Editor Score: 90.0%
Engine 19.5/20
Suspension/Handling 14.25/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.5/10
Brakes 8.5/10
Ergonomics/Comfort 7.5/10
Appearance/Quality 10/10
Desirability 9/10
Value 8.5/10
Overall Score90/100

Having low expectations exceeded is always preferable to high expectations not being met. With all the hype surrounding Triumph’s Bonneville Thruxton reboot, I attended the press launch under the premise of the Thruxton being a stylized Bonneville racer lacking the performance for which it’s namesake implies. How surprised was I to discover that a traction-control system was the only thing keeping the fuel tank from smacking me in the chest when grabbing a fistful of throttle for the first time.

2016 Triumph Thruxton/R Specs

The “High Power” parallel-Twin of the Thruxton is outwardly nearly identical to the “High-Torque” version of the T120 Bonneville. The Thruxton actually delivers more torque as well as more horsepower than the Bonnie’s Twin, but the T120 gets to the fat of its torque curve much lower in the rev range, hence its “High-Torque” tagline. Although, curve really isn’t the correct descriptor. Torque plane better describes the chart Triumph revealed, showing an immediate spike to 80 lb-ft just a tick over idle, peaking at 4,950 rpm then gradually tapering off, but maintaining 80-ish lb-ft throughout the rev range.

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Internally, the Thruxton’s Twin is endowed with a “low inertia” (less flywheel) crank allowing its Twin to spin to its redline – which is 500 rpm higher than the Bonneville’s Twin – quicker than its less racy counterpart. In true sportbike fashion, the Thruxton’s Twin is eager to gain revs, powering out of corners with surprising ferocity. TC is an electronic aid you’ll be glad is present as the Thruxton can easily overpower its 160/60-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa rear. But if you’re feeling especially frisky, TC can be switched off, as can ABS. Triumph is claiming 96.5 crank horsepower, which should result somewhere in the mid 80s at the rear wheel, but don’t let the figure fool you. It’s the engine’s wall of torque making the rush of forward acceleration so breathtaking.


From the Triumph-supplied dyno chart, we see that a claimed peak of 112 newton meters converts to 82.6 lb-ft of torque @ 4,950 rpm. More important than peak torque is the constant production of torque throughout the rev range, and the much greater production of torque over the previous Thruxton. Triumph claims 96.7 crank hp @ 6,750  rpm.

The low-rpm torque availability makes for an easy-to-ride motorcycle that keeps shifting to a minimum and throttle play at a maximum. There does exist some slight off-to-on throttle abruptness, but it isn’t as apparent on the Thruxton as it is on the Bonneville. Riding the Thruxton aggressively is made easier by the addition of a torque-assist clutch which provides two benefits: making clutch pull extremely light, and reducing the engine braking effect you’d expect of a Twin of this displacement and torque output.

Triumph Announces Three New Engine Configurations And Five All-New Models For 2016 Bonneville Line

thruxton_silverThere’s more to the new Thruxton than just a rev-hungry, torque-monster engine. A shorter swingarm and steeper rake (22.8º) reduce the Thruxton’s wheelbase by 1.2 inches compared to the Bonneville, while lightweight aluminum wheels reduce unsprung rotating weight. The resulting chassis equals the performance of the engine in terms of cornering eagerness that’s flickable in tight transitions while remaining stable through fast sweepers. Any flexiness at aggressive road speeds has been engineered out of the new frame, leaving the Thruxton a pure joy to ride quickly through the canyons.

