Military Rider

2017 Triumph Thruxton First Ride Review

When I was 19, I had a 1977 Triumph Bonneville T140 that was bored .6 over and an absolute blast to ride ... when it ran.  

It was an unarguably gorgeous motorcycle, with everyone from cops to old ladies throwing thumbs up at red lights, but the short maintenance intervals made ownership a labor of love.

The 2017 Triumph Thruxton gives me all those warm and fuzzy feelings of owning a gorgeous bike, and one that's fast enough to really get the blood pumping, without the need for tinkering and constant maintenance to keep it on the road. Triumph's new café racer is an incredible blend of performance and style that has me smiling like an idiot every time I pull my helmet off.

When your Tinder date that knows nothing about bikes says they like the looks of Triumphs, the lines on the Thruxton are what they're talking about. Design details that hearken back to the glory days of this bike's namesake maintain the retro appearance, with the appearance being just about the only retro aspect of this bike. Fuel injectors designed to mimic the old Amal carbs and a chain guard that looks like the old pre-unit transmission have that aesthetic flair but sacrifice nothing in terms of modern performance.

The lengthy tank of the Thruxton and long café seat are probably the most defining style pieces but are functional, as well. The tank holds a decent 3.8 gallons, and the length and shape of the seat allow you to sit in several different positions comfortably, adjusting for more aggressive or upright riding. Rear set foot controls make hanging off the bike in the turns nice and easy, but if you want to stay a little more planted in the seat you'll find you won't be scraping them easily either.

When you're finally able to pry your eyes away from the fit and finish, the most impressive part of this bike is the new 1200cc engine. The parallel twin has been totally reworked for a massive bump in power, with a 62 percent increase in torque and a 41 percent increase in horsepower from previous models.

The Thruxton now puts out 112 foot-pounds and 97 horsepower, which has led to some weekends in the mountains and evenings in the canyons. This bike has the potential to turn riding back into a sport (like a sport bike!) but also has the style and class to just keep it mellow and cruise if you want to.

Hitting the starter button once the bike is running will switch you to the next of the three ride modes: rain, road and sport. I played around with rain for a second, but as I'm sure you could guess, wasn't terribly excited (that one's about safety, not speed). Then went on over to sport mode for a bit, which was a blast. Quick responsive throttle and a ton of torque made the front end pick up easily, so after a few canyon blasts and butt-puckering wheelies, I switched it over to road mode where I stayed for the majority of my testing.

At $12,500, there are bikes that do perform better for the price. But is there any bike that looks this good and performs this well? I guess that's a matter of preference, but me and the old lady at Hell's Kitchen off of Ortega Highway say no.

It's substantially cheaper than an R nineT and I do prefer the engine on the Triumph over the BMW, even if the Beemer does have better suspension. If you want that, upgrade to the Thruxton R and it'll still be cheaper than the R nineT by $400.

This bike is the iconic style of Triumph, but with a real eye toward modern performance. It's capable enough to take out to track days but stylish enough to roll up to your monthly bike night and start a few conversations. It really is the best of both worlds and priced fairly considering the competition.

2017 Triumph Thruxton Specifications
PRICE $12,500
ENGINE 1200cc SOHC 8 valve parallel twin
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 96.0 hp @ 6750 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 82.6 lb.-ft. @ 4950 rpm
FRAME Tubular steel cradle with twin-sided aluminum swingarm
FRONT SUSPENSION KYB 41mm cartidge forks, 120mm travel
REAR SUSPENSION KYB twin shocks with adjustable preload, 120mm rear wheel travel
FRONT BRAKE Twin 310mm discs, Nissin 2-piston floating calipers, ABS
REAR BRAKE Single 220mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 22.8°/3.6 in.
WHEELBASE 55.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 31.7 in.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 454 lb. dry

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