Boring...not this bruiser
TOO much is never enough, as Roy and HG never fail to remind us. Triumph already has the biggest bruiser on the block with the giant Rocket III, but that doesn't mean that there is no room for something between the Rocket and the 1500cc Thunderbird.
So, meet the Thunderbird Big Bore, clearly inspired by the classic TV series.
As you may recall, the Thunderbirds TV show featured six machines. Thunderbird 1, which was a hypersonic variable geometry, rocket plane used for fast response, rescue zone reconnaissance, as well as serving as a mobile control base (thanks Wikipedia) is pretty close to what you get with the big bore machine you see before you.
The increased, by 100cc, 104 cube (1700cc) engine has plenty of bark and bite, enough to make small animals keel over and young children cry to their mummies thanks to that 270-degree crank thump and crack from the short free-flowing accessory mufflers.
Power figures over the standard T'Bird are up from 63 to 73.5 kW; torque is up from 146 to 165Nm and thank God for the backrest in the seat, because the faster you twist that throttle, the more you are forced back in the seat, so get those muscles pumped up as this muscle machine will require all the strength you've got to hold on.
Having this sort of power does negate the need for sixth gear.
We mainly rode the bike in third and fourth as the sweet spot of the rev range is 2000-3500rpm; any higher and you're pretty much wasting your time.
For $1195 (excluding labour) the big bore kit is fully homologated (when fitted by a dealer) and includes new camshaft, pistons, gudgeon pins, piston rings, head gaskets, cylinder liners, clutch springs and the “104 Cubic Inches” clutch cover embellisher which shouts to all and sundry to get the hell out of my way.
It also has a new tune download for the computer.
What's all this extra power for? It's there to bring out your hooligan side and make you wet your pants like a schoolboy with excitement and boy does it do that.
Fuel consumption was quite high, but that also has a lot to do with a lot of throttle input.
We saw 7.86 litres/100km in the city, but this would drop into the high sixes on a tour.
Triumph had also added plenty of bling to this T'Bird, to match the bark. All that chrome will blind those drooling on that nice silver paintwork.
Then you can duly deal with them as you should! Items that really make the T'Bird stand out are the chrome wheels, flyscreen, chrome swingarm cover, 'Chromeline' pegs and the drilled oval mirrors. As you will have seen by the full list, that's only touching the surface!
With so much go, we were kind of hoping the brakes would have a bit more power. The front lacks a bit of initial bite just as you want it while you're punching up near the top end of the speedo, and yes, it will get to the maximum, no problems.
Overall quality is fantastic and all that deep chrome is dead easy to look after.
The only piece that does need some hard yakka is the top fork yoke as it's alloy and will dull more quickly than the chrome.
In total this particular Big Bird has $7811.80 worth of goodies; with labour this would punch the total price, including new bike ($21,990 plus on-roads) up into the $30,000 mark. For what you get, that is quite reasonable.
Model: Triumph Thunderbird Big Bore (ABS model)
Power: 73.5 kW @ 4850 rpm
Torque: 165 Nm @ 3000 rpm
Engine: Liquid-cooled, four valve per cylinder, DOHC, parallel twin, 270-degree firing order, four-stroke
Transmission: Six-speed, wet multi-plate clutch, belt final drive
Consumption: 7.86 litres per 100km, premium unleaded
Bottom line: $21,990 for just the bike (plus on-road charges, accessories and labour)