First of all, welcome to the forum; I think you'll find it better than most. There are many experienced riders, helpful folks, good moderators and the talk is mostly focused on Thunderbirds!
I'm sure others with more experience than I have will weigh in, but here are my thoughts on your questions:
I'm strongly considering trading up to a 2010-2011 Thunderbird. I'd like to get some user feedback on the bike. I've taken it for a couple of test drives and really like the bike, so it's probably just a matter of time. If you can help me with any of the below, I'd appreciate it.
How accurate are the gauges (speedo, fuel, odo)? On my current bike, the speedo reads 10% high stock, which translates into the same error on the trip/odo. The fuel gauge is also complete junk, and reads empty at 2/3 tank remaining.
My speedo reads about 10% high, but I think that's very common across lots of bikes; that will of course effect the odometer. The gas gauge appears to be adequately accurate. Some have reported problems with a sticking speed but mine is fine so far. Apparently the dealers are aware of the sticky speedo issue and repairs are done under warranty.Any option for locked gas cap other than Triumph branded? I find it weird that a locking cap is not standard.
Yes there are non Triumph locking gas caps available.Is there a recommended weight chart for the adjustable shocks? As I don't have the bike, I don't have a owner's manual yet and for some reason Triumph doesn't have them for download on their website that I could see. I've read some reviews saying the #1 setting is too soft and recommend #3 for riders >200 lbs. I've also read people say that #3 was too high for 2 up riding. I'm curious if this is documented in the manual at all, or if it's just trial and error/user preference. I'm about 250, and found the #1 setting on the test bike to be really soft and probably caused the pegs to scrape more than I would like. I have been able to download a manual. To answer your question though, the one that comes with the bike says setting #1 if for solo riding and setting #5 is for riding with a pillion. There are several threads on the subject and some have experimented with higher solo settings.
Any info on when the 2012 should start appearing at dealerships? I don't know the answer to that. I'm currently looking at ~12k USD incl/ $400 in accessories on a 2011 ABS black. Having the leverage of labeling a prior year hold over when 2012s come in couldn't hurt. Also would be nice if the 2011's would get the preferred financing terms as well (cheap financing is only on the 2010s atm). The price you mention seems reasonalble. I paid $13,312 for mine out the door - tags & taxes. Mine is a 2010 without ABS but there was a special incentive for windshield, locking sissy bar, and touring seat included. Those options at list are $1390.
Can you mount highway pegs on the frame or do you *need* the dresser bars? If you want to add the Triumph pegs, it makes you pick up the dresser bar. Anyone mounted them on the existing black frame bars? I don't know the anwer to that either.How do people find the stock seat? In my admittedly limited rides, I found the seat to be very comfy. But, I also thought that initially on the Vulcan, which turned out to be terrible after ~30 min. Is there a consensus on the stock seat or best replacement options? Some (many?) have complained about the stock seat. Personally, I think the touring seat is much more comfortable. It was part of my package, but I retained the original seat.Thanks in advance for reading and comments.
Hope this helps - good luck with your decision. I have no regrets having made mine.
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt