Triumph Thunderbird 1600 Short TORs and Waffle

Decided I want a Rocket III, life’s too short to not go the ridiculous route occasionally. Anybody fancy a straight swap let me know..! Well… somebody might (pic at end of post – although surely the whole world is already familiar with this beautifully engineered 2.3 litre beasty). Unfortunately it seems that actually putting miles on a bike, regardless of how well looked after, devalues it somewhat – felt a little low so polished my catalytic converter and refitted it just for the crack.

Well – this week I’m celebrating 2 years and 22,000 miles on my Thunderbird 1600 (had 8,970 on it when I got her, so 31,000 now). Latest mods are the Triumph short TORs and 2″ risers which have, in conjunction with the Mustang seat,  transformed the bike further.

Also treated her to a Triumph locking petrol cap – more for aesthetic reasons than security – she’s never parked where I can’t see her.

The short TORs and cat bypass sound, well, awesome – may put a video up later.

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Click here for the Thunderbird Cat bypass article.

The 2″ risers along with the Mustang Day Tripper seat make this the most comfortable of the motorbikes I’ve ever owned (around 25) – at 6’4″ with a 36″ inside leg, motorcycle comfort has almost always been an issue requiring some attention.

Moving from the the long to the short TORs has really opened up the breathing – not only does it sound even more phenomenal (really bringing out the low notes) but low end torque is definitely improved and she’s pulling even better in every gear.

Living with the Triumph Thunderbird 1600

At nigh on 33,000 miles (as I type this update), thought I’d share a few pointers on the Thunderbird.
1. Switch gear does not like rain – occasional strip and PTFE spray resolves
2. Be prepared to clean those wheels regularly to keep them bright
3. Buy a belt alignment tool and check belt actually runs true
4. Change oil – I do mine every 4 to 6 thousand miles (10W40 Fully synthetic, K&N KN-204 filter)
5. Buy an oil-filter removal tool (I use Halfords metal-belt clamp) otherwise it’s a pig of a job.
6. Keep an eye on your cush needle rollers – grease every time you remove the wheel.

7. This weekend fitted shiny new drive belt. Pulleys in perfect condition. Interestingly, adjusting using exact procedure as always – Triumph Alignement Tool and vernier gauge – the new belt runs 3mm off the outside edge of the rear pulley – perfect. Could never get the old one to do that easily. £225 for a belt but at 33,000 miles per, that’s not half bad.

8. Handles much better than you’d think but grounds a little easily on tight bends. Faster than you’d expect, not super-sports league but that’s not me anyway.

Never missed a beat, rock solid, reliable, awesome, boat loads of charisma, more than fast enough, average 43mpg (at, cough, comfortable speeds).

Would still swap for a Rocket III though.

Youles Motorcycles Blackburn

I’m not going to visit Youles Motorcycles in Blackburn anymore – went to pick up some rear pads for the ‘bird and saw one of these. Much as I love my Thunderbird, this fired my loins…

What the hell - why not..?

What the hell – why not..?

Mr Pigs Motorcycles: a recommendation for bikers in and around Manchester.

Mr Pigs Motorcycles – old school bikers, first class mechanics, top quality work; have sorted me out on more than one occasion at short notice and incredibly reasonable cost.

Ian (Mr Pig himself) is a joy to spend time with; a Zen Master of motorcycle knowledge and always keen to proffer free (and invaluable) advice in his own inimitable style.

Sure – his sense of humour and style of delivery may be an acquired taste, but visit Mr Pigs – you will not be disappointed. Check out Mr Pig’s online reviews – if only for some light entertainment.

Their top quality ‘Mr Pigs’ logo is the only advertisement of any description that graces my bike.

Update: Mr Pigs to the rescue again – collapsed cush drive needle-roller bearing (known issue with early model ‘birds, took me by surprise though). Got everything out myself except the outer race – Mr Pigs managed to extract it with minimal effort, cost & little damage to my dignity. Fitted all new bearings with copious amounts of grease.


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