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Discussion Starter #1
Last year I bought a 2010 BMW 1200RT. I sold my street glide to get it. It is by far the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden. I only need to stop when I run out of gas. The Russell seat and bar risers make it perfect, and it handles like a dream. For the fun of it I just bought a new T100 to add to the garage. It is a blast to drive and I find the quality to be the best of any bike I've ever owned. When I shift gears it doesn't clank like every other bike I've owned.
What I don't like about the BMW is that last month I took it in because the gas gauge was broken. This week I have to take it in because the head light leveler is broken. I'm the kind of person who hates having to take my bike (or car) in for anything other than routine service. So I'm wondering, since I like the quality of the T100 so much, should I trade the BMW for a Thunderbird. I love the look of the Thunderbird. I didn't buy the T100 for any distance riding, just around town. So if I dump the BMW it would have to be for something that I could ride for hours and still be comfortable. Any thoughts or opinions?
 

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Well, it IS a thunderbird forum so you should know all you'll get from us is praise. But it's more than worthy of all the praise we can muster. Get a 1700 with TORs and i think you'll be overjoyed. I could go on and on forever, but suffice it to say it's as close to perfect as i've ever owned and nothing else came close. get a 1600 and you may feel the same, but to me the 1700 with short tors is much much more fun and perfect. The 1600 is anemic for the engine size IMO. The 1700 is not at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. Yes, I know I'll get a lopsided view on this particular forum, but what you said are the kinds of thoughts and opinions that I'm looking for.
 

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Oh, and by the way, in case 1700 vs 1600 seems like nothing that would make much difference, the 1700 has difference cams that account for the better part of the gains it has.
 

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If you are truly happy with your BMW other than the fact that you have had a couple of unscheduled maintenance appointments I think you will not be any happier with the Thunderbird. My bird has a couple of quirks that I've had to deal with, and others here have as well. I'm sure you will have a similar experience. If the Bird speaks to you, and after riding one you fall in love with it then absolutely buy it. If you are expecting some sort of maintenance free bike then walk away.
 

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Lantesh is right, the Tbird is a quality bike, but there have been a few minor issues so most of us have had warranty work done (I had the coolant leak for example).

The feeling of a Tbird and a BMW will be very different so you would have to ride one. For example, my son likes riding my Tbird, but would not give up his FJR for one because the FJR has a silky-smooth engine. The Tbird's engine is smoother than the V-twins out there, but it is still a large displacement twin. Some like to "feel" their engine and some don't. Bottom line, I suspect the Bird will be very different than your BMW. You would have to take a long ride on one to be sure.

But if the BMW is that comfortable for you, I'm not sure I would dump a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
In the meantime, I sure am enjoying the T100. Today, after taking the BMW in early to have them figure out what part to order for the broken head light leveler, I spent all day riding the Bonnie.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I went riding into the mountains this past weekend with a group of riders who were riding BMWs and Ducatis. It was my first ride into the mountains and they riding a little aggressively for my ability. The RT certainly was capable of a lot more than I asked of it, but riding aggressively on the twisties is not my idea of a nice Sunday ride. I think I'd be happier cruising on a nice country road than speeding through the mountains, or cruising on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Coming home we were in a hurry and we took the interstate for much of the ride. The RT was great at 80 mph (felt like the safest part of the ride for me). So I'm still torn trying to figure out if the Thunderbird would be better for me. I do know that I would never have been able to even come close to keeping up to that group if I was on one of my previous bikes (Harleys). And getting up to the Blue Ridge Parkway from where I live involves going up into the twisties where the RT really does great. So I'll keep going back and forth in my mind as to whether I should trade the RT for a Thunderbird.
 

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At this point i believe your only path is a long demo ride. Barring that you aren't going to be able to decide. chances are it won't be AS comfortable as the BMW. But it is comfortable. I find it extremely so, but that doesn't tell you anything. You need to find a place that will allow you a couple hours or even 1/2 day ride. Offer to pay if necassary. but understand there are people who don't find it extremely comfortable and thats the only way to find out if you'll be one of those or one like myself. I will say i believe you will find it much more comfortable than the bonnie, and i have read no less than 4 or 5 people who have said they feel it handles better than their bonnies, one guy even saying better than his thruxton. I had a bonnie variant, a speedmaster. And i can say w/o a doubt it's a far superior bike in the comfort and handling categories. If you love the bonnnie i think you will be over the moon for the Tbird. Moving to that from a speedy for me felt like going from a toyota to a mercedes.

But alas, as i said before you need a long demo because everything i or anyone else tells you are just the opinions of others.
 

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The BMW is a totaly different bike . I dont think you could ever compare it to the TBird in ride comfort , handleing or indeed performance. The BM has better clearance better touring comfort with the fairing and much better top end . The TBird is cool, very good handling for a cruiser and huge amounts of gob low down torque. It will cruise comfortabley at 80mph but it will not be the comfortable ride you get on the 1200 BM because of the fairing.

As daz and Engage say you must find a dealer who will let you have the bike for a good few hours to test it or you could be making a huge mistake. You might find its exactly what you are looking for or you might find the touring comfort of the BM is not something you want to trade .

You dont ride the BMW and look at it a say now theres class machine though . Its what it says on the tin, a comfortable tourer that protects your riding experience from wind blast for many mile on a big long journey.

