Taking its inspiration from the bikes of the Ton-Up Boys of late-’60s, early-’70s London, the Thruxton shares a platform with the other bikes in Triumph’s Classics line – the standard Bonneville with its T100 and Special Edition iterations, and the rugged Scrambler. Despite their retro form, all of these bikes are technologically advanced and wholly rider-friendly. I was present at the 2009 launch in New Orleans when Triumph introduced its first-generation fuel-injected parallel-Twin. I was impressed then and still am.
All of the Classics feature the same basic 865cc engine and chassis. Yet while the recently reviewed Scrambler rocked a 270-degree firing interval to boost torque, the Bonnie and Thruxton make use of a 360-degree interval, resulting in more horsepower (68 crankshaft ponies claimed) and a power curve weighted more at the top end (with a peak at 6800 rpm) than the Scrambler. Our bike spat out a peak of 61.7 horsepower on a rear-wheel dyno.
How do these numbers translate to the asphalt? Quite well, thanks. As mentioned above, we only recently had the Scrambler in the Motorcycle.com stable, so comparisons are not only easy but inevitable. They may share a platform, but these bikes handle and perform very differently.
Thanks to the Thruxton’s reach-down bars and rearsets, the rider is in a ready – but not at all uncomfortable – crouch. Combine with the enthusiastic Twin and a long gear ratio, and you’ve got a motorcycle that pulls cleanly from a dead stop, beating traffic off the line without pausing to shift and accelerating onto the highway without worrying about dawdling minivans or ambivalent truck drivers.
The aesthetically pleasing VDO gaugery (instead of “instrumentation” or other techno-term because of its retro-analog layout) features a digital clock, odo, and two tripmeters. It’s a cinch to access and comprehend. Ditto the adjustable hand controls. From clutch to shifter, changing gears is smooth and reliable. The cool seat cowl, replete with a continuation of the fuel tank’s racing stripe, is easily removable with two Allen screws, revealing plenty of passenger room on the seat, a boast most café racers – stock, custom or otherwise – simply can’t make
This is a rider-friendly bike in spite of its niche appeal – and in more than just looks and performance. Triumph claims 43 mpg around town, and 57 out on the highway – we averaged 46 mpg in mixed use. And while the Thruxton’s accoutrements are purely cosmetic, at $8799 it’s only $1100 more than the stock Bonnie. That’s a (comparatively) small price to pay to be both cool and comfortable. For 2013, the Triumph Thruxton is available in Brooklands Green with a gold center stripe, or Phantom Black.