Anyone here trade up from an America? - Page 4 - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
Thunderbird Cruiser Chat Cruiser chat for the the Thunderbird twin

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post #31 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-17-2011, 09:31 PM
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.... So the Thunderbird came last night and even thought the temperature was hovering around 23 degrees when I left for work I couldn't resist. I froze and had the best commute ever. As I was riding I kept thinking "they really got it right". The ergonomics, the power, the balance, everything about this bike is just right.
Someone in a previous thread said that the Thunderbird did not have much more overtake and passing power than the Speedmaster. At 75 MPH I noticed the same thing- then I shifted into 5th! WOW! Wearing a full face helmet makes it a little difficult to monitor the tank mounted speedo but 95 MPH came and went before I could roll the throttle off. The thing that I cant figure out is the serve lack of wind buffet. The buffet on the naked Thunderbird is less than the Speedmaster with at Dart windscreen. The weight of the bike is noticeable at slow speed and will take a little while to get used to but the bike is so well balanced it is imperceptible once you get going. Overall even though it is heavier, it is much more responsive and nimble than the Speedmaster, with the added advantage of the extra weight dampening out the bumps and bounce.
Overall after my first 50 miles the only thing I would change is to put the speedometer back on the bars where God intended them to be (but that may just be because I was wearing my winter full face helmet so its hard to look down).
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post #32 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-18-2011, 08:15 AM
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jjd996. Congrats on the new bike. Despite temps in Wisconsin getting chilly don't want to put my Storm away but snow cannot be far away. I here what you say regarding speedo placement. Don't think the helmet makes much of a difference. enjoy
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post #33 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 09:58 AM
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Glad to hear your happy with your new bike.
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post #34 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 05:08 PM
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TBird vs America

I bought the America in 2006 and I loved it. It was the first bike I'd owned in many years and I put 15,000 miles on it. The TBird came along and it was all over. I traded the America the day I test drove the Bird in 2009, I bought one of the first TBirds to hit the streets. I have 10,000 on the it. Since I am smaller in stature, 5'7"" 135 lbs, I was a little afraid of the much heavier bike. But, as Dazco pointed out, the bird is so well balanced it has been no problem to manage. And, it is nice to have the weight when big trucks pass you. In short, I like the way it handles and the power, even with the 1600. However, I would never say a bad word about the America, it is still one of my favorite bikes ever!
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post #35 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-24-2011, 11:37 AM
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I've been curious about this thread as well as I'm looking to get into a Triumph. I currently ride a Vulcan 500, but am ready to upgrade and I went to test ride an America. It was great, but the the dealer put me on a Thunderbird and I haven't been able to get that out of my mind ever since!

There are more used Speedmasters and Americas out there and for a lot less bread than a Thunderbird, so it seems like maybe a good choice to just start with a smaller Triumph. But am I gonna be longing for the T-Bird even if I get a new Speedmaster/America? I'm thinking yes, especially after reading threads like this one. I'd also like to hold out for a bike with ABS. It rains a lot here in Oregon.

But coming up from a Vulcan 500, I wonder if I should just make a small size jump to my next bike. By that I mean get the 1600cc Bird instead of the 1700cc
Ok one thing to keep in mind when reading a thread like this is very few people that pay $5,500 to $6,800 more for a motorcycle will ever say it is anything other than superior to their previous ride.

Also read through the tech forums of both bikes, look at problems people are reporting not modifications. Coolant leaks, belt noise, electrical, paint issues etc. Compare newer bikes of course.

As far as physical size the America and Thunderbird have almost identical wheelbases and the America is slightly longer overall. The '11 and newer Americas have 10mm lower seat height than the T-Bird and of course 200lbs less weight.

I rode each bike several times and liked them both. To me the much lighter America was more agile and the T-bird more straight line stable.

In the end I prefer the essential classic style of the air cooled America. As others have said the Thunderbird looks like someone put a parallel twin in a Japanese cruiser. In a few years I may want something different, perhaps by then Triumph will work the T-bird's style out.

...go ahead, fire away.
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post #36 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-24-2011, 12:24 PM
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Ok one thing to keep in mind when reading a thread like this is very few people that pay $5,500 to $6,800 more for a motorcycle will ever say it is anything other than superior to their previous ride...

...go ahead, fire away.
Ok another thing to keep in mind when reading a thread like this is very few people that who choose not to pay $5,500 to $6,800 more for a motorcycle will ever say their own is anything other than superior to the one they chose not to ride...

Put it another way, when you jump over to a forum for specific bike owners you will find that most like their bikes. Go to the America hangout and you'll find great reviews from happy owners. And if I tune into a HD forum I'll probably wax eloquently about the attributes of the Thunderbird, duh...
The most useful oppinions are probaby from those who have owned
both bikes, and have made up their minds which suits them best. In the end, it's always a personal decision.

