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Long time rider here, but been away from Hondas for the first time for the last two years. I very much prefer cruisers, but I'm tired of everybody and their brother's V-twins. Right now I'm on a Triumph Thunderbird 1600, which is kind of the most un-Harley-ish cruiser. But I think the CTX1300 is going to take that a step further.

I owned a ST1300 in the past; it was a great bike, but I just could never get used to that riding position on long rides. But I've always dreamed of that drivetrain in a cruiser platform, and now they've done it. My bank account is in big trouble. :eek:
 

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Do you have any pictures of your thunderbird @sleepngbear?
But of course!

Here's the day it came home:


And here's how it looks today:


I had a VTX1800 for 5 years (the longest anything on 2 wheels has lasted in my garage!), and just got tired of the pounding V-twin. As big cruisers go, the X was pretty smooth and handled better than its bulk would suggest; but it was still a big lumbering twin.

Around that time, Honda had pretty much abandoned the large cruiser market. That's about when they came out with the Fury and followed shortly after with the 'custom' 1300 cruiser line, which did zero for me (and apparently almost every other rider who didn't buy one). They had long since dropped the Valk and Magna, and they showed absolutely no inclination or intention of delivering what I really wanted, which was a full-sized V-4 cruiser -- something bigger than the last-gen Magna (which I did own for just one season), and slightly less land-yacht than the Royal Star.

I had completely given up hope for finding my dream bike, and it also became pretty clear that for the first time in my riding life, my next bike would not be a Honda. That's when my second choice, the brand new Thunderbird, got lined up in my sights. Triumph really did an amazing job with this bike. The stock 1600 has lots of low-end pull, and it's unbelievably smooth for a big twin. After a few hours on the VTX, it felt like the pistons were pounding on my kidneys; no such thing on the T-bird. But to be honest, it is eerily similar in many aspects to the VTX. Riding position, power, and handling are almost identical, with the T-bird actually feeling like it has more pull down low.

Strangely, because it's so similar to the X, it never really had that new bike feel. It's a beautiful bike and I love gawking at it, but in two seasons I've put just over 2,200 miles on it. That's a travesty. I don't know if it's old age, laziness, or what, but it just doesn't beg me to get on and ride. Which makes no sense, because it is a great riding machine. It honestly makes me sad to see it sitting in the garage not being ridden. Of course there isn't much I can do about it now at this time of year, so I'm hoping I can pull out of this rut in the spring, put it through what it was meant to be put through for a few months or another season, and make sure I still have the bug to ride before plunking down more coin on this CTX1300.

But to be sure, if there is a next bike, it's gonna be the CTX1300.
 

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Hey there Sleepngbear: I only just now read this thread, hence also the post you did above. Nicely done; I aspire to such good writing!

You set your T'Bird up very much like my own T'Bird SE, as you likely know. Which Triumph only sold I think in the first few years of the bike. I did add the extra lamps plus the engine and read guards. But on my doing only my second bike drop in well over 100,000 mikes riding, I learned the floorboards on the SE actually "catch" the bike!

...but let me tell you; my adrenaline doing the behind-yourself grab while knee-bending lift, couldn't have been more amped up! After all, I was in the middle of Jellystone, post midnight while they were doing construction. Had to talk them into letting me through. I'd come to a gate and was deciding what to do when I misjudged the road under me as I did a tight turn, plus with a tall and large tail bag. I was fully loaded, saddlebags and all.

But let me tell you, my visualizing a pack of wolves or a grizzly deciding I was their next meal, enabled my surprisingly easy lift. With CONSIDERABLE assist by our friendly Triumph designers build of the floorboards' literally stopping the bike from going all the way down. It wasn't easy at all but I did it on my second go. Without any unloading.

