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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thunderbird, that is. I just got home from the Triumph Factory Trailer Demo day at Great Bay Triumph in Portsmouth, NH, and yes, they had a T-Bird for test rides. The verdict is . . .WOW. All the hype is, as far as I can tell, true. The fit, finish and detail is top notch: as good as anything in the industry. I rode this back-to-back with a Rocket 3 Touring and although I know the Rocket is a faster bike, the T-Bird feels as if it pulls so much harder. The motor is truly amazing with torque like a John Deere. The 270 degree crank gives a level of vibration that I found to be just right, but then I like the same crank setup in my Scrambler. This psuedo-90 degree V-Twin effect seems natural in a big-inch cruiser like this. The transmission is a slick-shifting 6 speed, but with that great chugging engine cranking along, it could get by with a GM 2-speed Powerglide with very little degradation in performance.

Handling is spot-on Triumph: no drama, just planted and tracking around every corner from 20 to 60 mph (sorry, nothing above that speed - the Demo Guys don't like too much spirit in their group rides). Cornering on the T-Bird gives a feeling of confidence as it complies with any pavement irregularities in the turn. Nice. When I got back to the dealership I was pepperd with questions. It seems everybody wants to know about the Bird. I stated my opinion that anyone who, after riding the T-Bird, bought a Harley should have their head examined. I then found out who were the Harley guys in attendance by their grim expressions. Oh well.

I think that Triumph will sell a lot of these. I told the dealer that the factory should think about doing a Touring model, and he said that they were: expect it soon (this year? I doubt it.). Needless to say, I liked it. And at $12,999.00 it is an outstanding value. I'll probably wait for the Touring model, but if you are in the cruiser market, give the Bird a good hard look. I think you'll like it too.

One final note: Great Bay will be doing the Demo day tomorrow. If you are in New England, drop by. Bring your helmet and your jacket and sign up for a ride. The guys at Great Bay are swell, and the free lunch is pretty good, too. Buy a bike or maybe just a t-shirt. Garmin or Google 90 Lafayette Road, North Hampton, NH. You'll have a good time.
 

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Went there only once and will never go back. Absolute horrendous customer service. Couldn't leave there fast enough after the attitude I got. Will gladly go anyplace else and spend more.
Wish Street's had a demo day.
 

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Went there only once and will never go back. Absolute horrendous customer service. Couldn't leave there fast enough after the attitude I got. Will gladly go anyplace else and spend more.
Wish Street's had a demo day.
Don't you call that "cutting your nose of the spite your face"

They are not asking you to buy the bike!!!
 

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Brilliant review... it's getting harder and harder to stand the wait. I just got back from the dealership picking out jackets and a helmet for the wife... getting her interested in the speedmaster. :)

Tell me, how does the tbird compare to the speedmaster, not in power as I know that is really not a fair comparison but fit, feel, finish and riding position.

Did Great Bay have anything to say about delivery dates?

J
 

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I rode this back-to-back with a Rocket 3 Touring and although I know the Rocket is a faster bike, the T-Bird feels as if it pulls so much harder. The motor is truly amazing with torque like a John Deere.
I knew it.....i had a gut feeling that even tho this bike was almost as heavy and less power specs that it was going to be closer to the R3 than anyone would have suspected. I felt from the beginning that triumph was putting more effort into making it the best it could be than usual. I\'ve always felt P-twins were strong i9n that respect too and that a huge example like this would be exceptional. The reviews have shown it to be the case, but a customer review is the best proof there is ! Thanks for this, makes it that much easier to buy w/o a test ride because thats my only option.
 

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By the way, where did you get the price of $12,999.00 ? Everything i\'ve seen says $12.5k, and the bird i saw at the demo truck here had a sticker on the tank that said $12,499. Then i asked the person at the booth if the blue paint (this one was black) will be more as they do with the 900\'s and she said no, all models will be $12.5k.
 

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i was there today just in time to catch the 2pm ride and tried a sprint given that, if i got a second bike it would be something along those lines. i really liked it. . . had more rumble than my buddy's fz6.

i was happy to get back on my bike, though. more proof that not matter what else i ever get i don't think i'll ever ditch having a triumph air-cooled, carbureted twin hanging around.

i'll tell you what, though. i never once opened that sprint up all the way and never got past 3rd gear. lovely mill in that one.
 

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Went there only once and will never go back. Absolute horrendous customer service. Couldn't leave there fast enough after the attitude I got. Will gladly go anyplace else and spend more.
Wish Street's had a demo day.
I bought an 09 T100 from them last fall and have found them very pleasant and responsive to my concerns. Maybe you just caught someone on a bad day.
 

