cruiser motorcycles

Triumph Thunderbird SE: Specifications, Background, Performance, and More

Triumph Thunderbird SE: Specifications, Background, Performance, and More

Some motorcycles are the ideal vehicles for exploring the open road due to being frequently linked with speed and excitement. Touring motorbikes are large, powerful machines that are ideal for long-distance travel while towing luggage or a passenger.

A tourer, quite literally, has it all. Its large but smooth engine makes it possible to pull two people and their luggage. Its road-oriented chassis provides fixed handles that complement the bike’s appearance and generous weather protection that keeps the bike safe when traveling over several miles.

Also Read: 6 Best Motorcycle Trip Planner Apps for Adventure Touring

However, what is now available and which is best? It might be a tough decision having to choose from a wide variety of motorcycles. This post discusses a motorcycle that is well-known in the touring category and comes with a complete kit that most riders need to get their touring journey started: the Triumph Thunder SE.

Continue reading to find everything you want to know about the Triumph Thunderbird SE, including the history, specifications, performance, and more.

1. A Brief History of Triumph Thunderbird SE

Triumph produced the Thunderbird series a number of times prior to the Hinckley era. From 1949 to 1966, it was produced as a 650cc parallel twin. From 1981 to 1983, it was produced as a twin model based on the T140 Bonneville (by the worker cooperative that acquired Triumph when it went bankrupt).

The Triumph Thunderbird motorbikes, which were once standard models, gradually transitioned into cruisers with floorboards and a foot-forward design like the Triumph Thunderbird LT. The Triumph Thunderbird 900 was the first Thunderbird released by Triumph in 1995, which is currently owned by Bloor Holdings.

The 900 Thunderbird was a laid-back “roadster” that boasted a reasonably sporty motor but only had one disc with a two-piston caliper, non-adjustable forks, and a 16-inch rear tire.

The Triumph Thunderbird 900 had a more sluggish feel when riding than sportier bikes like the Triumph Speed Triple due to having a wet weight of around 238 kg. In 1998, Triumph added the Thunderbird Sport to the lineup by adding a sportier look to its existing Thunderbird 900 model. The motorcycle was much tougher but was still very heavy.

Triumph put off production of another Thunderbird for a few years after the Thunderbird 900 and Sport were both finished. Then in mid-2009, the Triumph Thunderbird was born.

The Triumph Thunderbird is a cruiser-type motorcycle that, despite not being a dedicated tourer or bagger, has a foot-forward position. It is powered by a 1596 cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected engine.

The Triumph Thunderbird SE is a special edition or tourer edition launched by Triumph and came with rider and passenger floorboards, a detachable passenger backrest with a luggage rack, touring seat, and leather saddle bags, a detachable touring windshield with wind deflectors, ABS, and new carnival red paint.

Triumph continued to produce new Thunderbird models, with the last model being produced in 2019. Here is a chart that describes all the Thunderbird models with years and changes applied during the production cycle.

Triumph Thunderbird Models
Name Thunderbird 900 Thunderbird Sport Thunderbird Storm Commander LT
Year 1995 1998 2009 2011 2014 2014
Weight 238 kg, 525 lbs 238 kg, 525 lbs 339 kg, 746 lbs 339 kg, 746 lbs 348 kg, 767 lbs 380 kg, 838 lbs
Brakes Single 320 mm disc, two-piston caliper Twin 320 mm discs, two-piston calipers Twin 310mm discs, Nissin four-piston calipers Twin 310 mm discs, Nissin four-piston calipers Twin 310mm discs, Nissin four-piston calipers Twin 310mm discs, Nissin four-piston calipers
Suspension 43 mm fork, non-adjustable 43 mm forks, fully adjustable Showa 47 mm fork, Showa twin shocks Showa 47 mm fork, Showa twin shocks Showa 47 mm fork, Showa twin shocks Showa 47 mm fork, Showa twin shocks
Engine Size 885 cc Triple 885 cc Triple 1596 cc Twin 1699 cc Twin 1699 cc Twin 1699 cc Twin
Transmission Five-speed Six-speed Six-speed Six-speed Six-speed Six-speed

2. Triumph Thunderbird SE At First Glance

Triumph Thunderbird SE At First Glance

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Triumph Thunderbird SE Styling

Triumph designed the Thunderbird with Tubular steel, a twin spine frame, and tuned up the engine. The 63.6-inch wheelbase and 27.6-inch seat height were two crucial design details that were maintained, keeping the bike long, low, and somewhat aggressive. Moreover, the Showa 47 mm forks, which have a 120 mm travel capacity, were introduced along with the 32° rake and 151 mm trail. A pair of Showa chromed spring twin shocks in the back provide 95 mm of rear wheel travel and a five-position adjustable preload.

Triumph Thunderbird SE Special Paint

The Triumph painted the Thunderbird Special Edition with an attractive new carnival red paint job.

Triumph Thunderbird SE Powerplant

The Triumph Thunderbird SE is powered by a 1600cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel-twin engine with a 270° firing interval that is recognizable for its personality, sound, and power. For more power, you can improve the bike’s look with the 1700cc Big Bore Kit.

Triumph Thunderbird SE Transmission

Thunderbird’s engine is combined with a six-speed gearbox that has a satisfying, smooth, and precise feel on every gear shift.

Triumph Thunderbird SE Suspension & Braking

The Triumph Thunderbird is able to travel over long distances thanks to its flexible suspension system. A carefully tuned system that enhances the bike’s aesthetics. It’s ready to go, can easily switch between gears, and the rear preload is adjustable. Moreover, the bike’s brake system is impressive and smooth thanks to the dual front discs. The ABS is a standard feature for the Triumph Thunderbird SE.

