I've been curious about this thread as well as I'm looking to get into a Triumph. I currently ride a Vulcan 500, but am ready to upgrade and I went to test ride an America. It was great, but the the dealer put me on a Thunderbird and I haven't been able to get that out of my mind ever since!
There are more used Speedmasters and Americas out there and for a lot less bread than a Thunderbird, so it seems like maybe a good choice to just start with a smaller Triumph. But am I gonna be longing for the T-Bird even if I get a new Speedmaster/America? I'm thinking yes, especially after reading threads like this one. I'd also like to hold out for a bike with ABS. It rains a lot here in Oregon.
But coming up from a Vulcan 500, I wonder if I should just make a small size jump to my next bike. By that I mean get the 1600cc Bird instead of the 1700cc