Leather Baggers Shootout: Cruisers for the Open Road + Video

Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic vs. Indian Chief Vintage vs. Triumph Thunderbird LT vs. Victory Cross Roads Classic

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Triumph Thunderbird LT

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How to stand apart in the company of similarly styled and outfitted leather baggers? Simple. Power your model with a parallel-Twin instead of the ubiquitous V-Twin. Not only is Triumph’s 1699cc, DOHC parallel-Twin unique in its architecture, but also by being the only liquid-cooled motorcycle of the bunch.

The Triumph motor was my second favorite power plant behind Indian’s. When it came to freeway passing power and roll-on tests against the others, the T-Bird was without equal. It’s jugs are more willing to rev, but it doesn’t demand revs to make good power. The Twin is also a smooth operator and makes some really cool noises via its 270° firing order.

Triumph Thunderbird LT Engine

It’s the only oversquare engine of the group, and the only one with a DOHC valvetrain.

“Triumph’s motor is nice and stout, and likes to rev more than others; it’ll also cruise nice and smooth at 100 mph. Not that you would much, but it’s nice to know you can,” says Burns.

At 747 claimed curb pounds, the T-Bird is the lightest of these heavyweight cruisers, and you can feel it when navigating a twisty back road. The LT’s exceptional handling manners can also be attributed to the bike’s new frame which Brasfield addressed in his review of the Thunderbird LT and Commander. The only handling attribute we disliked was the T-Bird’s ranking as second-worst cornering clearance behind Harley.

2014 Triumph Thunderbird LT – First Ride Teaser

“Nice firm nearly sporty ride; shame you have to worry about digging in hard parts when you start picking up the pace,” says Burns. “More preload might’ve helped, but we couldn’t find the tool to adjust the shocks. (The Victory gives you an air pump and a gauge for its shock. Which needed no adjusting… how ironic…).”

And then there’s the Thunderbird’s seat; a wonderfully comfortable thing which, according to Burns, is “seemingly stuffed with the perfect amount of hummingbird feathers.”

Triumph Thunderbird LT Seat

While PETA may not approve of the use of hummingbird feathers, the unique construction of the seat’s lumbar support made it all-day comfortable.

“If other manufacturers aren’t studying this seat to see why it works so much better than theirs, then they’re not paying attention,” says Brasfield. One of the two bikes here to come equipped with standard backrest, and the only model with passenger floorboards, the T-Bird also won our choice for best passenger pillion. says Duke, “If you want to please your co-rider, put them on the LT.”

At 7.5 gallons per bag, the Triumph boasts the second-most volume behind the Victory’s 8.5 gallons per bag. And while the T-Bird’s saddlebags do not feature a quick-release system, they do come stock with removable waterproof liners – something none of the other leather baggers here provide.

Average
MPG
Theoretical
Range
Chief 36.3 mpg 210.7 miles
Cross Roads 36.9 mpg 214.0 miles
Softail 34.6 mpg 173.0 miles
Thunderbird 38.7 mpg 225.0 miles

Although the T-Bird is outfitted with the smallest windscreen of the group, it provides protection from frontal wind blasts while allowing its rider to see over the top of the screen. “The Triumph is the only stock one that works for me, Burns noted. “On all these you need to saw the thing off to fit.” We noticed some turbulence but not as bad as that coming off the Harley’s windscreen. The great thing is, the windscreen features a toolless quick-release system.

“The removable windshield is the bees knees,” says Brasfield. “I want to pull in to motorcycle gathering places and show riders how cool it is. However, I wouldn’t do that until I’d bought the accessory lock.”

The Bird’s floorboards get a little tingly around 75 mph but its rubber-mounted bars distance a rider’s hands from vibration, the tradeoff being a slight loss of front-end feel and steering accuracy. You won’t find a cruise control button on the Thunderbird, but it is equipped with ABS – as are all the bikes in this contest.

Triumph Thunderbird LT Passenger Floorboard

The passenger floorboards and backrest will keep your pillion’s occupant happy.

At $16,699, the Thunderbird LT is the least expensive leather bagger competing in this shootout. Surprisingly, the LT turned out to be the quickest motorcycle – besting even the Indian Chief Vintage and its 120cc displacement advantage in top-gear roll-ons. Considering its speed, rider and passenger ergonomics, handling, removable windscreen and saddlebags/liners it’s easy to make a case for purchasing the T-Bird.

