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2010 Triumph Thunderbird Comparison Review

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The Thunderbird is all spit-and-polish  with classy looking machined engine heads and chrome primary and crankcase covers.
The 2010 Triumph Thunderbird is a fierce competitor in the mid-displacement cruiser segment with classic lines, a rippin' Parallel Twin engine and refined gearbox.
Where the Street Bob sports a darker, rabble-rousing image, the Thunderbird is all spit-and-polish. It starts with the classy look of the machined engine heads of the big-bored cylinders and continues in the polished-up chrome primary and crankcase covers. But it doesn’t stop there. The shiny chrome treatment extends to its tank-mounted console, swoops down its side in the reflection of the big pipes, and is splashed in the small details like the chain guard and shock mounts bolted onto the side of the rear fender. It can be found on the rear pulley and in the 5-spoke cast aluminum wheels. The high level of chrome and overall fit and finish of the Triumph Thunderbird is what riders have come to expect from Harley-Davidson, who conversely has been shifting away from that look with its Dark Custom series of motorcycles.

And while ergos on the Street Bob squeezes riders in around the narrow tank, the rider’s triangle on the 2010 Triumph Thunderbird opens things up as its broad 5.8-gallon tank and forward-mounted foot controls spread rider’s legs out and the standard-situated bars bring the reach down and out as well. Going straight from the Street Bob to the Triumph, you’re instantly more upright and relaxed instead of crouching like you’re Daniel-san ready to strike. The T-Bird’s bars are spread a generous 34.6 inches apart and the seat straddles comfortably at 27.5 inches high. As for the tank, it definitely is very wide, but the forward foot controls compensate for its girth by allowing riders to stretch their legs out.
Its the Revolutionary War all over again as we pit American and British cruiser motorcycles in a head-to-head comparison.
The Thunderbird's standard bar placement and forward-mounted foot controls leave riders in a more-relaxed, upright riding position that we found more comfortable during long stints in the saddle.
The Thunderbird we tested sported a racy white stripe down the middle of its tank, and its torque-filled Parallel Twin echoed those race-bred sentiments. A twist of the throttle unleashes a big surge of power from the 1597cc mill that tested out at 91.01 lb-ft at 2700 rpm. With fuel and air being squeezed within the ample 103.8mm bore at a 9.7:1 compression ratio, the big jugs require twin sparkplugs to fuel an even burn. Its highly effective 270-degree firing order has been brought over from Triumph’s 865cc Parallel Twin and with its twin balancer shafts the engine functions with minimal vibration even though it is solid-mounted to the double-backbone steel frame. The Thunderbird hooks up impressively with just shy of peak power available as early as 2000 rpm and provides an exhilarating ride for a cruiser. Rev it up and it will easily roast some tires. I’m rolling down the freeway at 75 mph and thought I was in sixth but shifted down just to check and the surge of power snapped my head back. Even at low rpm in sixth gear the power output is impressive. The only noticeable demerit is that the Parallel Twin does dole out a noticeable buzz at the bars as rpm increase.

“This bike is more of a performance cruiser than I expected it to be. The engine is powerful and is a real surprise. I didn’t expect it to accelerate as well as it does and even though it’s a Parallel, not a V-Twin, it still emits that V-Twin rumble, and I like that,” said Hutchison.

The extra power of the Thunderbird is needed because it tips the scales with a portly curb weight of 754 lbs, which as we mentioned is almost 100 pounds more than the Street Bob. You don’t notice the extra poundage during acceleration but the added heft does become noticeable when executing turns. The extra weight and its wider 200mm rear tire means the Thunderbird requires a little more effort to at the bars to initiate a turn, but once in a corner, it tracks very stable. Because of its wide bars and slightly longer 32-degree rake angle, riders will also have to work the bars a bit more in comparison to the Street Bob to negotiate low-speed turns. But don’t get the wrong impression – the Thunderbird handles extremely well, it just isn’t as lithe as Harley’s Dyna model.

The T-Birds bars are spread a generous 34.6 inches apart
The Thunderbird has a huge 5.8-gallon tank that feeds a steady supply through electronic fuel injection to the dual 800cc cylinders of the Parallel Twin.The powerful 1597cc mill of the Thunderbird tested out at 91.01 lb-ft at 2700 rpm on our Dynojet 200i.
Running through the gears of the 2010 Thunderbird is a casual affair. The transmission is buttery smooth and at times you barely notice it slipping into gear. Triumph went with helically cut gears in second through sixth, a first for the company, aiming to make the tranny more compliant with less lash and quieter operation. We say “Mission accomplished,” as its one of the most rider-friendly transmissions we’ve come across on a big cruiser. To go along with the helical-cut gears of its 6-speed constant-mesh gearbox, Triumph went with belt drive for the Thunderbird, a feature the company hadn’t instituted since 1922. The result is a motorcycle that transfers loads of torque to the rear wheel quickly and smoothly.

To reel in its combination of big power in a heavy motorcycle, Triumph sources dual 310mm floating discs equipped with Nissin 4-piston fixed calipers. The Nissin’s have a strong bite and there’s loads of feel to the front brake. It is a powerful arrangement, so much so that it does cause a bit of front end dive if you grab a big handful. Fortunately, the 47mm Showa fork has 4.7-inches of travel and rebounds quickly. Overall the suspension is very accommodating as the chromed Showa springs on the rear offer five-position preload adjustability to dial in the comfort level just right. This is a bonus if you plan on riding two-up, which we did, and even with a passenger we seldom blew through the 3.7-inches of rear travel.

Instrumentation on the Thunderbird mirrors the Street Bob in the sense that it centers on the big, round dial of an analog speedo centrally located in a tank-mounted console. But it does have the added benefit of a small tach located opposite the speedo at the bottom of the dial. It also has a couple of trip meters and an odometer to thumb through in the small digital display that also registers fuel level. And therein lie our biggest disappointment with the Thunderbird – the digital fuel gauge is way off. The first time I rode the T-Bird, the bars on the fuel gauge said that I had a half-tank of gas left as I sputtered out and died in the fast lane on I-5 going 75 mph. After letting a truck with trailer pass and making my way to the shoulder, a peek in the tank confirmed it was bone dry despite the gauge still reading half-full. Hopefully this is an isolated incident and not a model-wise flaw.
The Thunderbird we tested sported a racy white stripe down the middle of its tank  and its torque-filled parallel twin echoed those race-bred sentiments.
For its combination of a beefy, torque-filled Parallel Twin engine, a silky-smooth transmission, powerful brakes and more rider-friendly ergonomics, the 2010 Triumph Thunderbird emerged victorious in our cruiser comparo.

Triumph did a remarkable job on the Thunderbird considering it is the marque’s first attempt in the mid-displacement cruiser market. The motorcycle features clean, classic lines in a package with arm-wrenching power. Its transmission is one of the best you’ll find in a cruiser, and its brakes are stellar. It handles favorably and feels planted in turns and has ergos that are much more rider-friendly in the long run. Even with its big power, the Parellel Twin has less vibes and won the efficiency challenge by a smidge with an average 39.47 mpg. Add in its burly 5.8 gallon tank and it equates to more range as well. With its nimble nature and bobber-influenced styling that promotes rebellious riding, the Street Bob now ranks high on my list of favorite Harleys. But add up all the variables listed above and the 2010 Triumph Thunderbird is the victor in this cruiser comparo.

