Thursday, 29 April 2010

Triumph Thunderbird 1600 - Test Ride

Yes dudes! I have finally got on the new Thunderbird, thanx to the Blue Days that Triumph organize to lend us the bikes. I know it doesn't sound like a proper review made by a magazine with a stunt rider and a week with the bike but... this is probably the worst blog ever so don't ask for more.

I went to the shop in Malaga and saw all the new bikes in there and the staff receiving the riders and I knew for sure I was going to ride the beast. Before I found quite difficult to get in the schedulle as it seemed to be many people wanting to ride the bikes. I saw the bike in person for the first time, it was next to a Rocket III Roadster (what a bike!) and what impressed me most was the size. When you look at it and you know the numbers it does look smaller than expected. However, with a closer look you see the tank, the wheels and everything and they're huge but proportion is a concept they've really used for Triumph bikes.

After a few minutes of admiration of the bike I sat on it. We were in the centre of Malaga with a crowded traffic and many bikes ridden by whoever so it wasn't the safest environment but I couldn't care less. I turn on the engine and the sound was a bit soft for my expectation. I thought that riders who wanted more noise should buy a new pair of silencers... but once you open up the throttle fast everything changes. We rode from the city centre to a twisty road in Los Montes of Malaga and two riders had to go back as they couldn't follow us. The guy from the shop got the Rocket III and I was pulling right behind him (until the close corners) and we made a fast pace actually, I rode the bike with a group of Bonnevilles, SpeedTriples and a Daytona together with the Rocket and the Tiger so I rode it in a sporty way. My impressions were great.

At a first glance and knowing the mileage it can do (which I wasn't lucky enough to check) and the riding position there was no doubt at all that the Thunderbird is an excellent cruiser. It was so well mannered on the tarmac I thought I could overweight it with a lot of luggage and it wouldn't change at all. It handles really swift at low speeds which makes it a great bike for everyday use in cities. Actually, the only place where the bike must be the odd one out is in an off road environment. You feel confortable in the seat, the footpegs and handlebar are in the right place and everything could be found right. The console was a bit out of sight so specially for the tachometer, so you lose the vision of the road when you look at it. Apart from that everything's pretty much well done.

When you open up the throttle the beast changes at all. It sounds and behaves like a power cruiser and I would like to see it in a quarter of a mile race against the Rocket III, the V-Rod and the Suzuki Boulevard M109. Cornering is easy and not phisically demanding at all. I thought it was going to be harder to ride the bike but I can see Triumph has thought of everyone while designing it and no matter how big or small you are, the bike fits. I speed up a bit too much sometimes and I found that on close corners it's difficult to get the bike in properly at a first glance, but the bike would corner amazingly despite how long it is. It's not a sport bike and its size and weight matters but it bends much better than any average cruiser in the market.

It has a 200mm rear tyre that looks impressive on the bike. It actually have a great ass! I would prefer to see a trendy 240mm at the back but the bike handles perfectly so I think the guys at Triumph didn't think of a big wheel that looks great but also performance. They've done it.

The brakes work perfectly for a bike this big. I tried a bike with ABS system, the first time for me. I don't think the normal one without ABS is much different as I didn't notice the ABS work at all at any time, and I pulled hard the levers in some corners so the bike brakes very well. The ABS is an extra you can have and I'm sure you won't regret in wet rainy days.
So, even though I must admit I was quite influenced by the fact this bike was my favourite, I think the bike is probably the best cruiser on the market for several reasons. This bike is right in the middle of others in size, power etc. However, this is one of its bigger attractions.
First of all the bike is cheap if we compare it with competitors. It's cheaper than a Vulcan 1700 so don't even compare it with Harleys or Victories...
It performs great on the road and it cruises great as well. I think a Suzuki M109 or a V-Rod may outrun the Thunderbird; and a Vulcan Touring 1700 or a Harley might be better for cruising but it's difficult nowadays to find a bike that has everything. Would you go on a long haul trip on a V-Rod? Would you make a race on a Road King? The Thunderbird is capable of both things and that's its main character. It's a bike for everything.

Some say this bike lack character as it's too similar to a Japanese cruiser but I strongly disagree with that. The bike looks great. I know it follows all the typical cruiser concepts for a bike but it never loses its own british personality. Some say its too similar to Harleys but we all know bikes are all similar to others in a similar style. The Yamaha R1 is very similar to the Honda CBR1000 and go on with that. That's normal... but the Thunderbird sports a great engine which is the biggest parallel for a bike in history, and they haven't gone for another clone V-Twin like Harley. Anyway, didn't Harley took the idea from Indian?

In conclusion this bike is for me the best cruiser on the market right now no matter if there are others more beautiful, more powerful or more whatever... this one is the best in average of all.

Text by Axel
Pics by Lori

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Riding at roundabouts

Roundabouts are the new fashion in modern cities nowadays. They reduce the traffic lights that need to be maintained and controlled; and they offer a wide variety of possibilities as you can install statues or even grow gardens in their inner circles. For crossroads they are intended to reduce the danger of these junctions and to reduce the number of accidents. However, they represent another danger, specially to bikers.

I have investigated a bit about them, on the Costa del Sol are the solutions of all Town Halls so there's an issue about them. The tarmac on them is normally slippery and causes many drifts, specially on the rear tyre. If it's raining you have to pay a special attention to this if you don't want to fall down.

Grippin on the asphalt is a matter of the quality of the gravel used on its composition. The best tarmac is that one with stones big enough to make you stand on it safely. But roundabouts don't have this gravel and that's what make them so slippery. Instead, smaller pieces of stone are used to give it a smoother surface. The reason for this is not just that they want bikers to fall down or to see cars drifting and crashing... the key is the power of torsion on the tarmac, specially by the heaviest vehicles.

When a trailer takes a roundabout it creates a force that twists the ground. Even though the smaller gravel composition of tarmac is smoother, is also more resistant to this effort. So in order to avoid reparations in the future they make it so slippery.

So due to the heaviest, the lightiest have to suffer from this inconvenient. So take care on them, specially if the ground is wet or if it's the beginning of rain. Many cars crash into the gardens of the roundabouts and brake their engines there, so you would probably find many oil stains everywhere that will come out with the first drops of rain. As I see it, riding through a roundabout is like riding on ice, keep a long gear and cross your fingers!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Go to a far place on your bike, get in the water and dive... and live life to the full!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Ride safe on Easter Holiday mates!

Brutal Music

I perfectly understand how important rockabilly tunes and classic rock are for motorcycle world, but I sometimes think the bad ass and motherfucker guys like us should evolve a bit... let's brutalize our rides!!!

Long way down

I really like what these two guys are doing. Many say they have too much staff and help to do it, that with a huge budget anything can be done and so on... but the fact is that they've done it! I must say I enjoyed more the Long Way Round, but this one was cool as well. I know there are many different ways of doing something like this but... wouldn't you go with them?

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