–Tom Roderick

Victory Cross Roads Classic

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Since its inception in 1999, Victory has marched to the beat of a different drummer. Yes, the company’s chosen powerplant is a V-Twin, but Victorys have never aped another marque’s style. Rather, from the very beginning, the company’s cruisers have had a distinctive look that has been refined over the years to be like no other cruisers on the market.

2011 Victory Cross Roads Review

The $17,999 Cross Roads Classic in this shootout is no different. While having the basic light-duty touring components required of a leather bagger cruiser, the CRC is unique. Burns sums it up thusly: “I like its understated style, not too heavy on the chrome and look-at-me furbelows. The bike didn’t jump out at me when it was new, but the more I see it, the more I like its blend of classic curves and modern angles and creases. The aircraft-style gas filler is a nice hint this ain’t your typical barge, and no dumb tank-top instruments where you can’t see them easily either.”

Victory Cross Roads Classic Engine

The Victory’s engine has enough torque to keep a cruiser rider happy, but it also loves to spin up to its rev limit.

Duke concurs on the instrument location, “It’s not as pretty, but it can be read without dropping your chin to look at gauges on a fuel tank.” However, he, along with most of the testers, felt that Victory scrimped on some of the details, particularly the wires and cables on the handlebar. One need only to look at the Indian’s tiller to see what refinement Polaris is capable of delivering.

The bags received high marks. Measuring in at a whopping 8.7 gallons of capacity each, their construction made them the closest to those on a hard bagger, even if their openings are rather slim. While the lids flipped open on hinges, they were still held closed by clips but, like all the baggers gathered here, are neither locking nor waterproof. Chromed tubular bag guards highlight the bags’ swoopy shape and offer tip-over protection. Although the bags pop off easily via quarter-turn fasteners, you’ll only want to do it to ease maintenance since the back of the bike with its fixed bag guards looks horrible without the bags.

Victory Cross Roads Classic Saddlebag

When the saddlebags are mounted, they are the most integrated of the bunch. When they’re removed for anything other than service access, the CRC gets a case of the uglies.

Handling was another area where the CRC outshone the other baggers and dominated the scoring. While it first feels stiff when coming from one of the other baggers, a quick trip through some corners reveals that the Victory feels comparatively firm because the others are a bit soft.

“The Cross Road’s suspension is probably the best-balanced system of the group, rivaling the Triumph’s setup,” says Duke. “It offers good control while having the ability to soak up large hits without much disturbance to the rider.” However, what sets the Victory apart is the ground clearance that allows it to take advantage of its suspension. The Thunderbird LT, by comparison, is well suspended but ran out of ground clearance much quicker, ending the festivities far sooner than the chassis would otherwise. The Softail was even worse off with the most limited suspension and ground clearance.

Paired with the only other overhead-cam engine, the Victory mill beat the second-place Triumph by less than a single percentage point in our scorecard. While the Freedom 106 engine may not have the bottom-end grunt of the larger-displacement Indian, the Victory’s powerplant came across as perhaps the most versatile package. Like the Triumph, the CRC’s engine needed to be revved up to generate the most thrust, but when we did, the results were rewarding. Perhaps the best way to trace the Victory’s increased refinement over the years is how the transmission has been transformed from a noisy, notchy unit to one that shifts with authority.

Victory Cross Roads Classic Speedometer

The bar-mounted speedometer may not be as pretty as the tank top ones, but it’s a ton more practical. The LCD displays: Tach, odometer, trip, clock, and fuel bar graph.

The CRC’s windshield is the only one in this gathering that requires tools to be removed. Consequently, it’s the only windshield that you don’t have to worry about having someone snatch while you’re having a roadside burger and shake. The shield’s height drew mixed reviews, with Duke saying, “At 5-foot–8, I could choose from looking through the shield if slumping or over it if sitting high. Buffeting is felt in either position, but disturbance is relatively mild.” I felt that the turbulence rolling off the top of the windshield could be annoying at times, but that was mostly when encountering a stiff headwind. Otherwise, the turbulence was about average for the classic-style windshield.

The Victory's cruise control

The Victory’s cruise control looks like an aftermarket item. This type of clutter on the handlebar is no longer acceptable now that other manufacturers are hiding their wires and cables.

The Victory’s ergonomics appealed to all of the riders and their variety of heights, easily besting all of the bikes except the Triumph and its amazingly comfortable seat. At 26.3 in., the Victory’s seat is only a third of an inch taller than the class winner, but according to Burns, the saddle felt like the lowest. All the testers noted how the length and shape of the floorboards allowed for multiple foot positions over the course of a long day in the saddle.