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Joe -wheelie  September 30, 2010 02:50 PM
I wouldn't try to wheelie any Harley, dudes. You'll blow the trannie for sure.
Ed -Buzz and Vibes  September 6, 2010 03:43 PM
I took a test ride on a 2010 demo Thunderbird and felt a lot of vibration through the handle bars. Bryan, is that the buzz and vibes your are refering to in your test ride article in May of 2010? What effect would those Vibs and Buzz have on the hands and arms in a 1,2, or three hour Ride?( I ride a Honda 1300R) I wany to buy a 2010 Thunderbird SE, but because of the vibration I am having second thoughts. How do the buzz and vibes compare with other 2010 test rides you have thus far this year? Feed back from an expert would be helpful in making the decession to buy or not to buy.

Thanks Ed
stickman -much appreciated Big Ron  August 27, 2010 05:12 PM
I am in your debt Big Ron.. As I thought the comments I've read are unjustified.. which bares out my own experience. I have come to really appreciate the Fat Bob, and the one I keep in the USA, sits waiting for my return. I so would like to get one over here in the UK but as I mentioned on a previous post, they do have a premium on them outside the US, which I think is more to do with import duty than build quality. I want to get a second bike at home here in England, but with the Fat Bob coming in at £12k...! For the same money I could get the new Triumph Rocket roadster, with a host of extras. I sat on their web site and just kept adding bits.. chrome, accessories etc... to make it look pretty amazing and it still topped out at £11.8, which comes under the standard FB price. Have a look at it, I would be interested in your opinion. Luckily I've the opportunity to go stateside shortly, and it's the open road of NY state and beyond for me on my Harley FB....Can't wait!!
Big Ron -Re: Stickman - Harley Engines  August 2, 2010 03:14 PM
Stickman, I will do my best to address your comments but I will first say that I am a more of a rider than a wrench so please take it with a grain of salt. 1. "Harleys are overpriced".. I disagree if you look at what you get. Harley uses medal instead of plastic which is more expensive and if you compare apples to apples they are usually in the same price range. Example, a Raider and a wide glide are similiar bikes and probably within $1000 of each other. If you compare a street glide to the Victory Cross Country they are probably very close in price as well. Sure CVO's are expensive but you dont have to buy a $32k bike to buy a Harley.
2. "Harleys have 'old', or archaic engines..and are unreliable...?!? If you compare air cooled V-twins, the Star 113 Cubic inch, the Victory 106 inch and the Harley 96 inch you get the following: Star 4V push rod with OHV, 91 HP, 108 ft-lbs; Victory 4V OHC, 84 HP, 95 ft-lbs; Harley 2V push rod with OHV, 65 HP and 86 ft-lbs. Based on this HD needs to increase there displacement and go to a 4V configuration. You can get 100 hp and 100+ ft-lbs but you had better be ready to spend about $4-5k to do so. After reading comparisons of the OHC vs push rod motors I am not convinced that there is a large performance edge with OHC; look at the Stars numbers. I do not know the cost implications of switching to an OHC engine. My HD runs significantly better after I changed my exhaust, air cleaner and added a PC-V with auto tune. I dont know that I am going to do anything other mods except for cams. I would assume that these same modifications would help these other bikes equally but that is not a guarantee. It would be interesting to do a modification comparison similiar to what they do with the sport bikes. As far as reliability; I have had my new FXD for two months and have put 5,800 miles on it; 2,700 miles on one trip across the desert from Vegas to Bakersfield and have had no problems. I have about 18,000 miles on Harleys and have never had a mechanical issue; I think this is a throw back to the AMF days and carburetion. I know quite a few people that have 30k+ miles on there bikes without any issues. Most money spent on the bike appears to be performance upgrades as opposed to necessary repairs. Hope this helps.
stickman -harley engines  July 30, 2010 03:29 AM
Thanks Big Ron.. will look into that.. On another matter, I've been reading as many harley vs xxxxx reviews on the net as I find them fascinating. But a couple of comments come up again and again.. that is, 1. That harleys are overpriced.. OK I get that because they are paying US labour rates, not far eastern, and in the UK they have tons of import duty and tax applied. Commented on this in a previous post. But it is the second recurring comment that I wonder about, which is that harleys have 'old', or archaic engines..and are unreliable...?!? I see it often, even on HOG forums. In one particular post someone said that they would put up with this just to buy into the 'lifestyle'. Is there anyone out there, who knows their stuff mechanically, (Big Ron? Perhaps you would like to comment), who can explain to me whether there is any justification in this. In my experience with the Fat Bob... Ok it vibrates more than the Triumph, but it has performed without trouble, and is a very enjoyable ride.. and in my humble opinion, is a better performer at high speed than the T bird.. Look forward to hearing from those who know and understand the mechanical side ...
Big Ron -To stickman  July 28, 2010 05:17 PM
Stickman, soft tails (night train) have 32 degrees of rake which adversely effects there handling. Additionally the counter balanced engine does not rev as high or fast as the rubber mounted one. I put a set of Vance and Hines Pro HP 2 into 1 pipes, a stage one air cleaner and a PCV with auto tune and took a 2700 mile trip out to the Moto GP. I am not sure what mods you have made to your bike but this made a huge improvement in acceleration. The bike feels like it can breathe and I highly recomend these mods. The down side is the headers are hot as hell as they dont come with heat sheilds and they are louder than I would like. They sell the heat sheilds and a quieter baffle seperately.
stickman -to paul  July 23, 2010 10:52 AM
Checked out the Night train on the HD web site after reading your post... Initially I thought it would be a lesser bike than the Fat Bob, but it actually is more expensive!!! Don't get that at all.. Find your comments interesting, even on paper you seem to be getting a lot more with the Triumph. Is the Night Train really that bad? As a side issue, I was making enquiries here in the UK about buying a Fat Bob, and the Harley dealer told me there was only one left until October!! When I asked why he said it was a great seller. I then asked if the 2011 models would change much and he replied that he doubted it as '...it's the only bike in the HD range which doesn't need fixing!!!!" And that's from a dealer! Certainly left my jaw on the floor. Still, gotta love the Fat Bob though.
Paul White -Talking from experience  July 22, 2010 04:15 AM
Recently I rode a thunderbird and then a HD night train and I think that Bryne has underplayed how backward the HD is and how badly they need to raise there development program or else they will end up going out of bussiness.Although there are loads of patiots who will only buy American there are more and more people out there who havent got theirs heads buried where the sun doesnt shine and those people are demanding better value for their money.In South Africa both bikes have a simular price tag but the Triumph is outselling HD by about 46% and after riding the T-Bird im not surprized
stickman -stickman - to Rion  July 15, 2010 04:09 PM
Ok I apologise if I offended you about the nail in the coffin thing.. and my subsequent post was only a (perhaps over reactionary) response to being told to 'shut it'. So lets not squabble, it's not fair to others on this site. Interesting what you said about the Thunderbird Victory comparison. I don't know too much about Victory bikes but checked out their web site after I read your post, and they certainly are fine looking machines. I am surprised about the single disk brakes on the front, and wonder what the concept is behind this. You bring up the issue of cost to determine which bikes should be compared. This again is an interesting concept and the one I touched on in my previous post... That is, in which country? You see the Victory, or Harley, have a premium on them in the UK, having to bear import tax etc, therefore Triumphs are relatively cheaper. The specification of similarly priced bikes would therefore put the US bikes at a disadvantage, if the study was done in Europe. I'm wondering if the same applies the US, i.e Triumphs would be relatively more expensive. I know that in the UK we are constantly charged more for EVERYTHING... hence the term 'rip off Britain' which everyone here is familiar with. My Fat Bob (factory spec) cost me the equivalent of £9k when I bought it in NY. The same bike in the UK costs £12k (both on the road prices). That's why I went for the Thunderbird, which was £10k OTR, with a few extras. (ABS,colour scheme, and a bit of chrome here and there). I've thought of bringing my Fat Bob over to the UK but with all the TAX that our government considers reasonable to impose it would cost about £3k!!!!! Our sales tax, (called VAT) is 17.5% and is set to go up to 20% next year.. UGH! It's also applied to importing your own bike!!! Would be interested to hear what on the road prices are for the Thunderbird in the US.
Rion -to stickman  June 25, 2010 10:14 AM
You hit a raw nerve? Look who packed his entire reply with insults. In fact the only thing you said that pissed me off what your comment about putting "another nail in the coffin" Like some of us should be burned for only being able to afford Jap cruisers, even if we intend to get an American bike latter on. Also that comment has little to do with the two bikes being compared. I would never have bothered to comment if you had not insulted me so (unintentional I know). I never commented on the bikes, and you know why.. Because I actually agree with you on that point. And If I am rude then you are acting childish, since you have done nothing but insult me again; oh and for no reason what so ever. I don't care if people can have something better then what I have, I'm actually quite used to it. As for feeling inadequate, I'm not overcompensating. And I don't remember ever giving a 'patriotic' outlook, in fact I was distressed when Honda pulled out. I actually tested a Victory yesterday and loved it, and hope to get one sometime in the future. Also ditto on a Thunderbird victory Comparo, although if you limit it by price it will be a Thunderbird vs 8-ball (5 speed with only 1 disk on front)
stickman -re B-king rider  June 22, 2010 02:39 PM
