feel nicer than my other friends RK's. Thats WHEN it's freshly de-scratched and looking it's best, which due to the softness isn't often. I have thought about having them shot with a solvent based clear, but it would be such a PITA and expensive i just decided to live with the softness. (plus i have used silicone detailers so that can't be done anyways)
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