– Evans Brasfield

Postcard from the Open Road

After putting the leather baggers through the paces, we were pretty sure how which one would be selected the winner before we hit the MO Scorecard. What we didn’t know was how the rest of the bikes would stack up against it. In the end, second and third places could have gone either way. The results are:

Fourth Place: Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic

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The motorcycle in this grouping with the most history behind it has lagged in the past couple years while the competitors have upped their game, leaving the Harley feeling, well, old. Hopefully the Rushmore-derived Twin Cam 103 HO will soon make an appearance to close the gap. Also, with it’s frisky steering response, improved ground clearance could have helped the Softail challenge for third. However, in its current form, it could only muster a 68.61% on our scorecard.

Third Place: Triumph Thunderbird LT

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The Thunderbird LT was the sleeper of this shootout. You might be surprised to know that, although it finished third overall, it actually won the objective rankings with the lowest price and weight. In the subjective scoring, it won the braking category and finished second in six categories. Unfortunately, the categories the Triumph struggled in were enough to keep it out of second place by less than one point at a score of 76.53%.

Second Place: Indian Chief Vintage

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The Indian Chief Vintage squeaked into second place by a margin of just 1.39%. The features that helped to set it above the others are its extraordinary fit and finish. Aside from one small miscue (the aforementioned windshield bracket), the Chief towers over the others in terms of premium styling and attention to detail. Also, while one may argue that cruise control isn’t a necessity, it sure did ease long stints on the highway. The Chief Vintage claims runner-up status with a score of 77.92%.

First Place: Victory Cross Roads Classic

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The key word mentioned in most of the comments about the Victory was balance. When we were riding, we believe the Cross Roads Classic makes the right compromises for this class of motorcycle. You’d expect that a balanced bike would win some categories and be close in others. However, when the dust settled on the scorecards, the CRC won an astounding eight categories. Every time it missed out on first place, the Victory landed in a solid second place.

2014 Leather Baggers Shootout Scorecard
Category Harley Heritage Softail Classic Indian Chief Vintage Triumph Thunderbird LT Victory Cross Roads Classic
Price 90.0% 60.0% 100.0% 90.0%
Weight 100.0% 60.0% 60.0% 80.0%
Engine 73.8% 81.3% 83.4% 83.8%
Transmission/Clutch 75.0% 76.9% 76.3% 77.5%
Handling 73.1% 76.9% 76.9% 83.8%
Brakes 63.1% 75.0% 81.9% 81.3%
Suspension 64.4% 77.5% 81.9% 85.6%
Technologies 53.8% 77.5% 58.8% 70.6%
Instruments 61.3% 75.0% 72.5% 77.5%
Ergonomics/Comfort 77.5% 81.3% 85.0% 86.9%
Luggage/Storage 63.8% 71.3% 76.3% 80.6%
Appearance 80.0% 91.9% 76.3% 82.5%
Cool Factor 68.1% 86.3% 67.5% 76.3%
Grin Factor 51.3% 70.0% 73.1% 78.8%
Overall Score 68.6% 77.9% 76.5% 80.8%
Scores are listed as a percentage of editors’ ratings in each category. The Engine category is double-weighted, so the Overall Score is not a total of the displayed percentages but, rather, a percentage of the weighted aggregate raw score.

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  • DickRuble

    Not sure how the scores are added up, but I get 106.9, 114.4, 119.4, 122.2. This puts the Triumph in second place. The hierarchy doesn’t change when the subjective factors (Cool, grin, blabla) are taken out, though the Triumph gets within 1.1 points from the Victory. Maybe MO is using a different version of Excel.

    The percentages are as follow:

    Harley Indian Triumph Victory
    71.3% 76.3% 79.6% 81.5%

    • Evans Brasfield

      Thanks for crunching the numbers. Yes, it is confusing. The only objective scores are weight and price. All the others are subjective. The final totals at the bottom are the percentages of the maximum combined scores from all the testers in all the categories. Hope that clarifies things.

      However, since the numbers were entered by hand into the web table, I’ll check them later to make sure I didn’t screw something up.

      • DickRuble

        Yes please check the numbers. Given the incredible gravitational pull of these bikes, some space warp phenomenon may explain the discrepancy.

      • SN

        Yeah, the numbers are wrong. Triumph got second.

      • Evans Brasfield

        Well, my lengthy reply seems to have disappeared. So, here goes a second attempt.

