2009 Triumph Thunderbird 1600 depressingly mediocre

Dailies -


Triumph_thunderbird_1600_2.jpgTriumph revealed its new Thunderbird 1600 cruiser at a dealer conference yesterday. Details remain scarce, but we do know it has a 1594cc engine making something in excess of 100bhp, belt drive and an unnecessarily large 200/70-18 rear tire. Aside from competent handling that’ll be spoiled by that big tire, the looks indicate a depressingly boring Harley clone. Yes, we know it has an ugly parallel twin, but honestly, cover it up with your thumb and you can’t tell the difference between the Thunderbird and every other generic cruiser made in the last 20 years. Come on Triumph, you can do better. More details will be announced in the new year and more pictures, if you really care, after the jump.

Update: All details for the 2010 Triumph Thunderbird have been released. For the complete specifications, click here.

  • Anders

    agree. uninspred. I dont have the full insight in the ‘cruiser’ market, but at a first glance this could be a Suzuki, Yamaha or whatever.

    • J.D.

      I don’t agree at all with a lot of the comments made todate…if you don’t like it all your taste must be ‘in ya mouth’…nicely balanced, turns well, more ‘pull’ than a 15yr old and stops well…and being of ‘good bloodlines’ will undoubtably be ‘reliable’ also…what else do you want from a bike…good onya Triumph…’cool’ bike for sure yeah…

  • Spike

    Yuk. Why? They’ve an inspiring cruiser in the rocket. I guess just because they could. The America is bad enough. If I want a Harley I’ll buy one, um, guess I did.

  • phastphil

    I dont know…I guess if you are in the market for that style bike…and you are anti-Harley…it would be a viable option. Not my style though

    • Phoghat

      In 2005 I bought a Fatboy after a succesion Hondas and Kawasaki’s. The last Harley I had was a 55 Pan that I bought at a police auction. At the time I thought the Panhead was great and always wanted a new Harley. I bought the Fatboy and realized that Harley hasn’t changed a hell of a lot. The engine was better, horsepower still sucked and the transmission was an embarassment. Shifting into first at a light and you could hear the clunk 15 feet away. It looked nice though. I guess.

  • Idlebiker

    I’d take it if it was given to me. Looks like a Kawasaki, no bad thing. It’s all about the market. Triumph know where the money is – in the midwest. Straight arrow roads and tons of grunt. Can’t be worse than a Harley. I’d road test it for, oh maybe a year…

    • colin

      Someone said it looks like a Kawasaki, when the Kawasaki 650 came out, it LOOKED LIKE TRIUMPHS…. so doesnt suprise me.

  • Jim Matheson

    Hate, hate, hate the wheels, Yamaha had the same looking wheels in the 80`s. Directional wheels have never looked good.

    Triumphs designers could have done better with the radiator too, it could have flowed better with the downtubes and had a shoud over it.

    Come on Triumph, I have been waiting for three years for this.

  • bigmacholdthefries

    well done triumph nice looking bike,i’ll be placing my order next year

  • Scott Barker

    Looks like the almost perfect motorcycle to me. I liked the old Triumph twins and I don’t like fixing flats on wire spoke wheels. Will have to ride one before I know for sure if I will buy one.

    • scott mcgowan

      barker from riverside

  • Tony Wicks

    Looks like a Honda VTX 1300C or 1800C from the rear

    • rod the mod

      doesnt look anything like the back of my 1300vtx but certainly hope it performs better (cant run any worse)if the engine is as smooth as the america its for me am fed up with the continual thumping of jap cruisers seeking so called cruiser feeling there are riders out there who want a smooth slick ride that doesnt feel as though the bike is traversing a cobbled road hopefully the trumble will do the job

  • FJ

    “The America is bad enough.”

    Eat shit, Spike.

    • Craig Farrington

      The America is the second ugliest bike on the market after this one. I agree with Spike.

    • http://www.bobo.com Charlie Bobo

      Right on FJ! The America is an all around fantastic bike.

  • http://http:www.aggromedia.com Robert

    UGLY! UGLY! UGLY! All they had to do was put the new engine in the Speedmaster/America!
    Even better design it based on the Speed Twin!

  • Robert

    Should have made it look like this Triumph Speed Twin

  • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant

    Ooh, that would be nice, Robert. I would happily be seen on and own a bike that cool, whereas the 1600 seems to be designed for a generic Midwest suburban middle class male that may or may not exist.

    This is what happens when focus groups are depended on for branding and marketing strategies instead of mining a dense history for unique and innovative direction.

    Nobody needs, or even really wants, an exact copy of a rickety Speed Twin for the purposes of daily riding. I think it is the essential litheness of the visual weight while retaining the European flavour of a cruising machine that Triumph should be aiming for.

    I’ll bet since that kind of philosophy worked for Brando, it’ll work for the market they’re looking to tap into.

    • Bob

      Are you always such a pompous twit? You have no business even riding a motorcyle. You should stick to your Yoga and Starbuck’s moca moca frappe!

  • Bruce

    I like it and I’ll probably buy one in the second year of production.

  • Tiger Speedmaster

    OK, I may be old but my only complaint about my 65 Speedmaster, even with it,s TR7RV motor is it’s not fast enuff and gets figidty after 30 or 40 miles. That may get me off the 79 750K honda for the power loss. Maybe it sucks. Time will tell and a lot of us yanks [who bought most of those britbikes when I was younger] will flog the dog and tell the truth. back in the 70s we all wanted Triumph to build a Hog beater. Hope they have!

  • http://www.myspace.com/ccrider77 CC Rider

    Triumph makes solid, durable and good handling machines – I’m sure this one will not disappoint functionaly. The styling is right out of the Japanese playbook and reeks of UJM. The rear fender looks like it was stolen from a H-D Deuce. I would consider one but would have to invest at least $2K to make it look “British” or at least less Japanese.

    I hope they’re planning on making a hard-bagged, faired tourer of this. I’d consider it. Oh, and Spike – don’t be a dick…

    • Richard Smith

      Looks for all the world like a trimmed down Fat Boy, which isn’t all that bad if that’s what they were trying to do. The parallel twin looks odd at first but you get used to it. Hate the wheels and exhaust – way too Jap sporty.

      I grew up in love with a Bonnie and admired the previous T’bird for years but went off the ‘classic’ style. Still love them but now prefer the America as the bike I’d like to ride; if only it had more engine (even just a 1000). The Rocket III is just stupid – have you seen how many are for sale 2nd hand? – so I really want to be able to love this bike. I don’t.

      Please do a bit of work, Triumph. Jap will do for now and HD is not out of the question. But I want a Triumph.

  • jared

    I could see a Thruxtonish cafe variant of this t-bird being really sweet. The tank mounted speedo, tank, postage stamp seat suck. Totally out of place on a Brit bike and not even practical. I ride a 99 ‘bird I bought new, and a sporty version of this 1600 I could see replacing it. They’ve never made any thing since that could touch the “old” t-bird for a combination of classic style and all-round performance.

    • mike

      i agree ,i own a 97 bird, there is nothing like it when you screw back that throttle.very disappointed in the harley clone triumph has created this year

  • Kevin

    I like the idea of it (I’m a grandad now) and need something more forgiving. I currently ride a 2003 Bonnie and a Yamaha MT-01. If it’s too much like a Harley in the flesh it will be a no go.
    They could have done something better with the radiator (It needs chrome)

  • Lee

    for God´s sake, why drag the “Thunderbird” name the mud?? this…only brings disgrace to the nostalgic and mythical concept of Triumph!!!
    I am a young lad;) that lives and breathes what “real” Triumphs stood and still stand for. It is 106, but the legend goes on…but not for too much long…
    I am the proud owner of Bonnie T100 (2005) and Thruxton (2006). I wish my kids could grow up in pure “Triumphist” world.

    Hey, Mr Chairman, John Bloor whatever u do, pleaseeeeeeeee don´t drag classical triumph names the mire.
    You have done enough with “Tiger”, “Daytona”, and “Trophy”…

    Let Brando and Steve McQueen rest in peaceeeeee

    To u fellow Triumph Riders, greetings from Portugal

  • -= PAT =-

    It’s a given there are those who will it’s “ugly”, “boring”, etc…. that’s almost always a given with new bikes. I like it, for what it is. Add my touch to personalize it, and cruise on something NOT trying to be pretentious. I had a couple ’05 Bonnies, logged 40,000 miles between them. This grown up parallel twin Trumpet with more power and tubeless tires, may well be the answer to what I didn’t like ’bout the Bonnies. But it is sooooo stupid to expect the pilot to look down toward the gas tank for the vitals.

  • Leon Haywood

    Add higher risers and flat bars, Thunderbike pipes from NZ, different tank badges, mirrors & gunfighter seat and it might not look too bad. Interesting to see how it handles though. I like to throw my Speedmaster around hills & corners but think a bit more power would be great. I’ll be taking a test ride for sure.

  • steve

    Please move the speedometer and add a tach. Do something with the radaitor. Also, some differdnt pipes. The America does not have good road feel. Hope this bike rides more like a big cruiser.

  • Jerry

    I like the bike I got a speedmaster now and have had a blast with it . I dont like the color on thunderbird and the white strip sucks. I think I will trade speedmaster in on one when they become available in US .

  • Darin Mason

    I’ve been sweating with anticipation over this rumored 100″ cruiser . Unfortunately it resembles a 1986 Kawasaki Eliminator from the side . It should have a more rounded, bulbous engine top-end similar to the America/Speedmaster . Though they are smaller, the 790 & 865 twins are successfull because the engines have styling cues reminiscient of the old 40″ & 30″ push-rod twins If it succeeds to sales expectations it will no doubt be due to it’s 1600 cc “PARALLEL” engine that will make H-D riders nervous at stop-lights . You better get a NOS bottle and install the 103″ stroker kit . Spike !

  • clarkky

    Cum on guys you kept this under wraps for so long and WHY, Why not a bigger donkey in slugmaster frame .Glad to own a Norton. Rethink

  • brian

    Agree with Robert on styling. Have owned two speedmasters and an ’04 T-Bird and this new thing disappoints (although I’d love to twist the throttle). Looks like my girlfriend’s Kaw 800. Back to the drawing board, Hinkley.

  • Mike from Finland

    grear motor! I hope that thers will be meaner version like speedmaster vs america !! And I also like that rmp and speed meters is on handle bar ?? Meters in tank, no good its HD Tailers place !!!
    And I`m sorry for my really bad english,really…

  • Tom Jarrett

    Triumph,a disappointment for a long time fan.Here was a chance for a hotter Bonneville.A bike that could handle, have a terrific sound(360* crank),could look good, and have some extra power. It would have been a chance to keep or modify that traditional British look while building a bike that you could use everyday.I don’t know if I am the only one, but I don’t want a bike that looks similar to 50 other cruisers and probably sounds like a v-twin(275* crank would be my guess.)Try again guys,but remember who your customers are or who they could be.

  • Graeme from Australia

    I used to be a hardcore Harley fan and hated the Japanese clones. I also hated the wannabe owners of these Jap bikes they would dress themselves to look like a try hard Harley owner. Even the weekend warrior Harley owners who wanted to be scary bikies. So I went looking for something different and found my love for riding a again in the form of the Triumph Rocket III and have never looked back. Why Triumph have you gone down the Harley path the Speed Master and America could have done with an engine change. It is just another cruiser which looks like all the other cruisers, no one can pick them apart anymore. You had a chance to create something fantastic. Very disappointed.

  • Andrew Shaw

    Looks wicked to me! well done Triumph – looking forward to a test ride.

  • j r de wood jr

    this is a jammer> for sure next bike on list — already got a crunched 96 suz intruder 14 slitely tricked bagger i used for delivery in san francisco, as well a tribag dresser style 03 honda vtx 18c for slamming along cruel roads quick!

  • the director

    Supposed to be a T-Bird? I expected a three cylinder and classic Triumph styling. Triumph’s little brother, Harly Davidson, is laughing.

  • EMedina

    What a wonderful motorcycle, surely the best they have, I´ll buy one as soon as they come to here.

  • putanothershrimponthebarbie

    It’s a Kawasaki lookalike Harley Clone without the V-twin donk. Now a 1600cc Thruxton would have been something else.

    • cliff

      sorry but this is not a Harley clone- perhaps it is not original and not what Triumph has produced in the last 10yrs but clone of Harley or Harley look alikes does not fit your comments. I bought a second bike, which you may think is a clone, Victory Vision. Sorry if it is a clone but I love this bike and ride both the Triumph T-100 and Victory weekly

  • http://nil Tony

    Harley has treated their customers with contempt long enough. What’s up with alittle compition? Can everyone get over the fact that the cruzer shape is just that, “a shape”, not a harley or yamaha or any other company that make a comfortable machine for long runs. Boo Hoo to all the knockers, get over it. For my money I’d rather be on a reliable machine at a reasonable price, bought from a company that actualy respected me as a consumer. I’m not buying an image, I’ll be riding a triumph.

  • Mike

    +1 for Tony.

    It seems we have a bunch of ignorant sportbike types who admittedly know nothing about cruisers, yet call every cruiser a Harley clone

    This is a nice bike, and a great addition to the market. There are plenty and plenty of cruiser guys out there that don’t want a harley, and this is right up their alley.

    You sportbike types wouldn’t notice the curved fuel tank, dual discs up front, radiator in between pipes (nicely done I think, shocks out back, and a megaphone exhaust.

    There are plenty of cues that set this bike asside from “just another Harley”…

    Oh, and then theirs the engine.

    But wait, some dumbarse already said ‘if you ignore the engine it looks like a harley. How ignorant is that? And you know what, if I ignore the engine in a Rocket III classic, it looks like a harley too.

    Even when you get into the metric cruiser’s the engine set them apart. I can tell the difference between the engine of an M109, Roadliner, VTX and Fat Boy.

    Ignore the engine. Hah.

    it seems all the haters out there simply don’t know much about anything cruisers.

    And, then biggest idiot of all…Graeme, a die Hard HD fan who is biggoted toward any non-HD cruisers out there…and he lives in AUSTRALIA! Gimme a break, an HD snob who isn’t even from America!

    This looks like a great bike to add to the Triumph roster, and a great initiative past the ‘out there’ Rocket III into the cruiser realm.

