Triumph Thruxton Ride Review
Motoaus.com samples the Triumph Thruxton retro cafe racer.
Triumph Thruxton Ride Review
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication according to da Vinci. If he was right, the Triumph Thruxton must be remarkably highbrow.
Triumph decided to build the Thruxton as a nod to the golden 60’s era of the Bonneville. Braver men than I would race from café to predetermined point, and back to café, all before a song on the jukebox stopped playing. So the term café racer was coined. Around this time one of the big race successes for Triumph was the 1962 Thruxton 500, won by a T120 Bonneville. From this was born the Thruxton Bonneville.
The modern day Thruxton has a simple premise, take a Bonneville retro twin, hop the engine, add a set of clip-ons, tweak the suspension, all with a dash of café race minimalism. The engine still sports carburettors, with no computers or controllers anywhere to be seen. Conventional forks and a single disc up front, alloy rimmed wire spoked wheels and twin shocks at the rear continue the simple theme.
On the Road
How does it all come together on the road? We headed out for a day on the Thruxton and wound up converts to its simplicity. The test bike as supplied was fitted with Triumph’s accessory mufflers, giving it a healthier note, more in keeping with a machine you can imagine roaring away from a café on.
And you can roar too, the Thruxton has more compression and hotter cams in its enlarged 865cc air-cooled twin motor than its Bonneville donor. About 70 horses are available, put through a remarkably nice shifting 5 speed gearbox. Riding position is sporty, but not uncomfortably so. This is no tourer , the seat is best described as sufficient, and a long time spent in traffic or at low speeds will see some weight noticeable on the wrists.
But out on the open road, the delight of the Thruxton became apparent. Predictable handling, nice flat torque curve, and more than adequate brakes. Add to that the feel of the 360 degree twin, and the pleasant sound track. No screen or aerodynamic devices mean it’s a wind in your face ride. You will probably find, as we did, that cruising at around the 100km/h mark, the wind rush is in fact pleasant. Pile on much more speed than that, and you will want to be flat on the tank, café style, or heading to the local Triumph dealer to source the after market screen available for the Thruxton.
Despite being fed a constant diet of high horsepower road shredding sports bikes, we didn’t find the lack of warp drive power an issue. In fact, the relative lack of power was one of its charms, you could wind the throttle on hard coming out of a corner, and it would growl its way towards the next corner fuss free.
Don’t think you cant get along swiftly on it though, a heavy right hand and some moving around on the seat will keep you in front of all but the most determined Japanese mounted foe on a tightly cornered road. But just throbbing along at the speed limit, keeping an eye on the two simple analogue instruments, will bring with it the joy of motorcycling at its most basic level.
Looking over the machine, you will be struck with how little there is to it after viewing a fuel injected multi cylinder sports bike. Tank, seat, frame, motor, suspension and wheels. Add a headlight and a tail light, and you’ve nearly got a whole Thruxton.
The stylish rear seat hump is removable, with pillion accommodation underneath. The fuel tank wears an old style twist cap, not lockable. No fuel gauge either, so I was delighted to see the reserve position on the fuel tap.
Memories were stirred of the consequences of forgetting, and leaving a fuel tap in the reserve position, resulting in spluttering out of fuel at the furthermost possible distance from the nearest closed service station.
There’s no low fuel light either, only the old standards of oil, high beam, flasher and neutral. Two big white faced analogue dials, with an odometer and trip meter in the speedo is all you need to keep an eye on.
The 16 litre tank would probably get you from café to café for around 200kms, depending on throttle use. It’s a slim tank too, the whole machine is noticeably narrow when you first sit on it, and gripping the tank with your knees will bring them close to the cylinder head. Handy wire guards there prevent burning yourself. Seat height is low at 790mm – I could put both feet flat at the lights if so desired.
In addition to being great fun to ride, the Thruxton is also a fine looking machine, it’s classic lines ageless. A number of interested onlookers thought it was a restored oldie. I didn’t dampen their enthusiasm by pointing out the 2007 build plate.
There were a few little niggles, I was no fan of the ignition switch mounted forward on the headlight bracket, resulting in a seperate steering lock. And in today’s peak oil climate, a locking fuel cap might be handy. A hard core cornering fan might replace the tyres and shocks with items more sporty, but there is a multitude of accessories and hop up bits available from Triumph themselves, and after market vendors.
We returned the Thruxton reluctantly, and despite the fact that on paper there’s nothing thrilling, this is another case of the “whole being more than the sum of its parts”. Simple, pleasant and great fun to ride.
Just like it should be.
Thanks to MotoArena Gold Coast , suppliers of the test Thruxton.
Full technical specifications on the Thruxton here