Driving report Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird
Paul Barshon

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird

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Driving report Triumph Thunderbird
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Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird
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Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird
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Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird
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Driving report Triumph Thunderbird
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Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird
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Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird
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Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird
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Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird
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Triumph Thunderbird

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Triumph Thunderbird

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Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird

New twin cruiser

Thunderbird ?? this model name was actually first used by Triumph and not, as many believe, by Ford. The fact that the British bring a Thunderbird again exactly sixty years later and after a not exactly glorious attempt in the 1990s is only legitimate. MOTORRAD employee Alan Cathcart was able to ride a pre-production motorcycle.

Triumph wouldn’t be triumph if the British manufacturer didn’t build the slightly different motorcycles. The topic ranges from the three-cylinder super sports car with 675 cm3 to the 865 twins in the Bonneville, the Thruxton or the Speedmaster to the huge Rocket with a 2.3-liter triple installed lengthways. Even when Triumph set out to close the gap between the last two models mentioned, the developers did not do what everyone does when they build a cruiser with a displacement of 1500 plus x cc. They did not construct a V2 à la Harley-Davidson, but rather cultivated their own traditions with a 1599 cm2 in-line twin cylinder. And that although half of the 5000 Thunderbirds to be built in 2009 are destined for Harley-Land, i.e. the US market.

I was able to try out what the British interpretation of a cruiser feels like when driving on a cold, dry December day in northern Spain, in the Catalan hinterland. If you swing on the low, well-padded Thunderbird throne, you can immediately feel that there is no rear cylinder of a V-engine, including exhaust, to disturb the ergonomics. The driver’s knees are close to the flanks of the round 21-liter tank, and the footrests are not excessively forward. In combination with the curved handlebar, this results in a relatively upright and therefore more sensible seating position than on many other cruisers. In this respect, the T-Bird, as it will inevitably be called, proves to be a cruiser with quite sporty overtones.

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Driving report Triumph Thunderbird

Driving report Triumph Thunderbird
New twin cruiser

The drive

But what really impresses the T-Bird is its in-line engine with a 270 degree crank pin offset. The slightly short-throw 1599 imitates the firing order of a V2 like the 865 Triumph Twins. On the one hand, the engineers working with product planner Simon Warburton did not want to expect too many different things from the conservative cruiser customers, on the other hand, the compact two-in-a-row is an important prerequisite for the successful driving characteristics. The 85 PS strong engine pulls through cleanly under sudden full throttle in overdrive from 1500 rpm? if the driver pulls the tap with feeling, even from 1000 rpm. That is just 200 revolutions more than the idle speed. Up to the limiter at around 6500 rpm, the vibrations remain very low thanks to two balance shafts, the mapping is ?? as far as can be determined? excellent. Even those who violently open again after closing the throttle valve can enjoy a highly refined load change behavior. It wasn’t like that from the start; the Triumph engineers had to pack ten kilograms extra on the crankshaft in order to increase the moment of inertia and thus promote concentricity.

The in-line twin-cylinder comes into its own between 1800 and 4000 rpm; it is really worth it to stay in this area, where the torque piles up to a peak value of 146 Nm at 2750 rpm and then remains largely constant. Anyone who swings through a series of curves alternating between accelerator and accelerator in fourth gear will certify the effort that Triumph has put into developing the Thunderbird since 2004 as a brilliant success. And if you want even more steam in the engine, you can have an approved big-bore kit fitted with an extra 3.3 millimeter bore for 1700 cm³. It will be available immediately after it goes on sale in May. Difficulties with the reliability are not to be expected, since the entire drive has already been tested with the larger displacement.

Technical data – Triumph Thunderbird


triumph

New cruiser with a classic twin: Triumph Thunderbird.

engine
Two-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, injection, Ø 42 mm, regulated catalytic converter, cable-operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, toothed belt drive.

Bore x stroke
103.8 x 94.3 mm
Cubic capacity 1599 cm3
Nominal output 62.5 kW (85 PS) at 4850 rpm
Max. Torque 146 Nm at 2750 rpm

landing gear
Double loop tubular frame made of steel, telescopic fork, Ø 47 mm,
Two-sided swing arm made of steel, two directly linked spring struts, adjustable spring base, double disc brake at the front, Ø 310 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, disc brake at the rear, Ø 310 mm, double-piston floating caliper.

Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 19; 6.00 x 17
Tires 120/70 R 19; 200/50 R 17

Dimensions + weights
Wheelbase 1641 mm, seat height 702 mm, dry weight 308 kg, tank capacity 21 liters.

Price around 14,500 euros

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