Saturday, October 03, 2009

Junior and the Thunderbird


Meet Junior -- the new canine addition to our family. Seventy pounds of Belgian Sheepdog energy. At 13 months of age he needs a lot of attention, training and love. Time that used to be spent on the road.

And this is a Triumph Thunderbird. The latest motorcycle to appear in my life. At over 700 pounds and nearly 100 cubic inches of engine is needs a lot of attention and training too.

Junior (named by the breeder we got him from) is a smart dog. He's waiting patiently with a minimum of pacing for me to finish this post and take him to the dog park for some tennis ball chasing. My right arm is useless. I have gotten pretty good throwing left-handed but that arm is fading fast.

The Thunderbird is the biggest bike I've ridden in a long time. If the Ducati was a racehorse this bike is like a draft horse. A big, gentle but powerful Percheron. Lots of pulling power.

My agricultural background informs my metaphors.

Junior wants to go. He's losing interest in the rawhide bone. And later I want to ride. So stay tuned for what develops with the Triumph Thunderbird.


cpa3485 said...

Junior is a nice looking dog with a very expressive looking face. You captured it well. I just have to maybe wonder who might be training who. Congrats on the new addition to the family.

Sojourner rides said...

Beautiful dog and equally beutiful machine. I could spend endless time with the four legged one, but at 700 lbs, the Triumph is a two-wheeler I can on admire from afar.

Mike Simmons said...

Junior is a nice looking dog. Looking forward to more pictures and stories of him. Congratulations on your new family member.


Steve Williams said...

cpa3485: Right now I think Junior is in the training seat as Kim and I try to make him feel at home and welcome. But next week he starts obedience training.

Sojourner rides: We've been spending a lot of time with the new pup. He's a blast but I forgot how much attention a young dog needs.

The Thunderbird is big but I was surprised this morning how easily it handles. Nothing like I thought.

Mike: Thanks! I'm sure Junior will appear again here.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve:

Nothing makes me feel better tha petting one of the two dogs infesting this house. Congratulations on the newest addition to your household.

Enjoy the gentle giant too. It is a beautiful mastodon of a motorcycle. Should make for some nice fall cruising. I look forward to reports on the dog and the bike.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Charlie6 said...

nice big bike, weighs as much as my sidecar rig! but I bet it goes way faster!

Bryce said...

Didn't take you and Kim long to replace your previous family member!
And was also going to ask, how's
the father of the bride doing these days? Ditto the newly weds?
Now without a motorcycle I look longingly at other people, what they are riding and how they ride. Mind snow on the ground is not that far off either. :>(
Have to keep telling myself, it is
nice to dream of those times that once were, a Triumph would be good.
Motorcycle money for this fall went into a new 24" iMac and like you, a D700!

Ade said...

Beautiful dog. Beautiful bike. Have you seen those things in pet stores that look like bigger versions of those spoons for scooping up spaghetti? The ones with sort if fingers round the edge? They gently grip a tennis ball so can lob them for miles with minimum effort. If you search for "Dog ball thrower" on Amazon it should be the first result returned. It's called a "Chuckit" apparently.
Anyway - the Thunderbird. Thinking about your reply to my earlier comment about your thoughts on a cruiser, the technical jiggery-pokery stuff isn't (personally) what I want in a review. How it feels is much more interesting than how it works. For that, you are eminently qualified. And in this case, as a Brit, I'm particularly interested in how an American reacts to a British interpretation of a very American style of motorcycle.

Evan "JabberWokky" E. said...

I've always thought the lines of the Triumph are the quintessential motorcycle. The iconic image for a particular spirit, much more so in my mind than the more popular Harleys.

Hey, if you have any input on the subjects of this series of photos and stories, I'd be interested in your take as a scooter rider on Kissell's suggestions for starter motorcycles in the 250cc to 500cc range. The "just finished her MSF course" kind of bike. Often experienced riders are too jaded by power to be able to evaluate the lighter bikes.

emceedee said...

