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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My buddy wants to get back in the saddle after a bunch of years "on foot", and coincidentally, we have two Triumphs for sale locally. The 95 Tbird has about 5500 miles on it, but has not had the sprag clutch replaced. Asking price on that one is $3800. The 01 Bonnie has about 13,000 miles on it, comes with a screen, and has a speedometer which does not work. Asking price on that is $4500. I already asked about the Bonnie on the Twins Forum, as I know little about their best years and known issues. While he would really prefer the Tbird, the sprag clutch issue seems to be a big one, but I thought some of you may have some valuable advice. I wouldn't part with my Legend for any reason, and it would be fun to have a buddy on another triple, but since I'm the one with the wrenches, a total teardown like that represents a big chunk of time, and my riding season is short enough here. Any comments?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Look, I have my Legend, so you don't need to convince me how great these bikes are. My only concern is that the sprag clutch repair sounds like a certainty at some point based upon all of the gloom and doom posted in this forum, but now you are telling me that it may not be a big deal if the bike is treated well. Of course, I can't vouch for the first two owners and the 5500 miles, but I can say it will only be started with the clutch in from now on. The other comment about a dealer doing it for $1000 doesn't really apply, as there is no dealer within a reasonable distance, and unfortunately, it seems many of the Triumph dealers are recent additions, adding the Triumph line to their existing dealerships. This means they have no parts on hand, and the mechanic will likely be learning how to replace the sprag clutch on this bike for the first time. As I said, I am sure I can do the job, but the potential lost riding time and effort make the Bonnie look awfully appealing. Do you really think the Bonnie is that much a lesser bike?
 

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must be the t-bird

I was lucky enough to have a t-bird, bonnie and thruxton all at the same time. I now have 3 t-birds.
Bonnie is a great bike to get back in the saddle with, but after 6 months you'll be after a bit more power. Thruxton is great but not so good for long runs. T-bird just wins hands down. Two early bikes with nearly 20k on each.
 

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I have a 95 Tbird that I've owned since new. So far, no sprag clutch problem. I have been careful to keep the battery charged and religiously used the clutch when starting since I became aware of the sprag clutch issue. It would be interesting to see the statistics, ie. how many machines were actually afflicted verse the number delivered. In any case, I also have a T100. The T100 is a 2008 with all the relevant mods, pipes, carb work, etc. I like the Bonneville. It is light and handles beautifully. It is quick enough and is a hoot to tool around the county on short day trips. Having said that, if I had it to do over I would have not bought it. I would have taken half the money, purchased a TBS and spent the other 6G on beer and go-fast stuff for the birds. The TBirds and TBSs are much better all round machines, IMHO. If the sprag clutch issue really bothers you, I would suggest a bit of patience, keep your eye on ebay and craigslist for a later model TBS (I have seen three or four up in the last couple months) and go for it.
 

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l can understand your worry about the sprag clutch. Having had one go while on a trip to Germany , l know they are the Achilles heel of Triumphs, mine was a '94 Sprint. All l can say is that mine went at 25,000 miles , so you should have a few years of fun. As already said a good well charged battery will put the day off longer. Also as said pulling in the clutch on starting will take some strain off of it. The price the owner has put on it allows you to save for the day. So go for the T'bird if everything else is in good shape. As an aside , l found that the lower seat makes the Bird feel easier to handle than the Bonnie and that engine is in a different league to the twin, think Mustang P51 to Cessna .
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies; this is exactly the comparison that I needed. Okay, we'll look at the Tbird if it is still available, and if not wait for another to come along. He will be riding 2 up at times, so will probably stick with the Tbird or a Legend, and leave the TBS for the younger studs.
 

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