2016 Triumph Street Twin First Ride

Wide clip-ons provide their own form of torque, allowing a rider to quickly transition the Thruxton from one direction to another. The Thruxton willingly complies to rider inputs with quick but neutral steering. The rise of the clip-ons from their mounting position beneath the top triple tree allows for just enough forward lean to weight the front end and feel the feedback from the front tire and suspension without being ridiculously uncomfortable for a cafe racer street bike. The seat-to-pegs relationship is sporty with cornering clearance a-plenty for street riding, but, like the clip-ons, the peg positioning isn’t severe enough to be a complaint for all-day riding comfort. The seat is supportively padded, too, but there is a small problem in the seating position. The tank cutouts are more form over function, as I, as well as other journos at the launch, discovered that where the inside of your knee naturally wants to rest falls directly against the edge of the bottom of the cutout. The result, an annoyingly uncomfortable position for a rider’s knee to be in that worsens as the day gets long.

Switchable TC and ABS aren’t the only electronics gracing the Thruxton’s digital repertoire. Three riding modes – Rain, Road, Sport – change the character of the engine’s power output by reducing or increasing throttle response, while not neutering available power. Switching power modes can be done on the fly via the left handlebar switch. Ride mode, TC, ABS and all the regular information you’d expect to find are located in the twin clocks with beveled analog readouts for speed and rpm, while digital windows inside each also provide information including gear position, dual tripmeters, and average fuel economy.

Note the polished triple tree, fully adjustable big piston Showa 43mm fork, tank strap, Twin 3D clocks combine analog and digital information.

Twin 3D clocks combine analog and digital information. Note the polished triple tree, fully adjustable Big Piston Showa 43mm fork, tank strap, and polished aluminum Manx-type fuel cap cover.

Our time riding the Thruxton through the outskirts of Lisbon was spent aboard the upscale R model. The $14,500 top-of-line Thruxton is $2k more than its standard counterpart and earns its loftier price tag largely by wearing twin Öhlins fully adjustable shocks, a fully adjustable Showa Big Piston fork, and Brembo monoblock calipers. In this guise, the Thruxton R shines the brightest, but without riding the standard model it’s difficult to determine, other than by virtue of their brand names, how much the high-spec performance parts up the Thruxton R’s game. For performance-minded riders, I’d be willing to bet that the upgrades are worth the extra the expense, and that a lot of the riders eyeballing these bikes can also easily justify the upgrade.

2016 Triumph Bonneville T120 And T120 Black

Or, maybe, saving the money isn’t such a bad idea because one accessory, in particular, would be added to the Thruxton I’d purchase before leaving the dealership. After having seen the Thruxton with its accessory fairing installed, I wouldn’t want to live without it. The craftsmanship of the fairing is excellent and enhances the Thruxton’s profile to the image in my mind of what a modern-day iteration of a vintage racebike should be. Triumph’s developed many accessories for the Thruxton – including a Performance Race Kit – that transforms the Thruxton from a street-legal vintage canyon strafer to a full-on retro trackday weapon.

bonneville thruxton engine

The radiator of the new liquid-cooled 1200cc Twin is barely more apparent than the oil cooler on the outgoing model. The engine compartment is tidy without any external plumbing uglifying its profile. The faux carburetors of the new EFI look the vintage part. The evap canister is there; can you find it?

As great as the Thruxton’s new levels of performance are, Triumph deserves high-praise for the time and effort spent on every detail, large and small. From the brushed aluminum Manx-style filler cap cover (which hides the actual locking fuel cap beneath it) to the polished aluminum triple clamp, Triumph engineers left no stone unturned in their quest to construct a modern iteration of a classic style that existed long before modern technology arrived to uglify unfaired bikes. From the simple task of hiding the rear brake master cylinder behind a stylish engine cover, to the more difficult task of locating the coolant reservoir in the shadow of the transmission, the new liquid-cooled Twin does an exceptionally good job of emulating the air-cooled engine of yore that inspired the new bike’s design. To meet stringent Euro 4 emissions, Triumph craftily disguised the throttle bodies as carburetors that look the part from just about any distance. There’s also an evap canister installed, but I’ll bet most riders will be unable to find it.

