Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello peeps!
I dont get over here much, as I ride an '02-ST and usually linger on the Sprint forum. But alas, I have a couple questions for you folks...
Im in the process of selling my everyday rider ('06 Kawi KLR, the Sprint-ST I save for long rides/trips) and looking to buy another bike. Basically to use everyday like Ive been doin with the KLR. Almost bough another Harley, but was reminded of the poor handling, heavy weight and less than satisfactory brakes.
So here I am, thinking I might want to get one of these T3's. Almost bought one B4 I got the KLR. Owner sent me a vid, sounded Awesome and looked great! So Im thinking, why get a heavy, cumbersome cruiser when a bike like the Legend/Thinderbird/Adventurer may fit my bill.
If I find one I like, Questions are;
~Reliability? Are they reliable enuff to use for work everyday, and weekend flaunts thru the twisties. And am I going to have to tinker with these bikes all the time, or are they like my Sprint ST> a joy to own and very reliable?

~Known Flaws; KLR 650's are haunted by the 'doohicky' failure. (i.e: known factory part that fails and be catastrophic!) Any such claims with any year of these bikes (i.e: known factory failure of any major parts?)

~Any 'best years' of these bikes, as in better performance or build quality thru the years they were made

I only ask cause the next bike I get will be used everyday and I will probly ride it for many years. So I want/need something that isnt high-maintinence, has decent performance, wont be hard to find parts for and will keep a smile on my face. Who else to ask than owners of these bikes themselves. Thanx in advance! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,282 Posts
As long as you get one with Keihin carbs (1998 plus) then you won't have to do anything except routine maintenance. Known problems are dirty carbs, rusty tanks (if they've been standing a long time), ignition switch failure, coils going bad (the original Gill ones are rubbish and should be swapped out for PVLs or even better change them out for coil-sticks).

Apart from that these things go like a shower of sh.it (my mate with a 2014 speed triple says he has a hard time keeping up with me and I beat him most times off the line!!) and never break down, always start and just keep on going - forever I hope :D.

Good maintenance is the key - regular oil changes, grease points, chain maintenance etc' and you'll be good to go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
568 Posts
Well, I guess any reliability/unreliability claims are essentially anecdotal. There will be many more knowledgable than I to chime in soon...but suffice to say, I CONSIDER my bike reliable but have had a serious igniter issue (failure at like under 15000 miles) its a 600-700 dollar part from triumph or a 250 part from the Chech republic (really!) The bike also has carbs...for me they have been a bit of a pain. Having said that- I just bought a big cruiser and decided NOT to sell the triumph because in a moment of clarity, I realized THAT I LOVE IT AND WOULD REGRET EVER GETTING RID OF IT. As I said, others will probably answer your question in terms more in the spirit of the question,. For me, it's reliable enough to keep, it's never totally stranded me, I enjoy the maintenance and it has a cool factor beyond bikes many times the cost!.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,122 Posts
I started with the 02 Sprint St and added a 99 TBS. I couldn't have made a better decision. The bike is different enough that it's worth it as a second bike. I have to say that on the reliability standpoint, it beats my Sprint hands down. I've modded the hell out of my TBS, and I absolutely love it. I figure that I'm getting probably 90-95 HP at the rear wheel with this bike. It's not as refined at the Sprint, but almost more fun to ride. It doesn't have the speed that the Sprint does, but it's a blast to ride. I can probably hold onto my license longer on the TBS than the Sprint, it just likes to go. I'd say Arfer is spot on about the carbs, and I had a Crank sensor fail. It's worth it to have a new one in your pocket. Coil sticks is a great money saving mod. I like the Ignitech programmable ignition. This bike is just bullet proof.
The only other bike I think that deserves consideration might be a Tiger 800XC, 1050, or 955. But those are my daydreams.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,320 Posts
I got back into riding after a 25 year break on the saddle of a 99 Legend. The handling as compared to my old Honda 550four was a revelation. I love working on bikes, so learning all of its quirks was also something I enjoyed.
Since I added a 95 Tiger to the garage I do miss having that extra disc on the front when I get back on the Legend. Were I looking for another triple classic, that dial front disc would be high on my list.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,793 Posts
If you can find a Thunderbird Sport in good condition and in your price range it will be worth the bit of extra money over the long run.

