Triumph’s modern day incarnation of the café racer legend needs no powerful size nine hoof to kick it into action and won’t leave any oil stains on the pavement. It also won’t have you wobbling into the wrong lane should you meet a mid corner bump and will not require chiropractic care following every ride. In short, you have the look of the legend, without the nightmare.
Triumph’s Thruxton is based on the highly successful modern evolution of the Bonneville. This stripped down head turner offers styling that would look right at home parked out the front of London’s famous Ace Café in the 1960s.
Recent Thruxton models have been a little painful on the wrists and back with very low clip on bars putting the rider in an uncomfortable riding position. The latest Thruxton however sports turned down one-piece chrome bars that prove much more accommodating. The broad seat is well padded and provides a comfortable perch. A fantastic looking cowl covers a pillion seat that while not quite as friendly as the Bonneville’s broad flat pillion saddle is still quite accommodating for a passenger.
The 865cc parallel twin shared by all the Triumph ‘Classic’ range is now fuel injected across the line-up and is at its most powerful in the Thruxton thanks to hotter camshafts and a slightly higher compression ratio.
On the road the difference certainly isn’t very pronounced however as the Thruxton could never be accused of being well endowed in the grunt department. Triumph claim 51Kw (70hp) at 7400rpm from the Thruxton but I could not get the motor to spin that hard in any of the upper gears. Very tall gearing sees the mill ticking over at 3500rpm while cruising at 100km/h. Flat out it will hit the old imperial ton in fourth gear but won’t go any quicker in fifth.
The standard 18/43 gearing proves perfect for cruising but riders that like to enjoy the sportier side of the Thruxton’s nature will definitely benefit from going down at least one tooth on the front sprocket.
In the bends the Thruxton is a gem.
It steers sweetly, easily holds any chosen cornering line and has enough ground clearance to keep its undercarriage off the deck until you get really serious. The tighter the terrain the more the Thruxton shines.
It doesn’t pull real hard out of the corners but the power available is nicely matched to the chassis and the whole package comes together to offer a brilliant ride.
The Thruxton sweeps beautifully from side to side which is in no small part aided by the narrow Metzeler rubber it rolls on. A 100/90-18 Lasertec hoop up front and MEZ2 130-80-17 at the rear both offer plenty of grip. The narrow tyres mean that in the bends all of the tyre can be readily used and gives a feeling of being leaned over a long way in the turns which can give a rider a great sense of satisfaction on their favourite stretch of winding road.
Kayaba supplies both the 41mm conventional forks and the twin shock rear end, both adjustable for preload only. The real weapons in the Thruxton’s handling armoury over its brethren are a shorter wheelbase and much sharper steering geometry than the Bonneville.
A single 320mm disc rotor up front is gently squeezed by a two-piston Nissin calliper. The front brake is far from powerful and requires a decent squeeze at the lever but like the engine is fairly well matched to the chassis. A serious set of stoppers up front would tie the softly sprung front forks into all sorts of knots. Thankfully the rear brake is a generous 255mm in diameter and very much up to the task.
To the uninitiated the Thruxton is perhaps best explained as a cross between a sporting cruiser and a nakedbike. The way the engine operates is a little lazy, like a cruiser, but the riding position, sporting potential and all round ability of the Thruxton puts it many steps above any cruiser when it comes to sporting pleasure.
In the styling stakes the Thruxton is an absolute winner. This scribe has never been a fan of retro style machinery but has to admit to lusting over the Thruxton’s gorgeous classic lines. I’ll take the Thruxton home in Toledo Red with the rorty Arrow pipes thanks very much.