2016 Triumph Bonneville Thruxton R
+ Highs

  • Style and performance
  • Attention to detail
  • Heritage balanced with modernity
– Sighs

  • Form over function for the tank cutouts
  • Slight off-to-on throttle abruptness
  • Sold out through July

According to Triumph, Thruxtons and Thruxton Rs are already sold out through July of this year. If this trend continues, taking a test ride could prove to be problematic. This type of response to an unproven new model isn’t unprecedented, but it is rare for a bike that’s not a numbered, limited-production model such as a Ducati Superleggera. Great for Triumph but not so much for the motorcycling public. Because, if you like what you see in the photos, you’re gonna love what you see in-person. And if you do get a chance to take a test ride, have your deposit ready because you might not want to climb off the Thruxton until it’s parked inside your garage.

bonneville thruxton

An ear-pleasing sound emanates from the dual upswept reverse cone mufflers. Too bad Triumph couldn’t have budgeted for removing the unsightly tank seam.

Helmet: Bell Bullitt Matte Metallic Titanium
Jacket: Roland Sands Design Zuma Timber

2016 Triumph Thruxton and Thruxton R Specifications
2016 Triumph Thruxton 2016 Triumph Thruxton R
Type Liquid-cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel-Twin
Capacity 1200cc
Bore/Stroke 97.6 x 80 mm
Compression Ratio 11.0:1
Maximum Power 96 hp @ 6750 rpm (claimed)
Maximum Torque 82.6 lb-ft. @ 4950 rpm (claimed)
Fuel system Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust Chromed 2 into 2 exhaust system with twin chrome silencers Brushed stainless steel 2 into 2 exhaust system with twin silencers
Final drive X ring chain
Clutch Wet, multi-plate assist clutch
Gearbox 6-speed
Fuel Economy 4.6 l/100km / 51.1 MPG (claimed)
Emissions EURO 4 Compliant, CO2 – 106.0 g/km
Frame Tubular steel cradle
Swingarm Twin-sided, aluminum Twin-sided, aluminum – Clear anodized
Front Wheel 32-spoke 17 x 3.5in
Rear Wheel 32-spoke 17 x 5in
Front Tire 120/70 ZR17 – Pirelli Angel GT 120/70 ZR17 – Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa
Rear Tire 160/60 ZR17 – Pirelli Angel GT 160/60 ZR17 – Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa
Front Suspension Kayaba 41mm cartridge forks, 120mm travel Showa 43mm USD big piston forks, fully adjustable, 120mm travel
Rear Suspension Kayaba twin shocks with adjustable preload, 120mm rear wheel travel Fully adjustable Öhlins twin shocks with piggy back reservoir, 120mm rear wheel travel
Front Brake Twin 310mm discs, Nissin 2-piston axial floating calipers, ABS Brembo twin 310mm floating discs, Brembo 4-piston radial monobloc calipers, ABS
Rear Brake Single 220mm disc, Nissin 2-piston axial floating caliper, ABS
Length 2105 mm (82.9 inches)
Width 745 mm (29.3 inches)
Height 1030 mm (40.6 inches), without mirrors
Seat Height 805 mm (31.7 inches) 810 mm (31.9 inches)
Wheelbase 1415 mm (55.7 inches)
Rake 22.7º 22.8º
Trail 90.8 mm (3.57 inches) 92 mm (3.62 inches)
Dry Weight 454 lb. (claimed) 448 lb. (claimed)
Fuel Capacity 3.8 Gal.
Standard Equipment Switchable ABS Switchable Traction Control Ride-by-Wire Riding Modes LED DRL headlight Monza cap USB socket Immobilizer LED rear light Switchable ABS Switchable Traction Control Ride-by-Wire Riding Modes LED DRL headlight Monza cap USB socket Immobilizer LED rear light Tank strap Seat Cowl

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Triumph Communities

  • Born to Ride

    I want this bike. That is all.

    • Ser Samsquamsh


  • Buzz

    I was really impressed with the attention to detail when I saw the new models at the motorcycle show.

    Interesting about the tank cutouts though. That could be something that kills the pleasure of this bike over the long haul.