    • LeRoi

      At last a common sensical answer to all those wise arses out there. You hit the nail on the head Mike. This is a Triumph! If they cannot see that, they should have their eyes tested.

  • Ricky Z

    You got it right, Tony-August 17th !!!
    A cruiser is a cruiser… low-slung seat, forward pegs, swept back handlebars. ( I see these guys bent over on those crotch rockets and wonder how they do it for more than a half hour )!!
    Just so happened that Harley did the “cruiser” thing first and charges an arm and a leg to own one. Most of my buddies own Harleys…kind of a status symbol I guess. No thanks. As a kid, I used to love the Triumphs, BSAs, Nortons with their upright motors and swept-back pipes! Works for me and at a third of the price of a Harley, I’ll take a Triumph America any day.

  • john

    i ride a rocket i love it. now i want to own two bikes. huck farleys.only dickheads buy h.d.

  • Joey Ball of McLoud, Oklahoma

    I think its a great play at todays cruiser market. The shot from the rear makes it look very muscular. I think aside from the parallel twin this bike is a very good looking bike. As for performance, I think they will keep up with the comparative market. Being an ’08 daytona 675 owner, I can asure you that Triumph has had no problem in that area. I think this bike will find a snug home in my garage.

  • Wayne

    I ride a Triumph St Sprint and love it but will be looking for something in the cruiser line next year. Looked at speed master but they lack speed. This looks good. It may look a bit kawa but thats what everyone are buying to get the look. Well with the new cruiser you get a nice look and a badge on the tank that still has and is steadily increasing its worth as a good realiable non jap bike.

  • Joey Ball of McLoud Oklahoma

    Oh, and to Ricky Z and all others who use the term “crotch rocket”, that term is actualy given to a female orgasm enhancing device, not a motorcycle. As a person who learned to ride on a “SPORT BIKE” and have owned nothing but sport bikes, I resent the term crotch rocket. My question to Ricky is, have u ever tried to ride a sport bike for longer than two minutes? Though I am a sport bike person, I have been around all types of bike my whole life and can tell the difference between harleys and metric cruisers.
    And as for Mike, last time I glanced at my daytona, which is a triumph might I add,I seem to remember a “curved tank” and “dual discs up front”. But I would have to agree with Mike on one thing though. You can’t over look the engine. It is a huge part of what a bike is. Just take the Rocket III for example. Masive motor that could probably pull the front tire off the ground in third gear. That’s what I hear from a guy I know who has a boosted Rocket III anyway.
    I think the main difference is the age of the customer. I happen to be 23 years old and find the sport bike style comfortable. My dad on the other hand is an older gentleman who prefers the cruiser bikes. I can only assume that Mike and Ricky are older gentlemen whom find the cruiser bikes more apealing to them because of their comfort level.
    In conclusion, to Ricky and Mike, next time you post in an open forum, please don’t lump all of us “crotch rocket guys” or “sport bike types” into one category, it’s insulting and makes you look ignorant. I happen to use my sport bike for a 45 minute daily commute (one way) and have had no trouble.
    Oh, and as for Tony, good comment man. I agree completely, the cruiser is a “shape”.
    My question to all those who think the Thunderbird is just another mediocre, run of the mill bike. How would YOU have Triumph build it? 9 foot long? V-twin? High seat? Pizza cutter thin tires? Ape hangers? Unfortunately for you knockers and people still living under rocks, fat tires are the trend, Triumph is not known for V-anything, and the Thunderbird is going to be a very comfortable bike at a very reasonable price and will sell to all those like me who search for that one bike that is different from all the rest.

  • paso100

    I like it. It’s clean, integrated styling makes it APPEAR boring at first, but looking at it from different angles it just flat out works. Those who want something “new” seem to want something more trendy, but I doubt you’d be happy with it after a few years; then the style just looks weird. This styling is timeless, easy on the eyes and I wouldn’t get tired of it.

  • marcel

    I love it triumph realy hit the jackpot this time this bike is not for everybody just for people with good taste.

  • chopper

    all ready got my name down for one.looks cool to me.

  • Steve

    Well I had thought for a while the only thing missing for triumph was something between 1,000 and 2,300cc. When I heard they were making one I initially thought it would be great if they upsized the Thunderbird engine to a 1500 triple and slung it in a cruiser chassis … that would have been a nice concept … but hey the twin is the twin is the win …

    To say Triumph is a Harley look alike is only a term a brain dead Harley owner could come up with as I haven’t found a parrallel twin or triple yet that looks anything like a V-Twin, unlike the mirriad of Jap cruisers.

    Great job Triumph another awesome motorcycle I would say …

    The real reason Harley owners are jealous is that Triumph owners are treated with respect by their manufacturer who go out of their way to make you feel like you are actually wanted … great service and continued support is all I have ever experienced. We also have the advantage of having a manufacturer that think outside the V-Twin box and who can come up with something unique … dream on Harley Davidson owners you are the real wannabees of the motorcycling world …

    • Paul Silverthorne

      I ride a harley fat boy and can say it is a awsome bike to ride and own. I ride what i want when i want and i will be buying the new thunderbird as a second bike because i want to not because i am a brain dead wannabee have a bit more respect for other bikers.

  • http://topostal@bigpond.com toad

    what do harley & other criuser riders think about . look at me i am on a hd just let the the individual have his own say. i have owned nortons all my life & still got one . but i tried to buy a new norton two years ago . to no avail . the so called millioniare ran out of money !!!! .thats why i bought a triumph bonneville& speedmaster. cannot wait till the t/bird arrives in australia. i will be waiting in line !!!!!thats not if i get one from england first. i will out pass any h.d any time . its been proved many a time . so to . to the rest of criuser riders each to there own.

  • http://www.lonelegion.net Dude

    I have always like Triumphs all the way to the America and the Speedmaster, but this is sad. They managed to build a big ass Honda Nighthawk, eeek.

    I had a 2000 Tbird and I enjoyed that bike more than most Harleys including my crrent bike, and =one of the thing that I like the most was that classic and admired Triumph look.

    Triumph please go back to the drawing board. I’ll rather wait to 2010 for a real Thunderbird.

  • d. blair

    What a disappointment, the old Thunderbird was a great looking bike, a mixture of old and new with clean and fast looking lines. It looks too jap and why do they insist on putting the speedo on the gas tank? The mufflers and wheels are 1980s. ” Go Your Own Way” Triumph, keep the vertical twin more British. They will have to come out with a different version.

    • Nail

      You’re damn right!

  • http://www.lightcontrol.net/fl/ Jay M

    I have been owning Triumphs for some time now and other bikes as well. 650 & 750 bonevilles, flat track 853 Triumph, 1000cc & 1200 Kawees, 360Bultaco/360YZ in Gainesville, Fl. then. Presently own a 03 Thunderbird and 06 Tiger. I had an idea the new Triumph would have this type of look. You just can’t put a 1600cc engine on a 03 Thunderbird and expect a safe ride. It had to be a lot beefier, not quite the look and controls that I was imagining, but close. The real concern to me is the weight of this bike, 750+lbs? or 650lbs? The power will be enough for a fast cruiser and the torque should also be plenty. I ride the Tiger in NC back roads, the Dragon etc.. the Thunderbird mostly when in a cruising mood. I do hope this bike will have the throtle response I would like. There seems to be little or no low obstructions for some good cornering. Hopefully will feel lighter than my Dyna HD 02 FXDX that I owned a couple of years ago and found it to be a complee vibrator after 2 hrs or so. (not counter balanced engine like the pricier HDs). If I like throtle responce at 50-75mph and easy in traffic then I’ll own one even if I have to make some minor mods… Triumph has never let me down on long term quality. Huge drawback is the speedo in the tank (taking your eyes off the road in a turn is a no no). Triumph: put the speedo & add a TACH higher! Please! I’m not taking a spill because I had to look down at a critical time or a turn not to get a speeding ticket in NC!!!!!!! Triumph this is not a Harley Davidson, which are for sale by the thousands in the used and new markets and laying off people at their plants. Listen to a 40yr experienced rider that has and till owns the best Triumphs made. Jay the Triumph man.

  • ugly1

    at least it aint done up like some god awfull plastic palace. points I like are
    1 paralell twin
    2 water cooled
    3 uncluttered
    4 front end look
    5 head light
    6 rear end looks tight and clean
    7 paralell twin
    8 1600cc of pommy grunt
    9 obviously aimed at baby boomers, big low and light.
    Hell its just another bike that is cashing in on the ‘cruiser’ market, that dont mean its a harley clone, you youngins stick with ya jock rockets, make comparasines when you can say “I’v ridden bikes for more than 40 years”

  • http://www.lightcontrol.net/fl/ Jay M

    Hey guys don’t get me wrong on my comments right above that I’ll just get one if this and that, I think this bike has potential for the HD whant to be ridders, Midwest us and for ridders who don’t care for the beards, the black leathers, big boots in 90 degree weather and also for the bigger fellows all around including waist lines etc… A sportier some what lighter looking model would be a super hit with the rest of the ridders that really like to do a little more agressive ridding but not as a sport or supersport biker. Triumph listens to good comments (if there are enough) because they bring in the dollars. There might still be a chance if anough of us write comments in different places and tell these guys like I’m doing. IF you don’t think Triumph reads some of these comments your mistaken! Sowrite them up! Jay the Triumph man

  • Brian B

    As an 07 America owner who thinks the Rocket looks too fat, I like:

    1. The narrowed down radiator
    2. 1600 Engine size is just right.
    3. Dual front disks
    4. T-Bird name
    5. chrome & black out combination nicely done.
    6. R.V. Mirrors

    Note Sure about:

    1. The exhausts, flare out?
    2. Seat looks a little spartan for long rides.
    3. Hope we’ll be seeing 2 tone paint jobs. (Pacific Blue and N.E. White?)
    4. Speedo in the tank?
    5. Is that a logo on the tank?
    6. Rear light seems somewhat small.

    Hope she purrs like, and is as smooth as the America.

  • Mark Bugyi

    I was expecting to see a vertical twin like the Bonneville, only bigger.
    Wonder what the price will be. Will twice the cc = twice the price?

  • Gene

    yuk!!!!!!!! another kawahonyamazuki metric cruiser,what a plastic attempt! the america at least looks in proportion. come on triumph you’ve ruined the looks of the speed triple it looks like a bird with its tail feathers pulled out the 955 models look much better than the 1050 model, I would have thought that the thunderbird 900 & thunderbird sport which are sort after models on the secondhand market would have been the better evolution for triumph Imagine the tbird sport with better brakes & the engine at 1050cc come on triumph the hinkley tbird is a triple not a twin kawahonyamazuki clone

  • Gert Bezuidenhout SA

    My ride is an 2004 speed master and what a ride it is .The thunderbird is next on my list .and like my nuber plate say HARLEY WHO

  • Davo – South Oz

    There is no point whinging about this bike. It is aimed at a particular market and the bike will sell. It is a classic marque and its not Jap. It will also be half the price of a Hog (hopefully…?)

    Bottom line, Triumph did NOT build a jap bike. How can it look like a jap bike when they are all modeled on American Iron? Granted the Japs build Hog wannabes by the bucket load, but its not jap crap.

    This bike is built to be affordable and built to customise. Thats why it’ll sell.

    I personally have been waiting for this bike for a long time like some of you. I love the british bikes and was hoping for a classic Bonnie look with more poke. I was looking at an M109R earlier this year, but decided to wait for this one.

    You know what, this bikes not ugly and it does have a couple of british styling cues. I’ll probably end up buying one because of the history of the badge, it not jap crap and its not a Harley. It’ll do what I want it to do.

  • Wild Bill

    Harley clone, I don’t think so. The first cruiser wasn’t built by Harley, it was built by a biker in his garage. It may have been a harley, but it wasn’t a cruiser until he made it one. Harley saw how popular the design was becoming and saw the potential for big profit if they mass produced them.
    Engine like a kawasaki? Not hardley. No manufacturer has ever produced a 1600cc paralell twin. By the way, that photograph can’t give you the full effect of the look and overall appearance of the powewrplant. Wait until you see it in person before you judge it. I personally think the paralell twin is a beautiful engine. It is narrower than the four cyinder jap bikes, and is not just another slow revving low power V-twin knock-off.
    So they called it a thunderbird? Who cares? What the hell does that matter?
    Put whatever badge you want on it, it is simply a name, if you want a three cylinder thunderbird, buy one and be happy. This Bird is not that bike.
    I have, like a few of you others, been riding motorcycles for over forty years. I presently own a 1968 bonneville, 1972 Tiger, and a 2003 speedmaster as well as several other japanese bikes. They all have there niches and I love them all.
    When I bought my speedmaster I owned a 1979 Yamaha 1100 special. I loved the power of the bike and was a bit worried that the SM would be a bit too tame for me, but with a little tlc (and a 905 kit) it has been a pure joy. Granted, it can’t hold a candle to the power of the bigger Yamie, but makes up for it with it’s great handling.
    Ther are a lot of other things I could say, but I will wait until it hits the market and I can lay my hands on one before I make my final judgement. But, if it runs and handles as well as I think it will, I will be first in line to purchase one. You kids on them sportbikes and you “more dollars than sense” harley riders better be prepared because I’ll be the guy with the big smile on my face passing you.

  • Joe Mills

    Looks like my ’05 Speedmaster on steroids. Cool! Hope it handles like my SM cause that’s why I buy Triumph and not Harley.
    Only thing I don’t like is the tank mounted speedo/console. How am I gonna ride it like it supposed to be ridden while I am looking down at the tank?
    Come on Triumph, put the gages back up where they belong! (Same problem with R III Touring bike)

  • CharlybarleyBeanbags

    This is what I thought Triumph would never do. A Harley gets my respect because it is what it is. Triumph has enough history to have to jump on the ol’ clone wagon. I’ll stick to my Scrambler.

