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Triumph Thunderbird 1699cc (Storm, LT, Commander) Maintenance Schedule

Triumph Thunderbird Commander 9

This is the maintenance schedule with associated service intervals for the Triumph Thunderbird motorcycles with a 1699cc engine.

Triumph revived the Thunderbird brand name from 2009 with the original (Hinckley) Triumph Thunderbird.

But they made their first 1699cc Thunderbird with the Triumph Thunderbird Storm in 2011, making standard the big bore kit that was previously an option on the Triumph Thunderbird Storm of the prior year.

The Triumph Thunderbird LT and Commander variants were produced from 2014. The Commander and LT have different style and features, as well as a slightly detuned motor compared to the Storm.

  • The Storm (2011)+ is blacked out and tough looking, and has a more powerful motor.
  • The Commander (2014+) has more chrome and has a narrower front tyre, and a different rake angle.
  • The LT (2014+) has a windscreen, floorboards, and bags, and is heavier.

In terms of maintenance, the Triumph Thunderbirds of this period are a same. All the engines share a 1699cc (1700cc, let’s say) liquid-cooled parallel twin, with dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder. They all drive the wheel through a 6-speed transmission and a belt drive.

Between the three, the Triumph Thunderbird LT was the more popular motorcycle. Reviewers said the Commander had poorer handling, and owners said the Commander was less comfortable. In the world of big cruisers, comfort is everything!

There was also the Triumph Thunderbird Nightstorm. Even more black!

Maintenance Schedule for Triumph Thunderbird 1699cc motorcycles

The maintenance schedule for the Triumph Thunderbird is best considered in three parts: daily checks, belt maintenance, and periodic maintenance.

Daily checks

Do these checks on your Triumph Thunderbird before every ride.

Triumph Thunderbird — Daily / pre-ride checks
Engine – check for leaks
Throttle cables – check/ adjust
Coolant level – check/adjust
Fuel system – check for leaks, chafing etc.
Lights, instruments and electrical systems – check
Steering – check for free operation
Forks – check for leaks/smooth operation
Brake fluid levels – check
Brake pads – check wear levels
Drive belt tension – check and adjust (daily / per the schedule below)
Wheels – inspect for damage
Tyre wear/tyre damage – check
Tyre pressures – check/ adjust
Fasteners – inspect visually for security
Clutch cable – check/adjust
Side stand – check operation
Triumph Thunderbird 1699cc daily checks

Drive belt tension

Check the drive belt tension every 2500 miles / 4000 km.

Periodic maintenance

Below is the maintenance schedule for the Triumph Thunderbird.

Notes

  • The break-in schedule is not shown as this motorcycle is no longer produced new.
  • At the end of the maintenance schedule, keep following it in the pattern shown.
  • Include the daily checks above in all maintenance services.
mi x 10006121824
km x 100010203040Every
Engine oil – renew Year
Engine oil filter – renewYear
Valve clearances – check
Air cleaner – renew
Autoscan – carry out a full Autoscan using the Triumph diagnostic toolYear
ABS ECM – check for stored DTCsYear
Spark plugs – check
Spark plugs – renew
Throttle bodies – balanceYear
Cooling system – check for leaks, chafing etc.Year
Coolant – renew
Headstock bearings – check/adjustYear
Headstock bearings – lubricate
Fork oil – renew
Brake fluid – renew2 years
Brake calipers – check for fluid leaks and seized pistonsYear
Brake master cylinders – check for fluid leaksYear
Wheel and belt pulley bearings – check for wear/smooth operationYear
Exhaust butterfly valve cables – check/adjustYear
Fuel and evaporative loss hoses (if fitted) – renew4 years
Triumph Thunderbird 1699cc maintenance schedule

About the Triumph Thunderbird 1700

Triumph Thunderbird Storm 1700 static LHS outdoor

Triumph has always made a huge range of motorcycles. They make racy sportbikes, upright standards, and massive cruisers, and the Thunderbird range fits into this last category.