I'm afraid I have to agree about the Thunderbird. It really needs more power. I checked out the bikes you mention but can't say I'm into the Suzuki, or anything Japanese for that matter. It looks too over the top, like a bat-bike or something. I'm sure it's fast but don't really think I would want to be seen on one without a cape and mask. That said I looked at the Harley which is absolutely amazing. Love the lines on this bike, which is a similar style to the Victory. Such a classic, would love to be the proud owner of such a great machine. I would be interested to hear more about it, in terms of handling, performance etc.
B-King Rider -sideways  June 20, 2010 02:00 PM
I ride with 2 friends that own Triumphs and they are nice and good looking but that said are slow. I own a Harley Deuce and a V=Max and a Suzuki 1340 B-King. It is good to be the King, it is far and away the best bike I have owned and does every thing better than any bike I have owned. Handles great, for the money it is the fastest you can buy, super brakes. For under 10K what else could U want. I think the King is a future classic. If you have not ridden one do your self a favor and scare your self.
stickman -Thunderbird Road Trip  June 19, 2010 05:47 PM
Ok so I did the London, Marseille trip on the T bird.. Here's how it went... Well firstly I have to reiterate that the spacing of the Triumphs handlebars are wider and higher than the Fat Bob (I'm talking factory specs here, so the FB's drag handlebars), and for me, being a bit long in the back the more 'hung forward' position is such a bonus. With the more erect riding position of the T bird I developed muscles in the back of my shoulders that I didn't have before. So its OK now but whilst they were getting used to it, Wow! Did they ache! Also, when I had the opportunity of the empty road, and really took it to the wire, I had to lean/crouch forward in an unnatural position or constantly brace my head from trying to be swept back (90 mph +!), and I never had this on the FB, as you are naturally in a more forward position. I have to say I was a bit biased toward the Fat Bob, having had it prior to the T-Bird and really having fallen in love with such a fantastic bike. Incidentally I looked back at the previous posts and saw the comments made by 'Pete' who said that the T bird made the Harley look like 'the under powered overweight and out dated bike that it really is'. Well he certainly is not talking about the Fat Bob, because the T bird certainly does not. Anyway.. I really began to bond with the Triumph over the course of the trip. I loved it's handling, and the way it is so forgiving. More than anything I came to appreciate the brakes, which will stop you level and steady, VERY fast indeed! The French have a road sign which reads 'Priorite a droit' or something...(forgive my poor spelling in french if this is wrong).. but basically it means that traffic coming from a side turn has priority over you on the main road... And they use it!!!!! .......darting out from side roads without even looking.. A few times, before I got used to this, the Triumph stopped me on a dime, otherwise I would have ended up in the back seat of a few Citroens!!! You've got to love the T-bird gearbox. It's so... easy... ! Smooth, quiet, whilst the Fat Bob does complain if you don't get it right. You have to work the gears more on the Harley. I got caught in a few torrential downpours on the T-bird, much as I had done on the FB, incidentally not long after I bought it and I've got to say the FB scores hands down in bad weather. Take it easy and the Harley will take you through rain feeling steady and sure, whilst the Triumph makes to feel distinctly uneasy. This must had something to do with the sizing of the tires. The FB has the larger front wheel and the Triumph the larger back wheel. I would be interested to hear from any 'techies' on this site who understand the implications. Overall I still felt the Triumph to be a bit lacking in 'pull' at speed. It does not match the FB here. If you are going to get a Thunderbird, get the 1700 upgrade!! Wish I had. That will pull it into line with the Fat Bob's acceleration. In terms of comfort, it's a bit of a trade off.. the Triumph is definitely the smoother ride, but the Fat Bob is more comfortable seat/riding position. One thing however has really pissed me off about the Triumph though.. The pipes have already begun to discolour a yellowish hue at the heads, which OK happens eventually to all pipes but not so early on. I noticed it first at about 1200 miles. I've done 6000 miles on the FB with no noticeable effect on the chrome. I'm going to take it back to the dealer and have a go about this, because you just don't expect it so soon. I'll let everyone know what the response is. Notwithstanding that all I can say is that, right now, I would not let go of either bike. They are evenly matched, with individual strengths and weaknesses, which ultimately cancel each other out. And this is from someone who has one of each. So anyone on here who says one beats the crap out the other does not know what they are talking about. (Sorry Pete..but you're talking out your arse!)... Although I would say this.. in the UK the cost of the Harley Fat Bob is in line with the T-bird with the 1700 upgrade, and I'm fast coming to the conclusion that those two bikes are more evenly matched, especially in terms of performance. I won't be upgrading for two years or so, but if the discussion is still going I'll let you know. I would be interested to hear what the prices are in the USA, for these two, but anyway don't forget to factor cost into the equation.... At factory 'on the road' specs, I got my T bird for £2000 cheaper than a Fat Bob would have cost me in the UK. (Although my Fat Bob in the US was £1,300 cheaper than the UK T-Bird price!!!!) Finally I would say that I have not changed my mind from an earlier post... which is to say if I absolutely had to choose.. i.e I can only keep one.. the Harley Davidson Fat Bob would win by a whisker.. But then again I'm quite happy with my purchase in the UK since I've got another two grand in my pocket. Hope you find this entertaining and useful.. Safe riding to all.
JDubya -Just Get Yourself A Motorbike and RIDE  June 14, 2010 11:37 AM
I personally have never ridden the new T-Bird but have ridden a Dyna 96 Twin Cam. I do though own a Triumph Bonneville and think it's a pretty darn good ride if for nothing else than it's retro look. Therefore, with that in mind there are a number of bikes out there from whick I could choose and be happy riding. The Ducati GT's, Guzzi's V7 or California Special, or the Bullets from Royal Enfield and just about any Harley Davidson model made. To me, a motorcycle can take me back to a simpler time by the look or the exhaust note. A comfortable seat, good engine music, and a classic design are just what the doctor ordered for this mid-aged East Texas boy. Buy what you like and ride that rascal, far to much debate on exactly what we should be out doing instead of typing away about it.
Makes me laugh to think of all the writers out there who have a strong opinion about this article who DO NOT EVEN OWN a motorcycle one way or the other! Get out there and RIDE! Join us on the backroads, city streets, or Interstate highways but for Gods sake, BUY A MOTORBIKE AND RIDE that thing! Be Seen and Ride Safe Now
javajoe -thanks dracul and stickman  June 2, 2010 08:46 PM
i really appreciate your comments guys.. i own an '08 fatbob with a stage one kit.. i haven't compared it with anything but agree that it pulls well on up past 80 mph.. my project bike is an '83 fxwg shovelhead.. talk about old school fun!! haven't had this much fun since i owned nortons.. really.. i love old school anything: beemers, brit bikes, american iron, italian, and even the old japanese fours.. it's all about having fun.. i won't knock anyone for what they ride.. everybody has their own version of what it's all about.. i would own a ducati right now except the cost of insurance is several times what i pay for my 2 harleys.. yea, i would love to get my hands on one of those T-birds.. classy looking bike.. later....
dracul -Mr.  June 2, 2010 02:22 PM
So many tangential and contrasting viewpoints! Both are interesting rides. I like the iconoclastic approach of Triumph over the more conventional HD. The Star Raider probably smokes both. I prefer larger, non "domestic" (if you can call HD's domestic with so many Chinese parts) bikes (I have a bored out and heavily modified Honda VTX and A Triumph Rocket 3 which also has several performance upgrades) but I've spent many years with HD back in the 90's. I like ALL bikes really. No actual bias. Mr. MAX may be my next ride...or perhaps that awesome new BMW 1000R!!!
stickman -Triumph Thunderbird - Harley Fat Bob road trip  May 31, 2010 03:25 PM
The longest tour I have ever done on my Fat Bob was a trip from upstate New York, down the west coast to mid North Carolina, over to the Blue Ridge Highway in Tennessee, and that back again. The last leg, was from south Virginia, a distance of about 500 miles, which we did in about eight hours. I remember thinking at the time how comfortable the Fat Bob was, and how magnificently it performed. I couldn't have faulted it and although I was a bit jaded on getting home, I still could have ridden for a few more hours. That is why I am so impressed with this bike, and would recommend it to any potential purchaser in a heartbeat. I am shortly embarking on a trip from London to Marseille, on the Thunderbird. I will be taking it at a bit more of a leisurely pace, since riding in France is going to be a bit more difficult than in the US, as I don't speak French! On my return I'll be writing up how the T-bird performed on a long haul, (about 1250 miles there and back), to help anyone thinking of acquiring one or other of these bikes. It certainly has a lot to live up to from my experience on the Fat Bob, so stay tuned.. Safe riding to all.
stickman -to Rion  May 31, 2010 04:06 AM
The subject of this review was between the Harley Street Bob / Triumph Thunderbrid, which I suggested would be more appropriately compared with the Harley Fat Bob. Your rude comment is obviously an indication that I have hit a raw nerve with you. I would prefer to debate with those who own either bike, to compare experiences and observations, which obviously you do not, because you can't afford them, so what do you know. You're just talking from a point of ignorance, so perhaps it is you who should 'shut it!' May I suggest you should go to a web page where there is a discussion on bikes in your price range, maybe there you wouldn't feel so inadequate and have something constructive to say, rather than just ranting on something you can't have. Incidentally, how many people do you think lost their jobs when Honda pulled the plug in Ohio. Try convincing them of your 'patriotic' outlook......
stickman -To Big Ron  May 31, 2010 03:20 AM
