Triumph Thunderbird 1600




Make Model.

Triumph Thunderbird 1600




Four stroke, parallel twin, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder.


1597 cc / 97.5 cu in
Bore x Stroke 103.8 x 94.3mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 9.7:1
Lubrication Wet sump
Oil Capacity 4.2 L / 1.1 US gal . 0.92 Imp gal


Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection with SAI , progressive linkage on throttle


Digital, inductive type via electronic engine management 
Starting Electric
Clutch Wet, multi-plate

Max Power

63 kW / 85.6 hp @ 4850 rpm

Max Torque

146 Nm / 14.89 kgf-m / 107.7 lb-ft @ 2750 rpm


6 Speed 
Final Drive Toothed belt
Gear Ratio 1st 2.9875:1 / 2nd 1.958:1 / 3rd 1.536:1 / 4th 1.219:1 / 5th 1.029:1 / 6th 0.909:1
Frame Tubular steel, twin spine Swingarm Twin sided, steel

Front Suspension

Showa 47 mm forks.
Front Wheel Travel 120 mm / 4.7 in

Rear Suspension

Showa chromed spring twin shocks with 5 position adjustable preload.
Rear Wheel Travel 95 mm / 3.7 in

Front Brakes

2 x 310 mm Discs, 4 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 310 mm disc, 2 piston caliper

Front Tyre

120/70 R19

Rear Tyre

200/50 R17
Rake/ 32°
Trail 151.3 mm / 5.96 in


Length 2350mm / 92.5 in 

Width     947mm / 37.2 in (Handlebars)

Height  1216mm / 47.9 in

Seat Height 702 mm / 27.6 in
Wheelbase 1641 mm / 64.6in

Dry Weight

308 kg / 678 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

22 Litres / 5.8 US gal / 4.8 Imp gal
Consumption Average 7.0 L/100 km / 14.2 km/l / 33.4 US mpg / 40.1 Imp mpg

Standing ¼ Mile  

13.1 sec

Top Speed

188.5 km/h / 117.1 mph


The Thunderbird model has been very important to the history of Triumph. We have to go back to 1950 to find the original Thunderbird 6T, a motorcycle specifically designed for the American market. In fact, its name is derived from a native American mythical bird of enormous size with supernatural powers and a taste for human flesh. Just two years later in 1952, the Thunderbird became famous around the world largely due to it being Marlon Brando's motorcycle in the movie "The Wild One."


In 1981, the Thunderbird name was placed on a 650cc roadster and reappeared in 1994 on a bike with a 900cc three-cylinder engine. And now that the English brand is going through one of the best times in its history thanks to its growth in the global marketplace, a mythical name from the past is reappearing; the bird of thunder is back and rumbling from two cylinders.


Triumph is fortunate that its rich history allows it to design bikes without looking to outside influences, a strategy that has allowed the brand to enjoy great successes. So when the company announced that it would make a large displacement, custom-style bike to fill the gap that existed in its line between the 865cc America and Speedmaster, and the huge 2.3-liter Rocket III, we knew that its engine wouldn't be a Harley-style, V-twin engine.


So we're not surprised that the new Thunderbird is powered by a new water-cooled, parallel-twin engine that displaces 1597cc, with a DOHC 8-valve head. The engine makes 85 horsepower and 14,90 Kgm (108 ft/lbs) at 2750 rpm. For those who want more power, Triumph offers a kit that adds 12 horsepower and more torque.

Besides these stout power figures, Triumph's engineers have managed to tune the engine to feel and sound strong. Its thrust is direct and linear, as if pulled by a locomotive, and every turn of the thick throttle is accompanied by a fierce punch and an exhilarating sound of the 270-degree crankshaft and the work done on the exhaust system.


Another sensation we notice at the moment we turn the ignition key, located on the right side of the bike, is one of refinement. And one should not confuse refinement or smoothness with a lack of character, as any engine that has pistons that displace roughly 800cc each is brimming with character. The smoothness of the engine is achieved by placing two balance shafts in front and behind the cylinders, and by the use of an advanced fuel injection system by Keihin that has an oxygen sensor for each cylinder (which allows for constant optimization of the fuel mixture).


Aside from the all-new, T-16 engine, the Thunderbird also gets a new six-speed gearbox . . . a gearbox that has a tall "overdrive" sixth gear for long, high-speed cruising.

As we mentioned earlier, Triumph has always maintained its own identity and this is obviously reflected in the design of the Thunderbird. There's no V-twin engine or Harley aesthetic, as the Thunderbird is a statement of Triumph's distinctive principles. To say that its design is very British doesn't help much, and it also doesn't help that the bike isn't very photogenic. It is better appreciated in person, particularly the long exhaust pipes that are better proportioned in the flesh.

The design is of a muscular bike-a massive fuel tank that holds 22 Litres(5.8 U.S. gallons) and sits atop the engine is a striking element that makes the bike look physically wider than it is. The softly padded seat is set low, a scant 700mm (27.6 inches) from the ground and is set far back from the handlebars due to the large fuel tank. The foot peg location stretches out the legs and the width of the bike opens them wide.

Passengers on the Thunderbird will find a very small seat with only a strap to hold onto. But if long journeys are your thing, you should know that Triumph has a large catalog of accessories to increase the cruising appeal of its bikes.

What hasn't been so successful is the low placement of the speedometer on the fuel tank. What bothers us most is the confusing array of km/h and mph markings that demands us to lower our eyesight for a closer look, something we now have to do often thanks to the increasing threat of radar traps (overseas). In contrast, important and practical information is pleasingly displayed on the small LCD screen; odometer, trip meter, a clock, fuel level, and miles to empty. Accessing this information is as easy as pushing a button next to the screen.

One design principle we respect in the Thunderbird is functionality. The Thunderbird eschews things like wire wheels, a single front disc, and a long, exaggerated front fork found on many "cruisers". The braking system is a real standout in the cruiser segment. In front, two large floating rotors measure 310mm each and are clamped by Nissin brand four-piston calipers. In back, another 310mm rotor is mated to a two-piston Brembo caliper. The brakes are more than up to hauling down the 308-kilogram (claimed dry weight equivalent to 678 lbs.) bike without any trouble. For those who need more, a version is available with ABS.

The Thunderbird is a long motorcycle, which is the norm for this class of bike. The wheelbase measures 1615mm (63.6 inches), but thanks to the rigid chassis, cornering is easy and doesn't require constant mid-corner corrections. Aggressive riders will find the Thunderbird willing, but the footpegs will occasionally scrape the ground; one of the only reminders that this bike is a custom.

Suspension movements are well controlled due to the action of the thick 47mm forks with 120mm (4.7 inches) of travel, and the five-position adjustable (for preload) rear shock absorbers with 95mm (3.8 inches) of travel -- on the generous side for a bike in this category. Handling is lighter than one might expect in a bike that weighs over 300 kilograms thanks to a low center of gravity and wide set handlebars that give enough leverage to make maneuvering easy.

Having tested the Thunderbird in the city, on secondary roads, and on the highway our general impression is very positive in all of these environments; our only gripe is that we didn't have more time with the bike. To make sure that doesn't happen to you, you should know that putting a Thunderbird in your garage will require purchasing the base machine at a U.S. MSRP of $12,499 and the ABS model at $13,799.


The sound emitted by the two-cylinder engine and its long exhaust pipes is successful in bringing together the rider and the ride.
The low seat height combined with its wide handlebars and the 19-inch front wheel greatly facilitate the bike's maneuverability when stopped and at low speeds.
Triumph offers a large number of accessories for the Thunderbird, from touring accessories to a kit that increases power by 12 horsepower.