Triumph Thruxton R Review
There is a special breed of motorcycles, motorcycles that feel just right. Right from the way they look, to the way they sound, and in the way they ride.
What is it?
There is a special breed of motorcycles, motorcycles that feel just right. Right from the way they look, to the way they sound, and in the way they ride. The previous generation Triumph Thruxton wasn't one of them. In fact, I didn't like it all that much. You can read about it HERE.
The new generation Thruxton you see here however, promises to change that. And how! Although this bike was launched last year, we have only now managed to lay our hands on this beauty. And it still has that retro-chic aura, but Triumph has thrown the kitchen sink at it when it comes to modern bits. But more on that later, because for now, in this Track Racer inspiration kit, we just can't peel our eyes off the new Thruxton R.
This is one gorgeous looking motorcycle. And the more we look at it, the more we fall in love with it. The Thruxton R starts off with great proportions, and the design although simple, still melts your heart. Add to it the old school bubble fairing, the lowered clip-ons, the Vance & Hines end cans and the shortened tail, all part of the inspiration kit, and the R transforms into something even more stunning.
It's like Liz Hurley – bedazzling as she is even otherwise, but in a red dress she turns into the ultimate temptress. Now, you can have the Thruxton in red as well and it does look fabulous in this hue; the Continental GT connection notwithstanding. But even in silver the new R not only looks right, it is the true embodiment of Aphrodite.
How does it ride?
Forget goddesses, temptresses and what have you. If a motorcycle can’t get you beaming every time you ride it, it’s pointless. The motorcycle needs to be crisp, predictable, eager and rewarding to your inputs while delivering that sense of excitement, which makes you feel alive. The new Thruxton R comes very close.
The new, almost-100bhp, 1200cc, liquid-cooled, parallel twin motor has a part to play in it. With the Vance & Hines end cans, the bike sounds sweet; not loud, just aurally correct. The response of the ride-by-wire throttle, especially in Sport mode, is crisp and linear, and the power delivery of the engine itself is potent and progressive. As a result, it allows the rider to use all of the bike’s performance without scaring him / her silly.
This also means the Thruxton R isn’t litre-class fast (or even supersport fast for that matter) but it is quick; quick enough to get you grinning inside the helmet every time you open gas with enthusiasm. The ton arrives and disappears in no time, and with the engine's free revving character, hitting its near 8000rpm limit becomes second nature. Now, Triumph might call this 1200cc engine a high power motor (HP) but it has an equally strong mid-range torque as well. Open throttle at anything over 3,000rpm and we'd be surprised if it draws anything but appreciate nods.
Big downsides though are the vibrations that come in and stay like uninvited guests past 5,500rpm; and also the gearshifts. The shifts on this 6-speed gearbox are a little too clunky for our liking and not sportsbike-like at all. What’s more, being a cafe racer, the Thruxton R’s low and slightly forward set handlebars make it a tad uncomfortable to ride around within the city. Sure, it has a light clutch, which is great, but the heavy steering, the bike's front bias weight distribution and its inability to run cool can make things challenging on your daily commute.
Thankfully, the Thruxton R has no such issues when the road opens up or begins to curve. It can cruise comfortably all day between 120-130kmph with more than enough in reserve to overtake or get you out of a fast developing sticky situation on the road. The brakes work well too. The Brembos offer good power and bite but, yes, these could do with better progression.
It is in the corners though that the Thruxton really shines. While its predecessor felt properly old school in the handling department – slow and bendy and more work than fun – the new Thruxton is much more rewarding to ride hard. For this, the R's updated fully adjustable Showas upfront and Ohlins at the rear are to be thanked, as are the grippy Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsas.
The Thruxton tips into corners beautifully, requiring no more than a slight push of the inside handlebar. And when leaned over, there's decent cornering clearance, good feedback from the front, and no real surprises even if the surface gets bumpy. Now the Thruxton isn't exactly a light bike weighing in at 203kg, but it is still feels pretty light-footed while making quick direction changes. There’s hardly a hint of laziness. The only thing which caught our attention here – and not in a good way – was the steering. It’s not as sharp or fluid as a sportsbike’s steering needs to be. It’s not a deal breaker, of course, but it might hurt a committed rider’s confidence.
Anything else I need to know?
Did we mention how lovely the Thruxton R looks? Well, it looks spectacular. And, it has equally lovely detailing all round. The Monza fuel filler cap both looks good and is period correct. Ditto for the leather strap running across the length of the tank. The instrumentation, though not the most evocative, does have aluminium surround, which along with the polished steering Tee gives the R an authentic custom feel.
There’s also the fuel injection system disguised as carburetors, elegant aluminium wire spoke wheels, fashionable yet usable bar-end mirrors and knurled throttle grips which look really cool. The R in the Track Racer inspiration kit is one of those bikes you can spend hours just gazing at.
Now to the modern bits. We had mentioned earlier that Triumph threw everything at the R to make it more desirable, rideable and acceptable. These come in the form of ride-by-wire for better throttle response and fuel efficiency; a torque assist clutch to lighten clutch pull; traction control to save those terrible high-sides; and, of course, ABS, which with the Brembo unit gives the R strong braking performance.
The R gets three riding modes as well– Rain, Road and Sport. Our suggestion would be to stick with Sport for it has the most crisp and predictable throttle response. The modes along with the trip computer, which throws up info on range, average fuel economy, time and gear position, can be accessed via the intuitively functioning switchgear.
Should I buy one?
If you like going fast – corners or otherwise – and want a bike not just to complement your efforts but help you along as well, the Triumph Thruxton R isn’t the bike for you. In that sense, it is still old school because you need to work to draw out maximum riding satisfaction from it. But, I like it. I like it for the way it looks; I like it for the way it makes me feel; and I like it because it goes well with my greying head! What’s your excuse for getting one? Better think of a good one because you will need it given the bike’s pricing. And that’s before we have even factored in the cost of the inspiration kit.
Where does it fit in?
So, it’s established that the Thruxton R at Rs 14.74 lakh on road in Mumbai is pretty pricey. But, here’s where things get really challenging. For Rs 18,000 more, you can also have the top spec Daytona R. And the latter is without doubt the quicker, better handling, and more satisfying ride; especially for those chasing speed.
Outside the family, both in terms of pricing and brand recall, the Thruxton R’s biggest challenger would be the Harley-Davidson Street Bob. But clearly Triumph doesn’t think so; it plans to take on the Street Bob with the Bobber soon leaving the Thruxton in a niche of its own.
Photopgrahy by Kapil Angane
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