1998 Triumph Thunderbird custom

Triumph Thunderbird
Triumph has used the Thunderbird moniker for four completely different motorcycles since WWII. The first appeared in 1949—predating Ford’s use of the name—and became famous as the bike Brando rode in The Wild Ones. Then came the short-lived TR65 from the early 80s, a machine that died when the Meridian factory closed.

The bike you’re looking at is the third incarnation. It’s one of the earlier Hinckley Triumphs—and therefore over-engineered and overweight, but also under-stressed and reliable. MCN was smitten with the engine in particular: “Wound open, it sounds like a squadron of Lancasters.”

This particular Thunderbird is a 1998 model from France, with customized bars, front fender, Akront wheels and a solo seat, and a custom paintjob. It’s also fitted with Rizoma mirrors and an exhaust from the French Triumph custom shop Mecatwin.

Small mods, but just enough to strip the bloat from the standard bike and turn it into a beauty.

Photo by Vincent Prat, co-designer of the Chanel motorcycle.