That is if the TBS fits you! Since you are used to a Sprint I think the TBS would feel pretty good to you.

Mine has never left me stranded (knock on wood) I have had coils fail, but other than that just regular scheduled maintenance, tires, chain, sprockets and brakes.

My coils did not fail suddenly, and it is certainly worth the peace of mind to replace all 3 with PVL's. I might try the coil sticks on my project bike.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
317 Posts
There are quite a few Sprint owner that have a Thunderbird as a second bike. I reluctantly traded my Thunderbird on a Street Triple for my wife. There is only so much room in the garage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
441 Posts
I guess I'll chime in also. I bought my '04 TBS as my first bike 2 1/2 years ago and fell in love instantly. Like others have said I had a Gills coil go bad and I also replaced all three coils. She has never left me stranded and I would ride her anywhere. A year and half ago I bought a '10 Speed Triple as a second bike and the thought of selling the TBS never crossed mind. I love the TBS so much I bought a '98 to have as a project bike and do some mods to. The '04 is a bit of a rare bird so I wanted to keep her stock. I had my best friend (Sprint owner) come into town. He wanted to ride the Speedy so off we go. Him on the Speedy me on the TBS. We stopped at the gas station and he asked me if I had to sell one of the two which one would I keep? Without batting an eye I said I'd keep the Thunderbird, no doubt. He seemed very surprised. I told him the S3 was a better bike (power, handling, speed) but the TBS was more SPM (Smiles Per Mile) then the Speedy.
After diner he rode the TBS while I rode S3. When we got back to the house he took off the helmet with this big grin and says "I see what you mean". He is now looking for a TBS to share the garage with his Sprint. So if you ask me if you should get a Thunderbird. I say Hell yeah, look at me I bought two!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,857 Posts
I have had some issues with my Thunderbird but my feeling is most of it was a result of neglect by the prior two owners. I have very much enjoyed getting to know the bike, working on it and riding it. Like CharlieS stated the two bikes are different enough to justify having both and while I certainly enjoy riding both bikes (for different reasons) the Bird has charm the Sprint just does not have.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Awesome! Thank you guys very much! Knew I'd find the answer I was hoping for, as I almost strayed and bought another Hardley.
I...had a bit of a falling out with Harley back when I decided to buy my '02-ST new off the floor. They left me high-N-dry in 2002 when they failed to help me with a mechanical error from the factory.
Needless to say....I will be on the search for the newest model year I can afford. When I started this thread, I had been guessing these bikes are the kind of bike owners love, because they are few and far between tryin to find one for sale! I wish I'd bought that one the owner sent me the video of. I like my KLR....but it just doesnt do it for me. It works, gets me back N fourth to work, but other than that I just feel I need more.

One more question tho....how are they riding two-up?? My woman is addicted to bein a passenger!

Thank you guys! Will report any further updates soon when I sell my KLR/buy my next daily rider :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,282 Posts
One more question tho....how are they riding two-up?? My woman is addicted to bein a passenger!
Honestly, first thing you should, no NEED to do is dump the standard rear shock because it's absolutely shocking - and not in a good way lol.

Extremely hard and unresponsive, well especially on my Adventurer anyway and I can't see the others being any different (apart from the TBS of course), I mean so bad that it put my wife off riding with me! I managed to get hold of a Kawasaki ZX9R rear shock and it's now a completely different bike. My wife now loves it, although I have to put my original seat back on each time lol.

Best mod I've ever made to mine and was also very cheap to do, a good used ZX shock can be picked up for under 100 bucks.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
356 Posts
As long as you get one with Keihin carbs (1998 plus) then you won't have to do anything except routine maintenance. Known problems are dirty carbs, rusty tanks (if they've been standing a long time), ignition switch failure, coils going bad (the original Gill ones are rubbish and should be swapped out for PVLs or even better change them out for coil-sticks).

Apart from that these things go like a shower of sh.it (my mate with a 2014 speed triple says he has a hard time keeping up with me and I beat him most times off the line!!) and never break down, always start and just keep on going - forever I hope :D.