So my key reason for writing here now? Despite this experience, I had already become a fan of floorboards, which I'd never had before. If you've not used them, I'd strongly suggest you consider them for your T'Bird. Of course, you might enjoy the difference enough, that from your great writing in the prior post, I'd hate to see you less thrilled about the CTX1300. Including as I can relate to how you describe it a dream come true. And not only due some of my fondest biking memories hailing from the V65 Sabre I enjoyed when it set new performance bars back in the 80s!
 

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I did a little low-speed tipover too ... first one in many, many years. Doing a u-turn on a downhill, I misjudged horizontal and over it went. I don't know what it actually rested on, but it didn't go all the way over, so it wasn't too awful hard to get back upright. No damage, but best if all, nobody saw it.

As for floorboards, I just can't get used to them. I've ridden a friends Valk with aftermarket boards, and the heel-toe shifting doesn't feel natural to me. Ya know when there are times when you try something outlandish say damm, I've got to have that? Well, that wasn't one of those times.
 

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Thanks for the pictures sleepngbear.

I only wish that I was there to see it in person. Love the paint on it.
 

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I did a little low-speed tipover too ... first one in many, many years. Doing a u-turn on a downhill, I misjudged horizontal and over it went. I don't know what it actually rested on, but it didn't go all the way over, so it wasn't too awful hard to get back upright. No damage, but best if all, nobody saw it.

As for floorboards, I just can't get used to them. I've ridden a friends Valk with aftermarket boards, and the heel-toe shifting doesn't feel natural to me. Ya know when there are times when you try something outlandish say damm, I've got to have that? Well, that wasn't one of those times.
I take your point on the heel-toe shifting. I don't actually use 'em. And happily for me, at least, I don't find the positioning disrupts the space I like having on that board, either; but have read on forums where some folks remove the shifter for that reason.

But as I just called out in that other post on the Valk and CTX 1300, the boards on the Bird allow me to easily stand up when I want to stretch or use my legs for rough spots, train tracks and such.
 

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Thanks for the pictures sleepngbear.
I only wish that I was there to see it in person. Love the paint on it.
Thanks ... the color -- and 0% financing -- are what pushed me over the edge.

Got to love what you did with your thunderbird. Even with those saddle bags it still looks amazing IMO
And thanks!

I take your point on the heel-toe shifting. I don't actually use 'em. And happily for me, at least, I don't find the positioning disrupts the space I like having on that board, either; but have read on forums where some folks remove the shifter for that reason.

But as I just called out in that other post on the Valk and CTX 1300, the boards on the Bird allow me to easily stand up when I want to stretch or use my legs for rough spots, train tracks and such.
I actually have tried standing on the T-bird's pegs (and the VTX when I had it). No easy feat, but I did manage to get my posterior up off the seat enough to prevent some major spinal compression running over a few unavoidable road obstacles.

BTW did you ever like the CTX700? I thought those were pretty sweet.
I do like what they were doing with it. But I did try 'downsizing' once to a Magna 750, following 5 years with the rolling battleship VTX, and it just didn't cut it for me. It was like riding a toy. That lasted a year before I took the plunge on the Thunderbird. But I really like what they've done with the CTX1300.
 

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Sleepingbear-Can you tell me what kind of windshield you have on the T-bird? I'm kinda kicking around the idea of trading my Sportster next season and have a couple things in mind I'm considering including both CTX's or a Speedmaster. If I go the Speedmaster route, I need a shield and your looks great. I'd imagine whoever makes it probably makes one for the Speedmaster also. I had a Bonneville that I absolutely loved but it was a tad too tall for me when stuck in the Boston traffic.
 

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Hi Scott,

That's a National Cycle Switchblade Deflector screen. It uses their switchblade quick on/off mounting system. I love it because I don't like huge screens, but it's enough to keep most of the wind blast off your chest with zero head buffeting. Gives me just enough air flow to my head to keep me comfortable in all but the coldest weather, which I don't ride in anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Can't deny that honda makes some of the most long lasting motorcycles

Never had problems. Honda fan boy!
Back in his riding days, my father used to say that Hondas thrive on neglect. Not that they don't love being ridden into the ground, too ...
 
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