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
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post #37 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-24-2011, 03:16 PM
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Ok one thing to keep in mind when reading a thread like this is very few people that pay $5,500 to $6,800 more for a motorcycle will ever say it is anything other than superior to their previous ride.
I can't argue with you there. Nobody wants to think that the bike they just paid significantly more money for is somehow inferior to their last bike.

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Originally Posted by outerbanks View Post
Also read through the tech forums of both bikes, look at problems people are reporting not modifications. Coolant leaks, belt noise, electrical, paint issues etc. Compare newer bikes of course.
Good point as well.

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Originally Posted by outerbanks View Post
As far as physical size the America and Thunderbird have almost identical wheelbases and the America is slightly longer overall. The '11 and newer Americas have 10mm lower seat height than the T-Bird and of course 200lbs less weight.

I rode each bike several times and liked them both. To me the much lighter America was more agile and the T-bird more straight line stable.
Each bike scratches a different itch. It really comes down to rider preference.

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In the end I prefer the essential classic style of the air cooled America. As others have said the Thunderbird looks like someone put a parallel twin in a Japanese cruiser. In a few years I may want something different, perhaps by then Triumph will work the T-bird's style out.

...go ahead, fire away.
I'm not sure how the Thunderbird looks anymore "Japanese" than the America, but one's interpretation of styling is of course subjective. One of the reasons I bought a Thunderbird was because I liked the styling. I don't think it looks like a Japanese cruiser, and I don't think it looks like a Harley. I find it has its own look, which is what I wanted. Beyond that I like the fact that it is water cooled. I live in climate that regularly reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit and beyond in the summer. I like the fact that it is a big bike with plenty of torque and horsepower, yet is so well balanced that it handles better than my last bike, which had 500cc less displacement. I think the America is a great bike, but honestly I can't see any advantage it offers over the Thunderbird other than the fact that it costs less money, and perhaps is a better fit for a person of smaller stature than myself with less physical strength.
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post #38 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-24-2011, 10:46 PM
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I'm not sure how the Thunderbird looks anymore "Japanese" than the America, but one's interpretation of styling is of course subjective. One of the reasons I bought a Thunderbird was because I liked the styling. I don't think it looks like a Japanese cruiser, and I don't think it looks like a Harley. I find it has its own look, which is what I wanted. Beyond that I like the fact that it is water cooled. I live in climate that regularly reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit and beyond in the summer. I like the fact that it is a big bike with plenty of torque and horsepower, yet is so well balanced that it handles better than my last bike, which had 500cc less displacement. I think the America is a great bike, but honestly I can't see any advantage it offers over the Thunderbird other than the fact that it costs less money, and perhaps is a better fit for a person of smaller stature than myself with less physical strength.

The Thunderbird was styled by American Tim Prentice who before coming to Triumph worked for Honda on the VTX and Yamaha on their Road Star.

This is a 2005 Honda VTX


vs the T-bird



At this power level and in the extreme heat you ride I agree liquid cooling is the way to go...but I wish Triumph would have tucked the radiator between the front frame rails like Honda does for a cleaner appearance.

I am 6'1" 240lbs so handling the Thunderbird was hardly a challenge.

Last edited by outerbanks; 11-24-2011 at 11:15 PM.
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post #39 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-24-2011, 11:22 PM
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The Thunderbird was styled by American Tim Prentice who before coming to Triumph worked for Honda on the VTX and Yamaha on their Road Star.

This is a 2005 Honda VTX


vs the T-bird



At this power level and in the extreme heat you ride I agree liquid cooling is the way to go...but I wish Triumph would have tucked the radiator between the front frame rails like Honda does for a cleaner appearance.

I am 6'1" 240lbs so handling the Thunderbird was hardly a challenge.
Ok that particular version of the VTX in that picture does look like the Thunderbird picture. I'll give you that. In person though the bikes do not look all that similar. Also I did not mean to imply that you personally were of small stature, or not strong enough to handle a Thunderbird. That was more of a general statement I was making on why the America might be a better choice for some riders. I also agree with you that the radiator would have looked much better between the frame rails. I'll give Triumph credit though. They did a nice job with the styling of the radiator cover at least. My Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 had what looked like a very cheap piece of square plastic covering the radiator. At least the one on my Thunderbird looks good.
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post #40 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 12:22 AM
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Ok that particular version of the VTX in that picture does look like the Thunderbird picture. I'll give you that. In person though the bikes do not look all that similar. Also I did not mean to imply that you personally were of small stature, or not strong enough to handle a Thunderbird. That was more of a general statement I was making on why the America might be a better choice for some riders. I also agree with you that the radiator would have looked much better between the frame rails. I'll give Triumph credit though. They did a nice job with the styling of the radiator cover at least. My Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 had what looked like a very cheap piece of square plastic covering the radiator. At least the one on my Thunderbird looks good.
IF Triumph did not build the America/Speedmaster models I would have no doubt bought a Thunderbird. As a matter of fact if the dealer would have had a blue/white or black T-bird available that day...

Fortunately they had a Phanom Black America sitting right on the showroom floor and my decision was easy. I got a great bike at a great price and no regrets.
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