Uk Member Looking At A Thunderbird (lots Of Questions)

Discussion in 'Thunderbird' started by SuzukiTri25, Mar 13, 2019.

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  1. SuzukiTri25

    SuzukiTri25 New Member

    Mar 13, 2019
    6
    3
    Rugby
    First off. Hi! I'll start with a bit about me. FYI I live only 10 minutes from Hinckley! Lol.
    Learned to ride on a Suzuki GZ125, passed my test in 2011. Upgraded to a Yamaha Virago 535, sold that on a year later, upgraded to a VL800, sold that and 'sidegraded' to a Suzuki C800 (same as VL800 except fuel injected).
    I love my bike, but I know I WILL upgrade to a bigger engine for 2 reasons. 1. The power on my bike is quite tame, it can be thrilling if you really rag on it but otherwise its quite 'normal. 2. It is a bit tiring for long motorway rides. It needs a 6th gear, revs a lot at 65 or more.

    I like big cruisers, and only recently thought to consider a Triumph. I thought I was doomed and at the mercy of Harley but with some research I found a very good contender, the Thunderbird or Storm variant. I have a lot of questions if anyone care to give me some help/advice.

    1. Is this the best forum to be on in terms of member activity? Couldnt help but notice there arent many new threads made in this subforum which is a bit of a shame, but i have browsed other Triumph forums which are very busy but maybe not so relevant if most of the members are in the US.

    2. As I said I'm looking at a Thunderbird/Thunderbird LT or Storm. Could anyone fill me in in the main differences between model years for these bikes?

    3. How are these bikes on long motorway rides. Do any have cruise control? (Throttle lock works fine for me if not), do they rev quite low in 6th at 70?

    4. Are these bikes reliable? I have read that generally they are but a few have complained about CLUNKY sounding engines, both top and bottom end. I.e. piston slap and/or the exhaust valve or something? Its some kind of pressure release valve which I have read has caused some problems.

    5. Is servicing cheap and user friendly? My bike is easy to change air filter and adjust valves (locknut type). Im good with a spanner though and have taken the tank off my bike a few times, tested fuel pumps, changed clutches, changed spark plugs etc. Is the TB fairly easy in this regard?

    6. The TB is discontinued which some have said is a potential negative in terms of parts avaliability. I'd imagine its a bigger problem in the US than here though correct?

    7. Aftermarket parts. Is there much choice? A lot of aftermarket parts for my bike I have to import from the States mainly because the cruiser scene is much bigger over there. In terms of parts i'd want on my TB it would include:

    - A nice, loud exhaust perhaps cat bypass
    - Decent, large soft or hard panniers
    - Front crash bars with highway pegs
    - Rear crash bars (maybe)
    - Screen (quick release preferably)
    - Drink holder
    -12v acc socket
    -Sissy bar/rack
    -Floor boards

    Thats about all I need as I enjoy doing some touring with the tent strapped on the bike.

    8. Any major weak points on these bikes? From what ive read the fit and finish is excellent and a lot better than Harley and Jap bikes so hopefully all is good.

    Thats about all I have for now but im sure i'll think of others.
    Thanks so much in advance
     
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  2. steve lovatt

    steve lovatt Something else
    Subscriber

    May 12, 2014
    5,691
    1,000
    Winchester
    Hi and welcome to the forum - a Thunderbird owner will be along shortly (@Wessa ) :cool:
     
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  3. David Cooper

    David Cooper Triumph Rocketeer.
    Subscriber

    Hello and welcome to the forum

    98636c6ee64925a19858f8a491d300d2.gif

    animated-motorbike-image-0030.gif
     
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  4. Helmut Visor

    Helmut Visor Put on your big boy pants and man up
    Subscriber

    Oct 3, 2018
    1,524
    750
    Three Counties
    Hi SuzukiTri25, I will try and answer some of your questions although I've only had mine a short while and can't fettle to save my life.

    1. This is a great forum and very active with lots of very knowledgeable members. You are absolutely right though, the Thunderbird section can be quite quiet. I like to think that's purely because they are rarer, very reliable and people are too busy riding to post. That said, if you have a question someone will be there to help out.

