KIWI RIDER 05 2018 VOL.1 - Page 40

Y ou never forget the motorcycle that first opens your eyes and a dreaming heart. For many, the low down, dropped bar, single seat, big headlight, and growling tiger attitude of the Thruxton invoked ideas of adventure, speed and manliness. It was café styled, and reeked of English leather, waxed cotton, oil and smoke - the headiest of perfumes for a young lad. That was the late 60s, when Steve McQueen was the coolest bloke, ever, (apart from James Hunt and John Britten) and the Thruxton had been born out of the Bonneville family and the crucible of the Isle of Man TT. Credentials-wise the Thruxton was the pinnacle of the street rider’s art. A couple of years back I rode the new retro Thruxton out of Hinckley. It was smart, looked great, handled well, didn’t leak oil, the electrics worked, the headlight actually illuminated the way at night, and was quite exciting. Apart from one small niggle... the 860cc engine, although capable, did not really have the power I had tasted with the new Bonneville offering in the 1200. I opted to wait until Triumph came to its senses and offered the Thruxton with the best that it deserved. The wait was worth it. Brilliantly worth it, in my opinion. Firstly the Thruxton R ticks every retro box for café cool, and then some. From the gleaming gold fat front forks, to the crackling brushed stainless Vance and Hines pipes, sitting under the yellow Öhlins springers at the rear, this Triumph is heavy with promise. And delivers. You just cannot go past the specs quickly in this regard. Up front the fully adjustable Showa 43mm gold forks have 120mm of travel, they couple to a highly polished top yoke, and dive down to the gorgeous aluminium rims of the 17-inch wheel. Brooding like two thugs on a street corner are the twin 310mm Brembos with stopping power that halts fiercely but with almost imperceptible dive. The rake angle of 22.8 degrees looks quite steep and gives the entire front end a clean, jewel-like, surgical precision element. There’s no shirking with the footwear either, Pirelli’s Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres grip like fiends. The headlight has the usual excellent daytime running lights, twin clocks deliver clear and cogent messages, speed, tach, gear pos, fuel, range to empty, service, clock, trips, fuel use, traction control and throttle modes. These last two are controlled from the left grip and are easy to use on the fly. The clip-on bars terminate with strong bar-end mounts, which offer good vision behind, but are not so wide that lane splitting is impossible - although care is needed. The highly polished top yoke does not like you leaving other keys or fobs on the ring, I scratched mine within the first few rides and was a little disappointed. The tubular steel cradle frame holds the high- output 1200cc power plant stiffly, and it felt rock solid on every sharp and nasty bumping corner, but more THRUXTON R 40KIWI RIDER