Great story Tallboy - very interesting. As I'm sure you've noticed in other threads here, comparing HDs to Thunderbirds seems to come naturally. I bet that's what Triumph had in mind when they launched the TB and it worked!
The comparison is natural and I believe that's what really annoys and worries HD devotees. They realize there's a real contender out here and it's bothersome. My TB is not perfect, but it's a great bike. HD works hard to defend the notion that their bikes ARE perfect - the gold standard, nothing better, rah-rah, bla-bla. Now they actually have to listen to comparisons and defend the differences.
There's a new hot chick in town and some of the older broads who wear too much make-up don't like it much!
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt