2 Triumph's from Crate to Showroom Floor

2017 Thunderbird Storm & 2017 Rocket III Roadster

Yesterday I had the privilege to participate in the entire process from uncrating a factory shipped Triumph motorcycles to performing pre-delivery inspections and road tests to bringing them onto the dealer showroom floor ready for sale to fortunate Triumph customers.

My experience took place at Windy City Triumph in St. Charles, Illinois where I am part-time employed in the service department as a Jr. Tech. Teaching and assisting me along the way was my fellow Jr. Tech, Doug who is a wealth of knowledge and experience having done this job for a couple years.

JB, our General Manager gave us the marching orders for the day… “get those 2 crated motorcycles in the loading bay done and ready to sell!”

Sitting one crate on top of the other were a red 2017 Thunderbird Storm and a black with red stripes 2017 Rocket III Roadster.



The process began with Doug getting the forklift and moving the top crate onto the floor, and positioning them in the loading bay area with room to tear them down. Once situated we tore into the Thunderbird crate, cutting the shipping bands and removing the cardboard cover.

Most crated motorcycles and scooters look like these from the factory.

The welded and bolted metal framework inside these crates is pretty amazing. Yet none of it is saved or reused.

Front Wheel Installation

These larger cruiser style motorcycles are shipped with the front wheel removed and in a separate box container inside the crate. We use a frame and winch to hold the front of the bike off the ground, and above the metal shipping frame to allow us access to install the front wheel.

The Thunderbird comes with the fender already mounted, the Rocket III does not. We also had to remove the brake calipers before putting the wheels on, then remount them after everything is aligned properly.

Using a winch & frame to hold the front end up.

Here is the Rocket III in the hoist frame.

Here is the Rocket III with the front wheel and fender in place.

Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI)

Once the bikes have the front wheels in place we lower the hoist, unstrap them and roll them off of the crate into the service area next to the loading bay.

We then go through a series of steps called Pre-Delivery Inspection or PDI. It includes:

  • Unpacking the loose parts that came in the crate
  • Filling the batteries with electrolyte and charging them per factory spec’s.
  • Installing the loose parts which can include: handlebars, mirrors, license brackets, tools, etc.
  • Take the bikes on a 5 mile road test loop
  • Run the Triumph factory computer “Autoscan” application while connected to the running motorcycle ECU to determine if there are any faults or errors detected.
  • Go through a long checklist of every system and component to be sure everything is safe and to specifications.

We did find something that was out of spec on the Rocket III, which we were able to correct. Then I took it for a second road test to be sure!

The Rocket III undergoing PDI.

Thunderbird undergoing PDI.

Thunderbird undergoing a final Triumph Autoscan.

To the Showroom!

Once these bikes have been thoroughly gone over and the PDI checklist completed, we wipe them down and polish them up using Original Bike Spirits Spray Cleaner and Polish (great stuff!).

The manuals, extra keys and paperwork are packed into the owner pouch and delivered to the General Manager’s office. The completed PDI checklist is delivered to our Service Department writer.

Then, the bikes are rolled/ridden onto the showroom floor to be positioned and displayed by the sales team!

Rocket III after 2nd road test, ready to ride onto the showroom floor!


There is a lot to learn about the motorcycle industry and how these products get manufactured and eventually end up on a showroom floor! I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and see how it works from within and behind the scenes!