The British are coming! The British are coming! It’s British Invasion week on the Motorcycle Radio Network, and we are celebrating with a test of the awesome 2010 Triumph Thunderbird.
The (second) British Invasion was a time when the music and fashion worlds here in the United States seemed to revolve around London. The Beatles held all 5 of the top songs on the Billboard chart at one time, and there were only a few things cooler to American kids than a British accent. At the very top of that ultra-cool list were Austin Healey roadsters and Triumph motorcycles.
Years later, the British Invasion music became “oldies”, the Triumph factory shut its doors, and “British Fashion” became an oxymoron. Things were bleak but people had these indelible memories that would create smiles on their face at the oddest moments… Standing in line in the grocery store, they would find themselves humming along to the chorus of “Hey Jude”. BBC America was picked up on cable and satellite television networks. And a visionary named John Bloor has slowly, steadily and successfully returned Triumph motorcycles to their position as the premier British motorcycle manufacturer.
The 2010 Triumph Thunderbird fills a gap in the manufacturer’s line that showed up more in America than anywhere else. Famous (infamous?) for its 2300cc Rocket III cruiser and the Bonneville, America, and Scrambler at 865cc, there was nothing in the 1600cc displacement area where Harley-Davidson, Victory and the Japanese Big 4 had positioned their cruiser motorcycles. In typical new-Triumph fashion, they have jumped right into the center of this market with a versatile new model that starts out by making big style points. Beautiful paint with just the right amount of chrome accents surrounds the counterbalanced 1597cc vertical twin (108 foot-lbs @ 2750rpm and 85 bhp at 4850rpm), its 6-speed companion, and the 5.8-gallon fuel tank that lets you stretch the time between stops.
The details are just what you’d expect from a modern motorcycle. A large back-lit gauge sits on top of the fuel tank and holds a speedometer and tach as well as a pair of trip odometers and a digital fuel indicator. The suspension is from Showa, and the rear spring preload is easily adjustable if you decide to add luggage or a passenger. Fat low-profile tires keep the bike connected to the pavement, and brakes from Nissin and Brembo combine to haul Triumph’s re-born legend down from speed.
Triumph’s new Thunderbird is a bull’s eye into the gap that previously existed in their product line here in the USA, and an accurate re-creation of the motorcycle many considered to be the best all-around bike in Triumph’s line back in the day, and they deserve the praise they are getting for sticking to their roots. You can hear the full ‘Real-Time’ Road Test of the 2010 Triumph Thunderbird by clicking here. (Podcast player will open and play in a separate window.)
Also this week, we keep you updated on the incredible Supercross battle being waged this year, and we’ll tell you about the best new motorcycle communication device on the market, the Cardo Scala Rider G4.
We look forward to catching up with you next week on Motorcycle Radio Network.