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They are rare and hard to find, and a darn sight better than the standard Thunderbird. I work at a Triumph shop but I've never seen a Sport come through for service yet - that could be a testament to its reliability, or the fact that nobody has them. There were a lot of recalls on early models, but later models are pretty solid.
 

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I put 38,000 miles on my 2000 TBS over a 5 year period. They are incredible bikes that fit any type of riding style. They will draw a crowd at any bike night and out handle many sport bikes. Outfitted with soft luggage they will run all day. I've done many long 7-8 hour days and the wife and I even rode the TBS to our honeymoon desitination and had a blast.

They sound awesome with aftermarket silencers too. I have since sold mine, as I was looking for a more "touring" oriented mount ( I have a Rocket III now) but I do miss my Thunderbird Sport very much. They also seem to hold their value much better than any of the other Triumph models.. :)
 

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I have a '99 TBird Sport. Love the bike. Love the triple engine. TBS's came with the 885 version of the triple, significantly less smooth and not as powerful as later incarnations, but quite adequate. Mine puts about 79 hp to the rear wheel.

Mine has the "off-road" pipes. A bit louder and significantly deeper than the standard pipes.

If you want to carry luggage, look for a 2000 or later model. In the last couple of years of production they lowered the pipes. Mine has high pipes on one side, making luggage near impossible to fit and making a passenger problematic as well. On the other hand, the solo seat looks better, anyway. And my wife rides her own bike, so it's not an issue for me.

Like all Triumphs of that model era, the TBS is somewhat top-heavy, but not bad. The transmission (a 6 speed) is as bullet-proof as the engine. Some owners have fitted Speed Triple cams of the same era. The effect is significant. Likewise, Speed Triple bars fit perfectly for a slightly more aggressive riding position.

Mine is also fitted with a small "bullet fairing" from Lockhart Phillips. Much better wind protection than the Triumph fly screen and gives it more of a "cafe racer" look.

Finally, there is a Yahoo! group devoted to discussions of the bike. TBS Sport Riders, I believe.

 

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78 hp at the rear wheel? OK so maybe you tuned yours but the fact is its not only the looks that recall the past with this bike. Motorcycle USA quotes "Peak horsepower on the dyno came in at 66.4 at 8250 rpm, a fair margin away from the 83 ponies Triumph claims is produced at the crankshaft."

(http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/Article_Page.aspx?ArticleID=82)

I am not saying it would be impossible to love a low hp bike, many do. And I can see charms of this particular one. But when giving purchase advice it would be appropriate to point out that its wheezy 66 and that´s it folks.

- cruiz-euro
 

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Actually, I find dyno wars a bit silly, especially since variation in dynos often amount to 20% one way or the other. I just reported the experience for my bike tested locally in the Seattle area.



Bottom line is that the TBS is quick up to about 80 mph. Cruises easily at 70-85 on the freeway and with the adjustable suspension set up correctly, handles twisties very nicely.



Are there faster or quicker bikes? Of course. More comfortable touring bikes? Yup. Is it as beautiful as a Norton Commando? Nope. Is it a Speed Triple in disguise? Well, not really, at least not compared with the current Speed Triple.



On the other hand, mine is rock steady reliable. The triple engine is a marvel of low end torque combined with high(er) end power. I love the looks of the bike and find it draws more attention than my K12 and Valkyrie when I ride it.



All in all, it's a nicely retro styled relatively modern British bike. Not a "true" classic, but then most "true" classics can't be ridden daily as my TBS can.

 

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A buddy here at work bought a '98. It's a RED one. It had been sitting for quite a while.



After he got the fueling issues worked out, he loves it. It is his primary vehicle.



The only problem is the chrome is not that great.



The bike never fails to draw admirers.