You make some interesting points Ron. Certainly from my recent riding experience with the Fat Bob I did not find it underpowered in any way in comparison with the Thunderbird. Indeed, quite the reverse. I do not feel the Triumph has the pulling power of the FB n the 40-80mph range, which leaves me feeling I should have gone for the 1700 upgrade kit which adds another 5 horsepower or so. Further, I agree with your comments regarding the Stratoliner, and similar bikes that they just don't have the elegance of style that HD/Triumph/Victory bikes have. The stereotype of the Harley rider is I believe getting a bit out of date, as in my experience, riders nowadays reflect a broad spectrum of society, as biking becomes more popular, both in the US and in Europe. Indeed you will be hard pushed to find the 'bearded, sullen, overweight' type in the UK that some of the HD bashers on this site seem to think populate the entire riding fraternity of HD owners. More likely it is just normal people of all ages who are attracted to a unique and attractive motorcycle that has a typical American style. It is this market, that believe Triumph are trying to attract, at least here in the UK by giving riders a British alternative. I think there are far more stereotypical 'fizz boys'; those who are in their 20's, and buy cheap, ultra fast flashy 'tizzy' Japanese bikes and attempt to kill themselves and others by riding at ridiculous speeds or do acrobatics with their bland bikes. That is what scares me more on the road, above any 'aloof' veteran Harley rider.
Pete -T-Bird = Winner  May 28, 2010 11:41 AM
This is a nice comparison but it is all one sided with the Triumph being the clear winner. Why don't you compare the Triumph with a Victory, Kawi or Yamaha? I am sure the majority of people interested in buying a new Triumph are not interested in how it compares with a out dated Harley. I think a T-Bird - Victory would be a great comparison. I am waiting for my local dealer to get a 1700 T-Bird in stock. He sells everyone he gets in so I will have to skip the test ride and just buy it. The T-Bird makes a Harley really look like the under powered overweight and out dated bike that it really is.
Big Ron -Re: Whazit - HD is an old rusted piece of steel !!!???  May 28, 2010 11:02 AM
Whazit it is my experience that people often fear or hate what they dont understand or even worse they have to put others down to feel good about themselves. Originally being from the south it was my observation that the biggest biggots were "white trash" as they wanted to make certain that they were higher on the social ladder than somebody. This brings me to you. Based on the poor grammer and the lack of substance and imagination in your comments I think you need to go back to school and learn to read and write. Until you can put together a gramatically correct sentence with real content please spend your spare time reading.
Whazit -HD is an old rusted piece of steel !!!???  May 27, 2010 07:01 PM
What I dont understand is why do americans feel the need to ride on a harley fagotson whith a bunch of fat guys and get gay with each other? Wave that flag high fat boys. Harley riders always wonder why alot of us go to Japanese bikes 1 they are faster 2 they don't look like something a fat gut white bearded geezer with blood poisoning from all the tattoos would ride with a dead cow covering the majority of his body.Even if HD updated there line of bikes it will always scream redneck white trash. That's why I would never buy one. Though I do own an American car but i would rather have a Nissan 370z because GM cant build a car the doesn't have to live in the shop bad electronics rear gears grind all with only 7,000 miles on. America needs to step up to the plate and start doing better or we are all doomed and also stop being so scared to make a product because it doesn't look American enough. I said what I wanted so so ride on all You Harley rid'n rednecks.
Big Ron -Re: Stickman  May 27, 2010 11:58 AM
Stickman, The basis of my statement is that the shortcomings of the street bob are addressed in the fat bob; forward controls, handlebar position and better handling due to the tire change. I like the triumph as well as the HD and would be happy with either but there is an HD dealership in town and I am in the US therefore I have an FXD. It is interesting some of the comments I have read from others on this page about HD updating there line. New frame and transmission in 06, new engine in 07'. Its a cruiser therefore it doesnt need to put out massive amounts of horse power. Its engines output may be lower than some of the competition but the delivery of HP and torque at the lower rpm's makes this negligible. The dyna line handle as well as any other mid size cruiser I have ridden. Lastly if you continually change your bike like the sport bike market then your bikes depreciate substantially faster with a much lower cellar. While HD, Triumph and Victory may add new bikes to there lineup they do not change there bikes drastically from year to year so regardless of the model year your bike will not look dated. This is a service to the customer which is greatly appreciated as my 05 ZX10R is worth substantially less than when it was new. The three manufacturers above all make great bikes with high quality fit and finish. They are all uniquely styled and all are easily identifiable in a parking lot. I cannot say the same for the metric cruisers. They may have superior engines but that is where it ends. There style is so anti-hd that they are typically unattractive and they use alot of plastic to keep the price and weight down. It appears they need to recruit some designers from HD, Triumph or Victory. I have ridden a few metric cruisers and the only one that really impressed me was the Stratoliner because of its engine, fit and finish but I think the bike is unattractive. In my opinion most HD bashers have never riden one and there dislike for the bike has more to do with a bad experience with an HD owner, HD's marketing (pirate costumes) and the attitude at some of the dealerships than the bike itself.
Not Stuipid -Not fair Comparison  May 26, 2010 02:18 PM
This is not even a fair comparison. The Harley is 1940's technology and performance. Harley needs to upgrade the entire line of bikes if they want to stay in business. Changing the name and color every year instead of spending some money on R&D has cost Harley. There aging line of bikes with there ridiculous names is no competition for the likes of Triumph and Victory. Fat Bob, Night Train, Fat Boy, FTXBHLT Softtail Custom, Dresser LOL......
stickman -- to big ron  May 25, 2010 05:03 PM
It's not true to say the Fat Bob would have 'crushed' the Triumph, as I think my analysis of the two bikes illustrates. It's a very close thing indeed, and different people will draw different conclusions based on their own personal preference. For me, the Fat Bob wins, but by a whisker, as I find it more comfortable. For shorter riders though, I think they may find the drag handlebars and forward pedals awkward. The triumph is definitely a smoother ride.
Big Ron -Re: Scottie  May 25, 2010 01:47 PM
I prefer the looks of the FXDC but it comes with mid controls. The fat bob comes with forward controls which seemed to be the preferred option of testers. I would have preferred mid controls and highway pegs but at 6-4 it just didnt work for me.
Scottie -TO Big Ron  May 25, 2010 10:22 AM
I was thinking Super Glide Custom rather than the other Dynas.
Not Interested -Buy the T-Bird  May 24, 2010 08:41 AM
I would never own a Harley anything. I will not put up with the Harley dealer garbage and I do not want to play dress up just to ride a motorcycle. I trade bikes too often to own a Harley. The newspapers are full of used Harley's with low miles and cheap prices. Every time I see a Harley it has no muffler, 3 foot tall handle bars and a moron riding it with no helmet. I do not want to be associated with that group of riders. Basically just out to show off a loud obnoxious ugly motorcycle.
Big Ron -Harley Engine upgrades  May 24, 2010 08:04 AM
I own a dyna super glide (fxd) and it is a great bike. Handles good (not great), nimble and decent power. That being said I am not happy that I am going to spend $1000 to $1200 dollars to get it run like I want it with headers, air cleaner and a fuel pack. HD needs to wake up and put a little more performance in there stock motors or the younger crowd will spend there money on the triumph as most of them do not have the extra funds to spend on these up grades. Aside from that the fat bob would have crushed the triumph! It is the best handling of the dyna models and it comes with forward controls; the looks are questionable.
Rion -to stickman  May 23, 2010 07:23 PM
"I almost want to shake my head, look at them with a strained expression and congratulate them in putting another nail in the coffin of their national manufacturer" If you want to go to Polaris or Harley Davidson's HQ's kick down the doors and demand that they make better Mid-sized (or in Polaris's case 'a' mid-sized) motorcycle, and then follow through and make sure they make or improve said bike I will buy it in a heart beat. But I will not starve to buy a motorcycle that I cannot afford; nor will I wait forever to make up the money, only to never be able to make the down payment. And if they don't care to make a competitive motorcycle (which they don't so far) then shut it. I will not ride a bad motorcycle so I can wave the flag, I don't need a motorcycle to remind myself of what I'm proud of in my country. p.s. That Honda cruiser is likely a VTX or shadow, and until this year it was made in Ohio. p.p.s. Yamaha's Stars are designed and engineered in California, keeping at least a few people working.
Vic -Real World  May 23, 2010 02:03 PM
Hey - lets get in the real world here when you pick your comparison bikes. Keep the Harley out until HD gets smart and starts to improve the line of bikes. Why compare a modern bike with modern technology with a Harley?
Triumph Maybe.... -mack18@gmail.com  May 23, 2010 01:59 PM
Why was a Harley used in this test? A T-Bird and Victory would have been a much better comparison. I am not interested in the aging line of over priced and over weight Harley's with the outdated v-twin. I also agree that Harley would be smart to use the V-Rod motor in all there bikes. At least that would be one small step into modern times. I really like the T-Bird. Local dealer has the 1700cc version and I will be out this week for a test ride. The T-Bird is a sweet looking bike....
milwaukee mike -extremely biased comparision  May 23, 2010 12:25 PM
Anyone remotely interested in purchaseing a new M/C might be swayed into thinking of trying the Triumph. But any real rider/buyer would always go with a proven product.
stickman -just one more thing  May 22, 2010 04:22 PM
