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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 12:11 AM
Grand Prix 500
Main Motorcycle: Anything with two wheels.
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Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 129
Other Motorcycle: Thunderbird ABS
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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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 07:48 AM
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Main Motorcycle: Tiger Explorer 2013
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Morehead, KY
Posts: 701
Other Motorcycle: Had a T-Bird Storm 2012
Extra Motorcycle: Had a 2010 America
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.

Sent from my Motorcycle iPhone app
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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-11-2012, 12:36 AM
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Main Motorcycle: 2010 Triumph Thunderbird
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona USA
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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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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-11-2012, 01:07 AM
Main Motorcycle: '10 America
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Blairsville, Pa. USA
Posts: 19
Other Motorcycle: Kaw Vulcan 800 Classic
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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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-11-2012, 07:54 AM
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Main Motorcycle: 2011 Triumph Speedmaster
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Location: Marietta, GA
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Extra Motorcycle: 01 Vulcan Hardtail Bobber
Originally Posted by Deanno View Post
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.

"So long, and thanks for all the fish!"
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post #16 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-13-2012, 05:22 PM
Production 125
Main Motorcycle: 2012 Thunderbird Storm
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Baltimore
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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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post #17 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-14-2012, 01:16 AM
Production 125
Main Motorcycle: Thunderbird 1600
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 9
Other Motorcycle: Ducati 696+
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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post #18 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-14-2012, 02:01 AM
Main Motorcycle: Thunderbird SE A1
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Temecula, California
Posts: 377
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.


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post #19 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-15-2012, 09:53 AM
Production 125
Main Motorcycle: 2012 Thunderbird Storm
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Location: Baltimore
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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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post #20 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-15-2012, 03:33 PM
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Main Motorcycle: 2010 Thunderbird - black
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Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 49
Other Motorcycle: 2013 Ducati Diavel
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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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