Triumph Thruxton 2004
March 18th, 2004 - Words by Neale Bayly - Action Images by Gold & Goose
There has been a lot of buzz in the press and on the Internet
lately about the new Triumph Thruxton and I have to admit to
being more than a little curious myself. I am a long-term fan of
the café racer, growing up in England when a well-sorted Triumph
Bonneville was still one of the fastest bikes on the road.
Though times have changed, I haven’t lost my affection for rear set foot pegs and clip-on handlebars attached to a lightweight, minimalist machine. It is easy to get lost in the hype these days with so many mega-horsepower machines grabbing the headlines, and it was a refreshing day when I got to sample the original Bonneville back in early 2001 for the first time.
Light, with ample power for spirited riding, it came with a taught chassis, good brakes and classis style all of it’s own. It re-defined the word “fun” for me, as I re-discovered the neighborhoods and roads close to home that I usually ignore while testing. I also distinctly remember sitting back reflecting on the possibilities for the bike, musing about upswept pipes, drop bars, solo seat, fly screen…etc.
The original concept of the Thruxton has been kicking around Triumph’s headquarters over in Hinckley, England, since 1996, when the Bonneville was in its initial development. It was more a matter of “when, not if”. But first the Bonneville, the Bonneville America and the recent Speedmaster had to introduced. With the overwhelming success of these models, Triumph designers were able to respond to the frequently asked question, “When are you going to build a café racer?”
The idea was a “no-brainer,” and with a rich, racing history to draw from, the Thruxton was born to commemorate the famous race bikes of the 1960s. More specifically the Thruxton 500 endurance race in England that in 1969 saw Triumph take the top three podium positions.
The project began in July 2001. By January of the following year, styling commenced and chassis tests were under way by early November. Less than a year later, the styling was finished and by May 2003, the photo bike was complete.
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