I would just like to add something to my previous post. I lived through the era when so many motorcycle manufacturers went out of business due to the rise of the Japanese motorbike companies. So many British companies are now just memories and it seemed like both Harley and Triumph were going the same way. Thankfully, due to the guts and vision of certain investors, these companies returned to strength, and we now have a choice of truly magnificent bikes to choose from. Oh how easily it could have been, 'What type of Japanese bike do you have?' I'm sorry, I know that all the owners of such bikes will point out that they are well engineered and good performers etc., but for me they have a complete lack of character that perceives many industries which are similarly dominated. Look at Japanese hi fi for example, flashing lights, big dials,cheap, and sound dreadful. I've given up looking at japanese cars, they all look the same. I'm not trying to be racist but I dread a world which is dominated by any single production centre. Lets have choice for Gods sake. In this way, I think that we have a duty to support our national industries. Go to France and every car you see is either a Citroen or a Renault, hence they are still in business. When I go to the US I am amazed by the volume of Japanese clone cars on the road... all of them look the same and are completely bland. I had a conversation with someone who was excited to show me their new... something or other.. and I just wanted to shout, 'why did you buy this plastic non desrcript car when you could have been supporting the American car industry. That is why I bought a Harley to ride over there. Back in the UK, I bought a Triumph. When I meet other riders who proudly show me their Honda cruiser, I almost want to shake my head, look at them with a strained expression and congratulate them in putting another nail in the coffin of their national manufacturer. Ok they are cheaper..they are good bikes, but I wouldn't be seen dead on one. So when it comes to the Harley vs Triumph debate, it's just a bit of an intellectual exercise, as they are BOTH wonderful, beautiful, and fantastic bikes, and I am deeply proud to own one of each. For anyone considering one or the other, there is such a narrow margin, that it really comes down to personal preference, as I think my previous post illustrated. But whichever one you choose, you will have the pride of owning a badge on your bike that has a rich history, and for which the name alone will give you a credibility that few others can match. Safe riding to all.
stickman -alternative comparison  May 22, 2010 02:05 PM
I am assuming that the Street Bob was chosen as a comparison to the Thunderbird as they are similar in price, or they are here in the UK. I bought a Fat Bob to keep over in the US, and I have just taken delivery of my T-bird here at home. To be honest I think a fairer comparison would be between these two. (The price is fairly more even when buying on each ones home soil). I'm no expert, or professional motorcycle reviewer, just Mr Average... but if anyones interested, here are my observations. Firstly, the riding position and comfort. - Being slightly on the tall side I find the drag handlebars of the FB perfect for me, although a friend of mine, who is shorter and stockier, hates them. The bike fits me like a glove. The TB has a much more upright riding position so on long rides make sure those back muscles are toned to bracing against a 70mph wind (or more) coming your way. Also that wide petrol tank means that if you want your inner thighs not to rub the paintwork off be prepared to be walking like John Wayne after a long ride.. So for me the FB wins that one... but if you're on the bigger side, you might find the drag handlebars are not for you. Of course they can be changed, but I'm just keeping this comparison to the standard config. Next, the finish / styling of the two bikes.. Well of course this is all subjective, but my first impressions of the TB was that the standard model didn't have as many nice touches as the FB, so I added a few chrome bits here and there to make it a little less 'plasticy looking'. (For goodness sake Triumph, did you source the horn from a Christmas Cracker company, it looks and sounds dreadful, although thankfully is not in a prominent position!!!) And I do so hate the Triumph indicator selector, which is a pain to use, (and no self cancellation!... come on Triumph!) Personally I think the swept exhausts of the T bird have as much character and grace as a Yamaha home organ from the 70's. (Yes I meant organ.. as in tacky and awful) Why they didn't adopt a more traditional exhaust, I don't know as I think they take much away from an otherwise smart looking bike. It's only my opinion but I think the Street Bob's exhaust as shown in this review ,are much more elegant and would have looked more appropriate on the T bird. For me then, the FB wins on looks, although it would be close call if alternatives to those dreadful exhausts were available, and I don't mean just the shorter versions either, which look equally bad. The white centre dial on the Fat Bob's tank is far more elegant, whilst styling on the T birds looks a bit 70's to me. Although the inclusion of a multi-function LED fuel tank gauge is far superior than the Fat Bobs needle and dial on a false fuel tank cap, which looks like a bit of an afterthought. OK so onto to riding and control.... Now, on the FB, the first thing that struck me was that the forward foot position, coupled with a good set of boots means that you can forget subtle foot movements to change gear, unless you have the flexibility of a ballerina. I normally find I have to take my foot off the rest to properly operate the gears, whilst the TB gearbox is silky smooth. No more tapping the foot pedal down to ensure it's clicked into first, you just don't need to with the TB. Triumph wins on that for definite. One quirk about the FB is that there is a lot of vibration which gets through to the mirrors, which buzz around so much that you can just about tell if there is something behind you, but not exactly what it is! On the TB the mirrors stay rock steady, so as far as vibration is concerned, the Triumph wins by mile. The Triumph still has a throaty roar to the engine, uncharacteristic of a parallel twin, but maintains the smoothness that this arrangement offers. Well done on that one Triumph! I suppose that is something to do with the V and parallel engine configuration. As a side issue on this, if your riding the Fat Bob on a hot summers day, and you stop at lights, be prepared to be boiled alive until you get on the move again.. The heat comes straight up from the rear cylinder. I've been a bit worried about the Harley overheating when its really hot and you're in slow traffic, which wouldn't be an issue with the water cooled Triumph. In terms of performance, I haven't studied any charts or figures, but my own personal impression is that the Fat Bob is faster. Sitting behind a lorry at 40mph... pull out and the FB will have you zipping past the drivers cab like a missile, whilst I found the T bird just didn't have that kind of urgency. I would also think the FB would beat the T BIrd on a standing start. So Harley win on that one. As far as handling is concerned I've always been amazed at how easy it is to throw the Fat Bob around. I've tried the same think with the T Bird and scrapped the foot pedal stud so I'll be a little more hesitant on the Triumph than I would on the Harley in future. Also the Fat Bobs big front tyre has given me a lot of comfort when riding in poor conditions. Haven't ridden the T bird in the rain yet but I'm sure it won't be so accommodating in this respect. So there you have it... I like/dislike certain aspects of each bike, and I'm sure someone else would give a different set of opinions so it's never easy to compare two bikes and say one is better that the other. If pushed however, and I had to get rid of one of them, which one would stay.. It is a very tough call... but I've given this a lot of thought, and I think it comes down to which one gives you that bigger thrill, that sheer sense of FUN.. Take the T bird out for a day, and you will come back knowing that it has served you well, performed outstandingly and will leave you content and satisfied. Do the same on a Fat Bob and you'll just come back smiling. I think I've covered most things but if anyone wants to know something else regarding comparison of the two, please feel free to ask. Safe riding everyone..!
irksome -to Andy Tuttle  May 21, 2010 10:50 PM
10%? That sounds about right. The HD guys I rode with when I lived in NH tended to have late '50s and early '60s Panheads; they're phrase was "Hear no Evo, see no Evo, speak no Evo". They didn't give a crap what I rode. Sadly, I can't say that for the other 90% and it's that majority which I was addressing. And I misspoke: I would own a '79 XLCR, but only as a 2nd bike.
Hawkeye -Wrong Comparison  May 21, 2010 09:19 AM
There is not much to compare here as the Triumph is a clear winner. The harley is just too outdated. I can see why HD is in so much trouble. HD has relied on the financial services division to finance there bikes for too long. With give away financing there was not much incentive to improve there line of aging bikes. Now HDFS is basically gone and is 650 million in debt. The Triumph beats the outdated harley in every category. This should have been a Triumph and Victory comparison. Maybe someday harley will dump the boat anchor v-twin and use the v-rod motor but until then harley will be on the back shelf against a Victory or Triumph. The Triumph Thunderbird 1700 would have trounced the harley even worse.
zolti -just as it is  May 20, 2010 06:46 AM
well whatever your choice enjoy your ride. there are a wealth of flavours for different tastes. me.. i own a t bird 1600 and if your thinking about buying into a cruiser/tourer test ride one. always have loved the panache of harley but this time the t bird was just too much better, never tired of riding it. its one of those bikes that as your reaching home your thinking of a detour just to add a few more minutes on it. liked the article bryan (nice to have the dyno figure for the back wheel and not the crank)
J the historian -AMF myth  May 20, 2010 06:18 AM
OK, one thing that bothers me is the perpetuation of teh AMF was bad for H-D myth. Let's see AMF built the York engine plant investing millions, AMF began the use of a reliable electroniv ignition while other manufacturers were still using points, AMF put forward the use of disc brakes all around, AMF began to market different designs including the Wide Glide and Sturgis, which also leads to AMF beginning the use of belt drive,the Tour Glide -a radically departure from the Electra-Glide - was also designed and built by AMF, and finally the Evolution engine - credited with saving H-D - was designed and production begun under AMF.

