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Discussion Starter #1
Over the last 30 years or so I have had Hondas, Kawasakis, and for the last 4 years, Triumphs. Any bike can lead to some nice conversations with strangers who have questions or comments, but my Triumph bikes (I ride the Thunderbird now) bring out a very different public reaction.

I can't even tell you how many times someone approaches me in a parking lot, or at a gas station, to ask about my bike. Usually it is to comment that they were not aware that Triumph was still in business, and that they owned one back in their youth (usually this is from an older guy like me, or one even older!). Just yesterday I had a younger guy (maybe 50) come over to admire my bike and remark that seeing my Triumph made him think about Steve McQueen, and how 30 years ago that kind of motorcycle image is what got him into riding. He then added that he owned a Sportster but hadn't ridden in almost 10 years. After looking and sitting on my bike (with my OK) he told me he was determined to get the Sportster back in working order and get out for a ride.

What often confuses those who know just a tad about bikes is the "odd" engine they see on my bike. I've been asked if it is a single (it would be a huge single with 1600 cc's), or an inline 4, or what is it? When I tell them it is a parallel twin they seem confused, thinking if its a twin why doesn't it look like other motorcycles, i.e., v-twin configuration.

I'll admit that the Triumph name, to me, carries a special significance. I am old enough to remember seeing "The Wild One" with Marlon Brando when I was just 11 years old and thinking that guy and that bike (a Triumph) was the coolest thing that ever existed. Later, Steve McQueen became my hero and was one of the reasons I got into biking in the first place (thinking that if had a bike like Steve, I would be cool and have an exciting life, and I was right!).

Anyway, I understand the allure of the old names in motorcycling, so I'm not surprised that Indian is making a big splash in the bike world, or that Harley riders feel a connection to a long history of riding, or even why riding a retro-Honda that reminds someone of the original CB750 brings a special joy to riding. For me, Triumph, any Triumph, fills that role.
 

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That sounds great vito, especially if you're the type that enjoys chatting with people about your bike. You've likely heard a few interesting stories of other peoples histories and "glory days" :D

My wife placed an order for a new Indian Scout, and just yesterday I pointed out to her exactly what you're saying. Be ready to have people come up & ask questions whenever you stop!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Of course the good conversations are somewhat offset by those who feel compelled to share their stories, usually second or third hand, of people killed or maimed on a motorcycle. I have learned to say that of course, motorcycling is more risky than being cocooned in a car, but all life is risky, and if some people are too afraid to ride a motorcycle, well, that just shows its not for everyone.
 

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You might be surprised, or you might not, how many older folks just want to tell you stories of their youth when "they used to ride". I usually see that coming when a 70 something approaches me at my bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Some 70 year olds are still riding.
 

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I had a 'friendly' little discussion with a much older man a few years ago that absolutely insisted that he had a identical Indian like I had back in the 50's. He didn't believe me at all until I asked him if his had a radiator or fuel injection and a driveshaft???? He finally gave in and was incredulous that the bike I had was so Indian like. My bike was a Kawasaki 1500 Drifter that was custom painted and had lots of 'old looking' stuff on it!

I had a brand new 2010 Triumph scrambler and it really fooled people into thinking it was a much older 60's-70's Triumph. It did look very similar from a distance.

I test rode a 2012 Triumph Tiger 1150, 3 cylinder and I was amazed at how great the engine was and sounded so cool also. That and my Goldwing may have the best engines in motorcycling--In my extremely humble opinion:)

Sam:)
 

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I ride a Bonneville T100 (when I am not on my CB350) and I am always asked "What year is that?" They think they are seeing a '70s something Trumpet. They are often surprised when I tell them, "2001."

Hey, Vito, does the Thunderbird also fire at 270 degrees? (both cylinders rising and falling together)?

Mike
 

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Questions I have about Triumph:

1. Are they still designed to be shifted from the right side?
2. If so, how difficult is it to re-learn how to ride?
3. Are there any other differences between a Triumph
and any other brand that we might be used to, to note?

-Soupy
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Assuming you were serious in your questions: They shift on the left like all other modern bikes. There is nothing unique in design of the Triumph bikes that would require any re-learning, other than possibly the location for the ignition key. My prior Triumph, the America, had the key location below the gas tank on the left side. My current Triumph, the Thunderbird, has the key location below the gas tank on the right side.

With a parallel twin engine, as opposed to the traditional cruiser v-twin, they do not sound like a HD or Japanese knock-off of an HD. Many Triumph riders buy after market pipes to make them louder (most commonly they buy the Triumph TORS pipes). Personally, I like the sound and relative quietness of the stock Thunderbird pipes and have no need to change them.
 

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Assuming you were serious in your questions: They shift on the left like all other modern bikes........

Quite serious indeed. I believe that Triumphs, years ago, we're kick start only (as we're many or all bikes earlier on), and that the Shifter was on the right side (where the clutch was, I don't know), isn't that so?

-Soupy
 

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I owned a kick start only Triumph Trophy 500 back in the mid 70s. Even then it was just like lots of other bikes except for the electrics. Mine had a diode mounted off one side of the headlight while it had an obvious OEM mount location just below the triple tree. After I switched it back to the OEM location it only took me less than a day to figure out why the previous owner had moved it. The full stroke of the front fork made the front fender impact that diode. After I bought a replacement diode I mounted it right where the previous owner had it. The Brits never were reputed to have good electrics. I ended up with a complete rewire of that bike after my second or third problem. They were great bikes otherwise.
 

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Right side shifters were designed for motorcycles that were used for flat track racing, such as the early Sportsters and others. Since racing on the flat track was basically one long left turn, this allowed the rider to keep their shifting foot on the high side of the motorcycle, allowing for a little more ground clearance/ room for the foot to be moving up and down.

In the early to mid 1970's, the US DOT required the standardization of motorcycle controls for production models sold in the US, so all shifters are now located on the left side.
 

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All of the early British manufacturers used right hand gear shift although I believe that some of the other European manufactures used left hand. It was only when the Japanese bikes started to make an impact in the early 70's that things started to change and British manufacturers even started offering conversion kits RH to LH. Those British manufacturers that were still in business were finally forced to change with the implementation of US legislation (as Dodsfall quite rightly put) requiring all bikes to be left hand shift. requiring this. I believe that Triumph finally changed in 1975.
 

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is the triumph p-twin as noisy as the other brand's? I just got a bmw with an 800cc parallel twin but you'd think the motor was on its last leg the way it rattles lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Many years ago I met an 85 year old who was riding solo from San Diego to Boston. I encountered him in Ohio and was inspired. He became my hero.
 

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The reason the R series BMW's engines sounded a little noisy is because their cylinders are right below your right and left ear.

The modern Triumph twin's engine is very quiet.

Sam:)
 
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