Ducati

First ride: Triumph Thruxton R review

IT’s funny how riding a bike can change your mood and mind-set. The machine that just did it for me is the new Triumph Thruxton R. Journalists rode it after a morning on the new T120 Bonneville. That’s a very likeable bike, which you can read more about in my full review of it, but it took an instant on the Thruxton R to know this was something very different.

It might have been the rumbling engine note, a rumble you feel as much as hear. It might have been the focused riding position, with clip-on bars and weight on your arms. It might have been the sharp steering and powerful brakes. It might have been the burst of torque from 2,000rpm.

Probably it was all these things. The message is: engage your brain and put your riding head on, because this is a bike for tear-arsing around.

And that’s what it makes you do.

Like the T120, it’s got a new 1200cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine, but with a very distinct feel thanks to a range of differences including high-compression cylinders and a larger air-box. It’s the ‘high-power’ version to the T120’s ‘high-torque’. Service intervals for both are 10,000 miles, up from 6,000.

It might be the high-power version but no one has told that to the torque it makes in the low-to-mid-range. In fourth, at about 3,500rpm, which is about 50mph, rolling on the throttle brings decisive acceleration, accompanied by a good, loud bark from the exhaust. I kept blipping the throttle whenever I slowed down and pulled in the clutch, just to hear it again, without competition from wind noise.

And it’s only just getting started, with peak power just a hair’s breadth from the 7,000rpm red line. That peak is 97hp at 6,750rpm, so it’s not outrageously powerful by modern standards, but it’s a bike that makes achieving a good pace easy.

Unlike the T120, which is possibly best enjoyed at an unstressed and torquey 5,000rpm, the Thruxton R goads you to spend more time around that peak. And when you’re not, it’s still fast. Frequent gear changes are light on the wrist thanks to a torque-assist clutch.

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