Triumph Thruxton: Air of a good feeling
It's going to be a great year for Triumph, with a series of upgrades and improvements to popular models on the way. But we can't forget the greatness we already have
The next generation Thruxton gains a water cooled engine and other goodies(above).
This year ushers in a new era for the Triumph modern classic range, with the introduction of water-cooling for engines over the 1000cc mark.
The Thruxton, in particular, will be getting a huge upgrade with water-cooled 1200cc engines, Ohlins USD forks, better shocks and bigger brakes, which will hopefully see it handle and stop with the best of its much more modern competition.
While we won’t see the new bikes on our roads until at least midway through the year, we still have the last of the current generation to enjoy — and there’s just something special with that “the last of ..." moniker.
At the heart of the outgoing Thruxton is Triumph’s solid 865cc parallel twin with a 270-degree crankshaft. This engine will live on with the torquey 360-degree crankshaft unit staying on in the Scrambler, but in this guise it is a smooth beauty of an engine.
Putting out 51kW(69 HP) and 69 Nm it isn’t the type of engine that propels you off the mark with a wheelie-inducing surge of power. Instead, you work the engine for the best results, smoothly opening the throttle and revving the engine out to the 8500 rpm redline before changing to the next appropriate gear, of which there are six.
It’s quite the rewarding experience to go through the process. Over the years, Triumph have refined it into a beautiful tribute to the classic engines of the past. Complete with manual choke and throttle bodies cleverly camouflaged to look like carburettors, it’s a look that will be sorely missed when the radiator-clad new engines appear.
Triumph designed the Thruxton to mirror the classic cafe racers of the 1960s, with rearset pegs and a low handlebar emulating clip-on bars. At first glance, the seat appears to be a solo unit, but a closer look reveals the pillion section of the one-piece seat to be hidden by a stylish, removable cowling.
The riding position isn’t as extreme as it looks, and although the rearsets put you in a forward lean, the handlebar doesn’t take on too much of your weight, so there’s not an excessive amount of pressure causing aching wrists as you’d find in a bike with clip-on bars. While it has the racy looks, the Thruxton is limited by the classically inspired tyres, which wrap the brilliant chrome-spoked 17- and 18-inch wheels.
Interestingly the front wheel, the bigger of the two, has fewer spokes than the rear: 36 spokes to the rear’s 40. Throwing it about through corners, you’d be surprised to find the spec sheet puts the Thruxton at a solid 230kg. It follows the riding line smoothly, thanks to Kayaba preload suspension front and rear.
At $14,990 plus on-roads, the Thruxton is priced similarly to other modern classics on offer. That can very easily balloon out if, like me, you spend a fair bit of time playing with Triumph NZ’s bike configurator online (bit.ly/1P3VRWh), which shows off all sorts of factory-approved accessories to make the bike unique. It’s quite easy to make a Thruxton nudge the $20,000 mark if you go crazy.
It’ll be a sad day when the air-cooled engine beats its last as a production engine.
They have something elegant that you just can’t achieve with a radiator strapped up front. With the new Thruxton models heading our way later this year, time is running out to grab the beautiful air-cooled bike before they’re gone for good.
PROS AND CONS 2015 TRIUMPH THRUXTON
|Engine:||865cc Parallel twin|
|PROS:||Classic character, looks great, pretty comfy|
|CONS:||Last of the air-cooled generation — two new models are on the horizon with bigger 1200cc engines and much more technology|