        OK, so here’s the deal: The final score was correct. The Triumph finished third. This is based on the aggregate score off all the points awarded by the editors. A percentage is awarded based on maximum number of points possible, had one of these machines been a perfect motorcycle.

        Where we were running in to trouble was when we averaged the scores for each category and posted that number. Each of those numbers involved some rounding, which we knew. We were trying to give the information in an easy-to-digest form. However, by showing the points, we were implying that they could be added to come up with the Overall Total (which was always a percentage, not a total of the points).

        So, we ended up with two levels of confusion. First, the category numbers didn’t add up to the total at the bottom. That is easily remedied by showing the score as the percent value it always was. Second, and most importantly, summing the rounded numbers introduced rounding errors that were compounded as they were added together. In a close result, like the one between the Indian and the Triumph, this compounded rounding error could appear to change the results.

        We have come up with the solution of displaying the individual categories as a percentage. This will eliminate the confusion of points scores versus percentage scores. Also, we are stating at the end of the score card that “the Overall Score is not a total of the displayed percentages but, rather, a percentage of the weighted aggregate raw score.” There’s a little more of a clarification up there, too. So, take a look.

        Thanks for crunching the numbers and getting us to refine our score card to make it more informative and clear!

      • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

        Ergonomics and comfort are a very subjective thing. I’d bet a year’s salary that what the test riders like wouldn’t work for me, so I take that with a helping of salt. That in an of itself would change everything.

  • john burns

    Was that “Rock Lobster”?

  • Craig Hoffman

    There will probably be a Vic in my future. Word on the Internet is there is quite a bit more power to be had from that engine with very simple and not too costly mods too. Seen many dyno graphs with high 90s hp and over 100 tq.

    Being an ex sport bike rider and current FZ1 and 450cc dirt bike owner, it is necessary for the engine of any bike I ride to be able to thrill me on command. Sure, most times it will be cruising along, but sometimes a wild hair needs to be satisfied and I want the bike to go something resembling ballistic when it’s chain is pulled. A good running Vic can do that, and some light modding it to get it there is half the fun. Makes the bike feel like it is mine :)

    Function wise the T-Bird seems like a great bike, but the looks of the thing just don’t do it for me.

    • Auphliam

      There are two particular items one should buy to shed the EPA reigns and really wake up the Vic motor – an Adjustable Timing Gear and Hi-Flow air filter from Lloydz Motor Works. Less than $300 will get it running like it should.

      Then spend about $1000-$1200 for a set of cams and a fuel controller and that motor will put a smile on your face that you couldn’t knock off with a brick.

    • Auphliam

      There are two particular items one should buy to shed the EPA reigns
      and really wake up the Vic motor – an Adjustable Timing Gear and Hi-Flow
      air filter from Lloydz Motor Works. Less than $300 will get it running
      like it should.

      Then spend about $1000-$1200 for a set of cams and
      a fuel controller and that motor will put a smile on your face that
      you couldn’t knock off with a brick.

      • Craig Hoffman

        Yep, sounds about right!

    • Jason

      I spent 1900 dollars on my Cross bike and have dyno proven 118hp 121ft Lbs of torque. These victory motors are amazing.

  • DickRuble

    Bransfield, if you average the percentages, you still end up with the Triumph second and with the exact same percentages, the ones I posted. And it’s not even close. It’s ok that you guys can’t figure out what’s a bike and what’s not .. after all it’s subjective and even tone deaf people have an opinion on music. But you cannot argue with numbers. Adding and subtracting are not a matter of opinion. Call your HS math teacher, he’ll be delighted to hear from you.

    • Evans Brasfield

      You are entitled to your opinion. Everybody’s got one. I am quite fond of the Triumph, too.

      However, you are looking at an incomplete data set. As was stated below the scorecard, which I will quote for the second time, “the Overall Score is not a total of the displayed percentages but, rather, a percentage of the weighted aggregate raw score.” You can dissect the numbers in the table all you want. Add them, subtract them multiply them, or average them to your heart’s content, but, unless you’ve seen all of the data and how it is applied in our spreadsheet – and I have – you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      Also, it’s Brasfield, Dick.

      • DickRuble

        The variables you list put the Triumph ahead, and it’s not even close. What OTHER factors/measures are missing from this rather exhaustive list? Enlighten us…Otherwise we will still think you are just BSing.

      • Old MOron

        I don’t suppose the “data” that we don’t get to see is in the form of an ultimatum from Polaris Industries?

        Okay, I don’t. I’m just being snarky. But you guys are kind of begging for it.