    I had a Ducati ST4 that had the clip ons in such a position that my hands would fall asleep within 15 minutes. I loved the bike but knew I had to find a solution or get rid of it. Thankfully, Helibars came to the rescue and I owned it for 5 years.

    It will be interesting if Triumph has to make an adjustment in a follow up model.

  • john phyyt

    This bike is going to make things interesting in the “cafe racer” custom scene. It seems to have the purity of form combined with function which is often sacrificed when home built. Why would you buy a new Norton ? The bike looks great, and seems to go well. Isn’t that what most are after? . Ducati scrambler showed us all that the performance thing is OVER.
    Please Ducati give us a modern retro , true BEVEL. with modern water cooling and 21st century brakes suspension and electrics.
    The market has spoken.

  • Chris R

    They knocked it out of the park with this one. I got a chance to check it out and sit on it during the Triumph reborn tour. The attention to detail on every little aspect was amazing. The only things that stuck out to me was the really cheap looking front fender mounts and the weird horn location. One of these might be in my garage in the near future.

  • Ray Boone

    This is the first bike I’ve truly lusted for in a long time.

  • Luke

    Part of me is saying $15K for a Thruxton?! I can get an X, or Y for that much! And part of me is saying, that’s a near perfect next-bike for me. I’m super happy that the seating position is sporting but not too extreme. This does seem like the one bike in the new Bonny line-up is getting it totally right. Surprising not to hear more about the weight in this review, as that is my big issue with the line. (I’m guessing he power overcomes any weight issues).

    • Not much to say about the weight. It’s claimed dry weight is right in line with the size, displacement, and type bike it is. It didn’t feel especially heavy nor especially light. When we get one on the scales it shouldn’t weight too much more than a BMW R NineT.

      • Luke

        Thanks for the update. I think I must be addicted to lightness – maybe I should lose a few pounds instead of asking my bike to do it for me 🙂

        • I’m also a stickler about weight. I’ll take less weight over more horsepower any day. The weight of the Thruxton just didn’t stand out as a big negative factor in this case.

      • Born to Ride

        I would love to see a MO comparo of the Thrux R and NineT as soon as you guys can manage it. Perfect competitors.

      • Shlomi

        Hi Tom, I ride Street Triple Rx and like its nimble steering and maneuverability. I would love to have the low end low end torque of the Thruxton. How’s the Thruxton compared with the Street Triple?

        • Two different beasts, really. The Street Triple (one of our favorite bikes) is a modern hooligan 675cc Triple, where the Thruxton is a retro cafe racer 1200cc Twin. I suppose they both are unfaired, nakeds, but otherwise they have nothing in common.

          • Shlomi

            Thank you Tom.

  • JMDonald

    I really like this bike but the uncomfortable form over function cut outs sound like a deal killer. I will need to ride one. I agree a small windscreen is a must have. Time will tell.

    • Born to Ride

      I’d be more concerned with the saddle and bars position for the purpose of all day riding than wind protection. If you have the back and wrists of Zeus though, the Heritage Kit with its bubble fairing would solve your issue.

      • JMDonald

        The T120 may be a better fit. Not the same brakes though.

  • Sentinel

    Great job on the review here Tom, and congrats on it being the first one out, at least from what I’ve seen. This bike is among the top pics of my list of new purchase candidates. As much as I love the new T120, I’m enough of sporting rider to actually use what the new Thrux has to offer performance wise over it, and I’d be beating myself up forevermore if I got the T120 instead.

    • Born to Ride

      I want the T120 with the power, suspension, and brakes of the Thrux R. Probably be easier to buy a thrux r, swap out the seat, tank, and get high rise bars. Or leave it alone, either way.

  • TheMarvelous1310 .

    Nailed it.
    Flawless Victory.
    Like a Boss.
    And so on, and so forth. They did well, is the point I’m driving at.

