With a tap on the gear lever, I engage the transmission into gear (the final drive is belt-driven and also adds to the style quotient) and started to explore the unfamiliar roads on an equally unfamiliar bike. It’s a long and heavy bike with a wheelbase of 1,615 mm and 339 kg of weight, yet it feels manageable even at low speeds. Under me was a powerful motor that churns out 98 PS peak power at 5,200 revolutions per minute and a strong 156 Nm of torque at 2,950 revs, so I had to be cautious. This DOHC parallel-twin motor is pretty responsive, pulls cleanly from as low as 1,500 RPM without protest. Twist the throttle and the big-bore motor catapults the bike forward instantly, with thrilling strong mid-range delivery and a nice throaty rumble from its twin-pod exhausts. However, a louder pair of exhausts would have done better justice to the chunky motor.
The six-speed gearbox’s tall top ratio with the humongous amount of toque from the parallel-twin, which flows from low revs, come in handy when you need that instant extra power, be it while overtaking or simply when you want to experience the 1,699-cc monster of a motor. It reaches the 100 km/h mark rapidly and I am sure it would have carried on to the two-ton mark if there was enough road ahead of me. Although it might not be able to match razor-sharp handling of sports bikes, it handles pretty well by big cruiser standards. Although the suspension is on the firmer side, the bike feels quite well sprung, remaining stable and well in control through corners. Approaching a corner, it shed speed quickly and then smoothly powered out of the corner with surprising control. The low seat height and strong current of torque help the matters further. The twin Twin 310mm front discs with Nissin 4-piston callipers offer good stopping power, while the 120/70 R19 front and fat 200/50 R17 Metzeler rear tyres lend good grip and also add to the menacing look.
Triumph bikes have an old association with India and were extremely popular back in the 1950s and 60s till the import of cars and motorcycles was banned in our country. Priced at Rs 13 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi), the Triumph Thunderbird Storm comes with a rich heritage and should be a good cruiser option for those looking for an exclusive motorcycle which is easy to live with.
Story: Sarmad Kadiri
Photography: Sanjay Raikar