Bon­nie-beater

Snap up Tri­umph’s Thun­der­bird triple

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

We’ve been bom­barded re­cently with the bril­liance of Tri­umph’s all-new Bonneville, while its name­sake pre­de­ces­sor was also one of the best retro road­sters of the past 20 years. But many for­get both were pre­ceded by an equally im­pres­sive Tri­umph retro.

The orig­i­nal, 1995 three-cylin­der Tri­umph Thun­der­bird 900, was hugely sig­nif­i­cant for the fledg­ling Hinck­ley con­cern. Com­ing soon af­ter the 900 Speed Triple, Tri­umph’s wares up to that point had been solid and cred­i­ble but lacked charisma and class. The Speed Triple be­gan that change. The T-bird, a Tri­dent with com­pletely re­worked, retro-in­spired cos­met­ics (in­clud­ing all-new en­gine cases, new tank with classy two-tone paint, wire wheels and more) took things up a level.

But the T-bird was a lit­tle be­fore its time and un­der-ap­pre­ci­ated. To­day, with a lusty 70bhp triple sound­track, rugged dura­bil­ity, typ­i­cally de­cent Tri­umph han­dling and, es­pe­cially on early ex­am­ples, more qual­ity than most ret­ros be­fore or since, it’s an ap­pre­ci­at­ing clas­sic with as­cend­ing prices to match.

Later mod­els like the Leg­end don’t have the same classy al­lure while the later-still Sport, al­though hav­ing more poke, twin discs and im­proved sus­pen­sion to make it a far bet­ter ride, hasn’t the same retro ap­peal. A good T-bird, though, is a gilt-edged clas­sic.

Pre-dating the mod­ern Bonneville, the T-bird is an ap­pre­ci­at­ing clas­sic

Un­fussy, and sat­is­fy­ingly ana­logue, dash

Two-tone paint adds a real touch of class

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