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I rode one Today

I was at GreatBay earlier today and rode both the Thunderbird and the Rocket Touring model. I am in no way a cruiser authority, but thought one might be fun. I agree that the T-Bird was very torquey. No problem around turns, but the bike did feel, to me, to be a little less stable at a stop, or low speed than some others. Once it got going, no problem. The six speed and belt provided instant throttle response (and required more precision on downshifting than the Rocket or other 5 speeds- IMHO).

I am 6 feet, 32 inch inseam. Might be happier with a little less reach to bars, and foot controls less forward (I'm not a cruiser guy). At 13,300 with ABS, add lights, luggage, a decent passenger seat, engine bars, a windscreen, and sissy bars, and I would probably be looking at $15,500. So I wondered if the Rocket would be a better value.

I like the T-Bird just fine in Blue. One does have to get used to looking through the bike and seeing gaps (I suppose you like it or you don't). I did not mind the speedometer and instruments on the tank, but did dislike having to look straight down to see the tach.

The T-Bird may fill a niche between the Speedmaster and the Rocket. I wish that it was perhaps a bit lighter. Would do the ABS.

The rocket tourer is just a beast, but a pleasant one. At speed it is quite handleable, and does not feet much heavier than the T-Bird. It does want to wallow a little at stops, and I needed to plan for those 90 degree turns in traffic. But it still seemed fine in a parking lot. But it is a big sucker, and the floor boards made me feel awkward at stops.

Both bikes were more of a hoot to ride for me that a Harley Softail. Either seems fine for the money. I wonder if the Rocket Touring model, loaded at $18,000 may not be more bang for the buck. The Speedmaster is more nimble, but has less power for carrying two up. I can get a T-Bird with ABS when they come in, or a Rocket, or neither. As someone who likes Ducati monsters, Multistradas and 848s, this is a different experience. I will do the cruiser thing if it seems like the best way to carry a passenger, for day riding or overnights. Otherwise it's back to considering heavier sport touring bikes.

I would give a different opinion about GreatBay than Bisley about GreatBay. I have purchased bikes there (Ducati) and found them quite nice to deal with. Just my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
dazco, you got me on the price. I thought the price was 12,999, but you are right: it's 12,499. Regarding a test drive, there is a Factory Trailer Demo day scheduled for September at South Bay Triumph in Lomita, CA. If you can wait that long, it would be the thing to do. Considering the state of the economy, Triumph might have good financing or maybe end-of-model-year specials by then. One never knows, do one?

Thatch, the Thunderbird is quite a lot like the speedmaster but writ large. The fit and finish is a lot better than the Bonneville range, but once again, compared with the Bonnevilles, the T-bird is HUGE. I like the 270 crank in my Scrambler, and the T-bird's motor is, simply put, twice as large, twice as heavy and twice as strong. And 'strong' is the operable word. If you like torque and you like the way the 865cc 270 degree motor puts it out, they you will really like the T-bird motor. But the next day, Sunday, I got back on my Scrambler for a run into town and, although it was almost toy-like in comparison to the Big 'Bird, I was reminded of a quote by Groucho Marx: "I like my cigar, too, but I take it out of my mouth once in awhile." I won't be trading in the ol' Scrammie anytime soon, just because I don't really care for the Big Motorcycle concept, but hey, if anyone is into that, this is a great way to get it. I hope Triumph sells them by the boatload.
 

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Regarding a test drive, there is a Factory Trailer Demo day scheduled for September at South Bay Triumph in Lomita, CA. If you can wait that long, it would be the thing to do.
Naa....i been waiting for this bike for years ! besides, my dealer allowed me to put a refundable deposit down today, so the one bike they are expecting is mine and i ain't giving it up ! :)
 

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Thanks gt1jimi. There are many a day I wish I could play more with the smaller bikes but being a tall guy I can't often get comfortable on the smaller bikes. I would of long ago bought a thruxton if I didn't look like a gorilla on a rollerskate on one. My wife is getting into riding and I'm pushing her towards either a thruxton or speedmaster if for no other reason than I'll get o occasionally play with it.

This big bike is what I've been waiting for, not just from Triumph but from the industry as a whole. I don't like the harley club and really only like the sportster, and the japanese bikes are so soulless. Add to that that none of them seem to handle worth a damn and the tbird is a refreshing turn of events.

Thanks for your insight. Can't wait till mine comes rolling in.

J
 

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Thanks gt1jimi. There are many a day I wish I could play more with the smaller bikes but being a tall guy I can't often get comfortable on the smaller bikes. I would of long ago bought a thruxton if I didn't look like a gorilla on a rollerskate on one. My wife is getting into riding and I'm pushing her towards either a thruxton or speedmaster if for no other reason than I'll get o occasionally play with it.

This big bike is what I've been waiting for, not just from Triumph but from the industry as a whole. I don't like the harley club and really only like the sportster, and the japanese bikes are so soulless. Add to that that none of them seem to handle worth a damn and the tbird is a refreshing turn of events.

Thanks for your insight. Can't wait till mine comes rolling in.

