2014 Triumph Thunderbird LT & Thunderbird Commander | Preview
2014 Triumph Thunderbird Motorcycles
The Thunderbird model is significant to the history of Triumph Motorcycles. First introduced as the 6T Thunderbird in 1949 with a 650cc parallel twin, the bike quickly captured the attention of the American audience. And this audience further grew when Marlon Brando piloted the 6T in the famed flick “The Wild One.”
Throughout Triumph’s history of ownership, the Thunderbird continued to grow in cc. And in 2008, the current Hinckley-based Triumph Motorcycles went after the big-bore market, releasing the liquid-cooled, parallel twin Triumph Thunderbird 1600, which was followed by the Thunderbird 1700 in 2011.
Things remained quiet regarding Triumph’s power cruisers, but this all changes for 2014 with the release of the Thunderbird LT (Light Touring) and the Thunderbird Commander.
Both models feature last year’s 1700cc parallel twin, but the chassis was updated with an all-new frame, updated suspension geometry and enhanced ergonomics. Also, the bikes feature some new styling.
The significant change is the all-new frame, which was redesigned for rider/passenger comfort and performance. The new frame’s steering neck was moved forward, allowing Triumph to use pull-back handlebars that are more relaxing on longer trips.
The seat pan was also lowered an inch. This lowering also for a reshaped seat, which features dual-density foam padding and lumbar support, and keeps the overall seat height at 27.5 inches.
Along with the new steering and seating geometry, Triumph also added a new wider front wheel and tire combination. Both the Thunderbird LT and Commander don a new 140/75 17-inch front tire to accompany the existing 200/50 17-inch rear tire. The Thunderbird LT is also enhanced with Avon Tyres that feature white-wall tires – the first for Thunderbird.
Suspension duties are further enhanced for a sportier rider. Both Thunderbird models feature shrouded 47mm Showa forks and twin 5-way preload adjustable Showa rear shocks with optimized dual-rate springs.
Braking is handled by Triumph’s anti-lock brake system with four-pot Nissin calipers on 310mm floating discs up front, and a single Brembo caliper and 310mm disc at the rear.
As for the engine, all remains the same from the big-bore, eight-valve, DOHC 1700cc water-cooled parallel twin, which produces 93 horsepower at 5400 rpm and 111 ft.-lb. of torque at 3550 rpm. The engine is capable of such torque due to its “saucer-sized” forged piston, an uneven 270-degree firing interval and long stroke. The fuel-injected twin is hooked to a six-speed transmission that propels the Thunderbirds with a belt drive.
Following are details of each bike courtesy of Triumph:
2014 Triumph Thunderbird LT
Triumph’s new 2014 Thunderbird LT (Light Touring) is designed to make each and every journey the trip of a lifetime, transporting you with effortless power and style to new adventures with the easy-going, laid-back vibe of a premium classic touring cruiser.
The quick-release windshield is durable and provides copious wind protection, while the removable leather saddlebags have been redesigned to be larger and more resilient than previous panniers.
Auxiliary spotlamps, high quality chrome footboards with replaceable skid plates, an adjustable chrome heel/toe gear lever and wide wire-spoke rims complete the touring package.
Unsatisfied with the inferior performance of existing bias-ply whitewall tires, Triumph partnered with British tire manufacturer Avon to develop the world’s first whitewall radial motorcycle tire. The result is a no-compromise solution to blending classic styling and modern performance.
The Thunderbird LT’s strong visual appeal is enhanced by detailing that closely follows classic touring cruiser tradition. The comprehensive list of premium details includes broad chrome embellishers on the deep, two-piece front and rear mudguards, generous chrome highlights around the windshield and yokes, single front headlight and auxiliary spotlamps, wire-spoked wheels, one-off Triumph tank badges, white piping around the sumptuous seat, 1930s Art Deco-style rear indicator and LED tail light assemblies, and hand-painted coach-lines decorating the two-tone tank and mudguard.
Available from authorized Triumph dealers in Spring 2014, the Thunderbird LT is available in two distinctive color options: Caspian Blue / Crystal White or Lava Red / Phantom Black.
2014 Triumph Thunderbird Commander
Triumph’s new 2014 Thunderbird Commander gives riders the power and the presence to dominate every road and every ride with all-day comfort, accessibility, and that uniquely Triumph look and exhaust note that stir the soul.
Triumph’s signature twin headlamps peer out from the Commander’s massive, polished top yoke and polished stainless steel fork shrouds. The custom cruiser look follows through with internal handlebar wiring, bespoke Commander badges, and Art Deco LED tail light and rear indicator assembly for that low, fat cruiser look.
Two striking two-tone paint options complete the picture: Lava Red / Crimson Sunset or Phantom Black / Storm Grey. The Thunderbird Commander will be available in authorized dealers in Spring 2014.
Both the Thunderbird LT and Thunderbird Commander include a coded key immobilizer, self-canceling indicators and a massive 5.8 gallon (22 liter) fuel tank with off-center filler cap. Both bikes also feature well-appointed, tank-mounted dash consoles with a classic, analogue-style speedometer, and an LCD display with fuel gauge (including range-to-empty), twin trips, odometer and clock functions that are all conveniently navigated with a handlebar-mounted button.
Triumph has yet to release a price on each bike.