Triumph?s new Thunderbird, expected to go on sale next year, will finally give the venerable Brit motorcycle marque some real ammunition in the battle for the hearts, bourbon-damaged minds, beards and bellies of the cruiser segment. It also gives Triumph a genuine contender to fire across the Atlantic into the land of the Hog.
With an all-new 1600cc parallel twin with six-speed gearbox and belt drive, Triumph makes no bones about who it?s gunning for with the Thunderbird. ?Designed to take on the best in the cruiser category,? its press release says (you can read ?Harley? into that), ?combining sleek and modern custom styling with strong performance and great dynamics, the Thunderbird delivers an authentic cruiser experience in a uniquely Triumph package.?
Of course it?s not the biggest Triumph ? that falls to the 2.3 litre Rocket III. But riding the Rocket, I?m told, is like throwing the leg over a blue whale or a Kenworth... and just as sensible. The Thunderbird will be a far-more liveable proposition but with enough cubes to hold its head high in a Hog line-up.
Like Harley, Thunderbird customers will be able to spec out their machine in any number of combinations ? stripped down, chromed up, naked or fully dressed ? to give ?their? ride their own individual stamp. Triumph has not yet given an indication of pricing, but expect it to come in well-under the $26k of the Rocket III, but above the current Bonneville-based Triumph cruisers.
As these images show, the Thunderbird is a very nicely-proportioned machine. You can expect things to hot-up in the cruiser segment when this super-twin hits these shores.