  • Art

    For Christ sake you guys! If it’s not a V twin and it doesn’t have an HD emblazoned on the side of it you frigging mindless minions think that it’s not worth anything!!!!! Most of you are likely convinced that Japanese automobiles (cars & trucks) are superior and that unless you buy a Lexus, Infiniti, Acura or some German make that you’re not driving a vehicle of status. Most North Americans will tout the benefits of a Japanese or German vehicle and will not even consider a north American automobile but for some unforeseen reason believe that the same outdated pushrod, overhead valve, two valve per cylinder technology that has existed since the inception of the internal combustion engine at the turn of the last century is superior when placed inside a inefficient air cooled 45 degree single crank pin one small portion of a radial engine as long as HD is inscribed on the side of it. Give it a frigging rest you guys! You’re all more intelligent than this! HD is ancient technology and as a result of the green movement is soon to go the way of the dinosaur and the Dodo bird! Harley is trying to market a “Japanese Clone” in the form of a VROD which won’t sell so now they’re moving to idiotic factory 3 wheeled versions in an attempt to continue selling motorcycles to an aging population that refuse to give it up to superior technology in exchange for an HD logo on their jacket! Get with the times! Be an old fart and ride a Harley or be proactive, live in the 21st century and consider the same superior engineering technology that you demand in you automobile in your motorcycle as well!

  • Jason

    Who cares what it looks like? Sure, the radiator looks like a server in a computer rack, but you can’t say much until you ride it.

    Instrumentation is important, but how it feels to you matters most. Whether it is a car, airplane, bicycle or motorcycle, how it fits, feels and handles is most important. A beautiful bike (to your taste) that buzzes and/or handles poorly is unpleasant to ride for any distance.

    I am 49 and most of the people I ride with have cruisers (HD, Honda, Yamaha, etc.). They all love their bikes and have bad things to say about the others.

    I ride a 2007 Triumph Speed Triple, with an M4 GP mount exhaust slip-on that allows saddle bags for trips, and go 300 to 400 miles per day (with stops) without any discomfort.

    I just prefer a sportier bike because it fits my riding style. It’s not a fashion show (or is it?). Find something that suits you well, ride it and quit bitching about style.



  • Brian Edwards

    Man as soon as I seen it I was so incenced I wrote an email to Triumph asking them if they had lost the plot.
    I ride a 2000 TBS and would have thought a tidy up of the classic style triple with maybe a 100+ bhp engine would have been a better choice. The crusier class is full of non impressive shitboxes without another one. Triumph is a cool brand that all other riders envy…NOT NOW. With an ugly fucker like the new TB its a joke.Well there is an upside my awesome TBS is going up in price so for that part thanks Triumph…..

  • brett

    well if Triumph keep going down this track i for one will not be buying another . i have 2 a 95 t/bird and a 07 Bonny but if this is the future im sorry no more.. This present Bird looks crap .. get back to Tradition and STAY Triumph

  • Josh Cole

    This bike is Ugly!
    Im leaving my job at a Triumph dealer before this pile O crap gets out into the world.

    Don’t fool your self the old T-Bird is a pile also just incase you did’nt know:) take it from me I work on them all day every day.

    All the new bikes Triumph has or is producing is not half the quality of a jap bikes. Sorry Triumph fans you’ve been getting your head bumped for years why stop now.

    • Mark Lewis

      Well I can’t really see what the fuss is about I thought you Americans liked these horrible lazy looking bikes, after all you have the long straight boring roads. Personally I think the cruiser market is a bit of a waste of time over hear in Europe I prefer something which is a bit faster and goes round corners so the TB is not my favourite bike. Also who wants to spend all day polishing a bike when you could be riding. Taking all this in the Triumph is not such a bad bike, it’s not laden down with chrome it actually goes round bends if not corners at a reasonable pace and it’s not a Harley clone like most of the Jap bikes. I wouldn’t want one myself ‘cos I find the riding position uncomfortable for distance riding at speed and these sort of bikes in Europe tend to be ridden by bank managers with “mid life crisis” at weekends. As far as build quality is concerned I would question any criticism of Triumph as I have been to the factory (the Hinckley one not the old Meridian on) and they are on a par with any Jap bike I have worked on. So I guess if you want something that looks a bit like a Harley but actually has a bit of handling and speed then the TB is not a bad bike. If you want something that is nice to polish and pose on buy yourself a Harley, they have corned the market in this after all. By the way I ride an ancient ’99 Triumph Sprint ST which is reliable and needs little maintenance and for nipping down the to town a Kwaka ER6 which considering the price is not a bad little bike.

      • Mark

        Ohh Gee another snob from Europe,, Your all full of talk and shit. You’d be eaten alive here in the stats,, witch by the way, is why you live in Europe. We have more places to go see and more twisties then anywhere in the world.. So put that in your Demi cup and sip it.

        Oh and the new Thunderbird rocks, plenty of power nice seating great bike all around.

      • BlueNose

        Well I bought one!

        Rides great round the twisties, love the American inspired styling, ride all year round (well anything over 3C – ice is way too hardcore for me) and overall performance.

        I have ridden many harley’s and rice burners and this beats ‘em all for what I want!

  • ray stolworthy

    time for more comments–NOT ALL OF US BIKERS dislike the 1600 Tbird. I’m a well seasoned rider, have built and raced drag bikes, built and ridden hill climbers and owned many bikes of different makes. Crotch Rocket Guys don’t much like the Tbird and that’s cool. They’re in a league of their own. MYSELF AND COUNTLESS OTHERS CAN’T WAIT TO BUY A NEW 1600 TBIRD.

  • Anthony Morgan

    I do not see why Triumph puts those huge rear tires on the Rocket and now the Thunderbird, they hurt the handling. Wish this was an updated version of the Thunderbird Sport with its handling and quickness. We will see if Triumph read the market right or misses the mark.

  • david

    Triumph simply should have released the 08 Speedmaster/America with an engine upgrade option (1100, 1300, 1600), they have the look, just need a few extra horses … would have save a heap of development money.

  • David

    9 out of 10, I will wait until all the bugs have been ironed out (12 to 18 months) then order mine.

    I have an 865 Speedmaster and love it … won’t need to wack a turbo on it, just trade up to the TBird

  • Jerry Puglise

    If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything…Triumph is alive and well and, living in Hinckley!! I’m the proud owner of a 2003 Speedmaster and, a 2005 Rocket, both flawless…gimme more!!

  • Graeme

    So Mike,

    I must have hit a nerve with my comments. As for your outburst I gather you are one of these try hard wannabe’s I was referring to.

    If you actually read what I was saying I do not care what people ride. I just hate dumb dumbs like yourself who bag Harley Davidson but dress yourselves and your bikes up to look just like those very bikes you bag.

    So if you can tell a v-twin and a parallel twin from a distance just by the look at the front you are a genius. Triumph already have three great cruisers I happen to own one and love it alot. So mike I think my hardcore biker you should hitch up your skirt jump back on your scooter and ride away.

    Kindest regards
    Graeme from Australia

  • duncan macq

    i would be inclined to agree with david (sept 22),give me 25 more ponies and the speedmaster is the best cruiser happening.my 08 speedmaster is just about right except for juice.going head-to-head with HD,yam or whoever is fruitless.take the speedmaster/america design forward with a bit more power and a lot more triumph style.i grew up with trumps and beezers,they were always fast enough and they always were the best looking rides out there

    • cliff

      i have a T-100 and ride with all style of Triumphs. I have to say that the Speedmaster and America’s can corner and push our bikes to their respective limits. If the new Thunderbird is a comformtable cruiser then Triumph has entered a new market.

  • Larry

    As a happy Bonneville T100 owner, I am anxious to test out the Thunderbird. I have been interested in cruiser models and don’t want a H-D — too many on the road. The Star Silverado had my attention until I saw the Thunderbird. Perhaps with a unique paint scheme and some nice accessories, the Thunderbird can be customized to look great. I’m saving my money until I can check this out next year.

  • Ken

    They blew it!! This bike begs to be a standard. And I would’ve bought one if that was the case. Instead, it looks like someone Photoshopped a Honda Rebel engine into a Harley frame.

  • http://www.Xchoppers.com Xchoppers.com

    I totally disagree with negative comments made about the new Thunderbird.
    I think it looks great and will be an excellant starting point to build a custom cruiser from.
    I like parallel twins and have become bored with V twins.
    I will purchase a new Triumph Thunderbird when they are available.

  • LowGear

    I have been looking for a bike for me. grew up on dirt bikes. Thought when I got older I would buy a crotch rocket did it… didn’t like it. I bought a honda cruiser because I needed a bike. Not enough leg stretch. Even had forward control put on still doesn’t feel right. I have demoed Victory, Harley and pretty much all metric. I thought I found it in the Triumph Rocket III all though a little big for my taste or even the Speedmaster, but would like a little more power. So if the Thunderbird rides like either of those two it will be the bike in my garage. I like the Cruiser look and the Parallel engine, add to it the belt instead of chain or even shaft and you have a bike made to ride.

  • Jon Bullard

    I think it’s a great lookin’ bike. I’ve owned 13 motorcycles and I think this one might be number 14. Big tire on the rear? Bad handling? Eh, so what, it’s a cruiser. It ain’t gonna be on the track (at least not with me on it). You want to see an ugly bike…? Take a gander at the new V-Max. It’s painfull!!!

  • Nic

    Well i am going to buy one! I have a Bonnie at the moment and will keep that as well. Well done Triumph, a great looking bike, and its British!!!!!!

  • Danny

    I like the bike. Triumph made it to compete in this market. They aren’t trying to create a whole new breed, i.e. Rocket III. Also the person that helped design the bike worked at Honda for a while so, that’s where some of the styling queues came from. I think it is an excellent bike. If I had some spare $$ I would snatch one up as soon as I could.

  • Tim

    From an experienced rider “old guy” who worked at the Triumph dealer in the 70′s, and stood on my first kickstarter 40 years ago. I love it! Other than the tank mounted speedo -no tach required (you can feel a twin). This is a very clean and well styled bike, and will surely find a market in the USA. This is only a HD clone if you are f*&%$#* blind. I also remember when it looked like Triumph may not survive the Japanese attack. Glad they did, and glad to see they are keeping up with the times and the market.


  • brian

    I totally agree with Art. I am a long tme Triumph fanatic and love the parallel twin, which I longed for when I owned a 96 Adventurer.The only reason that would not buy it is because of body design, it does look too much like a Harley, which is an over-hyped, over priced piece of crap designed to seperate surburban professionals from their hard earned money while letting them live out their weekend outlaw biker fantisies before returning to the office on Monday. As soon as I return from Afghanistan, I think that I will opt for a T-100, or does that also look too much like a Harley also for you weekend outlaws.

  • 69Z28

    Art is very insightful. To say that all cruisers are just clones of Harleys is like saying all pickup trucks are clones of Chevy,Ford,or Dodge. Get real. There are certain parameters that HAVE to be followed in order to call a bike a bike. I think the Tbird is a great looking bike. True, in some areas it looks a LOT like my Kawasaki Mean Streak which in some areas probably reminds you of a lot of other bikes. BFD. It’s a nice bike and I like it. That is the reason I bought it…Because “I” liked it. I may even buy a Thunderbird because I like the way it looks.Of course, if it’s a pig then I won’t. End of story

  • Tony

    Just got rid of my Harly and purchased an ‘America’ Very happy with it except for two things. Motor too small and chain drive. The T-bird will solve this (now lets hope they move the ignition switch) I reckon it looks great. Can’t wait for a test ride.

  • Graham Harrison

    I’ve been riding English motors for almost 40 years and don’t give a good god damn what anyone else rides. You ride whatever fits your comfort level; style, handling, performance, maintenance et al. Tried the Rocket III (fantastic on the open road, but too much meat for in town)and currently on an 06 America. Was hoping Hinckley would turn out something in between, and the T-bird (on first look, anyway) looks like it fits my needs. Not real thrilled w/ the speedo on the tank, the look of the rad or the size of the rear rubber, but ultimately, the test ride will decide for me.


  • Wayne Everitt

    The new Thunderbird is always going to be regarded as a Harley clone as basically that is the lions share of the market that its up against. Harleys are great, but the Triumph wont be a Harley, it’ll handle, it’ll have power & torque in abundance and it’ll have the distinctive sound and performance of a classic British twin – something that no V-Twin could hope to replicate.
    Its ‘horses for courses’ really, I see many comments about the Jap cruisers – of course they look like Harleys, after all that’s the market they’re up against. However, the Japs offer quality for a much lower price than harley could ever hope to do, that’s the benefit of huge mass production.
    How about looking at the T-Bird through open eyes rather than those blinkered by one’s past experiences – knock it if it deserves it once she’s been tested. British bikes have always been pretty good and distinctive, I don’t see this bird as being anything different.
    Rock-On T-Bird.

  • Gregory

    Why didn’t they just put the big twin in a slightly scaled up (just big enough to fit the whole almost 1600cc motor)Bonnie T100. The T100 is certainly one of the most beautiful bikes ever built. One of the things stopping a lot of American consumers from purchasing more Triumphs is the size of their motors…Rocket III excluded (it’s just ugly). Give me a Bonnie with a Harley Big Twin displacement and I’ll be in love forever. Size does matter and this has been brought to my attention on many bike rides with friends and groups. My Brit bikes have been called cute little
    things and I should get a real bike some day. Come on Triumph, get some balls and make something different, something like a real “Big Twin Triumph” that doean’t look like a clone of anything. The classics do sell, just ask Barrett Jackson.

  • Greg T GT

    after reading everyones comments on the new thunderbird im nearly convinced your nearly all HD riders out for a bit of fun bagging whatever Triumph builds maybe triumph should start making 5oo speed twins again and HD can start making WLA s again There are only limited shapes and styles a motor cycle can looklike , I prefer it look like a HD FRAME than a lambretta motorscooter or a BMW This motorcycle is unique , being the largest verticle twin in production , we should embrace it and stop living in the past

    PS. does anyone know if it drips oil if so that will keep some of you wingers happy HA HA

  • Locky Smith

    Disappointed,Triumph has so far built original style bikes that say Triumph.The T-Bird says Harley clone.Take the 1600 twin and put it something as sexy looking as the new Bonnie SE.I think triumph really missed the mark on this one……………………..

  • Reiska

    Joo komee prätkähän toi ihan on/ Jess beatiful bike T:Reiska Finland

  • Chris G

    I am fortunate to have a garage full of bikes and my Triumph T100 is my favorite. I was really looking forward to the release of the new Thunderbird. I owned the last creation of it in 2000 and really enjoyed it. The new Thunderbird appears to be a big, big disappointment. It looks like another unsuccessful attempt to copy one of my Harleys. Like the Jap bikes, it totally missed the mark. I love my Bonneville because like my Harley, it is unique. This is just another addition to the bland copy-cat cruiser market. I was really excited about Triumph’s needed addition to that moter size range and I hoped to buy one. I guess I’ll have to wait a bit longer. I love the company, but they missed the mark on this one.

