We squeezed 102cc more from the muscle-bound parallel twin engine so that it packs an even bigger punch. Still laid-back but underpinned by serious power and the best handling in the class. This is a cruiser with a dark side.
The Triumph Thunderbird engines look every cubic inch a classic cruiser motor, designed with Triumph’s unique, big-bore parallel twin twist. But don’t be fooled by the air-cooling fins. Because inside is a modern, high-performance, water-cooled power plant with sophisticated electronic fuel injection and engine management, built with Triumph’s cutting-edge quality and durability.
The Triumph Thunderbird’s smooth, six-speed gear ratios deliver every ounce of the engine’s torque-rich performance, from the intense thrust of first gear right the way to an overdrive top gear for relaxed cruising and exceptional fuel efficiency. But with phenomenal overtaking power always on tap whichever gear you’re in, the Thunderbird is never found wanting.
The Triumph Thunderbird belt drive, with carbon fibre in the belt and a tungsten carbide treatment on the rear pulley, has a higher tensile strength than steel and ensures snatch-free transmission with high durability and almost no maintenance compared to chain-drive. And it does not need oiling.
The Triumph Thunderbird’s dynamic engine demands an equally dynamic chassis with handling developed as a priority, not an afterthought. As a result, all Thunderbirds can supply relatively high levels of agility, control and precision usually unheard of in a cruiser, with plenty of ground clearance for when the ride gets interesting.
Stylish on the outside, modern on the inside. The Triumph Thunderbirds feature chunky 47mm Showa forks with 120mm of travel set-up and carefully matched to a pair of five-way preload adjustable shocks at the rear, with 109mm (LT & Commander) and 95mm (Thunderbird & Thunderbird Storm) of travel giving the right dynamic for everything from spirited solo riding to two up touring.
Wheels and Tyres
To match the Triumph Thunderbird Commander’s dominant presence on the road, yet retain its agile, user-friendly handling characteristics, a dramatic, fat-section 140/75 17in front tyre is fitted with a 200/50 17in at the rear, running on lightweight diamond-turned cast wheels. Meanwhile the Thunderbird LT features the world’s first white-walled radial tyres, developed exclusively for Triumph by British tyre manufacturer Avon. With a fat-section 150/80 16in front and 180/70 16in rear on stunning 56-spoke wire rims, they’re the ultimate in laid-back cruiser cool.
Style matters, which is why the Triumph Thunderbirds stir emotions visually as well as on the road. From mechanical highlights like machined cooling fins, chrome covers and careful exhaust routing, to the aesthetics of diamond-turned cast wheels or wire spokes, deep fenders, hand-painted coach lines and lustrous body-colours, each Thunderbird is built with the quality and detailing you’d expect of a prestige Triumph cruiser. So whether you prefer the LT’s classic touring cruiser stance or the clean, elegant style of the Thunderbird Commander, you know your bike looks as good to everyone else as it does to you.
The Triumph Thunderbird frame is built with a massively strong twin steel tube spine layout that utilises the engine as a strengthening factor, with optimised geometry to maintain user-friendly steering. But the frame also shows off the Thunderbird’s stunning parallel twin as the bike’s design focal point.
The Triumph Thunderbird delivers awesome engine performance. That’s why outstanding handling, in all situations and for all riders, is called for. The bikes are carefully developed to bring Triumph’s trademark light, neutral steering, easy low speed agility, and high stability and user-friendliness to the big cruiser class. High performance braking is also of prime importance, using twin Nissin four-piston calipers on 310mm discs at the front and a Brembo caliper and 310mm disc at the rear, backed up by sophisticated ABS.
- Adjustable suspension
- Belt drive
- Self cancelling indicators