Nice bike, Steve, but I'm partial to Junior. Happy for you both that there is a new family member. Junior is a lucky dog. He looks so content. I am sure your endorphins are flowing in excess. The three of you are lucky to have each other!

Angelo said...

Very interesting face on Junior (3rd pic).

bobskoot said...


congrats on Junior, your new addition to your family.

I liked the "self-portrait" in the Triumph picture. ATGATT with camera in hand. I have started to do the same thing but in the hot weather of summer, it got stiffling with all that heat depending how long you stopped. It's easier with the cooler weather

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Sophy said...

You need a Chuck-it!-->

American Scooterist Blog said...

What a handsome new young friend you have Steve. He looks thoughtful even in the picture.

It must be nice to have a longer inseam. I couldn't ride most bikes comfortably that you've been able to test. But a Triumph has always had a part of my spirit too.

Thanks for the great writing and pics as always.


Yamaha said...

Beautiful! .. junior is a nice looking dog. Congratulations on your new family member..

Steve Williams said...

Jack Riepe: After the initial shock of having a young dog with us again Kim and I agree that we love having Junior with us. And as he grows he'll mellow into a good dog who knows how to mind his Ps and Qs.

The Thunderbird has returned to the dealership now and I have a lot of pictures and thoughts to get together in a post. Definitely a nice riding machine.

Charlie6: I'm not sure why but the weight of the Triumph Thunderbird is deceiving. It doesn't feel much different than the Bonneville. And it will go fast!

Steve Williams said...

Bryce: Kim and I just woke up one day and started talking about dogs again. I pushed more than she did though. The rest is already history...

Congratulations on your iMac and Nikon D700. A potent combination. That's what I use at Penn State along with an automated backup system running on a 1 Terabyte firewire drive.

I've considered more than once dumping all my film gear and investing in some new digital and computer gear. But then I pick up a silver print and go "whoa, that's nice..."

Steve Williams said...

Ade: I purchased a Chuckit. Nothing short of miraculous. My arms are better and Junior loves how far the tennis ball travels.

The Triumph Thunderbird seems to really be seeking those riders who want a cruiser, don't want a Harley, but still want something full of tradition and style. The Thunderbird seems to meet that need well.

I'm working on a piece about the Thunderbird which should appear something this week. I was pleasantly surprised about it.

Steve Williams said...

Evan: I agree with your characterization of the Triumph cruisers as embodying the essence of a motorcycle. They look how I imagine motorcycles in my mind.

I think starter motorcycles would be a great idea for a story. I'll talk with Craig about it and see what we come up with.

emceedee: Junior is gets more comfortable in his new home everyday and is pushing and testing limits as well. Kim and I are glad to have him as part of the family.

Steve Williams said...

Angelo: Junior has a distinctive look. I think he will develop into a fine model.

bobskoot: When it is really hot I will ride without the armored pants but a part of me is uncomfortable doing it. Not enough though to stop. When it's cooler I have no trouble wearing all the gear.

Steve Williams said...

Sophy: The Chuckit is great!

Harv: The new dog has changed things around the house. For the better. I'm actually getting exercise for one!

The Triumphs are pretty nice. I hope to ride a lot more of them.

Steve Williams said...

Yamaha: Thank you for your kind words of welcome to Junior. He's too busy chewing a bone right now to respond himself.

Kim said...

try 80 lbs of big hairy sock-carrying silver-shoe eating, passed-out-on-the-floor 2-yr-old dog. tomorrow he begins gardening. he'll be taught to lift a leg on the bishop weed instead of the hostas. the fugitive gardener before him claims even two applications of round-up can't kill bishop weed. wait 'til he sees what a squirt of junior potion can do.

re: his interesting face. when he sits with his neck elongated and erect, he looks just like the horse in the chess set.

He's a working dog now. The name is June.

Steve Williams said...


Good luck with his weed management training. He is up to speed with grasses and some herbs. The transition to Bishops Weed should be easy....