  • Ray Lammers

    I bough my first Triumph (07 Speedmaster) and there is no going back. I ride more in town than on the highways so the 863cc suits me fine. I have to confess the styling of the Thunderbird does not blow me away with originality the way the Speedmaster does and I was hoping to see on the Thunderbird, but if got serious about a 1600cc bike it would still be top of my list. Admiring it through my window at work is nice, but it is all about the ride!

  • Chris

    I ride a speedmaster and love it, i was considering a Harley street bob as my next bike but after seeing this bike and falling in love with it i will be staying with triumphs.

  • Paul

    I was looking forward to the new thunderbird but it looks dissapointing. I’ll probably stay with my older Thunderbird…

  • Don

    Boring! The styling looks like a Japanees imitation of a Harley. There’s nothing about it that makes me want the bike.
    The engine should be more detailed & retro looking.
    And if you’re going for the chopper look then go minimalist on the body work. A chopper is suppose to be a display of machinery. The engine’s the thing. Factory built choppers never look right.
    More chrome or black and less satin finished metal would be better.
    Nothing tasteful or original about it. The whole thing just screams “ME TOO”!

  • john martin

    I can’t believe you guys. This is one hot cruiser. I have been waiting on Triumph to give us a big motor besides that little 865 in the Speedmaster. The Rocket is too fat and this bike looks perfect. I own a Harley 07 FXD and love it and God willing will own a Thunderbird also.

  • Greg

    I think this looks great! I own a 2007 America and just love it. Would consider trading up to a Thunderbird.

  • http://spock Graeme Boughton

    My goodness what a lot of diverse and fiesty comments ranging from I love you to I hate you. Ah ladies if only you could see yourselves as others read you. Everything has its place and this new Triumph will find its place. Do I like it-yes in part I do. Don’t like those pipes, like the parallel twin, think a 180 rear tyre would be better, a choice of forward or mid controls would help, a nice triumph tank badge would certainly help. It’s sort of neutral in its design and that’s not a bad thing, looks the goods for touring. We all have preferences and maybe we could all be a little more tolerant and less critical of the rides of others. Remember it’s not what you ride, it’s that you ride. Be constructive.

    And if you ride a Harley, how about aknowledging other riders instead of thinking you’re a little better than everybody else and ignoring them.

    Spock, Australia

  • Bill Marks

    Not sure what you guys are smokin’…must be good. Take a look at the Triumph sales figures since 2000 (US and worldwide). Either they are doing something right or you weanies have your helmets in the sand. I have two Bonnevilles and a 2008 Rocket III Touring. I’m pre-ordering a Thunderbird…


  • Calvin

    I agree the TBird is growing on me! I think they out HDd HD. Thick paint and chrome, simple lines, engine showing and clean. 80+hp with lighter weight than a HD. Triumph need to add hrad bags like the R111 Tour so they can have a true TBird Bagger!!

  • Paul W.

    I agree with most of the negative comments about the Triumph Thunderbird posted here, except for one – that the T-Bird looks like a Harley clone. Hell, it isn’t even that good. I ride a 2007 Triumph America, and when I park it among a bunch of bikes, Harley guys come over and say things like: “Nice looking bike.” “Always liked Triumphs.” “Classic – how old is it?” I bought it mainly because I’ve always wanted a Triumph and precisely because it does NOT look like a Harley. If Triumph wants a Harley look-alike, or even a Kawasaki clone, they’re abandoning their fan base. What were they thinking?! In my mind, the only thing separating the America from perfection is an 1100c engine . . .

  • stone

    this t-bird is outstanding! if i had the cash i would buy it yesterday! anybody who says otherwise is a jack-ass!

  • Tribrit

    I have to say, although I LOVE the thought of a 1600 non-HD cruiser, I can’t get with the flow of this bike. I am disappointed. I have an 03 speedy and I got it for the retro feel of it. I love it, and would be over-joyed to get the sort of balls a 1600cc would give me if put into the same frame. THAT would be some cruiser. I think there are a hell of a lot of people out there that would go for the speedy if it had bigger balls. Mine turns the heads of every HD rider I pull up alongside. There’s some aftermarket parts, but it is mainly the retro-brit look that it retains that tickles people’s fancy. Much as I would like the extra triUMPH, I can’t see this new T-bird tempting me away from my ’03.

  • steve jackson

    must admit i dont know much about the mechanics of a motorbike,guess im the typical mid 40′s too much money to spend ex biker who after 25 years yearns to have a bike again,a good few at my age will look at harley or jap cruisers,but deep down would love british.
    this bike does the biz.its got everything,style,engine size,good looks,and oozes quality,i cant knock any part of the design.maybe the knockers could get off their high horses and see it for what it is ….a cruiser with style,pedigree,looks and not forgetting..BE PROUD,ITS BRITISH,now, wheres that order form.

  • Terry

    I ride a 2001 Thunderbird fantastic bike,can’t wait to be able to ride the new Thunderbird
    bring it on.
    Terry New Zealand.December 8 2008. 7.50 pm

  • TIN


  • http://www.carwraps.net Todd

    I like the America and the Speedmaster. I didn’t like the Thunderbird (or either of the two I mentioned) at first either, but now I do. I think it’s a pretty cool bike. I especially like that it isn’t a V Twin. I do hate the handlebars and the wheels too. I don’t like anything that has a silly, wasteful, useless, idle, custom chopper look. The look that screams “No really, I’m a tough bastard” begging to be looked at, and then pretending not to care. I agree that they could have beefed up the Speedy and America. The shape of both of those bikes is better than this. Still I think they know what they’re doing—better than anyone who sits around in these forums, being dissatisfied with everything not immediately familiar to them. We shall see.

  • Cliff

    What the hell is wrong with this effort from Triumph. I think it’s an inspired step into this market pocket. I like the engine and it’s meaty rear tire. Nothing “ugly” here. I’m looking to buy one when it gets here. It’s different. I like it.

  • bobthebuilder

    Been waiting a long time for triumph to come out with a large vertical twin .It might not be perfect but the basic platform and great lines are there to work with to customize to my taste. Will order one with the 1700 kit as soon as available.

  • Kirby Schaffer

    I like this bike. Triumph, I don’t think, doesn’t go after HD’s. If you look at all the bike company’s, for the most part, they all have something that on the outside look like HD’s. Triumph have always been their own bike and I think this new bike follows that line of thinking. I have a 95 Thunderbird and a 07 Rocket lll. It looks like the Thunderbird could be my next bike because my Rocket lll is just a bit more of a bike then I need. When I bought it, Triumph didn’t offer anything between my 900 and the 2300 cc. Now that they do, I’m looking at it very hard! My 95 Thunderbird is retired like myself and the 1600cc looks mighty fine to me. Great going Triumph. The “inside H” Triumphs looks to me better then the “outside H” Triumphs of yesteryear only because they are made much more reliable. I still love the old Triumph though, hell I just like Triumghs!!!

  • Mar

    Looks like a winner to me. I’ll definitely will get one.

  • DHCrystal

    I’ve got:

    1999 Thunderbird
    2002 Bonneville America
    1986 Honda Rebel 450 (my daughters)
    2007 Suzuki M109R

    My comment on this bike is that it looks a whole lot like an America with a bigger engine. I would have so much more wished they’d have created a modern-day version of the traditional T-bird with it’s upright seating… add cruising foot pegs, fix the hideously designed radiator, and see to it that the thing comes with a comfortable seat. Personally, I like the upright position of the Thunderbird as it feels far more maneuverable and balanced in city driving yet is heavy enough and well mannered enough to be very stable at 85 mph or more on the highway. The America is a sweet looking bike with relatively good balance but the pipes! What were they thinking when they put those wheezing baffles in that bike. That’s the worst part about the bike. The T-bird by comparison has the distinct Triumph ‘pop’ in the pipes. I have only two complaints with the traditional T-bird. Triumph never figured out how to make a comfortable seat for that bike and the angle of the handlebars needs to be straightened out a little for a more natural wrist angle which would do a lot for the numbing effect on the wrists after just a short ride. The Suzuki is too big for me. It’s ridden mostly by my son (6’3″) and the frame suits his size fine. A half hour on that thing gives me a tremendous back ache from the reaching I have to do to hang on… the frame’s just too big for me. And, I don’t need all of that power (1,800 cc) which also results in much higher fuel consumption than my T-bird. I would have liked to see the new Thunderbird be a better variant on the traditional T-bird rather than an overgrown America. I’d have ordered one by now if it had. But, I already have a nice America (ridden mostly by my wife).

  • WacoBill

    At my first glance at the bike in Cruiser magazine, I decided this bike needed some more research on my part as I am in the market for a new bike this year.

    I have had 6 different bikes in 6 years, as I am still trying to find the one bike that has everything I want.

    I live in Texas and a good day of riding for me is 400 to 600 miles. All things considered, I have have compiled a list of factors that bring a bike closer to my dream machine:

    Liquid cooled – riding on days where the temperature is over a 100 is a given.

    Belt Drive – having owned and ridden chain, shaft and belt, I can assure you that the smoothest for me is a belt drive.

    Right side drive – HD and clones have too much left side weight and spin.

    Twin brake discs in front – stopping is good – 4 piston performance brakes are better

    Open engine area – not just because that design cools more efficiently, but because I have large hands and working on Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki and even my HD left me with bleeding knuckles.

    Semi-forward controls – I have ridden thousands upon thousands of miles with mid-mount controls, forward controls, floorboards & pegs. The peg placement looks like a nearly perfect blend.

    Not too much chrome – unlike many HD owners, I don’t wash my bike every time I ride. I don’t like to polish, I like to ride.

    Both side exhaust – purposely unbalancing a bike just doesn’t make sense and HD’s right side exhausts were an attempt to compensate for a design flaw of putting on a fully left side drive system.

    Exposed shock-absorbers – the easier you can fine tune your suspension the more you will enjoy and appreciate your motorcycle.

    6 speed tranny – buying anything with a 5 speed tranny these days just doesn’t make sense – if you ride 500 miles in a day, the lower rpm’s will be a blessing.

    Large but not too large engine – This is the right size engine for a motorcycle carrying two good sized people at times but mostly ridden solo.

    Fuel injection – yes, I understand why carborated is still desired by some – for a new motorcycle it doesn’t make sense.


    limited availability of accessories

    more expensive parts

    more expensive (generally) repair costs

    Seldom can someone say “These are the things I want in a bike” and then have the bike put in front of them only to snub their nose at it because the name on the tank is not what is expected.

    Honestly, I wish HD would make one of these. Since that is unlikely, I expect I will be on the list too.

    Ride safe, have fun, & remember to hug your loved ones.


  • Mike

    Cruiser’s aren’t my cup of tea, so I generally don’t comment on them. However, if magazines are going to suggest that Triumph’s Thunderbird 1600 is something of a big deal, then I feel obligated to point out that, apart from its parallel (rather than V) twin configuration, it’s essentially indistinguishable from all the other bit displacement cruisers on the market. It’s also paradoxical that Triumph apparently thinks they can hit a mainstream cruiser target, at least more so than is hit by the Rocket, while somehow avoiding the it’s-not-a-Harley problem.

  • fewy

    Well about time,the power master has arrived been waiting for the power to come on line.I ride a speedmaster 02 love the ride & comfort,hd is a hd & a TRIUMPH is a TRIUMPH. U know what u have between ya legs.I do think they could keep the speed master style frame, just blow it out to take the 1600 power master. Or just maybe they will build us a 1200 turbocharged,makeing it a about 1400 power master in a speed master frame.


  • http://99vikbike 99vik bike

    I like it, Looks ballsy maybe turn,the pipes out,
    add chrome around the radiator and belt guard…maybe more color ops, but I bet a blast to ride, and oh its not a Hardly, definatly a second bike to my fleet.

  • Neil Turner

    I like it! Its got all the basics and can and would be tweeked by owners, just as most cruisers are. Trust Triumph, they know what they are doing! Boring, (like beauty) is in the eye of the beholder!

  • http://www.betterconstructed.com JL Mealer

    Very Nice looking bike… Throw on some spoke wheels and black it out and you have something to scare the girlie men off their Japanese imports or wanna be bad guy Harley Davidson riders.

    Triumph always come through with the right bike at the right time… Love my Rocket III.

  • http://www.betterconstructed.com JL Mealer

    Just kidding about the HD riders.. I’ll be picking one up in a few days.. But the blacked out Thunderbird is next on the list followed by a
    blacked out V-Max just for S&Gs…

  • goforth

    I’ve been a cruiser rider for many years and have come to like the style, and I have ridden many different makes and sizes over the years. I have yet to own a Triumph, but this one is a possibility. I like the clean lines and would be willing to leave the V-twin market for a change. My only concern is the belt drive believe it or not. I live on a quarter mile of somewhat rocky driveway and I am not sure what would happen if the rear tire dropped a sharp rock on the belt and carried it around the rear sprocket. Has anyone heard of a belt breaking (being cut) as a result of this, or is there some protection from this happening?

    • bobthebuilder

      As far the damage a rock can do to a belt,it could destroy it but if you look closely at the rear pulley,it has a shield at the bottom to keep rocks from being pulled in Bob

    • http://Gerbil Rod MacLeod

      For all the chat here about being a Harley look-a-like I’m surpsied to see this concern about a belt drive.

      When Buell developed the Ulysses (the HD trailie) they stuck with the belt drive adamantly saying they had tested it over thousands of miles on dirt and off-road riding.

      Based on that, goforth, I can’t see your quarter mile of dirt with a belt drive being any kind of problem.

  • Kenny Nichols

    well-the way I see it–is–you either like the new1600TB or you don’t…I ride a 2004SM–it makes over 70hp–with the belt drive,etc.this is with out tearing the motor down.Dyno sheets don’t lie.
    If I ride the new 1600 & like it I will buy one.
    But I won’t be selling my Speedmaster..it’s just to good.
    The new TB has enough beans…knowing you can take it to 125hp with out the turbocharger…that is enough for me…the only thing I question is the weight…however,,,if it’s balanced right it’ll be fine…
    Kenny Nihols

  • Joe

    For the states and other regions it already is not a Triumph.

