First Ride: Triumph 2014 Thunderbird Cruisers

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Triumph’s two new 2014 Thunderbird-based cruisers, the ‘Road King’ style LT bagger and the fat, reto-styled Commander, are currently being put through their paces for the first time by MCN Executive Editor Phil West in the USA.

The LT is possibly the more significant of the two bikes being aimed directly at one of Harley’s best sellers in America’s biggest market sector. It’s a serious effort, too. Although based on the existing Thunderbird, most of the bike is all-new, from frame, suspension, wheels, tyres, bodywork, seat and more.

And from our first impression, Triumph has done a really good job of it, too. The big, 1700cc parallel twin engine delivers both the character and performance to match anything in the class; it’s got the traditional Triumph traits of good handling and brakes and perhaps best of all, it’s beautifully styled and equipped, is very comfortable an is impressively good value, too.

The Commander, meanwhile (and yes, Triumph did know Norton used the name briefly in the ‘90s) is effectively a ‘naked’ version of the LT with fat, retro styling rounded off by Triumph’s twin-beam headlights. Being lighter and tighter it’s a fun bike to hustle (well, for a cruiser) and is engaging and cool, too.

Read Phil’s full report in this week’s MCN – out Wednesday.