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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all! First off let me say that I am new to the forum and have already learned a lot. I am also looking for my first road bike.
A little background, I'm 45 years old and haven't ridden a motorcycle since I was a teenager riding dirt bikes.
I'm not a huge fan of Harley's and and it seems like the the metric cruisers are a dime dozen. I love the look of the Triumphs cruisers and also the fact that you don't see one on every corner.
Here's my problem. I was set on getting an America. Thinking an 800-900 cc would be a good starting point, but when I sat on it I felt cramped, I'm 6'3" and 230lbs. I sat on the Thunderbird and it felt great. My question is would the ThunderBird be too much bike for me and my novice skills (I'm going to take a safety course, btw). So what do you guys think. Get the T-Bird or look for another 800-900 cc bike?

Thanks
Mutt
 

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I was in nearly the same boat as you...

...I just started riding two years ago. I'm almost 42. Yes, midlife crisis.

Anyway...

I took a safety course, passed and got my license. I started with a used Honday Shadow Aero - 750. I outgrew that thing inside of 6 months.

So, like you, I started shopping. I quickly realized I wanted a Triumph. Much because of the same reasons you specify.

I'm 6'0 and at the time I was around 225. I was thinking I would go with the SpeedMaster. I went to a Triumph Demo Day and road the America, SpeedMaster, Tbird and Tbird Storm. And let me tell you, I fell in love with the Tbird.

It is NOT too much, trust me. Because now, having upgraded, it's easy peasy lemon squeezy my man.

If you get the smaller bike, especially at your size, you will wish you started with the Tbird.

Take the class though, get your legs back.

cya
 

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You are not a new rider. Sure it has been a long time, but I think you will find that it will all come back to you. If you had never ridden before I would start smaller, but that isn't you. If the Thunderbird feels right when you are sitting on it then maybe it is the right bike for you. Just take it easy on the throttle for a while.
 

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Agree. I too had mid life crisis last year. Took the class and started on an America. Don't get me wrong it is a lovely bike and is very easy to handle. After a few thousand miles I rode the Storm and upgraded the next week. Just felt so much better. Good luck with the class and start picking out which Tbird you should get.


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Get the Thunderbird. Once you've taken the class, you'll out-grow the America in less than a tank of fuel. I'm 6'4" 215lbs, Thunderbird fits like a glove, and rides and handles better than my Super Glide ever did.
 

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Thunderbird - you already know you feel cramped on the America and the T-Bird fits you well so you should be able to perform better on it. It's exceptionally well balanced and after the safety course you should fine. Like Lantesh says, you're not a new rider, you're just a rusty rider. Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the responses everyone. I'm just a little gun shy about getting such hoss of a bike like the Bird. Like I said I thought the America/Speedmaster was the bike I was going to get. When I got to the Triumph dealer he told me to sit on the ThunderBird. My first thought was no way, too big of a bike for my limited skills, but I sat on it and WOW it felt right and I was standing the bike up with no problem. I then went and sat on the America and my first thought was that I felt cramped and squeezed on the bike. The dealership manager said the same before I even mentioned anything about it. Of course he maybe just trying to sell a bike.
I know I haven't ridden a motorcycle in many, many years and never a road bike, but I know my limitations and am well past my 20's and the need to go mach 3 everywhere I go. Call me crazy but I think I may, just maybe might be able to keep from killing myself if I get this bike, lol. I tell you it's such a beautiful bike and I just can't stop thinking about it. Thanks for all your comments and please keep them coming and any other tips you may think of.