    I won’t buy a Triumph made in Thailand regardless of what it looks like.

    Triumph is not just a bike, its a lifestyle. I won’t buy a yamahondakawasuki with a Triumph badge for any reason.

    For those of you that don’t know. All the Triumph cruisers in America are manufactured in Thailand, not England.

  • Dazza Down Under

    Yeah, it does look like any other generic Sunday ride but hey, has anyone heard of customising???
    Thanks Wacobill for the extra info which really has changed my interest from so-so to lets give it a go!

  • Bill Mosely

    My first Triumph was a new 1951 T-Bird .I love the british look. I ride a 2006 America and really enjoy riding it .I also love the look of the ‘Modern Classic” .I wanted an America with a bit more power and a belt drive. I will get the conversion kit to belt drive and add the 1000 engine kit and have the Perfect ride. While saving around $11,000 . The new T.B. looks way too much like srveral H.D.models.I was really dissapointed. I hope they sell a lot of them so Triumph will thrive.
    Bill Mosely
    Honolulu Hi.

  • Lawrence K

    I think it’s a great looking machine patterned after the vintage 60′s and 70′s bikes. But you’r right about that ugly radiator. I might just get one when they come to the States, but I’d have to do something with that radiator.

  • Michael

    For 4 years I’ve been waiting for this bike so I could trade in my ’04 Triumph America, but I don’t think I will. I would love to have more power, but the America looks like a Triumph (very distinctive tank and engine look), while this one looks like every other cruiser out there.

    Very disappointed.

    Hey, Triumph — how ’bout just putting a 1200cc engine in the America?

  • tommy

    Sorry to upset you Harley and other ITS A CLONE theorist. But I think you’ll find they are all copies of “The Indian” http://www.indianmotorcycle.com/History/HistoryHome/tabid/78/Default.aspx

    or even the Victory maybe


  • http://www.myspace.com/tattooedcouple tattooed scott

    love it……but would love it more with the old triumph in-dent in the tank..some classic badges

  • http://Tony Tony Piercy

    I own a black Triumph America, With loads of chrome, long slash cut pipes but no windscreen, i want the breeze in my face, to me thats what its all about, I scrimped and saved to buy it and i,ve had it 2 yrs now, trouble free and still looks brand new. When parked up amonst all other cruisers the jap,s atract a glance, the h,ds attract a few admiring glance,s but the Triumph alway,s draw,s a crowd, in my opinion the ultimate of cool and class. Like loads of you ive waited eagerly for the thunderbird, I,m really disapointed with what i see, no dought the engine will not disapoint and probably handles like a dream, all triumph prototypes are rigourisly tested, But the looks I,m gutted, I would of had one for sure, I know it will appeal to some but regretfully not to me, a triumph should look like a triumph and this for me does not. Everyone to their own but I had hoped for the classic style and look of the america and speedmaster .

  • gary

    Booo. Put it away with the America. Triumph should have taken styling cues from the 2003 Thunderbird. Just like they took the styling cues for the Bonneville from the 1969.

  • Ed

    Harley clone? Looks more like a re-engined Bonneville with a big enough gas tank. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been around a while, but I’d rather see a bike like this than one that resembles a farting grasshopper. My back just doesn’t take well to being forced to sit like a constipated frog.

  • Andy

    I love my Speedmaster, but wish for a bigger engine. Seems I’m not the only one. C’mon Triumph, give us a 1200 Speedmaster! The bigger engine of the T’ bird doesn’t tempt me enough to put up with the Japanese Harley clone look.

  • Peter Oliver

    I think it looks great; good to have an alternative to a Harley. Have you ever ridden a 1600 twin probably not. Triumph have surpised us in the past with fantastice machines. Come on pull yur head out of your ass and have an open mind. I will be placing my order

  • RMB

    I got an 07 Tiger an my garage, this is my travel/kick-ass bike. Sold my touring HD last year (the big one), the Tiger ate it alive. Now looking for kick ass cruiser, need 2 bikes at least. Won’t make decision yet, need to see and test the TBird first, it may just eat competition and, save me 4-5 g’s.

    Its all about about purr and pounce,


  • john henshaw

    1600 thunder bird looks great seriously think about trading my 2003 thunderbird 900 on one.

  • Vince Love

    I’ve had Harleys, Now have a Triumph Speedmaster & it looks like my next bike will be a 1600 Thunderbird !!!


  • Throttle gripper

    I like this bike so far, and I’m keen to check it out in the flesh. I currently ride a 2007 Rocket111 which I Love, the Thunderbird would be great to have as well, mainly as my around town bike. All those nay sayers can piss off and leave the Thunderbird to those who can appreciate it.

  • Donnie Burgess

    I am wondering the Thunderbird did have great looks I did buy a 96 for cash from Gary Horten in Ekkhart Indiana. I loved the bike untill at 47,000 miles the sprag clutch gave out. Looking at the new Thundrbird that sucks I will not risk my money again on a new Triumph. I no if I would have baught a Honda it would still be running. I would get my Thunderbrid fixed but it is a very costly repair. So it will sit untill some one will mabie by it for parts. My next bike will be something that will last.

  • Daniel

    Just put down a deposit on a new thunderbird the other day. Can’t wait ’till it arrives, but I guess I’ll have to because it does’nt arrive until at least October at the earliest. I love the look of this bike, I would’nt be spending $25k on one if I did’nt. As for the so called reliability of jap crap, both Triumph and Harley are now full of jap technology but they also have over 100yrs each heritage. So those of you who’d rather a honda or suzuki go for it, just don’t pretend it’s in the same league. Next you’ll be talking japanese and eating whale and tiger dick soup. I for one don’t forget, lest we remember.

  • Daniel

    Got a phone call today from my Triumph dealer. First Thunderbird’s will now be available in Australia in September. Less days to cross off on the calender, can’t wait ’till mine arrives, just got to think about how I’d like her customised and the colour options before I pick her up.

  • Ksquared

    I’ve read all of the posts in this thread – many of which are very interesting. These are my observations on this bike.

    I’ve been following the development of this bike for a couple of years now. The tech specs intrigued me – especially the 1600 parallel twin. It looked like it was going to be about 100 hp – a nice number. The preliminary photos I saw were kind of bland, but not without some attractive features. It was clearly a “cruiser” look (which I like), but had elements of a standard as well. The bike was clearly going to be adaptable to a wide range of riding styles, so that kept my interest.

    Well, it turns out that they developed the engine to be understressed out of the box, with substantial room for development, since the final HP number is 85, with 106 pounds/ft of torque (more important for this type of riding anyway). The stage 1 kit will take the hp number to over 100, according to the South Florida factory rep, which will be a good thing for those so interested.

    I just recently saw the bike in person. I’m telling you that it looks FAR BETTER in the “flesh” than it does in the photos. It has a look of “litheness” that I’ve not seen in any other bike in its class. There are things I would have rather seen done differently, especially the tank mounted instrument pod, but on the whole, the bike looks very good to my eye. I would have also preferred a 180 rear tire, rather than the 200, but the effect of the wider meat will have to await a ride. Detail development is first class, as are the fits and finishes. It has just enough chrome, but more will be available for those who like that look. The aluminum wheels are beautifully finished, with high luster. They even put right angle valve stems on, so checking the tires should be easier, encouraging us to check them more often. The coil over shocks are easily adjustable for preload and fit the look of the bike perfectly. The fenders do have a rather conventional “standard” look to them, but they are well integrated with the bike as a whole. In fact, the bike hangs together as a whole very well. The taillight is nicely frenched in and looks very clean. This is a bike which will be easily distinguished from any other cruiser on the road; clearly modern, but with retro overtones which are very appealing. The engine dominates the look of the bike in person far more than it appears in the photos.

    The stock seat was very comfortable for my build (6’3 – 215#). There was plenty of wiggle room and the bike will be available with floorboards for those who want them, giving even more options for position changes while riding. Setback on the bars was perfect for me. The low seat height worked well for me. The ergos were as if they’d measured the bike for me personally.

    The bike comes up off of its stand easily, belying the substantial 680# dry weight. It appears that the weight is carried fairly low, so low speed handling should be good, though perhaps slightly compromised by that wide rear tire.

    I figure I will be able to get 35 – 40 mpg, so the 5.8 gallon tank should give something in excess of 200 mile range per tank – a nice number indeed.

    I really wanted a ride, but it was a static display only. Nevertheless, I was impressed enough to plop down my advance deposit and will be riding one of these in late June or early July. I will be adding the quick release windshield and passenger backrest and rack. I’m still pondering the floorboards. I’ll want to add some bags, but they will have to be quick release and lockable – so probably aftermarket (LeatherLykes come to mind).

    I think some of the naysayers here will come around when the see the actual bike. If not, then different strokes……It most reminds me of the Victory Hammer, but without the big 240 section rear tire compromising the handling and steering and at 2/3 the price. Value wise, the Thunderbird is a winner. I’ll be voting with my dollars

  • Ranger

    I do like the bike. No question about that. The problem is … it’s a Triumph. Whoah! Before all you Triumph fans get yer knickers in a twist, let me explain….

    I’ve been waiting for Triumph to get the crap together and produce some beefy bike between the Speedmaster and the R3 for years. The so-called Harley culture has been done to death. Every moron who has a bike license and lies cruisers rides a Harley. Well, my personal beliefe is that Harleys ride sound and behave like tractors. They are over-priced tired cliches and the only thing they have going for them is that they are part of the over-done so-called American dream. True, it was one hell of a marketing job, but then so was Coca Cola and the M16. If there’s one thing Yanks are good at, it’s marketing!

    What I was looking for in a new Triumph cruiser was some muscle, for sure. And style? You bet. Relaibility? Absolutely! But I wanted it to be uniquely Triumph. To say that Triumpgh have downplayed the “Britishness” of this new bike is a bldning flash of the obvious! They even trashed the revered Triumph logo for some down-played little non-descript thng. What WERE they thinking?

    I’m dissapointed. I am very, very dissappointed. The very LAST thing I wanted was a Harley look-alike. I can only imagine my reaction if someone were to say, “nice bike. Is it a Harley?”.

    Right now, I am seriously thinking of putting a big bore kit into a speedmaster.

    I had hoped for much better than this from Triumph.

    What abummer!

  • http://www.dashlite.com.au Simon Hunt

    Fabulous. I’ve always like Trumpy choppers. Something about that twin and the way the pipes look. And with a 270 degree crank heavy cruiser looks and good handling it will take a big slice of the V twin dominated cruiser market

  • VirginBiker

    Hello All,

    Nice to see the main story slag off a big on first pass – however the irony is still that they give sufficient visual space to show off AND advertise the bike. Anyhoo some people are just narrow minded.

    As for the comments. Well we can all easily say each to their own. I really am glad to see that neither one manufacturer or another is building a bike to satisfy EVERYONE. Hence the reason why, for those with a few brain cells still circulating some blodd and oxygen feeding them, this is a good thing. We may all defend our old favourites, our dreams and our decisions – after all no one likes to be told they dumped a load of cash on a Harley, Triumph, Yamaha, Suzuki, Indian, Victory, Honda and I am sure I missed a few other major ones and it was crap. Ego’s are fragile amongst many here. It would be nicer to see a few more saying they had the balls to buy what they wanted because – hey they wanted. No more no less.

    As for the bike itself, I do like the cleaner lines, and having done a lot of research of late looking at reviews and it seems that this actually hits a nice sweet spot amongst the bikes. We have some of the monster yamaha’s and kawasaki metrics pushing very efficient yet souless machines – for some reason even the head tells me that a metric is a great bike, the heart fails to be fired up. After all that’s what it is all about isn’t it?

    For me, and this is a personal thing, I relate to something that has a bit of attitude and history and yet they may not all be perfect machines. The metric cruisers do a great job for getting something on two wheels the are pretty efficient well built machines – but…for me they just lack a soul, they are just too clinical for my liking and hence why either the Harley or the Triumph will be sitting in my garage in the coming months.

  • Marc

    The article is very polemic. I drive a street machine and am looking for an alternative. Without a test-ride nobody can deliver a definitive judgement – so revise your article after you really tested the bike.

  • Tony Piercy

    I eat my words I added short exhausts, took away the passenger seat replacing it with a mudguard rack , chrome radiator cover, saddlebags, crash bars front and rear, spot lights and loads of chrome accessories and jet black paintwork. Wow , what a great looking bike ! I will never get rid of my America but i am now seriously thinking of buying a Thunderbird . You also can try this; Triumph.co.uk go to bikes then click on create my bike .

  • fergal45

    have had a speedmaster and loved every minute who ever said its not fast enough has got to be kidding. its faster than all the harleys exceptv rod and its better made, leave my mates new fatboy standing and its never been back to dealers unlike his harley chrome pealing,paint peeling electrics playing up, so buy a great bike thats going to rock that iam shore it will do go triumph go

  • BuddyinStL

    I started with a Bonneville 650 back in ’73. I’ve owned a Kaw, a Yammi, and I now have a Harley Ultra Classic. Most of us ride for the freedom of riding and the feeling it gives us. I don’t give two shits what country you bought your bike from. You like to ride, I like to ride, so let’s ride. You wanna whine, stay home with the old lady!
    As far as the bike goes, I like it. A lot. Has fine lines, a very capable powerplant, and that classic Triumph look (maybe that’s mostly the engine). The speedo on the tank ain’t really that big a deal. Never had a problem with my VStar. This is a cruiser, not a sport bike. If you think your going to ride our highways at 100mph where you have to keep a eye on your speed, then you need to buy a sport bike. Just my opinion, but I think Triumph is on the right course with this bike. We were all looking for a bigger cruiser, now, where’s the hard bags?

  • Kingofcups

    I have an 06 America and love it…I bought it cuz I like the way it looks and feels and that it’s not the typical v twin-Harley/wannabe. It turns heads all over due to its unique style. I’m glad I bought the 06 cuz since then they have gone steadily downhill.1st mistake: took away the spokes (yeah they are a bear to maintain but they are classic. 2nd mistake; got rid of the slash cut pipes.
    I would like to have the larger engine and fuel injection but the new injected models is where they tossed all of their identity out the window with the new tank design. It sucks suck and sucks some more. It’s like every other tank out there. Cmon Triumph theres no reason you couldn’t still scoop out the tanks AND have injection. OR is it that now they are made in China, the Chinese wont make a tank that doesnt look Chinese.
    I’ve been waiting for a Triumph Cruiser this size for years (the Rocket was great before the changes, but a bit too big). This would have some great potential if it had some classic Triumph style. I think I’ll probably pass on this but maybe I’ll keep my eyes open for an engine from one and try to shoehorn it into my America.

