Marvel dropped a new trailer today for its upcoming film Ant-Man and the Wasp, which means it’s time once again to pore over any motorcycle chase scenes to see which models were used. To our surprise, the scenes in the trailer did not feature a Harley-Davidson, which has long been a partner of Marvel, but a Triumph Thruxton R.
I was a little surprised my kid liked the new Honda Rebel 500 as much as he did last week, but then all of us are surprised by our offspring, aren’t we? His daily driver lately is my old Yamaha R1. He finally got around to getting his motorcycle endorsement last month – on our borrowed KTM Super Duke GT… so he does have quite a varied motorcycle background for a kid who’s only 23 years old. In an effort to understand the younger moto-mentality, and as a service to all the manufacturers trying to figure out what the hell millennial motorcyclists want, anyway, I drilled further into my child’s mind to get down to the Top 10 of things.
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.
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.
Carrying the banner of the Bonneville’s racing heritage, Triumph looked to the Thruxton, appropriately taken from the 500-mile racing series that first helped garner the Bonnie’s racing cred. While, as with all the new Bonnevilles, the authentic appearance is important, the primary emphasis with the 2016 Triumph Thruxton and the R was on power and handling.
Suppose you ran a motorcycle manufacturer lucky enough to have produced one of the most iconic motorcycle lines of an era. For the past 15 years your factories had assembled a popular family of motorcycles based on that previous generation to steady increase in sales, ultimately totaling 20% of the company’s international purchases. Still, progress marches onward, global emissions laws change, and the time is ripe for refreshing and broadening the model line. Having stewardship over an icon carries a special weight, making any revision fraught with risk. However, where there is risk, often there is great opportunity nearby. Triumph Motorcycles found itself in just that position with the Bonneville and set about the task of updating and broadening the family to meet today’s motorcycling while remaining true to its heritage.