Thanks,
Mutt
 

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Thanks for the responses everyone. I'm just a little gun shy about getting such hoss of a bike like the Bird. Like I said I thought the America/Speedmaster was the bike I was going to get. When I got to the Triumph dealer he told me to sit on the ThunderBird. My first thought was no way, too big of a bike for my limited skills, but I sat on it and WOW it felt right and I was standing the bike up with no problem. I then went and sat on the America and my first thought was that I felt cramped and squeezed on the bike. The dealership manager said the same before I even mentioned anything about it. Of course he maybe just trying to sell a bike.
I know I haven't ridden a motorcycle in many, many years and never a road bike, but I know my limitations and am well past my 20's and the need to go mach 3 everywhere I go. Call me crazy but I think I may, just maybe might be able to keep from killing myself if I get this bike, lol. I tell you it's such a beautiful bike and I just can't stop thinking about it. Thanks for all your comments and please keep them coming and any other tips you may think of.

Thanks,
Mutt
I'm assuming you went to Charlotte BMW-Triumph-Ducati. I have bought three bikes there in the past couple of years. Currently I ride a Tbird. The people there are really great. I don't know who you talked to but I don't think they would put you on a bike they didn't think was right for you.
 

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Get the Tbird. No doubt about it. I'm 5'10" and ride one, it's so well-balanced with low COG and easy to ride. I used to have a Rocket 3 and i could control it, so you will have NO trouble with the Tbird. NONE!
 

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I agree that the Tbird is very easy to control because it is so low. When I first started riding I sat on a sportster a few days before I took the MSF course. I thought no way could I handle a bike this big. It seemed overwhelming. I bought a sportster soon after my course and a month later I sold it for a bigger bike. My recommendation is to buy the bike you want but be very patient when you start riding it. Find a big empty parking lot (schools on weekends are good) or a park and ride it there. Maybe even have an experienced friend bring it to the parking lot for you and then you can get on and practice.
On the other hand I can tell you I also owned a Bonneville up until a few weeks ago as a second bike. That bike was so easy to ride and an absolute blast.
Now that I confused you, good luck!
As I said previously, the guys at the dealership will be very useful. I recommend Greg or Barry.
 

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And one more thing. If you get a bike, contact me. I joined a riding group here in Charlotte and they are a great bunch of people who get together often. Their rides are very pleasant. If you're looking to race through the twisties, this group isn't for you. All ages and all kinds of bikes.
 

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I've been riding a year and a half. Took the riders course and bought the bike I had my eye on, a 2010 America. Love the bike but made the happy mistake of test riding the Thunderbird and TB Storm after having only six months or 1500 miles under my ares. I was so enamored with the Storm I annoyed the dealer with a couple of more test rides last season. Needless to say, I was sold on the Storm and am trading my America (can't wait to pick it up next week). Having said that, I was not comfortable initially with riding such a large bike. But after getting my wheels under me I got the courage to test out the TB.I do, however, believe that it was best that I started out on the America even though it cost me more in the long run.

To my way of thinking the Bird handles easier than the America, albeit heavier to move around. I suspect that the rake and the low slung frame design make that happen. The TB is an amazingly smooth and exhilarating ride. Can't wait the have that torque-inducing grin going down the road.


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Don't let the displacement scare you. As has already been said the Thunderbird is exceptionally well balanced, and easy to handle. My last bike was a Honda Shadow 1100, and believe me when I tell you it is easier to ride the Thunderbird than it was to ride the Shadow.
 

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You may want to try out a used America for size. The 2011's/2012's feel cramped to me and I'm 5'10. They changed the ergo's quite a bit for the 2011 model year. A used America would be a great way to get back into riding and would not be such a huge investment.
 

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Needless to say, I was sold on the Storm and am trading my America (can't wait to pick it up next week).
What did they give you on trade? I have an '11 Speedmaster and really want to eventually trade in on a Storm.

Sent from my portable supercomputer. Excuse my typos.
 

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I went through this same process last summer. I'm 47, had done some dirt bike riding as a kid decades ago, and some small bike (250cc) riding in Europe on vacations in the past 10 years. So not much riding overall. I took the MSF class and got my license. Definitely take the class. For reference, I'm 5'11" and 190 lbs.

After debating how big to go for the first bike, I choose a 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom. I knew that if I really took to riding I'd likely outgrow it within 6-12 months, but if not, at least I wasn't making a huge investment, and in the worst case if I laid it down, it wasn't going to cost me a significant amount.

