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1981 650 Triumph Thunderbird

1981 650 Triumph Thunderbird

Postby ashman » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:09 pm

One of the best motorcycle I have ever owned and to this day sorry I ever sold it, in 1982 I wanted to buy a new Triumph and was set on a new Bonny but when I walked in the shop as soon as I seen the blue and silver Thunderbird I fell straight in love with it and it was $400 cheaper, it was made for the Amercan market with the pennut blue and silver tank, they also had one of the Euro model that had the bigger tank with a red and black paint job but didn't look as good.
This bike was such a dream to ride, it had the same bore size as the 750 Bonnies but 10mm shorted stroke, single carbie and drum rear brake, it was very light and started first kick every time, I ended up fitting a Joe Hunt maggie to it as I had a few problems with the points set up, yes it didn't come with electronic ignition, I owned. this bike for over 9 years and well over 250,000 ks, it never let me down in all them years, but before I sold it I did a complete top end rebuild, new valves and reboar but didn't look at the bottom end at all, this was a everyday ride, I also done a lot of long distant riding as I was single when I owned it.
Because of the shorter stroke it was so smooth to ride at any speed and it had no problems cruising between 120ks and 140ks all day even two up and with the Joe Hunt maggie was so reliable, the only problem I did have with it was the chrome peeling off the rear rim which got replaced on warranty at the time, when I did any traveling I replaced the small tank with a larger bread box tank that I was given.
I was told that the Thunderbirds there was 5 of them on the production line when they closed up shop when they were having problems, although mine was for the Amercan market they never made it there, I had argument with a local British bike shop once I told him I had a Thunderbird but he told me none ever made it to Australia, I was buying parts for my Norton at the time and I made a bet with him if I go home and bring it up to him and prove him wrong he have to give the parts for nothing, he was so sure of hinself and away I went a hour or so later I walked out of his shop with parts in hand and a big grin on my face, but he kept true to the bet, he asked if I imported it myself but told him I brought it from Morgan and Whackers who were the main Truimph dealers in Brisbane at the time, I also brought my Norton new from them years earlier.
I still have the orginal sales posters when I brought it hanging in my shed beside the sales poster I got with my new Norton at the time and everytime I look at it I wish I still had it, a few years ago I seen one for sale but the 650 motor was replace with a 750 motor, if it would have had the orginal motor I would have brought it.
Just throught I share my memories of that bike, I had a lot of fun on that bike and a lot of adventures.

Ashley
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Re: 1981 650 Triumph Thunderbird

Postby grandpaul » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:46 am

Only photo I could find as you described it...

Image
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Re: 1981 650 Triumph Thunderbird

Postby auldblue » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:33 pm

I am pleased you liked your tbird , I tried to buy a yellow/gold one from Les Cooper in April 81 after I had passed my test spent an hour and a half in his office and left about half three in a hurry to milk the cows he did not seem to want to sell me the bike. Spoke to an Irvine boy about four years ago who had a similar story about the same bike only he told him to buy a t160, and he did and still has it.

So maybe I should have been more persistent and bought the bike cos she sure was a beauty.

Jg
And he sayeth The meek shall inherit the earth,
But it's roads belong to commando 750's
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Re: 1981 650 Triumph Thunderbird

Postby ashman » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:44 pm

Thats the one Paul, I have a few old pics of my bike but they are on my old computer which has died on me, it was one of my best bikes I have ever owned, we don't realize how good they were till after we get rid of them, it was my only transport at the time when I was converting my Commando to the Featherbed frame, had no car I used it in all sorts of weather and rode it every day did a lot of 1000 mile runs on it visiting a good mate that move innerstate got married then a few more trips to visit the mate with the wife on the back.

My mate Don who got me into Nortons and Featherbed framed Nortons tryed so hard to get me to sell the motor out of it and was willing to give me a 750 Bonnie motor to replace it, but when Donny wants something he must have had a good reason as he was into building Tritons for racing, I never gave into him of course, it was because of the shorter stroke that he wanted it, when riding up steep climbes it always pulled like a train, it use to surprise a few of my mates when climbing the ranges on their Harlies, the Trumpy pasted them with ease and as soon as we got into the twisties thats where it came into itself and would leave them for dead, it was a very light bike to ride and the only mods on it was koni shocks, short reverse cone mufflers and the Joe Hunt maggie, only rebuilt the carbie once in 9 years and all I did was to replace the needles and jets from wear.

Ashley
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