    2. As I only looked at the Nightstorm I never really explored the differences with the other models, but google is your friend and the Triumph site will show you the different specs.

    3. I can only speak for mine but I have no cruise control (and neither would I want it). I have no screen but can cruise comfortably at 80, others may disagree. At 70 from what I remember it was sitting between 2500 and 3000 rpm.

    4. I've had no problems so far (since Oct 18) just a front brake squeak when applied at low speed. More embarrassing at lights than anything else.

    5. Don't know I'm afraid, I only have to look at a spanner to get spanner rash :joy::joy:

    6. There is still a lot of stuff out there, as you say probably far better here than over the pond.

    7. Loads of choice, all those parts are readily available. Again google is your friend ;);)

    8. The finish is great on mine and I've not experienced or heard of any real weak points.

    I hope that helps a bit, I'm sure some more knowledgeable people will be along shortly if you need more :cool::cool:
    44031579_257824364919424_9167508763035303936_n.jpg 43828676_569787090107422_4168878588176629760_n.jpg
     
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  5. Vulpes

    Vulpes Confused Member
    Subscriber

    Mar 14, 2018
    3,683
    1,000
    Netherlands
    Hi and welcome.
     
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  6. dilligaf

    dilligaf GrrrR3Rrrr
    Subscriber

    Mar 30, 2017
    7,216
    1,000
    Washington Tyne & Wear
    Hi mate and welcome
     
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  7. Wessa

    Wessa Cruising
    Subscriber

    Apr 27, 2016
    3,741
    800
    North West England
    Hi and welcome, what a comprehensive introduction and list of questions...... I have the thunderbird LT and it is a brilliant bike. In my view it is one of the best cruisers on the market, great performance and just eats miles.
    I have answered your questions with my view on the bike.

    1. Is this the best forum to be on in terms of member activity? Couldnt help but notice there arent many new threads made in this subforum which is a bit of a shame, but i have browsed other Triumph forums which are very busy but maybe not so relevant if most of the members are in the US.
    This without doubt is the best motorcycle forum on the web. Great bunch of people who are very freindly, who do like a bit or fun..

    2. As I said I'm looking at a Thunderbird/Thunderbird LT or Storm. Could anyone fill me in in the main differences between model years for these bikes?
    As I mentioned I have the LT. I have toured all over europe 2 up on many occassions. It is very comfortable and just eats miles.

    3. How are these bikes on long motorway rides. Do any have cruise control? (Throttle lock works fine for me if not), do they rev quite low in 6th at 70?
    Brilliant.

    4. Are these bikes reliable? I have read that generally they are but a few have complained about CLUNKY sounding engines, both top and bottom end. I.e. piston slap and/or the exhaust valve or something? Its some kind of pressure release valve which I have read has caused some problems.
    Not had any issues with mine. Keep it well serviced and it will serve you well.

    5. Is servicing cheap and user friendly? My bike is easy to change air filter and adjust valves (locknut type). Im good with a spanner though and have taken the tank off my bike a few times, tested fuel pumps, changed clutches, changed spark plugs etc. Is the TB fairly easy in this regard?
    I use my main dealer for servicing, so more expensive that doing your own servicing, but it works for me.

    6. The TB is discontinued which some have said is a potential negative in terms of parts avaliability. I'd imagine its a bigger problem in the US than here though correct?
    I'm aware that they have stopped making them, but I was talking to the owner of my local dealer and he was saying that parts should not be a problem.

    7. Aftermarket parts. Is there much choice? A lot of aftermarket parts for my bike I have to import from the States mainly because the cruiser scene is much bigger over there. In terms of parts i'd want on my TB it would include:

    - A nice, loud exhaust perhaps cat bypass
    - Decent, large soft or hard panniers
    - Front crash bars with highway pegs
    - Rear crash bars (maybe)
    - Screen (quick release preferably)
    - Drink holder
    -12v acc socket
    -Sissy bar/rack
    -Floor boards
    Yep there are loads of accessories available ...