  • Ducati Kid


    I’m sorry but stating the new Radiator barely reveals itself is not true, very noticeable!

    Recall the previous Oil Radiator was located behind those frame downtubes not readily apparent.

    Regarding wheelbase?

    55.7 inches or 1415 mm …


    TRIUMPH claims dry weight at 448 lbs.

    Overall, while not reported, a SMALLER motorcycle NOT your Fathers motorcycle.

    Recall this cycle is ideal for ‘short-of-stature’ cyclists or ASIAN (intended) riders!

    • The old oil cooler was rectangular and its edges protruded outside the frame’s front down tubes. The new radiator’s edges stay within the the frame’s front down tubes, which, to my eyes, is a cleaner design.

      • Ducati Kid


        Perhaps a Radiator design which performs it’s function while not making itself noticeable.

        A 2016 TRIUMPH ‘Street Twin’ (concept) with hidden Radiator illustrated …

        • Andre Capitao Melo

          please, stop thinking that erasing the radiator on photoshop would solve the problem in the real world

  • Apfeldieb

    Thanks for the review. As for the tank cutout problem, the thick rubber should solve that issue: http://i.imgur.com/k2KPA7M.jpg

    • I don’t think tank rubbers will solve the problem. Take a look at the image I shot during the launch. It’s a little hard to see the outline of the tank cutout, but where the knee is touching the tank is at the bottom edge of the cutout, below where the tank rubber is attached. Maybe I’m wrong, and hopefully you’re right.

  • Kenneth

    That’s an interesting helmet design, Tom, with a very small outer shell and very large field-of-view (with bubble shield). How did it feel? ‘Available in the U.S.?

  • Kenneth

    That’s an interesting helmet, Tom, with a small, clean outer shell and very large field-of-view. How did it feel and perform? Did the bubble shield cause distortion? U.S. availability?

    • Buzz

      That’s a Bell. It’s a replica of the old timey Bell from way back.

      Readily available

    • The helmet is a Bell Bullitt (https://www.bellhelmets.com/powersports/helmets/bullitt-9636). I ordered it from Bell with the intention of having a cool, retro full-face helmet to wear for photos. Turns out, I really liked the helmet. For its $400 price tag, it’s comfortable enough (a little forehead pressure for me, but I’m a long oval head shape). What I thought was great is the size of the face port. It’s huge! The field of vision is as if you are wearing an open-face helmet. There was no distortion from the bubble shield. It is a little noisy. I’ll definitely be wearing it future reviews.

  • spiff

    This isn’t my kind of bike, but damn they nailed it. Your sighs are all easy to fix. Someone below showed a tank cut out solution. Someone else will come up with a better map, and by waiting until July your down payment will be larger.

  • SRMark

    I thought it would be priced a bit lower. Very nice though.

  • Old MOron

    Great review, T-rod. Thanks for the info. I really like this bike.

  • Old MOron

    Okay T-rod, now that I’ve gotten over my initial elation, I have a few follow-up questions for you.

    “…torque-assist clutch which provides two benefits: making clutch pull extremely light, and reducing the engine braking effect you’d expect of a Twin of this displacement and torque output.”

    A clutch reducing engine braking effect? Is this a slipper clutch then, or not quite? What sort of rev matching do you have to do when down shifting?

    And speaking of shifting, you said nothing about the transmission. Is it good or bad? Great or terrible? Does it come with a quickshifter? If not, is that part of the race kit?

    Let’s see: you mentioned TC and ABS, and you mentioned ride modes, but you didn’t mention TC, ABS and ride modes together. Do the different ride modes have pre-programmed TC and ABS settings? What are they like?

    Thank you.

    • For your first question, Old MOron, the Torque Assist Clutch is a Triumphism for Assist & Slipper Clutch. No rev matching during downshifts is necessary. For easy understanding of its operation watch this video by Yamaha (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agTJDXsYIr0), and/or read this article by Sport Rider (http://www.sportrider.com/ducati-aptc-clutch).

