Thunderbirds are go

A little tidying goes a long way towards restoring a classic Triumph to its rightful glory

WORDS & PHOTOS BY ROB DAVIES

The Thunderbird title has been used on several Triumph motorcycles since 1949.

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The first of its kind was a basic 4-stroke twin with a rigid rear end, turning out a claimed 34bhp.

Certainly, since those far off days, bikes have evolved into much much more, and this prime example from 1995 is truly FAB – if I may borrow an expression from the well known puppet series (did anyone ever find out what FAB actually meant?).

It’s only from this frontal viewpoint you realise that it’s a triple, and not a ubiquitous four
It’s only from this frontal viewpoint you realise that it’s a triple, and not a ubiquitous four

The Thunderbird morphed into different bikes through to 1982’s excellent short-stroke TR65 Thunderbird, and then of course as we all know, Triumph Meriden came to a somewhat ignominious end.

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Fortunately the Triumph baton was speedily picked up, and production recommenced at Hinckley using several old familiar names, and the Thunderbird, in a gutsier and larger than ever before form came initially with a three-cylinder engine and a five-speed box. It was manufactured, badged and marketed as a 900 (885cc actually) being completed in the autumn of 1994 and then launched in 1995. So this month’s featured machine is from the first year that Triumph went back to the period – or indeed custom – look for inspiration, and hopefully sales success.

Read more in December’s issue of CBG

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