Leaning back towards a Thunderbird... - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Leaning back towards a Thunderbird...

A little background...I've got an 09 Bonnie SE that I bought last year, and I really do love it, but now I want something bigger. I had always wanted a Thunderbird, but then I got used to the upright riding position on the Bonnie, and the Tiger 800 came out, so I started lusting after it. Since then, I've been torn on which bike to upgrade to.

I went to a local dealer a month ago and rode the Tiger 800, and I liked it. It seems perfect for what I need. However, the dealer wanted me to ride the Storm while I was there, since he knew that I was trying to make up my mind between the two. I found myself smiling as I walked out to the Storm...both from the way it sounded and from the way it looked. I had ridden the Tiger for about 30 mins, and I wasn't planning on riding the Storm, and didn't want to abuse the privilege, so I only took it for about 10 minutes. I loved every minute, it was a blast. However, I came back thinking the Thunderbird was more fun, but maybe not the best bike for what I need, and I was still set on the Tiger. It's hard to explain, but I was feeling like maybe the Bird was a Hummer, as compared to the Tiger being more of a Jeep....excess vs necessity...if that makes sense.

However, I always seem to come back to the Thunderbird...and I found myself thinking about it again yesterday. Motorcycles are supposed to be fun, and I definitely had more fun on the Thunderbird...even though the Tiger is really cool as well...so where I was 75/25 leaning towards the Tiger, now I think it's back to 50/50.

90% of my riding is rural roads, with the occasional (1-3 times a year) longer trip with friends out of state. The Tiger is nice because it's a true 'do anything' bike...with lots of possibilities for luggage, and a comfortable riding position for me. However, I am thinking the Thunderbird would cruise better, being that it is heavier and lower, and probably wouldn't get blown around as much. For the few amount of times that I would actually need a few days worth of luggage, I am sure I could find something to work on the Bird (not a huge fan of saddle bags).

So, that was me venting. I guess I am wondering if anybody has some input, or has gone through a similar decision. Bikes are kind of like tattoos...you get one and you want more...that's probably why I haven't gotten tatted yet.

I do have one specific question/concern. On the Storm, it felt like my back was rounded over, and I am thinking that would probably be an issue on a longer ride. Anybody feel like they were rounded over some? Maybe it was because I had just gotten off of the Tiger, which is slightly leaned forward. I am 5'11", and had no issues reaching the controls...just want to make sure I wouldn't have a sore back on a long ride.

Thanks for reading my rant...

Andy
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 11:06 AM
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My experience is somewhat similar to what you're going through so I'll let you know what I did. For years I rode Harleys. But about a year and a half ago I traded and bought a BMW R1200RT. It was a great motorcycle with all the technological advances possible. Most of my riding is on back country roads. I don't do any 500 mile days on the interstate. I found myself bored on the RT on many of my 1-2 hour rides. I bought a bonnie as a second bike and really loved it. To me it was more like what motorcycle riding is supposed to be like. Even on a straight country road at 45-55 mph it was FUN. So I decided to sell the BMW and get the Thunderbird. After three weeks I don't regret it at all. It is the same kind of fun that the bonnie is. In fact, as much as I love the bonnie, I find myself always riding the Thunderbird.
Everybody is different and enjoys different kinds of riding. But from what you said, we have similar feelings when it comes to riding. I like the Tiger 800 a lot, but it does remind me of what the BMW was to me and may not give you the "motorcycle thrill" that the bonnie or Tbird would give you. If you really like the bonnie, I know you will like the Tbird. I can't be sure the same will be true about the 800. Maybe, maybe not.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 11:16 AM
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I'm just 5'9" and i have the regular Tbird with the Tbars which supposedly puts the grips right where the stock bars are. But the stock bars are adjustable so you can bring them back or forward. So i guess you could say the Tbars are where the dealer is SUPPOSED to adjust the stock bars to during setup. In any case, with the Tbars at 5'9" i actually WANT to lean more forward. Unless you get a shield you will find sitting straight up will kill your spine right up in the beginning of your neck on lone rides. When leaned forward the muscles aren't stressed because the weight of your body leaning forward counters the wind. The tbars therefore kill me on long rides sometimes. Used to be ALL the time, but i seem to have adjusted and now it doesn't always happen. At least not on what I call long rides. Do 300+ miles and i think i'd be in trouble.

Of course YMMV, but all i can tell you is what I experienced. But there are aftermarket options i'm sure. As for luggage, there are bags for it. But you can also tie a heck of a lot to a sissybar/rack combo. So i say if you're that lustful of the Tbird go for it. Gut feeling usually can be trusted more than anything else. As for cruising, it will feel like butter all the way to 100. At 100 you won't even be taching 4k. More like 3.7 k. You can cruise at 90-100 all day. To me the bike seems to settle in real smooth and nice at 90 and you're at about 3.2-3k.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments guys.

sgl, I am glad to hear that coming from a Bonnie, you are getting the same thrill on the Thunderbird. I do love the Bonnie, it's a fun little bike. I just keep thinking I wasn't thrilled on the Tiger...similar to your feelings from your BMW, sounds like. The Thunderbird, I think, would be fun every single time.

