2016 Triumph Thruxton R Video Review

Tom Roderick
by Tom Roderick

For 2016, Triumph launched two new Thruxton models, the base model Thruxton ($12,500) and the Thruxton R ($14,500). Both are huge improvements over the outgoing model Thruxton. The new 1200cc liquid-cooled parallel-Twin produces gobs more horsepower and torque, the chassis isn’t the flexi-flyer it used to be, and modern electronics (R-b-W, ride modes, TC, ABS) bring a touch of modernity to a motorcycle steeped in nostalgia. For a complete review of the bike and its performance check out our previously published 2016 Triumph Bonneville Thruxton R First Ride Review.

The most notable differences separating the base model Thruxton from its $2k more expensive counterpart is the R’s fully adjustable big piston Showa fork, fully adjustable twin Öhlins shocks, Brembo monobloc radial calipers, rotors, and master cylinder. Other subtle differences reside in the R’s polished top triple clamp, aluminum tank strap, and sticky Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tires. Triumph has created numerous accessories and performance upgrades, including a Performance Race Kit that changes the Thruxton from a street-legal canyon carver to a bonafide track day weapon. Check out the Thruxtons and new T120 Bonnevilles at triumphmotorcycles.com.

Tom Roderick
Tom Roderick

A former Motorcycle.com staffer who has gone on to greener pastures, Tom Roderick still can't get the motorcycle bug out of his system. And honestly, we still miss having him around. Tom is now a regular freelance writer and tester for Motorcycle.com when his schedule allows, and his experience, riding ability, writing talent, and quick wit are still a joy to have – even if we don't get to experience it as much as we used to.

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2 of 4 comments
  • Old MOron Old MOron on Mar 29, 2016

    Good video production, MOrons. Nice review of a nice bike.

  • Craig Hoffman Craig Hoffman on May 09, 2016

    Well I rode new one. Did about 10 miles on a scenic curvy road, running from 60 to 80 mph, up to 105 mph or so, briefly. It got a proper break in ;)

    My impressions:

    1) The bike is beautiful. Absolutely stunning in person.

    2) The suspension is really good. It has Showa BPF forks and Ohlins shocks and the bike tracks really well. The forks are brilliant, I wanna steal the forks and brakes off the Thrux and bolt them onto my FZ1.

    3) Speaking of brakes, the Brembos are insane. I knew they would be, and still was shocked. Wow. Approach these overkill binders with care, and one finger is enough.

    4) The bike is faithfully narrow and tiny compared to current bikes. It feels like a bicycle. It also feels dense and heavy, but not in a bad way. It is planted and stable with a weighty but not in any way cumbersome steering feel. A small chunk of spent uranium on wheels, that is what it is.

    5) The transmission has very short, light and positive throws. Reminds me of my 300cc dirt bike. The clutch (cable operated) is buttery and smooth. It has really nice gearbox action.

    6) The seat is firm and minimal, but nice and flat. The lack of nut smashing that results from the flat seat is appreciated. Makes me wonder why they don't all come this way.

    7) Ah yes, the engine. About time right? Save the big interest item to the end, so you read all the other crap. It has rain, road and sport modes. I was sure to put it in sport mode straight away, shallow that way you know.

    Bear in mind I am at mile high elevation, but really not much going on down low. 4 grand is the base of operations. From there it revs smooth and quick and sounds absolutely great, a lot like a 90 degree twin, pulling smooth and hard with no tingles or rumbles, very fun, things are rocking and I am about to have a moto nirvana experience and then bam! the 7,000 rpm red line hits. Oh sh%t. Kinda forgot about that. The powerband is very much like a Suzuki TL1000, with the top 3,500 rpm lopped off. It is glassy smooth and unstrained at it's rpm limit, so the rider really has to watch the revs when riding it in sporty mode.

    Re framed my brain and kept track of the revs and it scoots along, but requires some shifting to keep in its comparatively narrow fun zone of 4,000 to 7,000 rpm. It punts forward on torque, and upshifts briefly rock you forward like a diesel pickup truck. It is deceptively fast with its low exhaust tone and revs. The bike is not slow, but to my jaded brain, it feels a little slow. As mentioned earlier, the trans is awesome, so shifting it more often than I am used to is not a big deal. Riding at or nearer sea level would improve things, no doubt. I guess this bike is not all about speed, but I was hoping for a little more breadth of power. We really are spoiled aren't we? The engine is a real gem though, it never feels put upon, sounds great even with stock pipes, and really does beg to be run hard, within its parameters.

    Speaking of parameters, the Thrux wants a smaller arena to play in than my Colorado playground. Don't get me wrong, for its intended purpose, the Thrux is a very cool bike, but I could not have it as my only bike. At Colorado elevations, on the big, breezy and windy mountain road, this bike feels physically and powerwise, a little small. I could see it being an awesome city and country lane bike though. It punches hard and it is compact. This is a zero to 100 mph kind of bike. Duh, I suppose.

    In the end, this is a "sport classic" bike, but it handles and performs at a high enough level that when I rode it, I simply evaluated it as a higher performance bike, and not by the usual "cruiser metrics" which excuse a host of performance deficiencies. Can't really give the Thrux a higher compliment than it is cool looking, but it is also a real and highly functional performance oriented motorcycle, and not just a lifestyle accessory. If only she had another 1,500 to 2,000 rpm in her...

    The Thrux is soulful and fun to ride at any speed in its range though, with a nice dash of actual performance included, and that is what it is all about.