Yes AMF did push production numbers, and yes some quality may have suffered but that assumes pre AMF bikes were highly reliable, modern etc, which they weren't. The group that bought H-D from AMF would not have been succesful if AMF had not done what they did. AMF bought H-D in the late 60's when they were already on the brink of bankruptcy and poured millions into teh company including massive amounts in advertising.
Greg -Thunderbird  May 20, 2010 05:30 AM
I really like the new Thunderbird, but I liked my old 1996 Thunderbird better. It was the Adventurer model, and its 885 triple was perhaps the best cruiser motor I have ridden. There were plenty of low cost performance mods available for it (Speed Triple cams drop right in, a ZX7 shock bolts right in, etc.). The only negative thing about the bike was that the seat was not very comfortable.
I am happy that the T-Bird came out on top here, but the one thing that HD will always have an advantage at is availability of aftermarket support. If anyone decides to try a bike that is "unique" (ie. 'Guzzi, Benelli, Triumph, Aprilia, etc.) you can expect to run in to this problem as soon as you start looking.
Andy Tuttle -To Irksome  May 19, 2010 05:37 PM
Hi Irksome. I confess that I am confused. Perhaps we don't live in the same country (I live in the U.S.A.). Just because I bought a Harley did not mean that I could ONLY ride with members of H.O.G. and "putput" down town or to Sturgis as part of some huge parade. I have never had a "pirate outfit" and it was not required of me as part of my purchase of a Harley Davidson. Actually, my primary riding suit is made from a kevlar weave from Cycle Port. Harley guys sometimes don't wave at me because I'm not wearing leather. Oh my.