Daz, yeah, I would like a little forward lean. I need to take a longer ride on the Storm, maybe my feeling was skewed a bit since I had just jumped off of the Tiger. I was thinking the feet forward controls were causing the rolling of the spine, as I am used to having my feet under me. Maybe a change of the seat, and just getting used to the position would help. A test ride should provide more answers.

Andy
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 12:00 PM
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SAGE,

A little background.........I have an '08 T100, and an '11 Thunderbird Storm. Sounds to me that the Bonnie SE is the odd bike out. Buy whichever bike between the Storm and the Tiger you will ride the most NOW. Then trade in the Bonneville SE for the other bike.

The Storm is a tough bike to get out of your head. I guarantee that you that you can't go wrong buying one. However it does sound from your description of the roads and your riding style that the Tiger would be the best fit, and bang for the buck initially.

Either way you decide to go is going to put a giant grin all over your face. The problem with selecting a ride from Triumph nowadays is all the class leading bikes they currently offer. Temptation after Temptation!

BTW.......no issues w/ the riding position on the Storm for longer rides. It will seem a little weird initially, but soon it will feel totally natural.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 12:16 PM
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Ah Hell.........Forget my last post, and buy the Storm. The thing will seep into your thoughts more and more. Kinda like an itch you can't scratch. Buy the Storm, and it will compliment the Bonneville SE because of the differences. Makes you appreciate both even more.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDMC_Sage View Post
I do have one specific question/concern. On the Storm, it felt like my back was rounded over, and I am thinking that would probably be an issue on a longer ride. Anybody feel like they were rounded over some?
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I was thinking the feet forward controls were causing the rolling of the spine, as I am used to having my feet under me. Maybe a change of the seat, and just getting used to the position would help.
With the stock seat the platform angle leans you backwards slightly. This will cause your back round over issue exactly as you are describing. On a long ride without a windshield this will also cause pain in your hips because you will have to use the muscles in your hips to counteract the wind.

The long haul seat has a different platform angle, and will cause you to sit more straight up. This corrects the seat angle issue, and alleviates the need to hold yourself up by the hips. Unfortunately the long haul seat is not as wide as the stock seat, and in my case it caused numbness in the center area of my butt after more than 15 minutes of riding.

My solution was to have a custom seat made on the stock seat pan. I combined the best of both the stock seat, and the long haul seat, and ended up with a new seat that is superior to either of them. So don't let the seating position stop you from buying a Thunderbird if that is your only complaint. It is easily corrected.

Last edited by Lantesh; 08-29-2011 at 01:20 PM.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Ah Hell.........Forget my last post, and buy the Storm. The thing will seep into your thoughts more and more. Kinda like an itch you can't scratch. Buy the Storm, and it will compliment the Bonneville SE because of the differences. Makes you appreciate both even more.
HAHAHA...yeah, you are right...it has been seeping into my thoughts, hence the thread. I think if I buy the Tiger, I'll end up still wanting the Thunderbird shortly thereafter. Heck, the reverse may be true as well, but I find myself thinking about the Bird more than the Tiger. Turning point was yesterday...stopped back at the dealer just passing through. Showed my dad the Tiger, and it was cool, but kind of ho hum...then saw the Thunderbird outside, and got a little tingle in my nether regions. Could have been a small kidney stone or something, but I think it was the Thunderbird.

Andy
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Lantesh View Post
With the stock seat the platform angle leans you backwards slightly. This will cause your back round over issue exactly as you are describing. On a long ride without a windshield this will also cause pain in your hips because you will have to use the muscles in your hips to counteract the wind.

The long haul seat has a different platform angle, and will cause you to sit more straight up. This corrects the seat angle issue, and alleviates the need to hold yourself up by the hips. Unfortunately the long haul seat is not as wide as the stock seat, and in my case it caused numbness in the center area of my butt after more than 15 minutes of riding.

My solution was to have a custom seat made on the stock seat pan. I combined the best of both the stock seat, and the long haul seat, and ended up with a new seat that is superior to either of them. So don't let the seating position stop you from buying a Thunderbird if that is your only complaint. It is easily corrected.
Thanks man, I will definitely keep this in mind. Probably not getting the Bird til Spring, but if the ergos don't get better (not to say they were terrible in the first place), then I'll look at other seating options.

Andy
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 04:27 AM
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Concerning the back strain issues which you may get on any feet forwards type bike, I gave up on 2 cruisers because of this BUT now have a T'bird fitted with a rider's adjustable back rest...job done!
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