I reviewed the 2014 Triumph Thunderbird LT just over a year ago and came back mighty impressed. If you’ve missed that review, you can read it here. It impressed on various levels, particularly the fit and finish and the ride quality. Another one of its plus points was its competitive pricing.
However, the LT is the full bells and whistles version of the Triumph Thunderbird catering those riders who want a retro looking fully dressed tourer. The Thunderbird Commander reviewed here isn’t exactly a naked cruiser but has a very minimalistic approach compared to the LT.
As far as classic cruiser looks go, the Thunderbird Commander doesn’t fall short on any attributes. It has the beautiful teardrop shaped tank followed by the wide, plush leather seat that has Commander neatly embroidered on it. The pillion seat looks small but manages to provide proper cushioning and a backrest will certainly help the pillion cope much better with the acceleration.
The Thunderbird Commander runs on a wide 140/75 ZR17 tyre up front and an even wider 200/50 ZR17 tyre at the rear, which adds to its classic cruiser, looks. For someone like me who isn’t riding cruisers too often, it did take a while to get used to these on corners but within a few minutes I found myself scraping pegs. Further cornering confidence was provided by firm yet supple suspension setup on this motorcycle. Showa forks at the front and Showa twin shocks with five position adjustable preload at the rear do a good job of ironing out surface undulations.
All my spirited riding was kept in check by factory installed twin Nissin disks and calipers up front and a single Brembo disk at the rear. One thing I did notice that could have been better is that the sound of the engine was louder than the pipes. The stock pipes aren’t as loud as any cruiser owner would want them to be but then again, it’s the regulations. If you buy one, upgrade the pipes. It’ll be a worthy investment.
As on any Triumph I’ve been on lately, the fit and finish is impressive. The chrome tank ornament has a factory installed analogue speedometer and fuel gauge along with a LCD trip computer, range to empty and a clock. LCD functions can be scrolled through using a button on handlebars. The most useful of these is the distance to empty readout that will come in handy.
As with all Thunderbirds variants, it has the same 1699cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel-twin engine with its 270- degree firing interval that puts out an impressive 94bhp of power and a whopping 151Nm of peak torque at 3,550rpm. For those who might be unaware, this is the world’s largest parallel-twin engine on any production motorcycle.
If you’re out there looking for a Cruiser that doesn’t have to be loaded with accessories right from the factory and has a lot of room for customisation, the Thunderbird Commander is the answer. The windshield on the motorcycle featured here is an optional extra.
I found the Thunderbird to be a well-rounded motorcycle capable of handling short sprint city rides and a good highway cruise with ease. There is no denying that it has some serious competition in this segment from some worthy adversaries but where this motorcycle scores is the build quality, power and price.
At AED 83,500 it is more than just a few thousand dirhams cheaper than its closest rival and then again, you can boast about your motorcycle having the world’s largest parallel-twin…