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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking at buying a '95 T-bird. Always loved the look of the bike and the price is currently in my budget. I have a question though. I have heard that the bike is a bit hard to stop with only a single disk up front. Is this true. Can any current owners let me know if this is something they would agree with?
I have owned a sprint st and a 955 tiger in the past. I am sure it won't perform like those bikes. But for a mild mannered rider in traffic are the t-bird brakes something for me to worry about?
Thanks.
 

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The Legend ( which I own ) has the same front brakes as the Tbird. I have no issues with the stopping power. I believe it is adequate.

If you're looking for better brakes, you may want to refocus on the Thunderbird Sport (TBS) as it has double rotors up front.
 

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I think the single disc is best described as 'acceptable'. Compared to what we used to use years ago it's actually very good. And if you have good technique/feel with the rear brake you can get a bit of performance back using that effectively as these bikes are somewhat rear weighted, more so with the riders weight & centre of gravity added in. Certainly wouldn't let it put you off.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It would only be me on the bike. 6'0 about 210 lbs. I would have a rear bag on a rack, that's all
The bike has a windscreen, would that help stop the bike due to the extra wind resistance?
(kidding of course).

So you can actually upgrade the brakes with aftermarket calipers? Wow. Does that improve it to perhaps the braking performance of the TBS?

My riding would definitely be in traffic though, basically commuting back and forth to work. I never go on trips, just do the 60 mile round trip in the warmer weather.

I could just look for a TBS but I really like the looks of the T-bird much better. I just want to make sure I'm not taking on extra risk with the T-Bird brakes.
 

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I think IrlMike says it all, I was always perfectly happy with the stopping power of my TB until I got my double disk CB, it just had that extra. It's probably the only mod I would really like to have but I can easily live with the present set-up.


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Ride on ! :)
 

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I have a 95 bird and hard stopping can catch you off quard if your used to a duel set up, but it all depends on how you ride. To be honest, I can lock up the front end on any bike with good pads...its all how hard you want to bury your grip into the brake. If your looking to do front end stands, these brakes may leave you wanting but for normal riding they are fine. I find the rear brakes are a bit touchy....they go from slight drag to fully locked very quickly.
 

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I have a '95 and I upgraded the brake lines with the steel braided lines, cheap upgrade that made a difference.

I am 6', 180lbs, and I neve felt like the brakes were inadequate on my bike, I wouldn't worry at all about the brakes

you will love these bikes, go for it !!
 

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Hi,

I have a '95 Thunderbird and find the braking fine now, however I did change two things:-

- The original '95 front brakeline fitted by Triumph was rubber. It should have been changed by now, so make sure you have a braided brakeline (e.g. Goodridge, or the later OEM part).

- I uprated the front brake pads to sintered (e.g. EBC FA196HH).

I did find the original set-up a bit mushy, and the two above changes made a big difference.

I can perhaps add a couple of other comments that could help put the above improvement into context? I actually have a Beringer 4-pot caliper to fit, but have not felt the need (but I guess I will use it one day). My other regular ride is a Sprint with twin Triumph/Alcon 6-pots, and I have little problem switching between the two rides.

Hope this helps?
Geoff
 

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I only have a few years of riding experience (every season since '06) and so I tend to be a very conservative driver in traffic... keeping lots of space between me and cagers if at all possible. Also, I have only had one emergency that required a quick stop.

With that said, I have no complaints about my '99 T-bird's stopping power, with the stock setup. I am 5'9", 160 lbs, and occasionally ride 2-up. I've freaked myself out by locking the rear wheel once, and never locked the front. When approaching red lights, I am a downshift to engine brake kind of guy.
 

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I agree that the rear goes to full lock up pretty quickly, but in my case I think it is because I have better feel through my hand for the front brake than I do through the sole of my shoe for the rear. This is the only bike I ride, so I do not have any comparisons to make, but I do notice that the brakes seem almost automatic riding solo, but require more of my attention when riding with a passenger. Of course, the extra mass and the effect on the suspension geometry all interact with the braking - I just feel like I have to anticipate much sooner, and have a gentler touch overall.
 

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I agree that the rear goes to full lock up pretty quickly, but in my case I think it is because I have better feel through my hand for the front brake than I do through the sole of my shoe for the rear. This is the only bike I ride, so I do not have any comparisons to make, but I do notice that the brakes seem almost automatic riding solo, but require more of my attention when riding with a passenger. Of course, the extra mass and the effect on the suspension geometry all interact with the braking - I just feel like I have to anticipate much sooner, and have a gentler touch overall.
I had trouble modulating rear brake pressure originally - too easy to lock up imo. Since I went to TBS pegs & levers where the rear brake lever is massively shorter (it pivots at the footpeg, not somewhere in the far distance behind..) much better, plenty of feel & still enough leverage to lock if I were to go at it.

(The master cylinder & caliper are identical items on TBS & Tbird, so no leverage difference there.)