    Ok rant’s over….back to work everyone

  • Mark Daynes

    Being a new rider of only two years, I love my Bonneville America, the last of the carbi models and old tank style. I recently took a trip through the heart of Florida on a rented Harley 1200 sports custom, what a clunker….. But I did enjoy my ride over the two weeks I had on her. It was only after I returned home to my Trumpy that I realized how much nicer she was to ride….. Less power, yes, but class all the way. And I do agree…. the Thunderbird has let many of we sad Trumpy Whores less than excited. “Get it together Triumph”

  • http://PERSUADER100 Neil Dowsing

    Hello everyone

    I have read most of the treads on here with interest both for and against the merits of this machine. I own a Triumph Thunderbird 95. It was the first year of production of that model. Mine had bare alloy engine cases with ‘Triumph’ embossed into them, box section swingarm and alloy rimmedwheels. By 1997 the engine cases had lost their emboss and were now chrome. The swingarm had become steel tube. Its that ‘loving’ detail that makes a bike feel special. The 1600 is become closer to what I would call a ‘product’ than an enthusiasts’ machine. I think the detail that they could have added to this bike to make it a ‘TRIUMPH’ would be simple. Scallop the tank of course and give it a badge to proudly announce what it is. Make the engine silver not black. Do you you remember those beautiful fined fixings that connected the exhausts pipes to the cyclinder barrels……bring them back…They made the engine interesting and legible. The wheels and exhaust are vile and they could have done a better job on the radiator but its better than that ‘barn-door-of-a-thing’ the stuck on the R111. The headlight needs to be bigger and the rear light should just be round. And as an Englishman…..(I hate Chrome) but acknowledge its a hell of a lot easier to keep clean. I also think the touring version looks a bit like a Guzzi Califoria with different engine in it…..and they were pretty ugly…..AND NOW FOR THE GOOD BIT. Certain colours will flatter this bike better than others but my feeling (and this has been expressed by a previous contributor) is that the bike may be surprisingly beeter in the metal than in sterile elevation shots. Go to the Triumph Website. Its got a very sculptured aerial profile and I think it will be highly adaptable canvas for being customised in many different ways. For me….Black….stripped to the bone…change the offending exhausts/wheels..bare metal, no chrome. Oh and I hear it handles. Lets see. Happy Days


  • Philip Ogg

    I’ve ridden the Harley’s and the new Triumph America. Own both. When I want a good heavy weight cruiser, I take the Hog out. When I want better handling I take out the America, what the America lacks is a power plant. Putting 1600 cc’s on this bike should answer that issue, if it handles as well as the America, it will blow away Harley on the road. Call it another clone if you want, but I see Harley doing the same thing to keep up sales, with V rods and that god awful new cafe sportster. So lets not go setting double standards. A good bike is a good bike. And If I’m no riding an American bike then I’d pick a Brit second. For those of you that don’t remember why Triumph’s were accepted so well in the U.S. as they were. At the time U.S. and England had just stood side by side as Ally’s. Should today be any different ?

  • Nick

    Hey, I love it, the Bonne was too small and the Rocket is a little like a car with 2 wheels. looks like I’ll have to get one. Better a Triumph than a Harley.

  • snickers

    no and no!!!

  • Ben

    I own a 2002 thunderbird.maybe I will look at the next 2010 model!

  • joaquin gomez

    why spend all the money on R&D when you could have just put the 1600cc in the speedmaster


    I always thought Triumph meant “good handling”. Has anyone seen what the ground clearance is for the new T-Bird? If it’s the typical cruiser bike 5 inches, then, yeah, it’s just another cruiser where you can’t really ride w/o metal-to-road fireworks. If Triumph has done it right and put an extra inch or two of ground clearance into this design, in addition to decent handling, I think they’ve got a real winner. A centerstand would further differentiate it. Owners can dump the lame tank mounted speedo for real instruments if they desire.

  • Pappy Pfahler

    I own a 71 tiger and a 06 bonnie T100,so you know I like the retro look. I was looking forward to something bigger and faster , somthing that ooozed old school triumph while gracefully merging into the cruiser market. sorry Triumph this ain’t it.

  • http://www.rocket3.info Rocket John

    I think its ok. would make an ideal basis for a thump thump chop or street custom, ship me one down Mr Triumph and we’ll do the biz wid the tig and hacksaw :-))

  • ugly dave

    you all now that triumph has been around longer than most jap bikes and nearly as long as harleys
    its one of the greatest motor cycles ever built and this one just adds to a long chain of great bikes. WELL DONE TRIUMPH ,BRING IT ON

  • Patrick

    I personally love the look. Last 2 bikes were a 1998 Honda Magna 750 (man could that thing fly down the road, especially for a 750) and a 1992 Suzuki Katana 1100 (way too much bike for me, 5’8″ and 155 or so at the time)

    I have $6000 saved up and should have $10k by the end of the year. I want my payments as low as possible. Looking hard at this one, and the Harley Dyna Street Bob. Similar sized engines and almost identical price point.

    I love the look of this bike.

  • Doc 53

    I’ve been riding since I was 17 and my first bike was a BSA650 Lightining.. Loved it! I’m on my 9th bike now and it’s an 02 Concours. Love it too! But i’m in the market for a new ride and the Tbird looks like it’s right up my alley! Can’t wait to Get to New Orleans to try one out.. This bike has the power I want the styling looks great(no bullsh*t cluttered everywhere) and the price is well within my means! I have a friend who rides HD and he looks like a walking billboard for Harley–Harley boots,pants,shirts,jacket,vest,rings, watch,gloves,riding glasses,do-rags,helmet and it wouldn’t suprise me if he even wore harley underwear! Do you guys get paid by harley to advertise? NOOOO thanks! I’ll be my own person thank you! Talk about CLONES!! Look in the mirror!

  • Clanton

    Bout time Triumph stopped making girl’s bikes like the Bonnie et al. This is a MAN’S bike. Face it, Bonnie is just a British Sportster, a learner’s bike; but the THUNDERBIRD is the real deal big twin!

    Count me in!

  • dave

    I like the look of the new thunderbird and think when you guys see it in the flesh you will too. By the way triumph was around before harley davidson…

    • Darla

      Ever seen a 1989 Triumph Dave? What did Triumph actually start building their own engines instead of buying somebody else’s for ‘Triumph’ motorbikes?

      Harley built their first motorcycle in 1903, using an engine they built themselves, and never missed a beat for the next 106 years. Including those years when Triumph was a ghost.

  • Bonnie4ever

    Pretty easy to see that Triumph built the Thunderbird not for motorcycle enthusiasts, but rather to woo RUBs away from Harley and its various clones. Reading the worshipful blather here, I’d say they were successful :(

  • Frank Kemble

    I’ve been riding for 36 years, have ridden/owned a huge variety of machines. I like to build custom bikes as they are unique to the owner but almost invariably have unique problems and I’m tired of it. I’ve actually started ( for the first time in my life ) looking for something brand new and different. This is a harder job than one might imagine as motorcycles like cars have become pretty generic. Japanese are good, functional but boring. I have owned Harleys but have come to dislike them, the strange irony of being an individualistic lone wolf machine while joining the happy throng of a billion other pseudo individualistic machines ridden inevitably by people who wear chaps, cool shades and bandana’s but can’t check the engine oil. They don’t handle and they don’t go; unless obscene amounts of money is poured into them. So I started to look at the Triumphs and while I was drawn to the Rocket 3 which rides formidably, its just not elegant enough for me and I always thought of triumphs as being elegant machines. Lo and behold the New Thunderbird is out and it looks just perfect, elegant, nimble, powerful and at the moment, fairly unique and certainly something that one could work on to make even more unique. I want one and will probably buy one .

  • John Tanner

    Long time Triumph fanatic, currently own 2 Bonnies and a Thrux. Got to test ride the new T-Bird this week. Lots of power and sure handles better than most cruisers. But it is awfully Vanilla for a Triumph. Generic comes to mind. I’ll pass on this one.

  • Daz

    Designed by an American to be built in Taiwan. Long live the British Motorcycling Empire!

    /major snark

    • English bike rider

      “Designed by an American to be built in Taiwan. Long live the British Motorcycling Empire!”

      Ah-so Taiumph.

      What in the hell did you expect? Bikes built in China are going to look more like ricers with each passing day.

      Hey Triumph, build English designed bikes in England!

  • Major AG Roberts

    The Thunderbird is the result of an unfortunate marriage between Triumph’s storied and completely British history and the mundane of modern American motorcycling.

    Something old (Triumph marque)
    Something new (American design)
    Something borrowed (9 of every 10 styling cues)
    Something blue (Disappointed Triumph aficionados everywhere)

  • Cale

    Saw the Thunderbird but have not ridden one yet. Pretty cool for a metric.

  • T. Barnes


    Triumph is the oldest motorcycle company in the world, and consistently out produces and outsells Hardley.

    All Triumphs are made in England and all Hardley’s are made in China.

    The Thunderbird is lighter, faster, more powerful, better handling, and cost less than any Harley ever made.

    Hardley is laying off people and preparing for bankruptcy because of the Thunderbird.


    • Craig Farrington

      Mr Barnes

      Facts: Many Triumphs today are built in Thailand.

      The Thunderbird is considerably heavier than a basic Sportster.

      No, workers at Harley are not being laid off because of this bike.

      Whilst I am no Harley fan, this machine is clearly trying to cash in on that appeal. IMHO it is the most beige, ugly and ridiculous Triumph to date. And I’m a Triumph fan.

      Triumph: LIBERATE THAT ENGINE from this pile of poo. Give us something that is elegant to look at as well as novel. Maybe a Bonnie with this engine?

  • Amused

    Well it only seems fair to me that fat bald middle aged Triumph yuppies should have their own big bike so they can look cool while glaring at the fat bald middle aged Harley yuppies who will be glaring at them. I predict sales of Triumph t-shirts and do rags will soar.

  • Bob

    Talk about a bunch of whingers. 20 years ago we didn’t have Triumph and now we have a company producing world beating bikes but still some are not happy.

    Of course the bikes are not perfect, show me any bike that is, but I feel justifiably proud to be British and to have owned five of the Hinckley bikes over the last 15 years. My other 32 bikes have been mainly Jap and Italian so I think I have a fair insight into what they are capable of.

    I have just taken the new Thunderbird out for a second test ride of almost an hour and have decided to trade my 4 month old Tiger in. Absolutely fantastic. Test ride one and then see if you still want to whinge !!


    • Jon

      “20 years ago we didn’t have Triumph and now we have a company producing world beating bikes…”

      Tell ‘em Bob. When Brit bikes are designed to look like Brit bikes, the companies go right out of business. Better to swallow some pride and style the new bikes to look like everything else out there. People will at least buy ‘em that way.

  • Sketch

    I dig the Thunderbird. If I was to go metric for my next bike, this would be it.

  • TriRider

    Thailand. Bloor has Triumph build their ricers made in THAILAND.

  • Seen it all now

    Anyone who has issues with the Thunderbird should not blame Triumph. The crying for the style, sound, and most of all displacement, came from fat American riders. I got sick to death of hearing some 300 pound leatherclad ‘cruiser’ types coming into my dealership and complaining about the America and Speedmaster over perceived lack of power. Well no shit. How about lose about 100 pounds and give ‘em another go?

    These guys also have a serious case of Harley on the brain. I am not joking. The most often heard criteria from them ran predictably along Harley influenced lines: “It has to be as big or bigger than a Harley” “It should have as much torque as a Harley” “It should cruise at 70 doing 2500 rpms.” (Like a Harley?) And so on and so forth. The Thunderbird could have weighed less if the crank timing had been 360 degrees (like Triumph twins should be) BUT it had to sound like someone else’s motorcycle to satisfy these lame ass crybabys. So what if a 270 engine is harder to balance and will weigh quite a bit more, GIVE US WHAT WE WANT!

    They really wanted Triumph to build a British Harley. The Thunderbird was simply triumph responding to demand. (Of course it does not look like a Harley other than a few style features, but thse same features have been copped by the Japanese for some time now.) You get the idea. Now these guys bad mouth Harley all day long, but dress and act just like Harley owners. I am adding more space for leather gear and looking for some custom Thunderbird branded merchandise.

    The owner of the second Thunderbird I sold was in again today… he wanted to know if Triumph was going to make a Softail version in the near future.

    Like Harley.

    I wanted to vomit.

  • derek

    I really really like the look of this bike! The styling is spot on for what I am looking for. I am the spitting image of what a bunch of you guys are complaining about, a Canadian that wants a bike that looks similar to a Harley. Why do you think the Japanese makers have copied the Harley design? because it is so demanding by so many people. I always here if you want a bike that looks like a Harley than go buy one. My issue is I don’t like the reliability factor as well as the price tag that comes with one! This is the first bike that you can even compare to a Harley from Triumph. The America has nowhere near enough power. (I 28 am 185 lbs not 300!!!) and some of us double up on long trips on highways, not just cruising in town. Finally they built a perfect package in a British motorcycle (Harley design, 1600cc, British quality, nice price tags) Could be alot worse, they could copy BMW :( I drive a Range Rover and I love the British built stuff, but I have not bought a Triumph because of the styles they were offering at the time. Now they have made my model. Hate it if you want but Triumph has built it off demand.

    Triumph you just sold me a new bike !!!

    And thank you for listening to the consumers

  • Norton Slim

    I don’t know how things are in Europe, but American Triumph fans have always been the ‘Chess Club Nerd’ types; kinda angsty BMW tech nerd wannabes. This is the perfect cruiser for them.

    Note triumph has chrome latte holders already in stock.

  • Dazco

    The Thunderbird is the best bike ever built. I’m entering mine in the Paris/Dakar rally!

