Any Opinions On The 2014 Thunderbird W/ABS??

OldSchoolGuy

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Was about to purchase a 2018 Speedmaster, but found a low mileage 2014 T-Bird with ABS. Looks and feels like a grown up Speedmaster. Color is Lava Red with Silver Shadow. With Viking saddle bags, detachable Triumph windscreen. Any thoughts about that vintage? Build quality, reliability, etc?
 

Qship

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As far as I recall the T'bird 1600cc were pretty reliable, as long as it hasn't been flogged and the regular maintenance was kept up. The belt drive system can be a hugh PITA to adjust properly to eliminate the dreaded belt "chirp".
 

OldSchoolGuy

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As far as I recall the T'bird 1600cc were pretty reliable, as long as it hasn't been flogged and the regular maintenance was kept up. The belt drive system can be a hugh PITA to adjust properly to eliminate the dreaded belt "chirp".
Thanks Qship. Don’t think this ones been flogged at all and looks like maintenance has been kept up. Hear that the belt drive is quiet and durable / surprised to hear about the belt chirp? Chirps when it’s loose, worn or both?
 

Qship

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When it's out of proper adjustment and rubs on the sides of the rear pulley, it chirps. Trust me on this one. Had a '14 T'bird LT up until last year. Any time you remove the rear wheel the adjustment will have to be redone. Pretty common topic on mant T'bird forums.
 

Linkdog

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Yes, it takes a lot of patience and the right tools. The trick is to have the right tension ( slightly looser than Triumph specs. ) and to have the axle square ( + or - .003" ) TORQUED UP. Most dealers and or people tend to get it lined up then torque the axle nut and not recheck, this thing moves a lot when tightened up so you must compensate for it and it takes a few tries. Tools needed are the Triumph alignment tool and a set of digital calipers.
 

OldSchoolGuy

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Yes, it takes a lot of patience and the right tools. The trick is to have the right tension ( slightly looser than Triumph specs. ) and to have the axle square ( + or - .003" ) TORQUED UP. Most dealers and or people tend to get it lined up then torque the axle nut and not recheck, this thing moves a lot when tightened up so you must compensate for it and it takes a few tries. Tools needed are the Triumph alignment tool and a set of digital calipers.
Thanks, Linkdog! Appreciate the further insight!
 

maxSteel

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Was about to purchase a 2018 Speedmaster, but found a low mileage 2014 T-Bird with ABS. Looks and feels like a grown up Speedmaster. Color is Lava Red with Silver Shadow. With Viking saddle bags, detachable Triumph windscreen. Any thoughts about that vintage? Build quality, reliability, etc?
I bought a well-equipped 2013 with 12,300 miles a couple of years ago. It's a beautiful bike, I've had no issues with it.
 

Xavier

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Was about to purchase a 2018 Speedmaster, but found a low mileage 2014 T-Bird with ABS. Looks and feels like a grown up Speedmaster. Color is Lava Red with Silver Shadow. With Viking saddle bags, detachable Triumph windscreen. Any thoughts about that vintage? Build quality, reliability, etc?
Big difference between a Speedmaster and a Thunderbird. Two completely different machines.
Mileage and cost shouldn’t play a role into decision.
Decide which bike you want.
Speedmaster going uphill with 2 people will cause you to downshift. A lot.

Thunderbird going anywhere with 1 or 2 up won’t make a difference. Lots of power to spare

I have a 2012 Thunderbird Storm w/ABS.
Never had a belt problem but the belt does drift to the outside. As long as you can still see teeth, you’ll be alright.
 

OldSchoolGuy

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Big difference between a Speedmaster and a Thunderbird. Two completely different machines.
Mileage and cost shouldn’t play a role into decision.
Decide which bike you want.
Speedmaster going uphill with 2 people will cause you to downshift. A lot.

Thunderbird going anywhere with 1 or 2 up won’t make a difference. Lots of power to spare

I have a 2012 Thunderbird Storm w/ABS.
Never had a belt problem but the belt does drift to the outside. As long as you can still see teeth, you’ll be alright.
Thanks Xavier - much appreciated encouragement and insight!
 

Xavier

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Thanks Xavier - much appreciated encouragement and insight!
Glad to help you cut to the chase.
See yourself in 20 years. Which bike do you WANT?
Steve
 

OldSchoolGuy

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Glad to help you cut to the chase.
See yourself in 20 years. Which bike do you WANT?
Steve
Again, great advice. No question - I see myself and want the bike with the bigger engine, but the plot thickens - just started reading up here in TT on the Thunderbird noisy engine issues (like engine or piston slap??) which may have been the reason for Triumph discontinuing the 1600-1700 cc motor. The 2014 T-Bird I’m looking at is a unique find. Bought “as new” last summer, with full 2 year warranty and a 1 year warranty extension from the dealer. The owner can’t drive it anymore, has hardly ridden it ,and as a result it has less than 200 miles on it. Verified, actual miles. So factory warranty follows the bike - good to next summer, extended warranty good through summer of 2022. Seller ihas had difficulty selling in last 2 mios, and is now asking $6700. He’s added: Triumph windshield, chrome eng guards, Viking saddle bags, and a JB Seoaker LED headlight. It’s in great condition and never dropped. Seems like a great deal.. unless I’m buying a problem about to happen, even with the warranty protection for almost another 2 years. Am I nuts, and stressing more than I should be over an engine issue that may or may not be an issue? Or am I looking at a steal and deal of a lifetime?
 