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks to all. Excellent information. I got the bike and it will be delivered here on Sunday 4/5. I'm looking forward to it. I'm back into Triumph after a dreadful year riding a Kawasaki. I'll probably be posting back with questions on how you all upgraded the brakes (new calipers, new braded lines, tbs pegs and levers, etc.) I'm not too savy on motorized stuff but I've always wanted a T-bird so I think this one's a keeper.
 

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I'm glad you decided to join our little fraternity. I think you will be more than happy with the bike, there certainly are a lot of us here who think they are special.

Having said that, I have never been real happy with the front brake on my 95TB. Approaching the turn off to my lane the road makes a 90 degree right turn from a 1.5 mile straight then an eighth of a mile straight to where I turn off (country road - little to no traffic). The 90 degree turn is steeply banked. I got into the habit on the R1100RS of holding speed until the last minute on the long straight, braking late, then diving into the turn about 30 - 35, accelerate out of the turn to sixty or so, grab a handful of front brake to almost stop before turning into the gravel. The first time I tried that with the TB I scared myself silly, missed the turn (and found out I wasn't really Freddy Spencer.) What is great fun with dual four pot Brembo ABS doesn't work so well with a single disc.

In any case, as outlined above, there are a lot of options from mild to $$ to improve the braking if you find you feel the need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I will look into the mods written up here. Seems like the brake line is the easiest upgrade. When I had the KLR lots of folks upgraded to the stailess steel and swore it was better than stock. I might consider the caliper as well down the road. However, this bike will be used mostly for commuting. I'm an older dude and not at all an agressive rider. I do admit though, when I had the sprint it was just a bit too easy to crack it and i did so on one too many occations.
Really though, I am paranoid when I ride, always looking for the car to cut me off or the deer to run out in front of me. Almost takes the fun out of riding altogether. But a slow day on the bike is better than a fast day in the car anytime.
 

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The best part of riding a T'Bird compared to a sports (an St looks like a sports bike to a car driver)bike is that car drivers are not expecting you to race everywhere , therefore you are under less pressure and can chill out more. You do however have the power to disappear if the need arises, along with the triple moan, like a Lancaster bomber on takeoff, yes l am old enough to have heard one!!.
 

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How's the ride??

Thanks to all. Excellent information. I got the bike and it will be delivered here on Sunday 4/5. I'm looking forward to it. I'm back into Triumph after a dreadful year riding a Kawasaki. I'll probably be posting back with questions on how you all upgraded the brakes (new calipers, new braded lines, tbs pegs and levers, etc.) I'm not too savy on motorized stuff but I've always wanted a T-bird so I think this one's a keeper.
So, how does it handle now that you have your new baby? I ask because I have a 95 T-bird waiting for me 1 state away, but I have to wait another 11 days until I can pick it up (yes, I am counting down the days)!

Interested in your response to your first ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
First ride was a bit short but here's what I thought:
I'm 6'0 and I'd like a bit more seat height. My legs feel a little bit cramped but I can live with it. Of course I just came off a KLR and had a Tiger in the past so seat height was never a problem. In fact, it WAS a problem on the tiger. Scary at stoplights. But the KLR was just about perfect. But this is a classic so I expected some compromises in the fit.
Mine came with a wind screen on it. The buffetting is terrible under 50mph. But on the highway it was just perfect. I think the windscreen should only be used for longer travel, not commuting like I do.
There was much more power than I expected. It really rips when you rev it up. I thought this bike was "tuned down" but I didn't think it lacked at all. It wasn't outrageously fast like my 2000 sprint but then again on this type of bike I wouldn't want that much crazy power.
It handles really well at speed. Very stable and comfortable. I have to get used to cornering. I found I was stearing it into low speed turns rather than leaning it. But again, I was coming off a KLR which was made for low speed work.
The bike is absolutely stunning. I can't believe they stopped making these. It is so classy looking and unlike anything else on the road. I think this one is a keeper.
 

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I had the same cramped leg issue. My solution was a Triumph King/Queen seat, which gains you a little, and some Kuryakyn aftermarket pegs which are flatter and gained me about another inch. Eventually I'm sending the original seat off to Sargent for a rebuild. Just have to sell a few extra parts first:)

I also have the tall tombstone style windscreen, and I added a Saeng micro swirl edge to it, which really helped the buffeting alot. I finally decided to take the screen off and ride naked late last summer, and I really like it better without the windscreen. I'll be putting that up for sale here soon. If you like the wind screen and want to cut down on the buffeting, the Saeng product does work well. Here's a link:
http://www.saeng.com/product.php?id=581&category=80

There are also gel cushions and sheepskin covers that some long distance riders use for comfort, but they also will raise your riding position. Another option is highway pegs on a crash bar, although I personally want to always have my feet on the controls and just stop and stretch when my arse is getting cramped. Here's a link for engine guards (sounds better than crash bars):
http://www.mascycles.com/eshopprod_...AND+guards.Chrome_Engine_Guard_Kit_for_T-.htm

The engine is what makes these bikes so sweet and so unique. Their sound will grow on you, whether you're a stock pipe/love the engine rattle type, or a TOR/wake up the neighbors type. I have both mufflers, and switch back and forth according to my mood. Still haven't decided which ones to keep. Maybe both.

Happy riding on your new machine!
 
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