        • Evans Brasfield

          Dude, you should know how we roll. It’s cash money…

          • Old MOron

            Dude, it kind of seems like you wanted the new glamour-puss Indian to finish ahead of the oddball T-bird.

            In the future perhaps you’ll report raw scores. It shouldn’t be difficult.

            Each category is worth 10 points.
            And since you have four testers, each
            category’s max score is 40 points.
            (Engine’s max score is 80 points.)

            Just put the raw scores into the table.
            Price: 36
            Weight: 32
            Engine: 75
            etc.

            Rank the bikes according to their raw scores
            and you won’t suffer the slings and arrows
            of your arithmetically inclined readers.

            You also won’t have to do any ‘splaining to
            Triumph that it really did lose in a fair fight.

          • Evans Brasfield

            Sigh…

            If you really are “old” as your name implies, then you’ll understand that just because something “seems” like it is a certain way doesn’t mean that is the reality.

          • DickRuble

            I hope Triumph and other manufacturers’ executives read the comparison and your answers.

            Just because you gave greater scores to the Triumph doesn’t mean it’s better… priceless

      • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

        Oh My!

  • Rick Vera

    I definitely enjoyed this review. The biggest thing that I notice, however, when I ride a Victory is their lackluster engine feel. I’ve ridden Suzuki to BMW four-pots and love them and I’ve also ridden Star and Harley v-twins and love them too.

    I know cruiser engines, with their low compression, relative mild cams, and often a square bore, aren’t exactly made for high-end power—that’s fine. Even tuning it to get +90 hp out of +1700cc’s is, by all other motorcycle genre standards, sad. But that doesn’t matter. I get their under-stressed design philosophy, I get their air-cooled looks, and I get their purposely-designed vibration. What I don’t get is using a relative inefficient engine design that’s at least known for having a certain character and then not having any of that character; it’s the worst of both worlds.

    Victory’s 106 Freedom twin felt clunky, not rumbly to me. When leaning on the throttle at an RPM that’s probably a bit too low, a cruiser v-twin should confidently rumble its way to smoother revs. The Freedom 106, like the H-D Revolution and Star’s 1300cc engines (the only HD and Star engines I don’t like), felt more like piston slapping than anything else. Sure, you can just keep it up in the revs a bit more to avoid that, but that’s missing half the point of doing an air-cooled, long-stroke, < 90° v-twin engine to begin with. Also, the Cross-x bikes' air-cooled looks is completely wasted by having that ghastly plastic cover in front of it.

    If you want a more sporting engine character and you're covering up an area that would have a radiator on a water-cooled engine, fine, but then have a water-cooled engine of a more sporting design! You can have an air & water-cooled transversely-mounted V4 that would have the same look as this engine but doing something like +150hp at this displacement, even if it's "relaxed." Or just do something else wild all together. Now that Polaris has Indian, I'm really hoping Victory can breathe some exciting life into the cruiser market. Sport bikes have I4's, V4's, I3's, etc.; adventure bikes have H2's, I2's, Singles, etc., cruisers do NOT have to be v-twins forever. We can be innovative and unique without losing what most people like about cruisers.

    • Craig Hoffman

      Intereresting Rick! I appreciate your input.

      The V4 Motus is my end stage dream bike, alas, it is out of reach. Well, unless I say screw the kids and cash in their college fund ;)

    • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

      Or get a K1600

    • Kevin

      “…cruisers do NOT have to be v-twins forever.” I completely agree. There are plenty of people, myself included, that like the aesthetic of these bikes but don’t care for the potato, potato cadence (and vibration) that dominates the cruiser market.
      We do and have had choices such as the Royal Star Tour Deluxe, Rocket III Tourer, and now, the F6B, and I’m pretty certain the Valkyrie will spin off a touring variant soon as well as the CTX 1300. I believe Triumph missed an opportunity with the T-bird to build the bike you call for by sticking a 270 degree crank in a water cooled parallel twin.
      There is a big caveat to this however, and that is mass. As a R3T owner since ’09 I can tell you the bike has taken a real toll on my aging knees, quite to the point that it is still in the garage in May because I don’t feel like fighting with it. Back in Sept. ’06 Mr. Kevin Duke summed up the feeling I had for the Royal Star with “This bike reminded me of a 1964 Lincoln convertible, the one with the suicide doors.”
      If the manufacturers are going to ‘breathe some life into the cruiser market’ with a new approach to power plants they are going to have to address the weight penalties that they bring in place in the process.

