Snap up Triumph’s Thunderbird triple
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