There are new classic motorcycles that seem to be “just show and no go”. But when you get your leg over a Thruxton, you immediately realize one thing: it’s all about precision.
This bike got its name from the Thruxton 500, a nine-hour endurance race that took place in the UK from 1958 till 1973. Triumph scored a victory with Mike Hailwood right the first edition in 1958. Another amazing achievement was the 1969 race when Triumph dominated the contest by putting all his riders on the podium.
Same Engine Different Feeling
Like all Triumph’s new classics, the Thruxton is also based on the Bonneville T120 with the same 1200cc parallel twin engine. They pumped the power up to 97 HP, dropped 20 kg from the standard Bonneville and fitted it with a 17-inch front wheel. Just these turns its overall riding feeling into a sporty cafe racer. But the Thruxton I’m testing today is not the standard one. This is the R version which means it has Brembo brakes, Öhlins suspensions in the back and Showa in the front, all fully adjustable, and Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tires.
By the release of the clutch I immediately realize that this is not just a fast Bonneville, this is a different animal. The throttle is very precise and the acceleration will kick you forward unlike any other classic bike.
The Thruxton expects you to be good
After the first corner of my ride, the bike makes a clear statement: it doesn’t like uncertainty. The lower center of gravity gives a good traction while accelerating out of slow corners even in low grip conditions. But there is a little price to pay, in fact, bikes with a low center of gravity tend to be heavy to turn. I’m riding it on a beautiful country road and it needs to be pushed a little into the corner but once the Thruxton is in and I open the throttle, it follows a beautiful line with an even and continuous delivery of power. It has a very sporty attitude, you need to know where is your exit before you flip the bike. There isn’t much space for corrections.
The brakes are simply superb. The Brembo twin 310 mm discs and the radial monobloc calipers could stop a truck.
The riding position is very sporty and the handlebars attached to the fork give you the feeling of what is happening under the front tire with precision. I’m so leaned forward that my chest is right over the tank. It is not a comfortable bike, my body weight is constantly pushing on my wrists and the Daytona footpegs are certainly not for cruising.
A Second Thought
If I would buy one I’d definitely go for the one with the wind protection. Sure, the other one has a more cafe racer look but with a fairing, it looks like a classic racer and this is what Triumph meant to do. I know it is €2,000 more than the standard one but it’s the price to pay to wear Mike Hailwood’s boots.