    Thats about all I need as I enjoy doing some touring with the tent strapped on the bike.

    8. Any major weak points on these bikes? From what ive read the fit and finish is excellent and a lot better than Harley and Jap bikes so hopefully all is good.
    I cannot think of any bad points, other than it is a heavy bike and you need to make sure you can comfortably handle that weight.
     
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  8. Recmech

    Recmech New Member
    Subscriber

    Dec 10, 2018
    19
    3
    Pilbara Western Australia
    Hi and welcome,
    Wow, what a lot of questions!
    I bought my Storm brand new in Nov 18 (because it was being discontinued) and have put 9000 trouble free kilometres on it, mainly at highway speeds in outback Western Australia. I have a Mustang seat for touring and a Nightstorm seat for round town and as already stated, it eats up the miles. Very heavy at slow speeds but I like that. I've had no trouble with aftermarket parts or accesories, including backrest, screen, Kayko throttle lock, engine bars etc. and I service it myself as I am 1200kms from the nearest dealer.
    All up, no regrets on my purchase. Only fault I can pick is a fuel gauge that tells lies and can't be trusted but I rarely rely on them on any bike.
    Hope this helps :cool:
     
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  9. Tucker 1963

    Tucker 1963 Elite Member

    Sep 7, 2017
    5,932
    800
    Newmarket
    Welcome to the madhouse you should fit right in . you can't beat the Lt .
    - A nice, loud exhaust perhaps cat bypass
    - Decent, large soft or hard panniers
    - Front crash bars with highway pegs
    - Rear crash bars (maybe)
    - Screen (quick release preferably)
    - Drink holder
    -12v acc socket
    -Sissy bar/rack
    -Floor boards
    The only other things this were to put the TV
    and to buy a BLACK one as they go faster
    P.s check out the GMU
    _20190117_152439.jpg _20180907_064133.jpg Tucker
     
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  10. Adrian Braithwaite

    Adrian Braithwaite New Member

    Sep 7, 2018
    10
    3
    Wakefield
    Hi and welcome
    Similar to yourself I fancied a change and bought a TB last year, 12 plate with 13k on clock and the bike is brilliant. The torque from the engine is unbelievable and it will pull in any gear. I have had no problems at all.
    You will most probably find that you come across bikes for sale that already have quite a few extra's fitted ie. screen, extra chrome bits, 'T' Bar handlebars and may be seat upgrades, I have the Mustang and it is theist seat that I have ever had on a bike.
     
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  11. SuzukiTri25

    SuzukiTri25 New Member

    Mar 13, 2019
    6
    3
    Rugby
    Long shot but I dont suppose any of you guys are semi local to Hinckley? Leicestershire/Warwickshire area? Wouldnt mind meeting someone with a TB whom wouldnt mind showing me their bike (not even seen one in person yet).
     
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  12. Wessa

    Wessa Cruising
    Subscriber

    Apr 27, 2016
    3,741
    800
    North West England
    I'm over in Cheshire, if you fancy a ride out I'm more than happy for you to have look over my bike.....
    Wessa
     
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  13. KevinK

    KevinK Member

    Sep 26, 2017
    36
    13
    Timberlake, NC USA
    From across the pond.
    Add all of the things you mentioned.
    Boards, heel toe shifter, bars and pegs, bags (excuse me panniers).
    I am seeing about 2500-3K RPM between 65 and 70 MPH. Cruises quite nicely at 75-85 MPH if you're in a hurry (some times, road so smooth I sort of drift up unconsciously)
    Bike is amazing for a long cruise. 800 miles on the blue ridge parkway in VA (USA) IN ONE WEEKEND, could have kept riding. My dog did 300 of those miles with me.
    You can see my Red Bird here: https://www.tsukayu.com/EasyStrong_Thunderbird.html
     
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  14. Helmut Visor

    Helmut Visor Put on your big boy pants and man up
    Subscriber

    Oct 3, 2018
    1,524
    750
    Three Counties
    About 2 hours away I'm afraid :worried::worried:
     
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  15. Tiglet

    Tiglet Vintage Member
    Subscriber

    Mar 28, 2016
    2,676
    1,000
    Cheshire
    Hello and welcome to the forum :)

    If you’ve not seen one yet and can’t get to meet any of the forum members who have kindly offered to meet up with you then go to your local Triumph dealer they’re bound to have one on display.
     