Im not trying to put you off because I love my TBird and would never trade her for anything but just be carefull and mindfull of what you want on your ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You are looking to trade the wrong bike. Trade in the Bonnie for the Thunderbird. Keep the BMW.
I wish I could have all three, but then I'd have to get rid of the wife. Hmmm. I love the Bonnie. Got home from work and first thing I did was get on the Bonnie for a quick loop around town. I do enjoy reading all the comments. It does appear that everyone appreciates that the BMW is a really nice bike. You wouldn't hear that on all forums. Some forums only like the bikes that they ride and can't appreciate other makes and models.
I can tell you that on last weekend's ride into the mountains it was nice to have the windshield down on the twisties and then electrically up it went on the highway. The RT is a very comfortable bike and I probably have the best of both worlds with the RT and the T100. But the T Bird is a beautiful bike.
 

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The BMW satisfies one itch. The Bonnie or the Thunderbird will satisfy the other. If you have a Thunderbird, and a Bonnie you will spend all your time on the Thunderbird, and the Bonnie will sit collecting dust.
 

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I had a 2007 RT and a 2003 LT and loved them both. The only problem was that my inseam is just a bit short for them so when stopping on uneven ground and maneuvering out of tight places, I've come close to dropping them.

I now have a 2010 Thunderbird that fits me ergonomically much better. It is a very cool bike. I love the sound, it handles very nicely and it is just plain fun to ride.

Differences: On the RT, I felt like I was going 60 when I was going 90. After the Beemers, the 'Bird felt like it was going 90 when I was going 60. I think this is due to more sensory input - more wind, more sound, more vibration. The vibration isn't bad, but it is certainly more than the RT or LT. The increased wind isn't a bad thing (at least not in the summer) it's just different. I may feel differently about it when winter gets here.

The T'bird is a blast to ride, but so is the RT - just different. I recommend you spend at least a half hour at freeway speed during a demo ride to assess the differences yourself.

I tend to agree with one of the others that you would be better off trading the Bonnie for the Bird instead of the RT. That way you have two very different, but equally enjoyable motorcycles depending on your mood and the type or riding you are doing that day. Could I ride the Thunderbird across the country in variable weather and enjoy it? Absolutely. Would I be more comfortable doing on an RT? Absolutely. But both would be an incredible amount of fun.
 

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My two cents: Keep the RT and buy the Tbird! That's what I'm thinking about doing eventually! They are sufficiently different bikes that I think you would appreciate having two different "best-in-class" machines at your disposal! If you're not looking to empty your pocketbook, might I suggest the Tiger 1050? That's a really fun bike too!
 

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My two cents and worth about what you paid for it. Keep the RT and buy the Thunderbird. Trade in the Bonnie, or keep it if you have the wherewithall to do so. Every bike has a shakedown period and a few idiosyncrasies. Some on the TBird had trouble with speedometers, more than a few had problems with the MAP sensor vacuum tubes coming disconnected. NOT much fun pulling up the tank and then fishing for them. The Thunderbird is a well balanced bike, it takes very clean corners and nimble for its weight. It is a lot of fun to ride and well worth the price. The Thunderbird comes with a 2-year unlimited mileage warranty and will likely offer an extended warranty during your period of ownership. With the deep dish two in one touring seat, it is very comfortable. The RT does have a lower seat option and yes, some of these seats seem a bit high, some high enough to get nosebleed. :) You will NOT have that problem with the Thunderbird, the seat is about 27.5 inches high, uncompressed, so most feet will reach the ground on the bird. Give the Thunderbird a ride, at least a half day or full day and you will likely be coming home with one.
 

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I go along with what others have said, keep the RT and get the TBird. I have a Kawasaki C14 along with the TBird and each scratches a different itch. When I was looking, I came to the conclusion that it just didn't make sense to have 2 cruisers because I would probably wind up riding the TBird most of the time. So, I went the route of having 2 very different bikes so I'd have one to fit whichever mood I'm in.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The problem keeping the RT and buying the Tbird is financial. I can afford to have the Bonnie and Tbird but not the RT and Tbird. Looked at the new blue/white 2011 Tbird today and really liked it. I think the RT is a tremendous bike but not necessarily my style or ride. It definitely is smooth on the highway and fun in the twisties, but I like sitting back and cruising more than anything else. It's a tough decision for me because I don't want to end up regretting getting rid of the RT.
 

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Like i said, you MUST get a long demo ! No amount of talk and mental back and fourth is going to yield a decision for you. I would try and find a storm so you can feel the 1700 engine too. The 1600 can be quite mild. I felt it was underpowered till i got the short pipes and accompanying tune. And the 1700 with pipes was a lot more even. Then with a few mods and the right fuel and oil it becomes so much more fun ! And if you aren't into speed, no matter. That isn't even the point of adding more grunt...the big torque is all about the feel and pull, not speed. If you rode mine i think you'd see the RT by tomorrow ! The 1700 and a few tweaks and it's just irresistible. But you have to at least see what they feel like for a hour or 3. Get a long demo !!!!!
 

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I own both the Storm and an '08 T100, and am quite the happy camper. Since buying the Storm in April, it has taken my passion for the T100 to an even higher level (my favorite bike hands down). Neither bike sits in the garage for more than a couple of days, but the difference is striking. Especially when jumping from one to another in the same day. The Storm is a stunner, w/ outstanding torque, and a smooth power delivery. The Storm handling is second to none in the cruiser market, but pales to the handling and nimbleness of the T100. I swear I can jump curbs going from the Storm to the T100.
All that being said: If you were looking at trading any bike but the RT I would say go for the Storm. There's a reason you can never get your hands on a used RT w/ low miles......they are that damned good. The Thunderbird in any trim is an excellent choice, but the year in,year out mileage eater has always been the RT. The difference between either the RT and the Storm with the T100 is sooooo pleasantly striking. The reason for having two bikes is the variety between them, not the similarities. Kinda like a pastrami sandwich w/ a big pickle on the side (compliments each other). If you love the T100 then keep it (it's the pickle in this lunch equation), and decide which between the RT and TBird is going to be that big pastrami sandwich.
 
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