Road Test

Triumph Thruxton R Track Racer review

Visordown’s been getting its retro fix with Triumph’s Thruxton R Track Racer for the last few weeks. Here’s what we’ve found out.

Details
Manufacturer:
Triumph
Category:
Modern Classics
Price:
£ 11700
Overall
4

TRIUMPH’S Thruxton R has been a top performer in the Hinckley factory’s range since its launch in 2004. Originally a 900cc machine, Triumph cranked it up to 1200cc in 2016, turning the Thruxton into a big slice of retro fun.

Triumph Truxton R Track Racer video review


Joining the standard bike is the ‘R’ version, which is a more performance-oriented machine, featuring uprated brakes, suspension, and exhausts. The bike as tested here is that machine, fitted with Triumph unashamedly retro Track Racer kit. For £1650 the kit includes fairing, clip-ons, Vance & Hines end-cans, pillion-seat cover, tank-strap and tail tidy.

Price

The standard bike comes in at £12,400, add the Track Racer goodies (why wouldn’t you?) and you're looking at a cash price of £14,350. A Triumph Tristar PCP deal based on a £2000 deposit would see you paying back £208.08 p/m for 37 months at 7.9% APR and 4000 miles p/a.

Engine

The business end of the Thruxton R is a thumping great 1200cc parallel twin with 270° cross-plane crank that puts out 96bhp and 82.6 ft-lbs (112 Nm) of torque. The power delivery is punchy from low revs and only becomes breathless above 7k rpm. The ride-by-wire throttle is perfectly set up, with no fluffs or glitches from the carb-a-like fuel injection system.

Mated to the engine is one of the nicest gearboxes on the planet - like I said in the video review above - it’s a pleasure to use with a nice, positive feeling and it absolutely never gives you any trouble whatsoever – other manufacturers please take note!

Out on the road, the Triumph feels faster than its spec-sheet suggests, firing you down straights backed by a heady soundtrack that’s unmistakable. In sports mode, you have the most direct throttle and engine map, and you’re rewarded with some lovely pops and burbles on the downshifts. For this reason alone, it’s by far the best of the three riding modes.

Brakes

Up front we have a set of Brembo 4-piston radially mounted calipers, biting down on 310mm discs. The first time I rode the bike was just after road-testing Ducati’s Panigale V4 S and I thought the brakes were woeful on the Triumph. In hindsight, I was probably comparing apples with lemons, which is unfair on the Triumph. After spending a couple of weeks with the bike I still think the front brakes lack some initial bite and they do require a fairly hefty pull on the radially mounted master cylinder. Putting the forearm workout to one side, there is braking power in abundance once you get into the meat of the lever, with the backup of an ABS system (switchable) that is smooth and relatively unobtrusive in its operation.

Suspension

The Thruxton R is fitted with a set of gorgeous looking 43mm Showa Big Piston Forks that are fully adjustable and with 120mm of travel. At the rear we have a some equally handsome fully adjustable Öhlins piggyback shocks.

The ride quality as standard is good, feeling nice and plush at normal speeds. Pushing on when the road gets twisty and undulating though does show some of the short-comings of the 200+kg bike, as the slightest mid-corner bump will send the short and low clip-ons into a wobble. It’s not that the set-up hampers fast riding, it’s just a bit unsettling when you first jump on the bike.

Handling

Head wobbles aside, the Track Racer is a lovely thing to ride, with decent levels of grip from the Diablo Rosso III tyres. The CoG of the machine is way down, somewhere near the crank of the colossal 1200cc engine, meaning the bike feels much lighter than its 203kg kerb-weight would suggest. While the narrow clip-ons mean you have to give the bars a hefty shove at low speed, they come alive the faster you go, almost egging you on to explore more of the bike’s performance pedigree.

Comfort

With little in the way of weather protection and a long fuel tank to wrap yourself around, the Thruxton R is not a bike to be sat on for 200-mile schleps. I’ve covered big miles in a day on it, even covering 450 and only stopping for fuel, and I found the wrist heavy riding position to become tiresome at the halfway point.

Point the bike at your favourite twisty road though and the aches and pains will melt away, dumbed down by the classy exhaust note and constant shifting from one side of the bike to the other. This is not a machine for riding along motorways, it’s a complete waste of such a lovely looking and sounding machine.

Equipment

With so many beautiful design touches and premium details, the Thruxton R doesn’t need a vast electronics package to keep you amused. We have lovely looking analogue speedo and rev-counter, backed up by small multi-function LCD readouts that display the trips, range, average speed and riding mode information, which includes Road, Rain and Sport.

We like:

  • Styling, details, fit and finish
  • Sublime exhaust note
  • The best gearbox since god invented gearboxes

We don’t like:

  • Wrist heavy riding position
  • Lack of initial bite from the front brakes
  • Nervous mid-corner when pushed hard

Verdict

The Thruxton R is a fantastic mix of retro styling and modern spec kit, that genuinely works well as a backroad scratcher. Adding the Track Racer accessory kit only increases the appeal of the machine. Aside from some mid-corner nervousness and brakes that require a full-handed squeeze, it’s a premium feeling, looking and sounding motorcycle, that looks more at home in its old-school garb than anything else on the market. The final point I want to mention about the Triumph is the ‘Can you walk away and not look back’ test, and it’s a perfect 10 to the boys and girls at Hinckley on that one, you cannot walk away from this bike and not have a glance back, it’s literally impossible.

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