J
Ride a Kawasaki Meanstreak and you will find how well a cruiser can handle. I miss mine and am hoping the Tbird handles half as well.
 

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Thunderbirds are Go!!!

I can see there is and will be alot more hype over the long awaited Thunderbird Big Twin. I have to say, I was honestly scepticle at the onsought of a 1600 parrallel twin but it seems to have come off ok.
My initial concern is that its almost too out of the box from the american styling. I understand that the american market is significant, but the similarities to the millions of jap american look alikes is dissapointing. At least its not a V-twin, and I am certain that there will most likely be a japanes big parrallel twin now too very soon.
I would have liked personally to have seen the new T-Bird to be a shaft or chain drive, I despise belt drive bikes emensely due to the road conditions here and the amount of unsealed roads that are really fun to venture on. I think the shaft option would have got me signed up on one straight away, though I would have to still customise it a bit more, perhaps matt black it, 16 inch apes, and get rid of all the sparkly chrome.
I do like the lines, I love the throb of the big twin engine, bust most of all, I love the fact its a Triumph! You really have to give the team at Triumph cudos, they have a huge set of kahunas to re launch old style and nostelgic styled bikes. They put there spin on them, and they keep them for the most part in line with the original models of yesteryear.
I'm trying to be harshly critical on this bike, but I just can't do it, the only things really I find wrong are things I can customise/ personalise.
But please, Triumph legend designers, no more belt drives, or at least give the shaft and chain drive as an option. I want a shaft drive one.......
Perhaps when the second hand ones or some recks come though I'll chop one and see what I can come up with.

Well done, alot of people will love this bike, ride it before you judge it. Looking forward to seeing some customised versions.:D
 

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Shafts have thier advantages i suppose. But dont forget....while the R3 shows much more power than the Tbird in the specs, riders are reporting amazing torque from the Tbird. And even in the test ride someone posted about here he said he tested the R3 too and said and i quote, \"i know the rocket is faster, but the tbird seemed to pull much harder\". Hows that possible? I would be willing to bet its at least partially because the power specs of both bikes are given at the crank, and the ACTUAL power you get when you ride it is at the wheel. Shafts eat up a lot more power than a belt. So if you want a shaft, consider that ! Ill take the belt any day for a number of reasons including the fact that more of the bikes power will make it to the rear wheel.
 

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I can see the advantages of a shaft in unsure road conditions but ... gahhhkkk! :Tongue2: they have to be the ugliest drive mechanism made. They never will look right to me. I like the belt as a nice low maintenance replacement for the chain. Granted I pick up a rock and I may be cursing it but for day in day out riding on pavement they can't be beat.
 

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Thats exactly how i feel, tho i must admit to being worried about breakage when a long ways from home. But i recently found out you can buy emergency belts that attach with a sort of master link affair. they are made for harleys, but i read that the Tbird\'s belt is made by the same company so hopefully we will have that option. I will buy one w/o a doubt. I would hate to break any drive affair be it a belt or chain. But with a chain at least you can get one at any bike shop and with a master link put it on. Belts you have to remove the swingarm, not a side of the road sort of fix to be sure. So this emergency belt sounds great.
 

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pros and cons

yeah, I guess I do conceed that the shaft chews up a bit of power, I also agree that the look of the shaft drive isn't the prettiest when compared to the alternatives.
My worry is that of functionality, I am a true rider, I like to blast and I like trouble free and low maintenance. I have only owned 2 shaft drive bikes, neither were Triumphs, but I really appreciated the ease of servicing and the safety and reliability they offer. I ride on a few gravel roads, but more concerning is the sharp blue chip metal stones they use on the roads here. They chew through belts real easy.
I have had 4 harleys, and 2 times i had belts give out, neither belt had done 10,000kms. I have also been with friends and seen there's go too and what a hasstle, especially in hick little towns where noone carries belts and the nearest harley dealer is 500kms away...... They say belts are good for 50,000km, but not if a sharp little stone or two has something to say about it....
In saying that, they are quiet and very responsive with power so in states and countries where roads are pavement they would be great.
I read in a review that they are convertable to chain drive for around $600 us.
I havn't ruled one out, just expressing my niche desire for a thrashable bike. (i have the name Rogue for this reason, i do tend to ride like a rogue bandit)
 

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I can see that if you ride in areas as you describe. But i don\'t, and even if i did i think i\'d feel fine as long as i had the emergency belt i mentioned. Also it depends on when you had your belt problems, because supposedly they have improved immensely in recent times, and harley guys will tell you the latest gen of belts will go 100k and even more and rarely ever break unless you DO run them to crazy mileage. And the Tbird even has belt guards all the way around so rocks are less likely to get in there. But it\'s true...it\'s all about how you feel about it. I was worried till i saw the emergency belt option. That was my only worry.
 
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