2010 Triumph Thunderbird SE Touring Equipments

Thunderbird SE Leather Saddlebags

This special edition motorcycle came with high-quality leather saddlebags with molded backs and built-in stiffeners for better durability. The saddlebags can move in tandem with the rest of the bike thanks to the dynamic mounting system, guaranteeing that the vehicle performs as intended in any circumstance.

Thunderbird Special Edition Touring Seat

The Thunder SE is equipped with long-haul traveling twin seats designed to provide great rider and passenger comfort. This seat is a luxurious option for long-distance touring and is covered with high-end Sky Renna fabric.

Triumph Thunderbird SE Luggage Rack & Sissy Bar

The Triumph Thunderbird SE features a quick disconnect sissy bar designed for comfort and flexibility while touring with a passenger. In addition, the motorcycle is fitted with a touring passenger backrest pad that provides extra comfort. The Thunderbird allows you a convenient extra luggage room thanks to the good quality chrome plated luggage rack.

Thunderbird SE Detachable Windshield

The Thunderbird Special Edition features a screen made of polycarbonate that has been quantum coated for exceptional durability and scratch resistance. The shield has discreet Triumph branding and fast release, lockable chrome mounting brackets.

3. Triumph Thunderbird SE: A Buyer’s Guide

3.1 What CC is a Triumph Thunderbird SE?

The Triumph Thunderbird SE is equipped with a 1600 cc parallel-twin, DOHC, liquid-cooled engine with a 270° firing interval that is recognizable for its personality, sound, and power. It provides 86PS (85 bhp) and 146 Nm of torque at 2750 rpm, providing nearly infinite torque at low speeds.

3.2 What is the Top Speed of a Triumph Thunderbird SE?

It is estimated that a Triumph Thunderbird SE can reach a top speed of 120 mph.

3.3 What is the Weight of a Triumph Thunderbird SE?

It is estimated that a Triumph Thunderbird weighs around 746 lbs or 338.4 kg, including oil, gas, etc.

4. Triumph Thunderbird SE Technical Specifications

4.1 Model, Year & Classification

Category Touring
Year 2011
Model Triumph Thunderbird SE

4.2 Engine, Gearbox & Exhaust System

Engine Details 270° firing interval
Engine Type Twin, four-stroke
Engine Size 1597 ccm, 97.45 cu in
Compression Ratio 9.7:1
Torque 146.5 Nm (108 ft/lbs or 14.9 kgf/m) at 2750 rpm
Power 85 hp, 65 kW at 4850 RPM
Fuel Control DOHC (Double Overhead Cams/Twin Cam)
Fuel System Fuel injection with many points of sequential electronic injection.
Bore & Stroke 4.1 in & 3.7 in, 103.8 mm & 94.3 mm
Gearbox Six-speed
Cooling Liquid-cooling system
Ignition Digital-inductive type
Driveline Toothed belt
Clutch Wet, multiplate
Transmission Type Belt, final drive
Exhaust Type Chrome-plated silencers, chromed twin-skin stainless steel two-in-one-out catalysts in a centralized catbox

4.3 Frame & Suspension

Front Suspension & Wheel Travel Showa 47 mm forks, 120 mm
Rear Suspension & Wheel Travel Showa chromed spring twin shocks with adjustable preload in five positions, 95 mm
Rake 32°
Frame Type Twin Spine, Tubular Steel Frame

4.4 Body Measurements, Capacities & Weight

Fuel Capacity 5.80 US gal, 21.95 L
Wheelbase 63.5 in, 1613 mm
Width, (all-inclusive) 34.6 in, 879 mm
Length, (all-inclusive) 92.1 in, 2339 mm
Height, (all-inclusive) 44.1 in, 1120 mm
Seat Height 27.5 in, 699 mm, lowest setting if adjustable
Weight (incl. oil, gas, etc ) 746 lbs, 338.4 kg

4.5 Wheels, Tires & Brakes

Wheels Cast aluminum alloy five-spoke
Tire, Front 120/70-R19
Brakes, Front Double disc
Diameter 12.2 in, 310 mm
Tire, Rear 200/50-R17
Brakes, Rear Single disc
Diameter 12.2 in, 310 mm

4.6 Instruments, Starter & Color Options

Instruments Analogue speedometer with an integrated rev counter, clock, fuel gauge, LCD trip computer, and handlebar scroll button
Starter Electric
Color Red

5. Luggage Options & Aftermarket Parts for Triumph Thunderbird SE

Triumph designed the Thunderbird SE with all the standard features that you need to set out on a tour. The company also gave Thunderbird over 100 additional accessories for owners to customize their vehicles with. The character and design of this award-winning motorbike can be further enhanced by Triumph’s Genuine Accessories.

The Triumph Thunderbird SE’s accessories allow you to transform this bike into a soft touring bagger or a stripped-down street road suitable for daily cruising. While touring, you also have the option to attach luggage to the bike for carrying your belongings. Adding extra storage capacity to your motorcycle provides you with a hassle-free touring experience.

Also Read: 10 Essential Motorcycle Touring Apps for All Riders

Riders love the factory-built parts on their Triumph Thunderbird SE but many want to replace them with more desirable ones. For example, you can replace the leather saddlebags with hard saddlebags to provide even more storage room and can instantly improve the look of your bike. Always choose a brand like Viking Bags for reliable add-ons for your favorite motorcycles. You can browse for handlebars, crash bars, fairings, and more for your Triumph Thunderbird SE.

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