Triumph's first middleweight cruiser has taken the market by storm since it introduction in June 2009.
Voted as US magazine Cycle World's 'Cruiser of the Year' the Thunderbird rewrites the rules on the way cruiser motorcycles should perform, bringing Triumph's reputation for handling and engineering excellence to the mainstream cruiser market for the first time.
With its strong, muscular lines the Thunderbird oozes cruise from every angle, but the heart and soul of Thunderbird is the world's largest production paralleltwin motor. The torque-laden 'T-16' motor features a bore and stroke of 103.8 x 94.3mm brings Triumph's traditional layout to the large capacity cruiser market for the first time. As standard the Thunderbird delivers 146Nm of torque and 86PS - more than enough to keep the Thunderbird ahead of its competitors - however riders looking for that bit extra performance can opt for the official, dealer fitted, big-bore kit. The fully road-legal kit includes larger pistons, liners and revised camshafts to take peak power to 100PS, with torque rising to a treestump pulling 165Nm.
A 270° crankshaft was chosen to deliver the aural experience expected by cruiser riders, with the bike delivering a satisfying thump through its classically styled twin exhaust pipes. The sound and feel of the T-16 unit was paramount in the design brief and despite having two 800cc pistons thudding up and down inside the bores, the engine delivers its power in a refined manner thanks to twin balancer shafts, which are situated in front of, and behind, the cylinders, as well as a torque compensator fitted to the end of the crankshaft.
The Thunderbird is also the first belt driven Triumph of the Hinckley era and the system has been designed for excellent durability thanks to a tungsten carbide treatment on the rear pulley.
Keeping the Thunderbird composed is finely calibrated suspension front and rear. Chunky 47mm front forks with 120mm of travel adorn the front of the Thunderbird, while the chromed twin shocks have five preload settings to cater for everything from solo riding and to two-up touring.
Twin 310mm discs upfront are grabbed by four-piston fixed calipers, delivering healthy stopping power in a smooth and intuitive manner. A similarly sized rear disc is mated to a two-piston floating caliper. Recognising the growing popularity of anti-lock braking systems around the world, the Thunderbird comes with the option of an advanced ABS system.
Instrumentation has been neatly packaged into the sleek chrome nacelle and features a large speedometer with a small integrated tachometer. Vital information is quite literally at the rider's fingertips on a compact yet easy to read LCD display, which is controlled through a button on the right hand switchgear. The display includes a fuel gauge, two trip meters, a clock and range to empty indicator. This user friendliness is carried over to the turn-signals, which are selfcancelling for even easier operation.
The Thunderbird design team has also paid meticulous attention to detail and finish, with paintwork and high gloss chrome plating of the highest quality. In addition to a single tone Jet Black colour option, the Thunderbird is available in Pacific Blue with Fusion White and Aluminium Silver with Jet Black. A range of around 100 bespoke accessories have been developed for Thunderbird, allowing customers to transform their Thunderbird in a number of directions, from stripped down street rod to a fully loaded tourer.
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