November 4, 2010 at 3:31 am #4261EddiepowerfmParticipant
Munch and other cruiser riders, this last weekend I went to an open house with demo rides for Triumph. I got to ride the Speedmaster and the Thunderbird.
If you have had the opportunity to ride one of these, what do you think of them and how does it compare to your current ride. And what is your current ride?
The Harley truck was in Dallas and I wanted to go demo some but I got very sick, so I missed it.
Reminds me, I wonder what happened to that brother from Florida that started selling Harleys.
Keep RockinNovember 4, 2010 at 11:24 pm #28739MunchParticipant
To be honest I haven’t ridden either.
Out of the two… the Thunderbird is one I have a curiosity of. Just because of the rave reviews… not for want of buying one.
The Speedmaster looks like another Softail attempt in a Sportster type power ratio 865 cc . Another issue I have and I could be wrong is its chain driven(Speedmaster is T-bird not). This is a “to each their own” category but for me I like the quietness that a belt or drive shaft gives you. Its one thing about the V500 I don’t miss.
There is a lot of great reviews for the Thunderbird but for me here… I only know of one Triumph dealer and they are tagged inside of the local HD dealership like you would see KFC and Long John Silvers. Which begs to question the cost of replacement parts. They already boast a 1700cc big bore kit for the t-bird almost echo’ing Harley’s Screamin Eagle step up kits that’s been around for years.
The looks are very Harley stylized, which one could argue what cruiser isn’t, however they are almost shadow images to me. The 2 huge differences being:
1) the engine … parallel twin… makes for easy maintenance.
2) One model comes OE with a “Flat bar” or drag bar set up for handle bars. Which is one of the things that kept me away from the Kawi Mean Streak. Theres no room for customizing your ride style with the bike with a fixed handle bar. Maybe Triumph did it different, I dunno.
I think all in all it would Feel like a turbo’d out version of our previous V500. Even the overall look of the bike kinda kicks in with the shorter wheel length look which should add tremendously to their handling attributes that they are claiming, like that of the V500.
I am not really diggin the tank though. Tooo…… Triumph-ish. I know I know….wha? Put it this way a lot of the times I see Triumphs around here they don’t bring to mind “Easy Rider” or even on the comedic side Wild Hogs….. but more of a Charlie Chaplin, black and white, waiting for the long ladder to come across the road to duck under feel.
They are purdy to look at. Just not for me or what I feel is my style or attitude. I can’t see them being decked out as a bagger like I need for cargo or even really good looking 2 up.
I hope they make up in performance what they don’t have in aesthetics… for me…. its just a big miss. However I tend to be way far from the “trends” I just usually wait for them to come back around so for that brief moment in history I will be “in style” then wait again for the next cycle. All in all they would make a good around town bike or tearing through the back roads and having fun with it. However if you plan on taking the long haul the necessities that you would want… Cargo (saddle bags and/or trunk) wind protection via windshield and maybe even creature features such as floor boards if you like them would steal away from the look they are aiming at.
And as far as Elwood goes…hes still alive and kicking. He no longer sells HD’s …but works the Service Dept for them. Like most of us he’s busting his ass to get work done and holding on to every dollar he can get his hands on.
And Yea I am still running around on my V900. Until I can get me my HD Street Glide… I will probly keep it til it don’t run anymore.November 6, 2010 at 2:39 am #28740ncBikerParticipant
I havnt rode either but i love the speedmaster and theres a big aftermarket for the older ones if you wanted to beef up the engines. Nota fan of the thunderbird. It looks to much lika harley and not enough lika triumph. Ive always been partial to triumphs though so that might cloud my judgementNovember 12, 2010 at 4:49 pm #28769Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
The Speedmaster and Thunderbird do not interest me, modern versions of the 1960s Triumph parallel twins, but they are considered good bikes if you like their styling and cost. A Speedmaster might be a good bike for a bigger beginner, weighing maybe 175 pounds plus.
If I was in the market for a new big bagger for long trips, I would probably buy the Triumph Rocket III Touring. It costs less than a Honda or BMW or Harley big tourer, but it is not as comfortable for your passenger. The Rocket III is a modern version of this antique below, later bought by Indian, but with 3 cylinders instead of 4:
I would like this light race-type bike for short trips and tight corners, but a Kawasaki 650cc parallel twin would cost less and be better for longer trips, and the Suzuki DRZ-400 Supermoto would be better for a beginner, and more reliable:
This might be the best bike for a low cost and for many uses, if you can stand the strange looks of it:
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