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  16. SuzukiTri25

    SuzukiTri25 New Member

    Mar 13, 2019
    6
    3
    Rugby
    Yea thats true. I'd just prefer to hear about the bike from a long term owner rather than a salesman.
    Thanks for all the replies given me a lot to think about and research
     
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  17. Tucker 1963

    Tucker 1963 Elite Member

    Sep 7, 2017
    5,932
    800
    Newmarket
    Here you go _20190317_065200.jpg Tucker
     
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  18. Zoso

    Zoso New Member
    Subscriber

    Jul 18, 2017
    21
    3
    Scotland
    Hi

    I bought a Thunderbird 2 years ago - first Triumph so here's my tuppence worth......

    1. Is this the best forum to be on in terms of member activity? Couldnt help but notice there arent many new threads made in this subforum which is a bit of a shame, but i have browsed other Triumph forums which are very busy but maybe not so relevant if most of the members are in the US. Excellent forum IMO

    2. As I said I'm looking at a Thunderbird/Thunderbird LT or Storm. Could anyone fill me in in the main differences between model years for these bikes? Most of the differences are cosmetic as basically the 1600/1700 are the same bike apart from 100cc of engine size

    3. How are these bikes on long motorway rides. Do any have cruise control? (Throttle lock works fine for me if not), do they rev quite low in 6th at 70? excellent on motorway

    4. Are these bikes reliable? I have read that generally they are but a few have complained about CLUNKY sounding engines, both top and bottom end. I.e. piston slap and/or the exhaust valve or something? Its some kind of pressure release valve which I have read has caused some problems. very reliable

    5. Is servicing cheap and user friendly? My bike is easy to change air filter and adjust valves (locknut type). Im good with a spanner though and have taken the tank off my bike a few times, tested fuel pumps, changed clutches, changed spark plugs etc. Is the TB fairly easy in this regard? I do my own servicing and there's nothing difficult - download a workshop manual and you'll manage

    6. The TB is discontinued which some have said is a potential negative in terms of parts avaliability. I'd imagine its a bigger problem in the US than here though correct? Not something I worry about. I have a 35 year old Z1300 and can still get parts for it.

    7. Aftermarket parts. Is there much choice? A lot of aftermarket parts for my bike I have to import from the States mainly because the cruiser scene is much bigger over there. In terms of parts i'd want on my TB it would include:

    - A nice, loud exhaust perhaps cat bypass
    - Decent, large soft or hard panniers
    - Front crash bars with highway pegs
    - Rear crash bars (maybe)
    - Screen (quick release preferably)
    - Drink holder
    -12v acc socket
    -Sissy bar/rack
    -Floor boards
    Most of the above list is available from Triumph so search eBay and you'll find what you're after.

    Thats about all I need as I enjoy doing some touring with the tent strapped on the bike.

    8. Any major weak points on these bikes? From what ive read the fit and finish is excellent and a lot better than Harley and Jap bikes so hopefully all is good.
    Haven't found any weak points and it handles better than any Harley I've ridden.
     
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  19. SuzukiTri25

    SuzukiTri25 New Member

    Mar 13, 2019
    6
    3
    Rugby
    So I did manage to see one in person.
    Last Saturday I took a long ride to Skegness and randomly ended up parking my bike, turned to my left and saw what looked like a Storm variant. Didnt see the owner anywhere though.
    Looks lovely in the flesh and quite a bit bigger than my bike. I expect it is a bit o of a brute at low speeds.
     
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  20. joe mc donald

    Subscriber

    Dec 26, 2014
    4,765
    1,000
    slough / burnham
    SuzukiTti25
    I do think they are very well balanced. But never had a ride on one just what's been said on here.
    Ride Safe
    Joe.
     
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