I really like the H.O.G. members I have met, they are really nice people, but I already knew that I would be riding far too fast for that group. Initially, I thought I was alone but as time went on I realized that there were a few others (say, 10% of the Harley owners) who enjoyed going fast and modifying their bikes to do so.

If you want to argue age of a company, then I believe that Moto Guzzi is the next oldest motorcycle company after Harley.

I applaud your love of Triumph and I REALLY like the new Nortons with the Ohlins suspension and whatever pipe they are using. They sound really, really neat!

But, you really can ride what you want, and ride with WHO you want, and there are PLENTY of us "non-conventional" Harley riders out there!

Pick your bike and ride with whoever you want!!!!

-Andy Tuttle

Nick -Why the Street Bob Loses  May 19, 2010 05:29 PM
I have a friend who owns a Street Bob. He let me ride it. The handling was good, but that HD motor is an antiquated pile.

Patriotism is a fine thing, but patriotism alone does not make up for a lack of engineering. Get with the program, HD, and stop coasting on attitude and reputation.

irksome -The OTHER 100+ Year Old Motorcycle Company  May 19, 2010 03:39 PM
That sweet sounding 900 triple some mentioned lives on in my '98 Speed Triple, the most reliable bike I've owned in 35+ years of riding. But as I near 52, I seem to feel the need to sit back a bit and relax more. Hence my attraction to the Thunderbird, but with the 1700cc kit the article failed to mention. I love that they aren't trying to out-Harley HD. I'd never own one of their archaic air-cooled rattle traps; too many poseurs and bad-boy wannabes that I have no desire to emulate. Besides, I left my pirate costume back in the 4th grade. So barring the scratch to get a Rocket III Roadster, I'll be looking for a T-Bird within the next coupla years.
Andy Tuttle -Thank you Scottie  May 19, 2010 03:38 PM
Thanks for the kind words my friend. Too often these commentary boards have the most hateful, rude and crude statements so I chose to use my full name so I would be on my own best behavior.

Yamaha/Star makes an excellent product and my best friend and I are partial to their products but we both ended up on Harleys on the last few years.

I grew up in the eighties with what were then called "muscle bikes" like the V65 Magna, Suzuki Maduras and Yamaha V-Max and Maxim X. Those bikes are gone now except fot the new 'Max. Now we have "Sport Cruisers" but they sure lack in performance to the old "muscle bikes".

After owning a Maxim X, BMW Cruiser, and '99 Hayabusa for 5 years and 66K miles and other bikes, I just wanted something different, something more like my original Yamaha Maxim X but with more cubes and low end torque.

In particular, I wanted something with more character.

I looked at the current Triumphs but found the "whirring" noises out of the engine really obnoxious, to be frank. You would never find that on a Harley or Star motorcycle. They sounded like the gear-driven cams in a Honda VFR 800.

In the end, it was a tough call between the Griso 8v and the Harley Street Bob for my new bike. I went with the Harley because of the outstanding service of my local HD dealership in Ukiah, because the nearest Moto Guzzi dealer was 60 miles away, and because of parts availability. Also, the new bike had to be versitile and be capable of touring across the country and not just sporty day rides. The HD is a little better for touring.

Triumph makes a fine product and is INCREASING their sales and market share when every other company is downsizing. And it sounds like they may be trying to address the obnoxious noises (to my mind) that the engines or transmission makes. I don't know why this has not been commented on by more motorcycle journalists.

Perhaps its because all that matters to most readers is what looks good on a spec sheet and dyno curve.

Harley spends millions of dollars getting their bikes to sound a certain way. This may sound silly, but when you hand your modified Harley with its Rinehart exhaust to a professional Buell racer who has NEVER ridden a Harley, and he says later "That bike works far better than it should and the sound is just INTOXICATING!!!"

Well, that sort of sums it up for me. The sound is like no other and never gets tiresome.

I currently also own a '09 Buell 1125 CR Cafe Racer as well as the Harley and its a neat bike too, but really needs an exhaust.

But if I could only own ONE BIKE for everything I do, touring, sporting day rides, putting a wife or girlfriend on the back, my modified Harley would be my only bike.