After riding the Vulcan 900 for 1-2 months, I got very comfortable riding and knew I was going to upgrade. After much research, and test riding several bikes in the 1500-1800 cc range, I settled on the Tbird Storm, and decided to wait for the 2012 models to come out before buying. So I got a 2012 Tbird Storm about a month ago, and have already put 600 miles on it. It's a great machine. Though it weights about 150 lbs more than the Vulcan 900 (which is a pretty big starter bike at 600 plus lbs wet), the Storm features a better center of gravity, and definitely handles better and is less awkward in slow turns then the Vulcan 900. So the irony is that the Storm handles great, better than the Vulcan and some other midsize bikes, but on the other hand, the Storm's got a lot of juice, and it's not inexpensive.

Based on my experience (as someone who got very comfortable riding in a fairly short time), I'd recommend the following options, depending on what fits you best:
1) if in your heart you know that you have a strong passion for riding, and if you have confidence in your ability to grow your skills, then you'll likely outgrow a medium sized bike pretty quickly, so go with the Tbird 1600 or Storm, but proceed cautiously and incrementally. Meaning go to a large parking lot time and again and really get acclimated, and then drive on the roads when there's not excessive traffic so you can grow into it slowly.
2) otherwise if you're more uncertain about it (in terms of your passion and confidence in growing your skills), i'd suggest you go for a midsize bike that fits you, and see how it goes. it's not a problem to simply sell the medium size bike and upgrade within a year's time if that makes sense for you.

So what would I do if I had it to do again? I think I'd do it the same, even though I was kicking myself in a short period of time for not having bought a bigger bike initially. But hindsight is 20/20.

Sorry for the lengthy reply, but hopefully sharing my experience is helpful.
 

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I test rode the America thinking exactly the same as you, that the T-Bird was too big and powerful for me.

I was so disappointed with the America as it lacked any attitude that I was looking for in a bike and also the build quality looked cheap (to me at least). If I was really going to buy an America or Speedmaster I would have probably ended up on a Jap bike.

Having said that, I bought the T-Bird and could not be happier. I am only 5'11" and have no problems handling the T-Bird. Once you get on one, you will not look back.

My advice is to do a test ride on both bikes and I'm sure you'll pick the T-Bird

Good Luck!
 

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Get the Thunderbird you will not regret it. I started riding 29 years ago on a 400 cc Honda and 3 months later I was on a 750K. If you get a 900 you will keep wishing for something bigger. As for the MSF course, take the beginners course and six month later take the Advanced Riders course. I also did the street bike course on my SE. Bottom line is you know what is best for you and what you will use the bike for. There are plenty of riders on this forum that are perfectly happy with the America or Bonneville and would not think of getting something bigger. Most of us are biased Thunderbird owners giving our opinions with a slanted point of view.

~Mick
 

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I agree with Mick. As a Tbird Storm owner, I am definitely biased. Having said that, the Tbird is a magnificently engineered machine. An awesome blend of power and superior handling. You will love it.

I'm adding Hog slayer pipes next week, and can't wait to hear the roar of the Storm.
 

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I'm in my 50's, started riding about a year and half ago, and had never so much as SAT on a bike before. I took the class, got my license, then started trying to figure out what to buy. After much research, many dealership visits (Harley, Honda, etc.), and ZERO test rides, I worked out a deal on a demo TBird with about 300 miles and had it delivered (about 30 miles away).

Took me about 2-3 months to get comfortable enough to leave my neighborhood, but 8000 miles and several 200-300 mile days later, I can tell you it has been a fantastic choice. If a complete noob like me can start literally from scratch, I would say that the TBird has to be one of the easiest and best handling big bikes around. I started there because, at my age, I didn't want to waste time on a bike that I was certain I would want to upgrade quickly.

You've already got way more experience riding than I ever had. Go with the Thunderbird.
 
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