 

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I have a '98 TBS yellow/black with the high pipes and it is a very sweet ride. I also own and ride (a lot) a Ducati ST2 and a Suzuki DL650, and I ride the TBS equally with those two. It is very nice handling and has dynamite looks that never fail to elicit positive comments from cruiser and sportbike owners alike. I did the full Speed Triple + engine treatment on mine and it flat screams above 5,000rpm. The S3 cams do cause a loss of torque below that level however, and I went to Daytona 750 12.5:1 pistons to reclaim most of that. The stock TBS engine is very smooth and has most of 50ft.lbs. of torque at 2,000rpm with off-road pipes. The stock engine is actually better for mellow riding and real twisty, low speed roads unless you are comfortable keeping the revs up on a modified engine. The TBS suspension and brakes are Speed Triple spec as it comes stock, so no mods necessary there. Great bike, not a supersport beater all things equal due to 500lbs of weight, but it looks great, handles very nicely and has more than adequate power for 90% of spirited riding. I plan on keeping mine!
 

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Horsepower nazi? I must be only horsepower nazi riding a fat boy with 61.6 hp at the rear wheel. And I tell ya, its not enough. So the Triumph has 10% more whoopee. Its enough if you are content of put putting alone occasionally stopping to smell flowers and that sort of thing. But for example to ride with regular guys on a regular day, tsk tsk. I can keep up but find myself trying to anticipate the next quick getaway and be ready to whip the living bezeesus out of the bike, trash it. Not very elegant. And still have this "complete bloody cow" feeling every now and then. The analytical part of my brain keeps telling "hey bozo Valk dynoes 95 hp".



So buy the T-bird. There are many happy owners out there. But remember me the first time you think that well, maybe, just maybe, it could have a little more power.



- cruiz-euro

 

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Since buying a MV Agusta Brutale 910R, I'm not riding my ST4s except to charge the battery. I just recently borrowed a friend's '96 Thunderbird for a 2300 mile round trip to Lake Tahoe (RAT Raid). That bike was a total joy to ride. Hence, the ST4s is for sale. I had a chance to buy a '99 TBS for $3000 and I let it slip away (DAMN). I really love the looks of the Thunderbird series and I like the Sport for the 17" wheels and adjustable suspension.
 

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I envy you. But since you have the means why don't you get some good stuff instead of the run off the mill BMW and Triumph. Unless greenback challenged, why to go for "adequate". Rocket, Kawi 2100 and VTX would kick some serious butt.



- cruiz-euro
 

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I would get one but they are only available in the US. To get one in European Union would be a mammouth task. I would love to be the only Rune rider in the Europe. But no, when I get back there it´ll be an used Valk.



- cruiz-euro
 

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Hi chucker. I´ve recently bought a 2004 TBS, black/yellow, stainless, with 14.000 kms, 6500 eu, to a 150 cm lady who had the chassis modified to get to the floor! She was literally weeping her head off at the goodbye!
I´ve had to had it unmodified, back to original shape, because it had the geometry changed and had that nasty custom like feeling at the bends.
I´m in love with the riding and the looks, I´m still coming to a terms with the engine though, never had before a tri-cylindrique, it feels smooth but still kind of weird. The six-speed also seem to be too much, you know, too much clutching. I´m from Barcelona, by the way, sorry for my english. I´ve had several bmw so far, a couple boxer and a "K", later I had an affair with a sport bike, a Kawa, we split up as soon as I got a backache though. I also keep a Royal Enfield in India, one of the five hundred limited edition 500 cc. machissmo, my precious! I´ve been riding the Himalayas this year with it, awesome experience.
I´ve freaked out as I read your post, about the engine modification from the speed triple, is that really possible!!!???
I´m not used to bikes jargon, so I humbly ask you to give me a further explanation in a way I get it, what kind of modification is this?, is it worth it? what´s the feeling of the ride, it boost it up? and price? how many extra horse power can get it with it? And about the s3 cams... what´s a cam???
I read something about which air filters to use, K&N and so on, do you know something on this respect? I also wonder if it´s possible to find some exhaust improvement like arrow, and it it´s worth it, any idea?
Any suggestion is very very welcome.
thanks so much

all the best,

Luis
 
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