      • Kevin Duke

        Yep, I agree that cruisers don’t need to be powered by V-Twins. But a big part of cruisers is always torque, which mean bigger displacements, which means heavier bikes.

        “I believe Triumph missed an opportunity with the T-bird to build the bike you call for by sticking a 270 degree crank in a water cooled parallel twin.” I’m confused. The T-Bird uses the exact config you outline.

        • Kevin

          To have used a 360 degree crank design the motor could have made significantly more power and given the motor a broader rpm range.
          Granted the low rpm torque is better in the current configuration but Rick appears to be calling for a broader power curve in the motors on cruisers.
          You will probably remember that the Royal Star really had no serious torque deficiency in spite of giving up a half of a liter or more in displacement to some of the bigger cruisers so common place in the decade prior to this one. Still the bike weighed 850 lbs. while the Road King weighed in at 812.
          I think they can do it, and I think the CTX 1300, as much as I don’t like the aesthetic of the bike, is evidence of that. Many people have commented, and I agree, that Honda made a wise move to expose the motor on the bike, so the argument that the V-twin is essential for the right aesthetic for a cruiser doesn’t really bear up, at least in my opinion.

  • Kevin

    “The chassis is about as rigid as cooked pasta.” “The brakes suck.” “A touring bike should have a cruise control.” These are all gripes I have used many times in describing the FLSTC. I wouldn’t look for change any time soon though, as this bike is a favorite among women riders and H-D wisely is trying to expand it’s share of that growing market.

  • Phip Nosiw

    Gents, I appreciate the professionalism and noteworthy details you put into your reviews, but think a critical factor is missing in these, and other reviews: the size of the rider/reviewer.

    As you are aware, motorcycling is all about balance. There is (among other centers on a moving motorcycle), a center of effort and a center of gravity, to use the common phrases, and the characteristics the combination of rider and machine exhibits will hinge largely on those 2 things.

    Without going into the physics of mass and motion, the final analysis of each writer would mean much more to many of us if that writer’s dimensions were included. Size matters here: the rider’s height and mass is the single biggest variable in a very complicated equation. A tall thin rider will have a different experience than a short, stout one.

    It would also be nice to know the fuel volume as well (or span the test from full to empty for an average), since 5 gallons of gasoline weighs about 6 lbs/per .(depending) and that can be an extra 30 lbs atop the machine, greatly affecting the performance and the righting moment.

  • W McGee

    Not that the Softail is out of place, but I wonder if the Road King would’ve been a better Harley representative in this bunch. Or do they only offer the King with hard bags now?

    • Evans Brasfield

      It’s only available with hard bags.

  • Kevin

    How much does it really weigh? Triumph has never come clean on the weight of the LT and it has been confusing from the beginning. The 747 lbs. figure stated here appears to come from conversion of the kg weight listed in the trumpet website for wet weight. The site lists the dry weight at 769 lbs. Evans, we had some discussion on the weight at the time of your press introduction report and you double checked the figures and reported a wet weight of something in the range of 835 lbs.

  • Kevin

    OK, I’m not trying to stir the proverbial pot or piss anybody off, but here’s the real dope. After some investigation I have discovered the actual wet weight of the T-bird is 836 lbs. as reported by Triumph in their press release package. That means the bike did not tie the H-D in the weight category at 100%, it tied the Indian at 60%. With corrected scoring the T-bird finishes 3rd, and it ain’t even close.

    • Evans Brasfield

      Kevin,

      I haven’t been ignoring your comment. I’ve been waiting for an official reply from Triumph about the weight of the Thunderbird LT. I wanted to find out which weight was correct: the one from their website (which I posted in the shootout) or the one from the press release (which you found). It turns out you were right.

      So, let me get out my knife and fork to eat a little crow over this mistake on my part. Mmm, yummy.

      Anyhoo, as you pointed out, this only widens the gap between the Triumph and the Indian.

      Thanks for keeping me on my toes,

      Evans

  • Jim

    These are all nice bikes, but I can’t understand why anyone would want flimsy leather saddlebags instead of locking, waterproof hard bags. The Harley, Triumph, and Indian bags look like aftermarket items, in my opinion. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could choose nicely integrated hard bags as a dealer option? Also, I wonder how my 2006 Nomad would stack up to these guys. Not too well, I’m guessing, but it performs the same function, and it’s been bullet-proof.

  • Richard Soapes Jr.

    I really wonder why the Yamaha Stratoliner wasn’t included in this competition?
    As an owner I’m thinking it would have blown them all away.