2012 Triumph Thunderbird Review


Triumph is an English motorcycle company that has been making bikes since 1902 and is still to this day. They make bikes with purpose and riding style in mind and to suit various types of riders, they offer several different types of motorcycles such as Adventure and Touring; Roadsters and Supersport; Cruisers; and Classics. The 2012 Triumph Thunderbird ABS is a cruising bike that has a tremendous amount of horsepower, torque, and speed, a very versatile suspension, a powerful braking system and all the comfort needed to enjoy long distance riding, mountain road riding, or run errands around town.

The Thunderbird is powered by a liquid-cooled, 1600cc dual overhead camshaft (DOHC), T-16 parallel-twin engine fueled by a multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection system. The exhaust system is a chromed twin-skin 2-1-2 design with large volume catalysts that are housed in a catbox, followed by chrome dual side pipes that taper off into megaphone tips. This system delivers 85 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque through a constant mesh transmission with six speeds and final toothed belt drive.

A powerful Brembo anti-lock braking system (ABS) in the front and rear and an all-around Showa suspension help make this big cruiser comfortable and safe on various road conditions. The riding position is comfortable for most due to a low seat, sporty handling, great balance and a firm feeling of control. This bike is designed for the old fashion cruiser with its features for comfort and engine for power.

New For 2012

  • 1600cc T-16 parallel-twin engine with a 270 degree camshaft that delivers a substantial amount of horsepower and torque and low and high rpms, 85 horsepower at 4850 revolutions per minute (rpm) and 108lb-ft of torque at 2750rpm. 1.85 inch forks up front combined with twins shock absorbers with five adjustment levels in the rear ensure that the bike is a comfortable ride when alone or touring with a passenger.
  • This big cruising bike is equipped with a braking system that lacks no amount of strength to stop it. 12.2 inch dual hydraulic disc with a four-piston Brembo calipers, combined with an ABS ensures a quick response and short braking distance.

2012 Triumph Thunderbird Specs

  • Model: Triumph Thunderbird ABS Engine Type: Four-stroke, parallel twin, 1600cc
  • Bore and Stroke: 4.09 inches and 3.71 inches
  • Compression ratio: 9.7:1
  • Valve Train: Dual Overhead Camshafts
  • Induction: Fuel injection
  • Ignition: Electric
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual
  • Final Drive: Toothed belt
  • Fuel Capacity: 5.2 gallons
  • Estimated Fuel Economy: 38mpg city/56mpg hwy.
  • Brakes (Front): Brembo dual hydraulic 12.2 inch discs with ABS
  • Brakes (Rear): Brembo dual hydraulic 12.2 inch discs with ABS
  • Suspension (Front): Showa telescopic fork with 4.7 inches of travel
  • Suspension (Rear): Showa twin sided swing arm with two adjustable shock absorbers and a pre-loaded spring
  • Wheelbase: 63.5 inches
  • Rake: 32 degrees
  • Trail: 5.94 inches
  • Seat Height: 27.5 inches
  • Curb Weight:746 pounds
  • Tires (Front): 120/70 R19
  • Tires (Rear): 200/50 R17


  • The Triumph Thunderbird is available in an assortment of colors including Pacific Blue & Fusion White, Jet Black, Aluminum Silver & Jet Black, or Cranberry/Phant on Black. The engine can be modified with the Big Bore Performance Kit which converts into a 1700cc engine by adding oversized pistons, revised camshafts, piston rings, liners, gudgeon pins, new gaskets, up-rated clutch springs and a 104ci clutch cover. A new muffler kit to increase air flow for more horsepower and better fuel economy as well as give the bike an aggressive growl. High quality leather saddlebags can be added to give the rider a total of 11.1 gallons of storage capacity. The bags have a molded back section and stiffeners to prevent them from losing their shape. The rider seat can be switched out for an upgraded 17 inch Longhual or Touring seat which would give the rider much more back support, help relieve upper should stress and give more comfort for long distance or advanced riding. A quick release sissy bar can be added to the Longhaul or Touring seat to offer more support for a passenger during long distance riding. The quick release option allows the rider to add or remove the sissy bar for any reason but when it is on the bike, it offers extra luggage capacity on the stylish chrome rack. An integral lock and security system helps the rider enjoy the quick release feature with peace-of-mind. Heated grips replace the factory grips to give added comfort during rides at night or in cold weather.

Key Competitors For The 2012 Triumph Thunderbird

  • Honda VTX1800N
  • Kawasaki Vulcan 2000
  • Harley-Davidson Softail Blackline
  • Suzuki Boulevard C90
  • Yamaha Road Star S