      I gave the Transmission/Clutch category in the ScoreCard an 8.5 and not better because, as excellent as the Torque Assist Clutch is, the transmission was a little notchy. Could be a new-bike problem, and will smooth out over time. Otherwise, the transmission, shifting and clutch work well. It does not come with a quick shifter (if it had the Transmission/Clutch score would have been in the 9s). A quick shifter is also not a part of the Race Kit (see attached image for is in the kit). Not sure if they’ll have one available from Triumph (I would think so), but if not, there’s always the aftermarket.

      To my knowledge TC and ABS are basic, one-function affairs. They are either turned on or turned off, and work the same regardless of Ride Mode choice. The tech briefing on the bike was very rushed. Let me check with Triumph and confirm. Our ride day was also rushed (it was actually only a half-day), and from what I could determine from the pace set by the lead Triumph rider the systems work well. Once we have one to test ourselves and can ride it at a faster clip, we’ll know better how the TC works. It’s a good question, and I’m curious myself to find out if the TC is overly intrusive when ridden very aggressively.

    • I was wrong, first feedback from Triumph indicates that TC and ABS does differ according to ride mode. I have asked for specifics. Stay tuned.

      • Official response from Triumph regarding Ride Modes and TC/ABS settings:

        TC/ABS and Riding Modes
        In basic, we calibrate the ABS and TC for the different riding modes (ie Rain, road, off road etc) so depending on each setting will depend how the ABS or TC will react in the particular condition. So in for example off road TC will allow more wheel slip than the road setting. ABS also, so in off road mode ABS will operate on the front wheel, but not on the rear, so as to allow rear wheel lock up in off road conditions for better control.

  • Evans Brasfield

    Yeah, yeah, great bike. Yeah, and a nice review, too.

    Still, I should’ve gone on this intro.


    PS. I am publicly calling dibs on this bike when we get a test unit. I may not be riding it on the outskirts of Lisbon, but I WILL NOT BE DENIED!

    • The shootout between the Thruxton and R Nine T is being scheduled to coincide with your vacation request. Choice is yours.

      Tom “Dick” Roderick

      • Old MOron

        Yes, please. Put this up against the R9T, something from Guzzi, maybe the V9 or the Griso, the CB1100, the XSR900, … and anything else sporty retro!

  • Auphliam

    You MOrons should now do a comparo between this and the Octane. You could do side by side comparisons, like that picture of the triple tree and instruments above, pointing out how gracefully Triumph managed to build a perfectly respectable and capable bike without breaking the bank…and then pointing and laughing at the Octane’s failures in those same areas. It would be great fun 🙂
    You could call it the “Coulda Shoulda Woulda Comparo”

    • Kevin Duke

      At least Victory manufactures its bike in the same country as its HQ. That costs more than doing it in Thailand.

  • Craig Hoffman

    Yes of course there are far faster 4 cylinder bikes and ponderous but torquier big twins, but T-Rod’s description of the riding experience suggests a satisfying and extremely balanced, usable and fun street ride. This sounds like the perfect Goldilocks engine for the experienced street rider.

    Triumph his this one out of the park both with it’s style and its fun factor. This is a very desireable motorcycle. Instead of having multiple engine tune configurations, Triumph should just save time and put this tune in all their models 🙂

  • sgray44444

    Triumph has proven that a bike can be built with modern performance and still keep the beauty and soul intact. Other manufacturers should take note. This is an amazing bike. I would love to have a Thruxton R.

  • John

    I think this bike is awesome. I wish they would include a lower fairing for the total retro racer feel. (and that would add alot of wind protection making my 30 mile commute easier 🙂 )

  • Jamo11

    My T120 is on the way and will be at the dealer’s any time. But now I want the Thruxton.

  • Savanah Suko

    My children were looking for Form A-1 last month and learned about a web service that hosts lots of form templates . If you are looking for Form A-1 too , here’s http://goo.gl/DAoolP