  • Dave

    It seems as if the Harley guys don’t like it and the crotch rocket guys don’t like it but us Triumph riders think it is the bomb. I owned a 62 Bonne that I got for $600.00 back in 1982. It had low mileage because the guy that owned got a set of 800 cc jugs for it and when he ran it too lean he melted down on of the pistons so he parked it and wound up giving it to his son in law. He sold it to me because he wasn’t much of a wrench. I actually got to ride it home. The next day i converted it to 12 volts. I did take the liberty to pull the jugs and the original owner hogged out those hole like a professional machinist. It was a great bike and by far my most favorite ride. It was stolen from me in ’84 and I suspect it was parted out. Oh yeah I did put those 800 jugs on it and with some custom made forged pistons and a 40 mm mikuni flat slide it was a real “sleeper.” Man that scooter would flat out get it and it handled like a dream too. I cannot wait to get the new Thunderbird. You guys that think it looks like a Harley don’t know much about Triumphs Period!

    • Justin in Temecula

      “It seems as if the Harley guys don’t like it and the crotch rocket guys don’t like it but us Triumph riders think it is the bomb.”

      Let me rephrase that for you: Harley haters love it while us Bonnie lovers are at best ambivalent. My dad may be trading in his Harley for a Thunderbird; but I, the owner of 28 Meridian and Hinckley Triumph parallel twins who wishes Harley would simply go away, will never put that American designed monstrosity in my garage. John Mockett is a true British design engineer, but Triumph sought out an American who worked as a senior designer for Honda to create the Thunderbird. (Prentice was involved with the Honda Valkyrie Rune and VTX, as well as Yamaha’s Roadstar.) British to the core, eh what? Maybe next year Triumph can go all the way and get Willie G. to design the new Speed Twin.

      PS: 680 pounds dry? Edward Turner must be spinning in his grave.

      • T Bobber

        The once iconic Triumph has become merely another of the metric herd.


  • kayser

    triumph thunderbird…looks,price…think i’ll be getting better looking,better priced victory

  • Gerry Navarre

    I’m 62 years young have had different bikes never a harley im not motcho man don”t like them had honda and the harley guys jacked with me now i have a rocket 3 and love it just saw the new T Bird and if I din’t love the rocket this would be the bike i would buy Triumph did a great job love Triumph cycles. By the way the smart ass harley guys don’t want to play with the rocket and i bet the T Bird will be the same keep up the good work guys

  • Steve Tenhet

    Saw one live the other day… got my attention. I have a harley, honda and kaw now… will be looking more closely at this bike in 2010. I like the looks, personally.

  • Rocketman

    Rocket III: Triumph going their own way with the largest production motorcycle in the world. The men who ride them are Rocketeers, the rugged individualists of bikers.

    Thunderbird: Triumph being led down the thorny path of clonish cruisers by bulging bellied baby boomers and their ilk. The people who ride them are just faces in the crowd.

    Rockets Rule!

  • Richter

    I for one welcome another metric cruiser to the American market. The ‘Big Five’ (Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Triumph, and Kawasaki), can and will push Hardley Ableson into obscurity.

    Sorry bikers, your time has come and gone. Long live the Big Five!

  • Nathan Andrews

    I welcome the Thunderbird as heralding Triumph’s acknowledgment of the 21st century. Liquid cooled is the only way to go in motorcycle engines. Now all that is left is ditching the tired and played out line of beginners bikes: Bonneville and derivatives. Face it, those archaic slugs are little more than Sportsters with parallel twins. Girlie bikes. Harley could not let the past go and they are now stuck there; Triumph should not make the same mistake.

  • Jackson

    I got a Thunderbird! Paid $11,695 cash for a bird with 13 miles on it. Not ABS but nice lking silver and black.

    See you on the road!

  • Craig Farrington

    Oh dear.

    It’s not very nice to look at, is it? And not at all different from the Hordes of Harley Clones currently available. Beige is the word.

    I’m sure Triumph has done it’s homework and can see a niche opportunity for sales of this machine. The question is, just how tasteless are bikers of today?! I don’t blame Triumph. I blame those stupid chopper TV series. I can’t stand to see the hordes of “Bobbed” old Triumphs either, that appear to have become the fashion. Ah well, they just increase the value of my fully restored vintage Triumphs, of which I have a few.

    I hope one day to wake up and this will be over, like those hideous low waistband jeans of a few years ago that women with large rears seemed to love wearing. Where are they now?

    That engine surely deserves a better cycle than this. A 1600 parallel twin is very novel. This machine is not. I’d rather look at a Yamaha MT01 and that’s saying something.In fact if I want an overpowered, overweight ugly cruiser, I’ll buy the Yam.

    If motorcycles were actors, this would be Marty Feldman.

    Garish, unimaginative and maybe just plain stupid.
    I’m sorry Triumph have gone this way.

    Only Harley can get away with this fantasy design, with any kind of panache. Sadly, everyone else seem to trail behind.

    Long live elegant design, down with market blandness.


  • Kent Blaylock

    Retro? Maybe. The Thunderbird does hearken back to the late 70′s when Japanese manufacturers eager for cruiser dollars were chanting in unison: “Pullback bars, Teardrop gas tank, Stepped seat, Chrome exhaust.”

    No doubt shame dictated the minuscule tank badge.

  • Name withheld by request

    Comment combat still going after a full year? Somebody needs to grow up and get a grip, it’s just a motorcycle folks. I like the direction Triumph has taken, and the Thunderbird 1600 serves as positive reinforcement. It is a large and powerful cruiser that will challenge the supremacy of Harley Davidson and their V-twins. I also agree that the underperforming Bonneville line is somewhat archaic for a modern motorcycle company. Rather than disguise their impoverished 865 as multiple offerings, it is time to let the Bonneville line enter dignified retirement. (Triumph is not Harley and needs no ‘Sportster’ level beginner’s bikes.)

    Triumph has a plan and there is a reason that the Thunderbird carries the 1600 designation – look for the Thunderbird 1200 to replace the smallish America and ill-named Speedmaster in 2012. All cruisers in the Thunderbird line are scheduled to utilize the 1600′s engine technology. Good times lie ahead for Triumph and her fans!

  • Slade

    Every Bike I have ever owned I thought was cool
    and fun I started on A DKW 250 after that 20 or so bikes later there are some stand out machines for the time, one of them was a 73 triumph tiger this bike was fast had soul and was cool to me.
    but the day to day ride I needed reliability
    so moved on to Ducati (wrong) moto morini (wrong)
    Laverda (wrong) like the triumph these bikes were fun and had style so I tried a jap bike namely a Suzuki gs1000 Wow, style well some reliability 26 years on and it still goes well. I now have Kawasaki zrx which brings me to why I am commenting here, I have always wanted a triumph again but on every test ride the triumph disappoints this is to my disappointment because when I test ride a bike I walk into the dealership with my money in my pocket, will a triumph dealer get it this time with the
    Thunderbird, I doubt it, but we will try.

  • Urban Dictionary

    Triumph Thunderbird


    1. a) Triumph’s answer to the pitiful pleas of riders with dicks under 4 inches long who need a large displacement, grossly overweight motorcycle, to feel at least semi-adequate.

    b) Triumph’s response to losing a lawsuit brought by the GLBT coalition that charged Triumph with building the Bonneville and derivatives solely for heterosexual riders and demanding a Gay bike for alternative lifestyle riders. Upon seeing the new Thunderbird a GLBT spokesperson was quoted as saying: “Thweet!”

    2. Triumph’s attempt to appease the tasteless American masses. By abandoning classic style and adopting the Universal Japanese Motorcycle look (garnished with some rather obvious Harley Davidson touches), Triumph hopes to capture a few of the Rich Urban Bikers who buy both American and Japanese V-Twins.

    3. Triumph’s recognition of the American rider as both obese and slow witted. Oblivious to the irony, these riders who regularly criticize Harleys as being heavy and underpowered are beating down the doors to get Triumph’s heavy and underpowered Thunderbird.

    4. A Large useless motorcycle built for, and marketed to, rubes; the Thunderbird is easily recognizable as a Triumph because it says so on the tank.

    5. Motorcycle of choice for the Silent Skulls Lone Riders Motorcycle Club (See also Mangina Motorcycle Corps)

    Q. I am fat, gay, and afraid of Harleys but still want to pretend to be a biker, what motorcycle should I get?

    A. The new Triumph Thunderbird of course!

  • sean

    At the end of the day we all have opinions and tastes, thats why there is such a variety of bikes out there.

    Personally I love it and would challenge anyone to take a test ride before they critisise.

    I’ve been riding Triumphs since 92 and wish to remain so. Mine is the 6th Triumph in my stable and find riding her pure fun. 2000miles in a fortnight more than most UK riders on any bike manage in a year.

    No regrets

  • Gary

    Rode this bike today and was impressed by the handling and speed. The riding position was excellent and even the sound of the pipes were good. For those who have been negative I ask have you ridden the bike. Would I pay for a Harley when mates are always bitchin about the electrics and other faults – would I f……

  • Lance

    I’ve had a chance to look at the Thunderbird. I was thinking about a Dyna, but this bike may change my mind. I think the T-Bird looks fantastic!

  • Dave is pissed

    Okay now I’m pissed. I got the Thunderbird, preordered one of the very first in the USA. Good bike. A little more middle of the road than I would like, but still a good bike. Now my friggen Triumph dealer is gone. Closed without any customer notice whatsoever. The next closest dealership is 162 miles away! My bike is still under warranty but I have to trailer it 162 miles for service. Triumph, you fuggin suck!

    • Swamprider

      “Now my friggen Triumph dealer is gone. Closed without any customer notice whatsoever.”

      Here in Florida Pure Triumph did the same thing, closed without any warning. One weekend it is business as usual, next weekend they’re gone lock stock and barrel. At least there is another dealer near Palm Beach. Only an extra 45 minute ride through traffic, what a pain in the ass. Hey Triumph, how many people are going to buy your bikes if you keep closing dealerships?

      • Eric Manns

        Wow. Daytona Triumph (Shelly Rossmeyer Motorcycles of Daytona) is closing too. Bad timing for the Thunderbird I guess. First they had to extend the reservation/presale period because the demand was so much lower than expected, then they cut $500 off the MSRP, and I already see 2010 Thunderbirds on eBay and Craigslist.

  • Jeremy Davies

    I did the Thunderbird demo thing today.


    Total geezer glide. I guess it impresses older men who are used to smaller bikes. Handlng sucks if you are experienced at carving corners, it responds slowly and the pegs drag at the first thought of an aggressive attack or lean angle. It does have decent power for a parallel twin. Overall, I rate this somewhere between Centrum Silver and AARP.

  • Bonneville is the Legend

    WTF is up with the anti Bonnie comments here? You know Bonneville, the bike that Triumph’s reputation is founded on?

    Bollocks to both the Yank designed Thunderbird and the clotted RUBs who drool over it!

  • Zardoz

    Harley FatBoy rapes Honda Rebel; nine months later out pops a Thunderbird.

  • harley sux

    It does NOT look like a harley. It is another METRIC CRUISER that kicks harleys ass!

  • Don

    I bought a 95 900 TBird and the cosmetics were an important part of my decision making process. I have a feeling the 2009 1600 will be fantastic to ride but it looks like a yamaharley. Better off calling it an American than a TBird.

  • Medicus

    I’ve got a 95 900 TBird too and, in 22 years of riding, it’s probably my favourite bike ever (edging out my previous favourite, an XS650 with Halcyon big bore kit), even though it’s the first one I’ve had that I don’t like working on (stupid carb position, stupid stupid stupid).

    I don’t hate this new 1600 cc thing, I don’t like it either. It really provokes no real emotion in me either way (and that’s after a test ride). It is, like the new Bonnys, characterless and bland.

    I know one thing, it’s not a Thunderbird…I do wish they’d found another name for it.

  • Jim Dandy

    Urban Dictionary, that was hilarious. But you forgot;

    Q; What is the cruiser of the year?

    A; It is the Triumph Thunderbird.

    Nice looking bike, but I will stick with my Bonnie,….and I am not gay. Just know what I like and know who I am.

  • Not a Senir Citizen

    Ugh. What a total GeezerGlide.

    Sheesh Triumph, how about a cruiser for those of us who still have their own hair and teeth?

  • RB

    I love it and will be buying one!!!

  • nathan

    After my long awaited test ride I am left with the distinct impression that the designers won every argument with the engineers. Straight line performance is excellent, but it is a dog when pushed hard in the twisties. My son pulled away from me on his Bonnie at almost every set of curves. The pegs scrape eagerly at even modest lean angles. Sure it handles better than most Harleys, but what bike doesn’t?

    I’m glad I tested a Thunderbird in person rather than preordering. Performance is the benchmark for me, I’ll get another Bonneville and be better off all the way around.

  • Trading up to the Duck.

    Let’s see…

    Harley builds almost 1600cc engines, then Triumph builds an almost 1600cc engine. Harley uses belts for final drive, then Triumph uses a belt for final drive. Harley builds cruising twins that weigh 700 pounds, then Triumph builds a cruising twin that weighs 700 pounds. Etc, etc, etc. Sheesh Triumph, why not change your slogan from ‘Go your own way’ to a more realistic ‘Follow at your own pace?’

    Next thing you know Triumph will use their name in an anagramed owners association modeled after H.O.G…

    Oh wait…

    Follow at your own pace.

  • roy gaines

    Yet another metric cruiser.
    Be still my beating heart.[/snark]

  • Biker Mike

    Harley clone, Harly knock-off, Harley, Harley, Harley…

    Every time a new cruiser comes out, its the same lame complaints. Cruisers look like cruisers!

    And for those who complain becuase it does not look like and old-school Triumph. So what! Triumph already makes several old-school models, this one is aimed at a different customer.

    UJM? WTF!

    This looks nothing like a “universal japanese motorcycle” and all I can assume is you don’t know what term even means, and were just fishing around for a way to critisize the design.

    Hey, if you like the Thruxton, ride one! If you like the Harley ride one! If you like the Hayabusa, ride one! Its all good! Why the need to bash things just to make you feel better about your own choices?

    Despite all the badmouthing, I’m in the market for a new bike this fall, and the Thunderbird will be getting some serious consideration from me.

  • Jon

    A tasteless bike made for tasteless Americans. Lets get real for a moment, the Tbird’s biggest selling point is that it isn’t a Harley. I’ll keep my Vulcan.

  • bob ferguson

    I recently had a test ride, love it greatbike, feels a lot like my mates softtial but better. However I doubt if I’d buy one when you compare it to a Kawasaki Nomad which has everything God has already provided for Cruisers already fitted for the same price. As you yanks say…Go Figure!