Slingshot

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Replaced the stock LT Bags with Viking leather covered hard bags. The engine "Klack" noise written about every where in most cases is top end noise from the Decompression Cam. Yes you will read about engine rebuilds only for it to re-occur. I may have written some threads myself complaining about noise, but I still ride it and enjoy it and I'm immune to it. One top mechanic at a well known dealer felt the "Decomp Cam" possibly could have been better designed but found nothing after a test ride. Use 20w-50w oil will lessen the top end noise vs 10w-40w. As mentioned above do get the Triumph alignment tool and vernier calipers or better yet a laser alignment tool. The motor is a beast compared to the 2 HD's I've owned.

Only you can make the decision, I wouldn't hesitate on the TBird. There isn't a plethora of aftermarket parts, but what do you need? Bird is fine as is
 

OldSchoolGuy

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Replaced the stock LT Bags with Viking leather covered hard bags. The engine "Klack" noise written about every where in most cases is top end noise from the Decompression Cam. Yes you will read about engine rebuilds only for it to re-occur. I may have written some threads myself complaining about noise, but I still ride it and enjoy it and I'm immune to it. One top mechanic at a well known dealer felt the "Decomp Cam" possibly could have been better designed but found nothing after a test ride. Use 20w-50w oil will lessen the top end noise vs 10w-40w. As mentioned above do get the Triumph alignment tool and vernier calipers or better yet a laser alignment tool. The motor is a beast compared to the 2 HD's I've owned.

Only you can make the decision, I wouldn't hesitate on the TBird. There isn't a plethora of aftermarket parts, but what do you need? Bird is fine as is
Thanks, Slingshot! I appreciate the advice and feel like it’s be a good move, especially with another year or two of warranty coverage.
 

Xavier

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Again, great advice. No question - I see myself and want the bike with the bigger engine, but the plot thickens - just started reading up here in TT on the Thunderbird noisy engine issues (like engine or piston slap??) which may have been the reason for Triumph discontinuing the 1600-1700 cc motor. The 2014 T-Bird I’m looking at is a unique find. Bought “as new” last summer, with full 2 year warranty and a 1 year warranty extension from the dealer. The owner can’t drive it anymore, has hardly ridden it ,and as a result it has less than 200 miles on it. Verified, actual miles. So factory warranty follows the bike - good to next summer, extended warranty good through summer of 2022. Seller ihas had difficulty selling in last 2 mios, and is now asking $6700. He’s added: Triumph windshield, chrome eng guards, Viking saddle bags, and a JB Seoaker LED headlight. It’s in great condition and never dropped. Seems like a great deal.. unless I’m buying a problem about to happen, even with the warranty protection for almost another 2 years. Am I nuts, and stressing more than I should be over an engine issue that may or may not be an issue? Or am I looking at a steal and deal of a lifetime?
Thanks for writing back. I think you’re stressing a bit much but that only means you’re not quite convinced and don’t want to marry the wrong bike.
I’ve been riding since 1977 and have only owned Triumphs. As I mentioned, my current bike is a 2012 Storm with ABS, which I’ve never used
Yes, I had some piston slap and it went away with a Power Commander V and a Dynotune.
I think it runs a little hot and the perfectly placed foot pegs cause the inside of my lower legs to get red and feel like a sunburn after a long ride.
I change the oil way sooner than your supposed to.
But I wouldn’t trade this beautiful, reliable powerful beast for anything.
Don’t get sucked in by extras. Personally, I do not like windshields of any type. That’s why I ride a motorcycle. If I wanted a windshield or a fairing, I’d be in a car or truck.
Highway crash bars are a good extra and Viking bags can be had for a very few dollars.
headlight bulbs burn out so no big deal. How much night riding are you planning on?

The Speedmaster has a more traditional British look and some of my friends say my Storm is a Suzuki with a Triumph label.
The wiring harness is made in Thailand and lots of parts are outsourced but it’s still a Triumph.
Not like a new fake Royal Enfield and sad to say but the new Indians are plagued with serious engine and electric problems.
The Storms feels great as soon as you sit on it, rides comfortably and with good tires ( Pirelli Night Dragons) will give you the ability to almost handle like a steetbike at low speeds. Then, if you want to get away from a bad cluster of cars, twist that throttle and BAM⚡. Suddenly you’re doing a smooth 115 on a magic carpet ride.
My bike’s sweetspot is 90.
Take it for a ride. If it’s right, you’ll know it.
If it feels like you’re kissing your sister, there’s plenty of other Triumphs out there.
 

