It’s not too often that the world simply agrees on something but it may just have happened with Triumph’s Thruxton R. Bar a few weirdos and internet trolls, I don’t know anybody who doesn’t think the R is completely stunning.
And good news if you’ve only seen the bike on video so far because I can confirm it looks even better in real life.
A couple of years ago I borrowed the old Thuxton for a few days and took it for a few decent rides to get a feel for it. I can’t say I was that upset when Triumph came and picked it up. The novelty of riding around on the Thruxton was somewhat overshadowed by the fact it felt heavy, slow-ish, and somewhat dated.
If I’d have been riding the new Thruxton R, the outcome would have been very different. Triumph could certainly have forgotten about me willingly giving the bike back to them…
So what makes it so much better than the old machine? One of the biggest changes is the engine. The Thruxton now goes as good as it looks thanks to a new 1200cc water-cooled parallel-twin engine that puts out 97hp and 112nm of torque at 4,950rpm. The R makes almost 70% more power down low in the power-band and 62% more torque. In many ways it’s not even worth comparing it to the old bike, it’s leagues ahead.
After a whole day’s riding the only thing that stood out to me as a negative was the lack of comfort. The alcantara-style seat isn’t particularly forgiving on the arse and the riding position doesn’t do much to help that. It’s no torture rack, roughly on par with riding a sports bike without the benefit of a wide fuel tank to wrap your knees around to help take some strain off the wrists. But that really is about it.
Triumph has got the handling nailed. The Ohlins rear shocks and Showa Big Piston forks are, naturally, fully adjustable and can be tweaked to deal with the bumpy Portuguese roads we contended with on the launch, or stiffened up to make light work of a racetrack. I genuinely think you could run in the fast group of a track-day without holding anybody up.
The Brembo brake setup is powerful and has great feel, the gearbox is extremely slick, the spoked wheels are gorgeous. In fact, there aren’t really any weak areas on the R - it’s a gorgeous thing to look and a gorgeous thing to ride. To me it's a perfect blend of authentic styling and modernnity, thanks to touches like ABS, traction control and 10,000 mile service intervals.
At £10,400, the standard Thruxton is £1,300 cheaper than the R, but according to Triumph that doesn’t make it the base model. It’s supposed to be a different more retro-themed slant on the Thruxton. So the standard bike has a chrome exhaust system that will blue up after use, thicker grips, different footpegs, a leather seat, and those are just the cosmetic changes. In terms of performance it also has a less powerful braking set-up, more road-biased tyres and RWU forks with fork gaiters to give it that classic look.
Last year, if you wanted a cool modern-retro that went as well as it looked, you only really had the option of BMW’s RnineT. If you’re still in that market, get yourself down for a test ride on the new Trumpet. Why? Because it’s bloody awesome.