Triumph Thruxton review, test ride
12th Sep 2014 12:00 pm
We took the Thruxton, Triumph's take on the modern cafe racer, for a quick ride. Here's what we thought of it
What is it?
The Thruxton is Triumph’s modern take on the café racer. It may be built on the Bonneville’s twin downtube frame and may use the same 865cc parallel-twin engine but it is, in essence, a very different bike.
A lot of that has to do with the way it looks. The Thruxton conforms to the café racer template to the T, and in that sense looks as if it’s been plucked straight from 1960s Britain. Spoked wheels, a round headlight, a narrow handlebar, a long fuel tank and a long seat (with a removable cowl on the rear seat), the Thruxton’s got it all. The twin upswept exhausts look rather nice as well and attention to detail is fantastic. Lovely gold stripes embellish the flyscreen, tank and rear cowl, while if you look closer at the engine, you’ll see a dummy carburetor body (the engine features fuel injection) which is there just to maintain the period look of the Thruxton.
The Thruxton also gets very retro and white-faced pods for the speedometer and tacho, but the font on them is too small. Also, much like the Bonneville, the Thruxton comes with its ignition key slot inconveniently placed near the headlight. You should also know that a lockable fuel filler cap is also only on offer as a paid option.
For their part, all points of contact are nice, right from the well padded seat to the neat grips and even the robust switches.
What is it like to ride?
The Thruxton seats the rider quite low with a fairly weight forward stance. There’s a fair bit of lean into the handlebars, that alongwith the rear set footpegs, can get tiring over city commutes. The riding position does come together over long stints but do note, the Thruxton isn’t the most enthusiastic of bikes around bends. It’s responsive to steering inputs, yes, but still it’s not exactly what you’d call flickable. That long wheelbase and old-school double cradle frame are sure to have more than something to do with that. Choose routes with long, sweeping corners and you won’t have much reason to complain.
The engine, as mentioned above, is shared with the Bonneville. However, on the Thruxton, the air-cooled, fuel-injected, parallel-twin makes 1bhp more, taking power up to 68bhp at 7400rpm. Peak torque is marginally higher too at 7kgm at 5800kgm. The figures may not look very special but then remember, this is not an out and out sports bike.
Performance is brisk, with a good spread of power right from 1500rpm to 7000rpm. The engine’s flexibility also means you don’t need to work the smooth-shifting one-down, four-speed gearbox all that much. The Thruxton builds speed effortlessly right from launch and will race past the ‘ton’ or 100 miles per hour (160 kph) with relative ease. But if there was a grouse it would be with the exhaust note. For what is a ‘wild’ bike, the hum from the exhausts is far too gentlemanly. Hopefully, that’s something the optional Arrow exhausts can fix. On the plus side, refinement levels are very good and there’s never more than a mild buzz on the handlebar.
The fairly pliant ride also makes this a bike you wouldn’t mind taking out on the occasional long ride.
Should I buy one?
Priced at Rs 6.7 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Thruxton is significantly more expensive than the Bonneville and about the same price as a Bonneville T100. While that gorgeous café racer design may seal the deal for most, there are some disclaimers. The riding position, for one, may prove too demanding for anyone wanting to use the bike daily. And while performance is good, it’s not electrifying. The handling is also not particularly sharp.
So if you must have a café racer in your garage, the Thruxton is easily your best option. But for all practical purposes it’s the better-rounded, equally retro and similarly-priced Bonnevile T100 that we’d recommend.