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Old 09-07-2006, 02:56 AM   #1
BikerJC
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Default Re: Thunderbird Sports Purchase Help

They are rare and hard to find, and a darn sight better than the standard Thunderbird. I work at a Triumph shop but I've never seen a Sport come through for service yet - that could be a testament to its reliability, or the fact that nobody has them. There were a lot of recalls on early models, but later models are pretty solid.
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Old 09-07-2006, 04:08 AM   #2
tbsrider2000
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Default Re: Thunderbird Sports Purchase Help

I put 38,000 miles on my 2000 TBS over a 5 year period. They are incredible bikes that fit any type of riding style. They will draw a crowd at any bike night and out handle many sport bikes. Outfitted with soft luggage they will run all day. I've done many long 7-8 hour days and the wife and I even rode the TBS to our honeymoon desitination and had a blast.

They sound awesome with aftermarket silencers too. I have since sold mine, as I was looking for a more "touring" oriented mount ( I have a Rocket III now) but I do miss my Thunderbird Sport very much. They also seem to hold their value much better than any of the other Triumph models..
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Old 09-07-2006, 04:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Thunderbird Sports Purchase Help

I have a '99 TBird Sport. Love the bike. Love the triple engine. TBS's came with the 885 version of the triple, significantly less smooth and not as powerful as later incarnations, but quite adequate. Mine puts about 79 hp to the rear wheel.

Mine has the "off-road" pipes. A bit louder and significantly deeper than the standard pipes.

If you want to carry luggage, look for a 2000 or later model. In the last couple of years of production they lowered the pipes. Mine has high pipes on one side, making luggage near impossible to fit and making a passenger problematic as well. On the other hand, the solo seat looks better, anyway. And my wife rides her own bike, so it's not an issue for me.

Like all Triumphs of that model era, the TBS is somewhat top-heavy, but not bad. The transmission (a 6 speed) is as bullet-proof as the engine. Some owners have fitted Speed Triple cams of the same era. The effect is significant. Likewise, Speed Triple bars fit perfectly for a slightly more aggressive riding position.

Mine is also fitted with a small "bullet fairing" from Lockhart Phillips. Much better wind protection than the Triumph fly screen and gives it more of a "cafe racer" look.

Finally, there is a Yahoo! group devoted to discussions of the bike. TBS Sport Riders, I believe.

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Old 09-07-2006, 04:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Thunderbird Sports Purchase Help

78 hp at the rear wheel? OK so maybe you tuned yours but the fact is its not only the looks that recall the past with this bike. Motorcycle USA quotes "Peak horsepower on the dyno came in at 66.4 at 8250 rpm, a fair margin away from the 83 ponies Triumph claims is produced at the crankshaft."



(http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/Articl...x?ArticleID=82)



I am not saying it would be impossible to love a low hp bike, many do. And I can see charms of this particular one. But when giving purchase advice it would be appropriate to point out that its wheezy 66 and that´s it folks.



- cruiz-euro

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Old 09-07-2006, 05:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Thunderbird Sports Purchase Help

Actually, I find dyno wars a bit silly, especially since variation in dynos often amount to 20% one way or the other. I just reported the experience for my bike tested locally in the Seattle area.



Bottom line is that the TBS is quick up to about 80 mph. Cruises easily at 70-85 on the freeway and with the adjustable suspension set up correctly, handles twisties very nicely.



Are there faster or quicker bikes? Of course. More comfortable touring bikes? Yup. Is it as beautiful as a Norton Commando? Nope. Is it a Speed Triple in disguise? Well, not really, at least not compared with the current Speed Triple.



On the other hand, mine is rock steady reliable. The triple engine is a marvel of low end torque combined with high(er) end power. I love the looks of the bike and find it draws more attention than my K12 and Valkyrie when I ride it.



All in all, it's a nicely retro styled relatively modern British bike. Not a "true" classic, but then most "true" classics can't be ridden daily as my TBS can.

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Old 09-07-2006, 05:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Thunderbird Sports Purchase Help

A buddy here at work bought a '98. It's a RED one. It had been sitting for quite a while.



After he got the fueling issues worked out, he loves it. It is his primary vehicle.



The only problem is the chrome is not that great.



The bike never fails to draw admirers.

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Old 09-07-2006, 05:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: Thunderbird Sports Purchase Help

The best thing to do with the horsepower nazis is to ignore them.
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: Thunderbird Sports Purchase Help

I kick myself for not buying one a few years ago for next to nothing.
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: Thunderbird Sports Purchase Help

I have a '98 TBS yellow/black with the high pipes and it is a very sweet ride. I also own and ride (a lot) a Ducati ST2 and a Suzuki DL650, and I ride the TBS equally with those two. It is very nice handling and has dynamite looks that never fail to elicit positive comments from cruiser and sportbike owners alike. I did the full Speed Triple + engine treatment on mine and it flat screams above 5,000rpm. The S3 cams do cause a loss of torque below that level however, and I went to Daytona 750 12.5:1 pistons to reclaim most of that. The stock TBS engine is very smooth and has most of 50ft.lbs. of torque at 2,000rpm with off-road pipes. The stock engine is actually better for mellow riding and real twisty, low speed roads unless you are comfortable keeping the revs up on a modified engine. The TBS suspension and brakes are Speed Triple spec as it comes stock, so no mods necessary there. Great bike, not a supersport beater all things equal due to 500lbs of weight, but it looks great, handles very nicely and has more than adequate power for 90% of spirited riding. I plan on keeping mine!
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Old 09-08-2006, 06:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Thunderbird Sports Purchase Help

Horsepower nazi? I must be only horsepower nazi riding a fat boy with 61.6 hp at the rear wheel. And I tell ya, its not enough. So the Triumph has 10% more whoopee. Its enough if you are content of put putting alone occasionally stopping to smell flowers and that sort of thing. But for example to ride with regular guys on a regular day, tsk tsk. I can keep up but find myself trying to anticipate the next quick getaway and be ready to whip the living bezeesus out of the bike, trash it. Not very elegant. And still have this "complete bloody cow" feeling every now and then. The analytical part of my brain keeps telling "hey bozo Valk dynoes 95 hp".



So buy the T-bird. There are many happy owners out there. But remember me the first time you think that well, maybe, just maybe, it could have a little more power.



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