Keep on ridin' on that Stratoliner....


Scottie -To: Andy Tuttle  May 19, 2010 02:02 PM
You are a fine debater. My bike (Stratoliner) has a 190 rear and that is wide enough. I agree about the 250 probably being a handful
Andy Tuttle -V-Rod and stuff  May 19, 2010 12:14 PM
I like the V-Rod and I test road the Screaming Eagle edition before my purchase. It didn't feel that fast, had quirky steering because of the raked out front end and very fat rear tire. They also have terrible ground clearance so if your looking for a good handling cruiser for the twisties they are not a good choice. Obviously, used as it was designed to be used in a straight line it is the faster bike.

I feel I should point out that its not necessary to use Ohlins rear shocks like I did, just any shock that is 1 3/8 inch longer. The front fork kit was only $300 installed so you could do both the front and read end of the bike for about $900.

I too salute Triumph for making something different, and I TOTALLY agree about that 900 triple Thunderbird they used to make. That bike was truly neat.

Speaking about different, what about the Moto Guzzi Griso? It has good brakes, excellent suspension, 105 HP and is very light weight.

Sounds like a proper, extensive "Sport Cruiser Comparo" is in order that includes Victory, Triumph and Star Motorcycles and maybe even a Guzzi. Can I play???? :-)

-Andy Tuttle

EAB -Triumph not a clone  May 19, 2010 11:43 AM
The coolest thing about the Triumph is, unlike EVERYONE ELSE taking the classic "Harley V-twin with two pipes down the right side" they actually made the Thunderbird distinctly different. From 100 feet away, you can see which is which. Honda had the same thing going with the Valkerie. It's cool to see a cruiser that doesn't try to "out Harley" Harley but rather does their own thing. Too bad, though, that Triumph cancelled the Thunderbird 900 triple. That thing sounded like God himself was riding. Love the sound of a triple at full song.
Andy Tuttle -To: Scottie  May 19, 2010 11:40 AM
Scottie, I have to differ. The Victory Hammer might have a few more ponies but it has a 32.7 degree steering head and a HUGE 250 size rear tire, both of which are going to make it handle slower. If you have every ridden a bike with a huge rear tire, you will know what I mean. The Hammer does have a HP advantage but not by that much and in tight twisties its cornering speed that will be useful, not horsepower.

As to the V-Max, it uses a 31 degree steering head angle and weighs a little more too. It does have fully adjustable suspension and excellent brakes and I confess I had forgotten about Mr. Max. On more open sweepers the V-Max will leave me behind for sure, but again on tight roads where the HP isn't useable I think I could keep up fine. Sometimes we forget that HP isn't always that useable.

If anyone lives North of SF in CA and has a Sport Cruiser of any kind, I would love to get us together for a ride in June or July. Safety and sporttmanship rules would have to apply of course and we would want everyone to get home safely.

My point in all of this is that the Harley Dyna family of bikes really has a lot going for it in the chasis department with some simple modifications but people tend to overlook that because they have never seen it before.

No hard feelings if you disagree.

Again, I would love to get some "sport cruisers" together for a ride in NorCal. We have a small little informal group called SHAB (Sport Harley and Buell) and would love to meet some more good folk.


-Andy Tuttle
Not Milwaukee Mike -Buy American...Brits bike sucks  May 19, 2010 11:15 AM
You all wrong... HD won the comparison. It doesn't matter if HD contains all foreign parts, the dealer still place american flag on the price tag. Try that with Triumph!
MOrvegil -"my modified 2009 Street Bob"  May 19, 2010 11:12 AM
Okay, so dump all that money into the thunderbird and it'll be better. "It has no peer in the "sport cruiser" segment. " Yes it does, the VROD...at 1250cc's it will stop all over a street bob.
Vince XB -What, no Vic?  May 19, 2010 10:33 AM
A Victory in the bunch would have been nice too. Anyway, I'm not surprised to see the Triumph do so well. They're well crafted bikes and it seems Triumph is FAR more willing to embrace modern technology than H-D ever will be. That said, the H-D has tons more style and character. So I guess it comes down to what you want, the best ride moving or the best ride standing still. H-D wins in the eye candy, bike-night-at-the-local-diner contest. Triumph wins on the road, where it really matters IMHO. A Victory might have won in both categories.
Scottie -To: Andy Tuttle  May 19, 2010 10:23 AM
Andy, I'm sure your bike is a fine machine, but here are two sport cruisers that you shouldn't challenge - 1. Vic Hammer 2. Star VMAX Actually, many sport bikes should shy away from the VMAX.
Scottie -Why not Superglide Custom?  May 19, 2010 10:10 AM
Off the top of my head I'm thinking that the Superglide Custom would have been a better comparo to the Bird because of riding position - lower bars, forward controls - and similar cruiser chrome & attitude.
Andy Tuttle -Modified Street Bob  May 19, 2010 10:08 AM
Hi Bryan. Thanks for reviewing the Street Bob. I wish you could ride my modified 2009 Street Bob with 1 3/8" longer, fully adjustable Ohlins rear shocks and Racetech progressive springs and Gold Valves in the front forks. It has more ground clearance, better ride and sharper front geometry (about 27 degrees of rake/3.5 inches of trail) and is extremely nimble. With a high flow intake and 2-1 pipe I'm sure its HP numbers are a match for the Triumph. I have ridden it on group rides with Buells (part of the SCAB group in SoCal) and up north here in Ukiah, CA, and everyone is shocked at how fast the bike is. It has no peer in the "sport cruiser" segment. If you have any interest in riding the bike, let me know as I do come down to SoCal about 2xs a year and will be at Laguna Seca in July. Regards, Andy Tuttle
Mark -Great review!  May 19, 2010 09:31 AM
Was looking at some bikes recently, but I think this has pushed me over toward the Thunderbird. The fact that it has more out of the box horses and much more attractive styling is key. I'm going to test ride one this weekend.
Mike in WV -Triumph Triumphs  May 19, 2010 08:59 AM
In a comparison between 2 similar bikes, I think it's worth noting that the things really important to riders are performance and comfort. The HD is a little more agile, but not enough to be a major factor. All the other cudos go to Triumph and it is a great looking bike! Looks are subjective and that's why it will always be left to the buyer to decide how important it is in the purchase process. In this case, personally I think the Triumph wins hands down all the way around. Triumph makes great bikes and this model is perfect for a midweight cruiser. I tend to lean more to the big bikes...and the Rocket III is definitely a machine to be respected. Congrats to Triumph and I wish them every success in the future.
MCUSGhey -Fun with colors  May 19, 2010 08:30 AM
I don't even know how you could read the graph. I spent five minutes trying to figure out what color went with HP/Torque and what bike. Who made the decision to use two similar yellows and then two similar reds?
bryan harley -Thanks for catching our typo  May 19, 2010 08:28 AM
Your right Jay. The graph is correct, but the numbers are backwards. Should be in the 65 hp range, not 56. Fixing it now. Thanks.
Jay Jacobs -horsepower  May 19, 2010 06:08 AM
The horsepower and torque numbers do not match the graph. I have to believe the graph is correct. As I do not believe the harley make only 56 horsepower.The graph shows 65 or so.