The Triumph Thunderbird Commander and Thunderbird LT share an underlying chassis and are powered by the same massively torquey 1699cc parallel twin engine, but they’re two very different breeds of muscle cruiser. The Thunderbird Commander has the essential power-cruiser style and broad, dynamic riding stance to utterly dominate any road and ride. Meanwhile the Triumph Thunderbird LT is loaded with the easy-going, laid-back vibe of a premium classic touring cruiser, as well as a host of long-distance accessories.
The Triumph Thunderbird engines look every cubic inch a classic cruiser motor, designed with Triumph’s unique, big-bore parallel twin twist. But don’t be fooled by the air-cooling fins. Because inside is a modern, high-performance, water-cooled power plant with sophisticated electronic fuel injection and engine management, built with Triumph’s cutting-edge quality and durability.
With forged pistons the size of saucers, the Thunderbird Storm, Commander and Thunderbird LT’s 1699cc, eight-valve, water-cooled parallel twin is engineered with a 270° firing interval for a chunky, charismatic power delivery. Twin balance shafts soothe low frequency vibes, allowing the Thunderbird’s pulsating torque to be felt across the rev range.
At a colossal 1699cc, the world’s largest parallel twin engine powering the Triumph Thunderbird Commander and Thunderbird LT packs a mighty big punch, pounding out a remarkable 94PS and truly staggering 151Nm at 3550rpm. This barn-storming low down performance makes it the perfect engine for anything from effortlessly relaxed cruising across entire continents on the Thunderbird LT to cutting a domineering dash along today’s roads on the Thunderbird Commander. But with phenomenal overtaking power always on tap whichever gear you’re in, your Thunderbird is never found wanting.
Meanwhile the 1699cc Thunderbird Storm engine thumps out a fulsome 98PS and a simply colossal 156Nm of torque. It means the Thunderbird Storm’s low down power deliveries are specifically engineered to suit the chilled-out cruising vibe, but come fully armed with serious performance under the tank to lay down the law when action is called for.
The Triumph Thunderbird’s smooth, six-speed gear ratios deliver every ounce of the engine’s torque-rich performance, from the intense thrust of first gear right the way to an overdrive top gear for relaxed cruising and exceptional fuel efficiency. But with phenomenal overtaking power always on tap whichever gear you’re in, the Thunderbird is never found wanting.
The Triumph Thunderbird belt drive, with carbon fibre in the belt and a tungsten carbide treatment on the rear pulley, has a higher tensile strength than steel and ensures snatch-free transmission with high durability and almost no maintenance compared to chain-drive. And it doesn’t need oiling.
The Triumph Thunderbird's dynamic engine demands an equally dynamic chassis with handling developed as a priority, not an afterthought. As a result, all Thunderbirds can supply relatively high levels of agility, control and precision usually unheard of in a cruiser, with plenty of ground clearance for when the ride gets interesting.
Stylish on the outside, modern on the inside. The Triumph Thunderbirds feature chunky 47mm Showa forks with 120mm of travel. set-up and carefully matched to a pair of five-way preload adjustable shocks at the rear, with 109mm (LT & Commander) and 95mm (Thunderbird Storm) of travel giving the right dynamic for everything from spirited solo riding to two up touring.
The Triumph Thunderbird frame is built with a massively strong twin steel tube spine layout that utilises the engine as a strengthening factor, with optimised geometry to maintain user-friendly steering. But the frame also shows off the Thunderbird’s stunning parallel twin as the bike’s design focal point.
To match the Triumph Thunderbird Commander’s dominant presence on the road, yet retain its agile, user-friendly handling characteristics, a dramatic, fat-section 140/75 17in front tyre is fitted with a 200/50 17in at the rear, running on lightweight diamond-turned cast wheels. Meanwhile the Thunderbird LT features the world’s first white-walled radial tyres, developed exclusively for Triumph by British tyre manufacturer Avon. With a fat-section 150/80 16in front and 180/70 16in rear on stunning 56-spoke wire rims, they’re the ultimate in laid-back cruiser cool.
For guaranteed confidence leaning over in the corners, and to complement the Thunderbird Storm’s remarkable combination of low-down, cruiser style and easy, neutral handling, a pair of specially developed 120/70 front and wide-section, low-profile 200/50 Metzeler Marathon tyres are fitted to lightweight, five-spoke cast alloy 19in front and 17in rear wheels. The result is a no-compromise level of grip and feedback, plus the added bonus of that crucial fat-tyred look.
The Triumph Thunderbird delivers awesome engine performance. That’s why outstanding handling, in all situations and for all riders, is called for. The bikes are carefully developed to bring Triumph’s trademark light, neutral steering, easy low speed agility, and high stability and user-friendliness to the big cruiser class. High performance braking is also of prime importance, using twin Nissin four-piston calipers on 310mm discs at the front and a Brembo caliper and 310mm disc at the rear, backed up by sophisticated ABS.
The Thunderbird Commander instantly lives up to its name as soon as you get on. Wide, swept-back bars brace you against the world, forward-placed running boards and a low, deeply padded seat with double-layer, triple-density seat foam, settle you into a tough, yet laid-back, groove. If feels like you’re ready to take on the world – and win. The Thunderbird LT has the same footboards and deeply padded seat, but its high, pulled-back cow horn bars give a more steady, touring feel to its riding position. It feels like you’re ready to ride round the world – and win.
Being in control and being seen to be in control are what counts on the Triumph Thunderbird Storm. With forward footrests, double-foam low seat, and wide, pulled-back bars for a spacious riding position, they’re perfect for a quick Sunday spin, or comfortable on long trips, even two-up.
Style matters, which is why the Triumph Thunderbirds stir emotions visually as well as on the road. From mechanical highlights like machined cooling fins, chrome covers and careful exhaust routing, to the aesthetics of diamond-turned cast wheels or wire spokes, deep fenders, hand-painted coach lines and lustrous body-colours, each Thunderbird is built with the quality and detailing you’d expect of a prestige Triumph cruiser. So whether you prefer the LT’s classic touring cruiser stance or the clean, elegant style of the Thunderbird Commander, you know your bike looks as good to everyone else as it does to you.
Make your riding position fit you with a pair of Triumph accessory footboards. The chromed tear drop rider footboards come with either plain rubber mats or with chrome line detailing, and are available for either rider and/or passenger comfort.(Image shows Thunderbird Commander foot board)
For added day-to-day convenience or solo longer trips, a high gloss, hand polished, multi-layer chrome plated luggage rack, fabricated from steel tubing, fits to the rear of the Triumph Thunderbird and Thunderbird Storm (when the pillion seat is removed).
Made from high quality, hand polished, triple-layer chrome plated tubular steel, engine dresser bars are available for the Thunderbird family both to enhance and offer maximum protection for your engine or the rear of your Thunderbird. Supplied complete with all mounting hardware.
Longer trips on the Triumph Thunderbird Commander will benefit from a pair of sumptuous, genuine leather, top-loading panniers with ample 52-litre capacity. Includes chrome plated, Triumph-branded buckles and hidden snap clips for ease of use.
Covered with premium luxury Sky Renna fabric and with distinctive stitching detail, the long-haul rider seat delivers exceptional comfort over any distance. Designed to be installed together with the pillion comfort seat. (Image shows Thunderbird Commander Seat)
Available in long or short design, the High Flow silencer kit includes slash cut, tapered, triple-plated chrome silencers with improved gas flow for enhanced engine performance and a deeper exhaust note. Supplied with gaskets and replacement heat shield covers. Requires specific calibration to guarantee optimum performance. Off-road use only. (Image shows Thunderbird LT Silencer kit)