The Thunderbird 1699 cc range made its appearance first in 2009 and it has been popular ever since. They’re well-built, good-looking, and very reliable. (Purely from a maintenance perspective, I personally love having a parallel twin rather than a V — it’s just easier to get at the one cylinder head, and there are fewer gaskets to fail.)

Triumph’s Thunderbird evolved into the Storm, and now to the LT and Commander. All of the Thunderbird motorcycles share the same basic platform of a 1699 cc parallel twin with a 270-degree crankshaft. The engine is a DOHC 4-valve-per-cylinder motor that’s liquid-cooled, and it puts power down through a belt (much like many other big cruisers).

The engine puts down 73 kW (98 hp) @ 5,200 rpm, but what’s more impressive is the torque figure — 156 Nm (115 ft-lb), peaking at a low, low 2950 rpm. A lot of torque is available earlier than that, too. So the Triumph Thunderbird definitely has the ability to spin the wheels and make a lot of noise, just like the big V-twin cruisers from which it’s trying to take attention.

Like other cruisers, the Thunderbird has a very low 700mm (27.6 in) seat height, which makes it very easy to ride for a broad spectrum of users.

All motorcycles in the Thunderbird range share a big-bore liquid-cooled DOHC parallel twin configuration, and all the engines have a 270-degree firing interval. They put power down through a six-speed transmission and a belt drive. But there are some spec differences — see below.

See the specs below for comparison. The 1600cc Thunderbird is shown too for comparison’s sake.

ModelThunderbird (for comparison)Thunderbird StormCommanderLT
Years2010201120142014
Engine capacity1596 cc1699 cc1699 cc1699 cc
Peak power84.5 PS / 83.3 bhp / 62 kW @ 4800 rpm98 PS / 97 bhp / 72 kW @ 5200 rpm94 PS / 93 bhp / 69 kW @ 5400 rpm94 PS / 93 bhp / 69 kW @ 5400 rpm
Peak torque149.5 Nm / 110 ft-lbs @ 2400rpm156 Nm / 115 ft-lbs @ 2950 rpm151 Nm / 111 ft-lb @ 3500 rpm151 Nm / 111 ft-lb @ 3500 rpm
Wheel /tyre typeCast rims, tubeless tyresCast rims, tubeless tyresCast rims, tubeless tyresWire-spoked, tube tyres
Front tyre120/70 ZR 19120/70 R 19140/75 ZR 17150/80 R 16
Rear tyre200/50 ZR 17200/50 R 17200/50 ZR 15180/70 R 16
StuffBags, backrest, Wind shield, more lights
Wet weight339 kg (746 lb)339 kg (746 lb)348 kg (767 lb)380 kg (838 lb)
Comparing the Thunderbird range

The specifications above are as claimed by the manual, though it does differ slightly regionally.

Triumph Thunderbird Commander Static RHS front 3-4

The Thunderbird motorcycles all share Showa 47mm forks, and a Showa shock with adjustable preload. Brakes are twin 310mm floating discs, with Nissin 4-piston fixed calipers up front, and a Brembo 2-piston caliper at the rear, also on a 310mm disc.

Electronics are light — ABS is an option (standard in some markets), with an analogue speedo/rev counter and an LCD trip computer. It’s enough!

The tyre sizes and types changed throughout the Triumph Thunderbird range. Of course, there’s some flexibility in what can be fitted, other than that the tubed spoked wheels on the LT need a tyre that can handle tubes.

Triumph discontinued the Thunderbird range of motorcycles after the 2018 model year, focusing thereafter on the Triumph Rocket 3 line as their big-bore cruisers.

Manual for the Triumph Thunderbird LT and Commander

Triumph Thunderbird LT Maintenance Schedule Screenshot From Manual

The above maintenance schedule comes directly from the user’s manual for the Triumph Thunderbird LT, which is available on the Triumph website.

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