Good maintenance is the key - regular oil changes, grease points, chain maintenance etc' and you'll be good to go.
If your mate can't keep up with you on a new Speed Triple, I think that says more about the particular riders involved
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
356 Posts
After a succession of Speed Triples (2010 and 2014), I decided to change to a 2003 TBS. I loved my Speed Triples but the TBS has got that special something, real character. I just love the bike. I have just bought an old 955 Sprint ST to use when the weather isn't too clever so that I can keep the TBS as my pride and joy.
I am really pleased with the Sprint though, a crackin' engine and handles well too.

In answer to original question....hell , yes, get a Tbird or Tbird Sport. They are fabulous bikes. The only problem that I had with mine was the gummed up carbs due to lack of use before I bought it but once cleaned out....loved it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
In answer to original question....hell , yes, get a Tbird or Tbird Sport. They are fabulous bikes. The only problem that I had with mine was the gummed up carbs due to lack of use before I bought it but once cleaned out....loved it.
Nice!! Thanks guys. Looking at a TBS now that I like! Doesnt seem to be many for sale (on the internet anyway) so Im guessing peep's that own them, love them. And aint giving them up.
Cheers to all the input and good advise!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,122 Posts
They can be hard to find, but worth it. Just a heads up. When I found mine, it was a fly and ride, and I pulled the trigger on it. After riding it at first, I was really disappointed with the performance. It kind of felt like the training bikes at the MSF training classes. I had to make some adjustments to get it to where it was beginning to be tolerable, eg shifter position, handlebar position, suspension preload to start with. It quickly got better. It was defineitely a learning curve for me with this bike, but I came to love it. Now that it's modded toward what I was wanting to have, and the performance mods, it's much more of what I wanted. Just don't be shocked if you're a bit underwhelmed at first. I certainly was.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
155 Posts
Don't dismiss the standard T-Bird. Upgrading the suspension can be inexpensive with Kawasaki shocks, and progressive springs, and ricor intiminators. I've done all three, and they are great options. I've since upgraded to a Hagon shock, but that's more spendy.

Search function is down right now, but there is also a bolt on front brake option from a euro spec Honda that IrlMike posted. Not as nifty as a twin disk, but reported to be a strong improvement.

Don't know if anyone's figured out a USA spec version or not. That's next on my list as soon as I get the Green cam/carbs figure out.

With the premium price of a late model TBS, you could do all the above and still spend less than for the TBS.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
I've got a Trophy and wanted something else, but wanted to stay with the 900 since I know the issues.

Issues list is covered here pretty well
Coils (replace with PVL/Nology or tt600 sticks)
Ignition Sensor (just keep a spare around)
Rusty Tanks (coat with Caswell if it ever comes up, don't worry about it again)
Carbs, if you get a rusty tank or don't keep up on maintenance
Ignitor, rare, but if it happens do the Inject deal and be done.

I got a Legend (because it seemed a screaming deal). Had I to do it over, I would have waited on a TBS (more power, better brakes). I'm more of a "ride it and don't mess with it" kind of guy. I can/have modded plenty of stuff in my life... kinda tired of customizing everything and being the only one who knows how to fix what I did. If you are into fiddling, then get any old Thunderbird and do the work to retrofit the brakes and green cams and you'll be doing fine.

Coming from the Trophy, my Legend is like a race bike. Light, nimble, responsive. I know its not (a race bike), but that's how the difference feels.

I like riding the Legend more than I like the Trophy - but the Trophy still wins for commuting (Windshield, Cargo).

Scott
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Welp, my search has been delayed. An old high school buddy had his mom pass away (few years after his father passed away) and he had to clear out the garage to sell house.
Sold me his fathers' 1992 Suzuki Intruder 1400 (3600 miles, $500.00!) in hopes I would get her running again and ride it in memory of his father (which I will).
Still selling the KLR 650, and Still eventually gonna buy the newest, nicest TB or TBS I can find when Im ready! I'll just have more $ to buy one when I eventually sell off the Suzuki (Probly by winter time).
I appreciate and enjoyed all the input and stories, and when I do finally get me my TB, I'll be lingering on this forum more N more :) Thanks guys, y'all helped me make up my mind for my next secondary bike! Cheers!
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top