First Ride

Triumph Triumph Thruxton RS (2020) review

The Triumph Thruxton RS gets more power, better brakes, and new tyres. Visordown went along to the press riding launch to try the new motorcycle out

Details
Manufacturer:
Triumph
Category:
Modern Classics
Price:
£ 13000
Overall
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

SINCE its introduction into the modern-day Triumph range, the Thruxton has been one of the Hinckley factory’s biggest sellers in the modern-classic range. With over 16,000 machines retailed in 16-years, it’s quite clear that the motorcycling public has got a taste for the café racer that isn’t diminishing.

Triumph Thruxton RS first impression

To help keep the bloodline of the Thruxton fresh, the team at Hinckley has added the new-for-2020 Thruxton RS to the range. It sits between the Thruxton R and the limited edition TFC model of the bike and features a series of updates aimed at bringing the machine inline with the latest Euro5 emissions regulations and making it a more focussed and performance-oriented machine.

Triumph Thruxton RS pricing and colour options

The new Thruxton RS comes in at £13,000 on the button, making it only £600 more than the now superseded Thruxton R. There is a choice of two colour options for the new bike, the Jet Black bike that I am riding with the gloss paint finish, and the two-colour Matt Storm Grey and Matt Silver Ice option that can be seen above.

Engine

The new Euro5-friendly engine in this bike is the most powerful 1200cc parallel twin to roll out of the factory. Internal improvements to the crank have stripped the engine of weight and helped to reduced inertia, gifting the new bike with a healthy 103bhp. But like the Thruxton R, this machine is more about the torque than the outright power figure. With 83ft-lb on offer from well down in the rev-range, the RS allows you to either dance around the ‘box in search of the perfect ratio, or lazily stick it in any of the first three gears and waft along on the tsunami of grunt.

Other changes for this model include high compression pistons, different cams, lightened balance shafts and a gas flowed head. The most noticeable change to the engine though comes in the form of a new, lighter clutch. It feels significantly lighter than the R’s, helping to ease the aches after a day in the saddle of the sportily set up machine.

Out on the sinuous roads around the Algarve, the new engine feels more eager to rev than any Thruxton I’ve ridden before, with the extra 500rpm Triumph have given the bike quickly getting gobbled up as the rev-counter needle rushes through the redline and bounces off the limiter. The updated traction control system can be quickly and easily overpowered by the never-ending grunt on offer, lifting the front in a smooth, controlled and thoroughly enjoyable manner.

Suspension brakes and handling

In my mind, there are a few things a bike must do before it can be classed as a café racer. It has to have the right look and riding position, sound like a café racer and ride like a café racer. The new Thruxton RS ticks all of the above boxes. Hustling the 200kg machine down a decent road is a physical affair, and rightly so. The Showa Big Piston Forks do their best to keep everything pointing the right way, while the Öhlins Triumph rear shocks feel sweetly damped and perfect for a fast road ride.

Another new update for this model is the sticky, sportsbike-spec Metzler Racetec RR hoops, more likely to be seen at a trackday or superstock race than wrapping the rims of a café racer. In reality there are a perfect match for this new sportier version of the Thruxton, providing masses of grip, feel and feedback. The new tyres make the Thruxton knee-down fast, with none of the bum-clenching fear you got with the R!

The Brembo M50 calipers (shared with the Street Triple RS) and stickier rubber that are fitted to the bike mean you can two-finger trail brake right into the corner’s throat, slamming the bike down as it digs into to the road. The revised ride-by-wire throttle is slicker and more accurate than before, meaning you can pick the bike up on the throttle and drive out of the corner with arm-stretching efficiency.

The two-channel ABS system is non-switchable and could only really be felt kicking in at the rear wheel when aggressively shifting down the gearbox and braking at the same time. After carrying out a lot of market research prior to building this bike, cornering ABS is not included. Does it need it? Not really. Would it make the bike more appealing to some people? Possibly. There is always somebody who wants the latest tech and gizmo included, although if it was fitted, I honestly down think you’d know it was there unless you took to the track.

Equipment

The Thruxton RS’ electronics have been optimised for 2020, although the features are the same as before. There’s a couple of trips, odometer, range to empty, current MPG and average MPG. Info is changed via the left-hand switch cube and with the riding modes, Rain, Road and Sports, also changed via the ‘Mode’ button. Riding modes can be swapped on the fly handily, although to turn off the traction control, you’ll need to come to a stop and cycle through the menus.

We like

  • Authentic café racer handling
  • Toque rich engine delivers instant acceleration in almost any gear
  • Updated brakes transform the bike into a proper B-road weapon

We don’t like

  • Riding position can become wrist-heavy after a few hours of hard riding
  • Seat to peg distance could make taller riders feel a bit cramped

Triumph Thruxton RS (2020) verdict

Using the already excellent Thruxton R as a base is always going to create something that grabs attention and delivers big thrills. Add to that the updates that Triumph has made to this new bike and you have a complete motorcycle that can provide you with a café racer ownership experience with handling that matches most modern nakeds.

One of the most impressive things about the Thruxton RS though is that all the updates and changes that have been made to the bike are genuinely noticeable. From the improved and now more responsive engine, the sportsbike rivaling brakes and the new, lighter clutch; each update brings with it an improvement in either rideability, comfort or performance.

There is one very confusing thing about this new motorcycle though, and it’s more of a positive to this model rather than anything else. At only £600 pounds more than the R version of the bike – why would you opt for the lower-spec, less racy sibling?

 Triumph Thruxton RS (2020) specs

Engine Type

Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin

Capacity

1200cc

Bore/Stroke

97.6 x 80 mm

Compression Ratio

12.066:1

Maximum Power

105 PS/103 bhp (77 kW) @ 7,500 rpm

Maximum Torque

112 Nm @ 4,250 rpm

Fuel system

Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection

Exhaust

Brushed 2 into 2 exhaust system with twin silencers

Final drive

O-ring chain

Clutch

Wet, multi-plate assist clutch

Gearbox

6-speed

Frame

Tubular steel cradle

Swingarm

Twin-sided, aluminium - Clear anodized

Front Wheel

32-spoke 17 x 3.5 in, aluminium rims

Rear Wheel

32-spoke 17 x 5 in, aluminium rims

Front Tyre

120/70 ZR17

Rear Tyre

160/60 ZR17

Front Suspension

Showa 43 mm USD big piston forks, fully adjustable 120 mm travel

Rear Suspension

Fully adjustable Öhlins twin shocks with Piggyback reservoir, 120 mm rear wheel travel

Front Brake

Twin 310 mm Brembo floating discs, Brembo M50 4-piston radial monobloc calipers, ABS

Rear Brake

Single 220 mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS

Width (Handlebars)

745 mm

Height Without Mirrors

1,030 mm

Seat Height

810 mm

Wheelbase

1,415 mm

Rake

22.8º

Trail

92 mm

Dry Weight

197 kg

Fuel Tank Capacity

14.5 L

Fuel Consumption

4.9 l/100 km (58 MPG)

CO2 Emissions

114 g/km

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