  • Kev

    id prefare my gorgeous yamaha virago 535, with its iconic style snd ace paintwork and brill curves.

  • http://KansasBadBird Warren Vest

    Have owned my T-Bird for three weeks, just turned 1300 miles thru the Tallgrass Prairie, Flint Hills outside of Andover,Kansas. Best Handling bike I have ever owned. Great bottom end, rides like a dream. ABS brakes are a must. This bike takes corners on its own all you have to do is enjoy the ride. Very smooth and powerful. This bike has been totally re-engineered and it shows. Triumph, in my opinion, has really built an awesome new bike. I get alot of comments on it already at fuel stops and stop lights. All positive. I went on Michael Bergens Night Train Run two weeks ago, was the only Triumph among two hundred Harley’s. I got many positive comments and it is also nice to be a little different from the crowd and not be like everyone else. Did I mention the BREMBO brakes ? Awesome!! Everyone has their own opinions thats what makes this world a great place. Safe riding to all. Remember if NASCAR drivers where HELMETS inside their race cars shouldn’t you when riding a motorcycle!!! PEACE!!


    I wrote a thread on this column on May 23rd 09. Since then, I have taken the bike on a few test rides and looked at the machine closely in the metal. The engine feels sorted but I bet the 1700 makes for a differance….aside from that its quite nice to ride although not being used to the cruiser riding position, it felt like a bit of a go-cart at first and I am not sure if I would have back ache after an hour or more in the saddle. I rode a silver model with the standard long exhausts…..and its not beautiful. The blue or black version with short pipes and flat bars I rekon would win the beauty parade for this model in as much as it is. The bike is a pudding……it needs to go on a diet. That tank is a 1/3 bigger than it needs to be and covers far too much of the engine. It should be slimmer with scalloped sides toward the seat and needs to have proper Triumph badges. It needs longer forks, the headlight needs to be higher and larger and with proper handlebar mounted instruments. Overall the bike looks too long.I could go on.
    I am Friendly with the London Triumph dealer Jack Lilleys and we have discussed doing a custom job on one of these machines. I may try and convince Dave Lilley to evaluate some of the above proposals and get this machine looking the way it ought too.

  • jesse

    I tested the T-Bird 2010. when I saw it on pictures and even on the stores, it didn’t look like much. my wife thinks its ugly.I think it wont get the SoHo vote for style.
    I took her for a ride in Harley country upstate N.Y. and no Harley person would say that looks like a Harley at all, yet they all would stop to look that even the cops said nice things about the bike.
    It handles great for a cruiser , better than my speed master wich is 100 pound less, that can get thru the smallest hole in traffic. I live in NYC and being able to manouver your way out of trouble is really a way of life.
    625 pounds with a 1600 engine. I feel its all the power ill ever need, I like the fact she is not pretty and that she looks fatty.
    for now it feels like this bike was made for me.
    and in the end… its all about the ride.
    Ride safe.

  • Steve

    Overall, I think its a good-looking bike, although nothing trend-setting. Simple, clean lines. Nothing wrong with that.

    My only styling gripe (and it is a major one) is the god-awful radiator. Functional, but it hangs out there like they meant it to be the centerpiece of the bike. Looks like the back of the refrigerator in my garage.

    Take a look at what Suzuki did on the M109R. I’m not suggesting Triumph do the same thing, it wouldn’t look right on this bike. The point is, there’s got to be a way of downplaying the thing. And I don’t think it would help to chrome it out. That would just draw attention to an inherently ugly part. I’m no designer, but there’s got to be some way of curing this styling blemish.

    • PERSUADER100

      Hi Steve
      When commenting about styling, you mentioned the thing that I neglected to……..the radiator. It was the very first thing that I notciced when I saw the bike for the first time. I guess that why As an original Triumph Thunderbird 95 owner, at least the RAD doesnt take up the the whole front end of the engine. You would think that a bike in a lazy state of tune wouldnt need this barn-door of a thing stuck on the front. Honda’s new custom cruiser at least manages to make it look discrete. Incidentaly, has any one here heard of a bike called a Dakota4 a 1930′s Indian in-line 4 lookalike. It a damned good bike and I might well get one of those instead


  • Gale Hendricks

    Overweight Americans rejoice! Triumph has joined the metric cruiser masses with their celebration of straightaway blandness: Thunderbird!

    Unpalatable Mr. Bloor, simply unpalatable.

  • spencer

    53 T-bird wouldve been a sensible style base.

    Does that thing have PLASTIC on it.

    Whats it go like with twin 45 webers and open pipes.

    Or a HRD ‘A’ Rapide for fittings and fixtures .

    What does style meen. Thats what those blokes in the city do to there hair, isnt it ?

    Matt. Spencer .

  • Frits

    I think the TBA would look good with a T-Bird dash and caps on both sides, one being a fuel gauge. A set of T-Bird bags would also compliment the TBA.


    I was just looking at Marks comments in his January 30, 2010, 3.40 email. I think he should start by learning how to spell his country’s name properly ( plus other errors) before calling Europeans snobbish. However I do agree with him in the sense that why do ‘Europeans’ assume that Americas road are all straight. European motorways are largely straight just as their montainous roads are hairpins….no do doubt like the Stats.
    Anyone checked out a company call Mecatwin ( French ) look what they do to Bonnies ! I am waiting to see what they will do to a T’bird and then I might get interested

  • A Angel

    I always like cruisers. I rode a Fat Bob and a the Wide Glide over the summer thinking that I was going to buy one. Beautiful machines! However, I was disappointed how these bikes handled. Las Sunday, I tried the 2010 Triumph thunderbird demo and I was impressed. I think Triumph has done their homework. I will definitely going to buy one this spring.

  • A Angel

    I always like cruisers. I rode a Fat Bob and a Super Glide over the summer thinking that I was going to buy one. Beautiful machines! However, I was disappointed how these bikes handled. Las Sunday, I tried a Triumph thunderbird demo and I was impressed. I think Triumph has done their homework. I will definitely going to buy one this spring.

  • http://www.ebaysuspensionfix.com Ebay Suspension

    That was a great post. I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments. Thanks for the effort.

  • Robbo

    All of this talk about Harley’s vs the Thunderbird. I have both, a 2005 Roadking Custom and the new 1600 Thunderbird. While the Harley will always have the ‘wow’ factor with the people that know little about motorbikes and the only brand that these people know and speak about (“Do you have a Harley”, I would like a dollar every time I have heard that from a non motorcycle rider) the truth is, the Harley does not hold a candle to the Triumph. On a horses for courses basis, the Triumph wins on every level. Yes, I can hear the US people cringing and screaming, but it’s a fact, I am not going to sell the Harley but I prefer to ride the Thunderbird. Biggest downfall in Australia (for all Trioumph models)is the importer and the unavailability of accesories from them, but that is a totally different thread and don’t get me started about the incompetence of the Australian importer.

  • Big Sven

    Motorcycles are fashion-statements today, not the practical and cheap transport and fun bikes of my youth, in the fabulous 60′s. Today’s bikes are more reliable, yes, but so should they be with 50 years of development behind them. They are heavier as they need thicker castings and watercooling to pass the noise regs and need bigger engines to achieve a modicum of performance as the exhaust-emission mods (fuel-injection came about to pass the tests, great development – until it goes ‘phut’ over in Eastern Czechoslovakia, by the Russian border!) also kill the punch of the free-breathing engines we old guys were lucky enough to ride in our wild days. Forget Norton Dommi featherbed, CSR 650 and T110 performance, those days will never come back. But it’s not all gloom, we have better suspension now (read: we HAVE suspension now) better brakes, better tyres, the reliability is phenomenal, I rode my beloved CX500 all over Europe for ten years, with no toolkit, it wasn’t needed.

    I think the Triumph 1600 twin looks good. I’m not inclined to knock it before I’d ridden it all over Europe for 20,000 miles.

    My ideal bike? Honda Varadero 125 ‘Paris Dakar’ style enduro-bike, but with a grunty 400 V-twin engine.

    Anyone from Honda listening?

  • neil dowsing

    Overthe past year, I’ve tried very hard to like the Thunderbird 1600. I own a restored Cafe-racer 95 Thunderbird Triple, a bike with lots of character, well balanced and this heavily cut down machine looks good to. I test rode the 1600 for an hour and a half yesterday two-up along fast roads and some twisty stuff too. It holds a corner well but can’t do anything challenging without grounding the pegs. The fact of the matter is I couldnt help but start to like it a lot. I love the engine. You can feel it going on and the way it pulls out of corners like a train was good full on. I can feel the purse strings starting to weaken. Happy riding


  • All Bikes

    Remember everyone likes are not the same and a lot of these comments are from people that won’t change from the bikes they are used too.

    I started off on British bikes and left them for the reliability of the japanese, but now I’m a true Triumph Thunderbird\Rocket lover, don’t get me wrong I still like the Victory\Harley’s and Japanese bikes, But I am a All rounder.

    It’s great to see a British company to holds it’s own against the motorcycle field, and we the British should be proud.

    I have only sat on the Triumph Thunderbird but with just sitting on it, it has got something unique about it, as goes with the Rocket too.

    It’s not to criticize, it’s to enjoy and whatever your likes are, a bikes a bike.


  • Doc

    This bike is the most beautiful cruiser out there. Come on…look at the slightly upswept pipes. Not too big not too long. The bike doesn’t have a ton of linkages exposed like engineers forgot there was going to be a transmission. The tank is shaped perfectly. EVERY other cruiser bike manufacturer has tried to copy Harley, but this is no copy. This is concept refined. Look at the host of sport bikes, but when you see the MV agusta or the Benneli tornado you see those perfect refining touches that make all the difference. This bike is drop dead georgeous. I’ve had 32 motorcycles and this one is the Jamie Foxx.

  • Carlo Bello

    nice bike, (engine) why borrow looks from Harley? IT CAN’T EVER BE A HARLEY DAVISON!!!!!nor whant to be…
    Triumph”s looks have always being better than Harley,if anything enhance old school Triumph unique looks, I’m talking handle bars, gauges, the tank, tear drop shape, with the old knee recess, wire wheels,mags ok but simpler design.
    I love Triumphs, in fact I own 3 of them, one is a custom , almost done…I plan on buying a new Thunderbird and I will make it look like a new REAL Triumph

  • jamie sturgess

    this thread was sent to me by a whiner to show how bad my new TB was… and it started out as a bunch of harley stoics vs newby Tbirders.

    it appears now, as my silverbird has six months on it, and me OLD 98 TBS has 11000 miles on it, that I can make a statement:

    58 years old, the triumph is what I wanted in 1970!

    now I can afford it, and the TBird 1600 is it.

    at 58 I am still not old enough to ride a Harley.

    and my name is Sturgess.

  • Viking

    Whine, whine. My 2010 T-bird spends most of its time passing v-twins. Ride it before you judge it. The truth is, it’s a better machine, period.

  • Steve

    I have the T-Bird and love it. I looked at the Harleys, Kawasaki’s, Victory’s. Could not a kawasaki comfortable enough, HD and victory too expensive by the time I add what I want, Triumph had it all in package at a price I was willing to pay.

  • John

    I’ve read alot of these messages and Harley Davidson riders are like lazy Horses who forgot to take there blinders off. Its like you all have ONE opinion and you all share it. Harley’s dont go fast straight outta the box. they cant turn for shit and forget about stopping cause they are useless at that. Not to mention that Harley Davidson dealers in West Oz are arrogant who dont really want your money. Harleys sell for nearly double the price in Oz then what they do for in the states so they clearly aint worth the money. The thunderbird is just a fun all round bike. Strap a bag to it and piss off for the night or rip the back seat off and go for a thrash solo. and let me tell you not many harleys have kept up with me either in traffic or on the highway.

  • John Dallas III

    If your balls are too small for the Rocket, by all means go for a Thunderbird. I mean it may look a Japanese cousin of a real Triumph, but at least its not a Harley.

  • MagicDave

    Having owned a garage full of early 60′s Bonneville’s my opinion is that the new Thunderbird is a gorgeous machine. I guess most those that stated that it looks Japanese don’t know much about the history of many Japanese motorcycles that were direct copies of the Bonneville. If anything some Japanese motorcycles look British. Harley clone but a vertical twin? Baloney! It looks very much like one of my Bonnie’s that I made into a cruiser back in the early 80′s. By the way, do any of you Triumph “experts” know how to improve a Trumpet by upgrading the electric with an alternator and negative ground? I made that “little discovery” back in ’82 thanks to a 350 Honda twin that I acquired. Now that I have ridden the new Thunderbird, I am certain that it will be a very big seller since it is amply powerful, handles quite well, and looks great. I will own one. The biggest pluses is that it is NOT a V-Twin and it bears the name of my personal all time favorite brand of motorcycles.

  • Art

    Almost two years after my first comments on this web site and I return to give testimony on the engineering excellence of the Triumph Thunderbird. I now have one parked in my garage and can personally attest to the superior style, the excellent craftsmanship of the fit and finish as well as to the handling capabilities and visceral power of this parallel twin cruiser. Yes, “PARALLEL” twin… not the ubiquitous “V-Twin” that has been over done by every other motorcycle manufacturer. Triumph has stayed loyal to its own heritage and produced a motorcycle that keeps with True Triumph lineage and yet has all of the latest in engineering sophistication. Way to go Triumph!

  • joe shmo

    Those who make negative comments w/o owning one aren’t playing with a full deck. Those who do so without even having ridden one have a long ways to go to make a full deck of what they have. And those who do so with nothing more than a picture and a few words they saw online aren’t even holding a single card. If this type of bike is what you like, you will eat your words once you have one for more than a day or two. most will understand on the first ride. But only a tiny fraction won’t like it under any circumstances, ownership or whatever. Pictures don’t do it justice, and in person it doesn’t look anything like a asian bike. Those to whom this is addressed will just dislike it more after reading this because most people would rather get angry at criticism than consider whats being said w/o bias. But thats ok…..just makes my bike that much more unique the fewer people who own one. go buy a harley….you’ll be in like minded company.

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  • ND

    It’s not a bike I would buy, but someone I know has one of these (plus floorboards/windshield/soft luggage), and it’s a load of fun. I’ve got a 650 V-Strom, which is perfectly capable, and does everything I need, but something about a big, oddball, low twin cruiser is also a joy.