OldSchoolGuy

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Thanks for writing back. I think you’re stressing a bit much but that only means you’re not quite convinced and don’t want to marry the wrong bike.
I’ve been riding since 1977 and have only owned Triumphs. As I mentioned, my current bike is a 2012 Storm with ABS, which I’ve never used
Yes, I had some piston slap and it went away with a Power Commander V and a Dynotune.
I think it runs a little hot and the perfectly placed foot pegs cause the inside of my lower legs to get red and feel like a sunburn after a long ride.
I change the oil way sooner than your supposed to.
But I wouldn’t trade this beautiful, reliable powerful beast for anything.
Don’t get sucked in by extras. Personally, I do not like windshields of any type. That’s why I ride a motorcycle. If I wanted a windshield or a fairing, I’d be in a car or truck.
Highway crash bars are a good extra and Viking bags can be had for a very few dollars.
headlight bulbs burn out so no big deal. How much night riding are you planning on?

The Speedmaster has a more traditional British look and some of my friends say my Storm is a Suzuki with a Triumph label.
The wiring harness is made in Thailand and lots of parts are outsourced but it’s still a Triumph.
Not like a new fake Royal Enfield and sad to say but the new Indians are plagued with serious engine and electric problems.
The Storms feels great as soon as you sit on it, rides comfortably and with good tires ( Pirelli Night Dragons) will give you the ability to almost handle like a steetbike at low speeds. Then, if you want to get away from a bad cluster of cars, twist that throttle and BAM⚡. Suddenly you’re doing a smooth 115 on a magic carpet ride.
My bike’s sweetspot is 90.
Take it for a ride. If it’s right, you’ll know it.
If it feels like you’re kissing your sister, there’s plenty of other Triumphs out there.
You’re funny - thanks for the candor! I love your enthusiasm for the brand and bike. Interesting personal note - I’m new to riding in the past 2 years. Not young - I’m a youthful 62 year old going through late midlife. Was very comfortable on my first bike, a Honda CB1100, but have always loved the classy look of Triumphs. Have driven both the Bonne T100 and 120, but want something larger and more capable to carry a passenger (I.e. my wife). Have recently been drawn to the cruiser style vs a standard retro street bike. The TBird is gorgeous and I may end up kissing it passionately - not like a sister. I’ll keep you posted.
 

Qship

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I would not be concerned about the piston slap/ decomp cam issues. The 1600cc T'birds were not prone to this if I recall correctly. Almost always the 1700cc Storm, LT or Commander or maybe the T'bird with the big bore kit installed(1700cc). I had the LT and don't recall any harsh noises(other than two massive pistons moving up and down inches from my appendages). 200 Miles on it? I would be all over it myself, but it is YOU that must be happy so hope you decide soon and enjoy what's left of the riding season. Just remember you'll still have to finish breaking in the engine. Have fun.
 

Xavier

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I would not be concerned about the piston slap/ decomp cam issues. The 1600cc T'birds were not prone to this if I recall correctly. Almost always the 1700cc Storm, LT or Commander or maybe the T'bird with the big bore kit installed(1700cc). I had the LT and don't recall any harsh noises(other than two massive pistons moving up and down inches from my appendages). 200 Miles on it? I would be all over it myself, but it is YOU that must be happy so hope you decide soon and enjoy what's left of the riding season. Just remember you'll still have to finish breaking in the engine. Have fun.
Our riding season is virtually year round up here in high desert Arizona. Sedona to be specific.
No rain for 2 years now but for 3 months it’s just too damn hot.
 

Qship

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Our riding season is virtually year round up here in high desert Arizona. Sedona to be specific.
No rain for 2 years now but for 3 months it’s just too damn hot.
Lucky you guys. Would love to visit Arizona sometime. Was even too hot here quite a few days this summer for comfortable riding. Knocking on +40C with the humidity a lot. Not hot compared to you but skinking hot compared to what we normally get here.
Anyways, I hope the OP gets the bike he wants as our riding season is winding down on the Eastern side of the continent. Still some nice days left yet.
 

OldSchoolGuy

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I would not be concerned about the piston slap/ decomp cam issues. The 1600cc T'birds were not prone to this if I recall correctly. Almost always the 1700cc Storm, LT or Commander or maybe the T'bird with the big bore kit installed(1700cc). I had the LT and don't recall any harsh noises(other than two massive pistons moving up and down inches from my appendages). 200 Miles on it? I would be all over it myself, but it is YOU that must be happy so hope you decide soon and enjoy what's left of the riding season. Just remember you'll still have to finish breaking in the engine. Have fun.
Thanks for the insight Qship!
 
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