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Sports bike in retro racer garb

S. Muralidhar | Updated on March 10, 2018

Retro charm Spoked wheels, bar-endmirrors and bullet seat give theThruxton R the appeal of the originalTriumphs SHAJU JOHN













The new Triumph Thruxton R packs the tuned up 1200cc Bonneville engine under a cafe racer avatar

I'm a big fan of naked bikes. Their designs are timeless, they have a certain raw, rugged feel to them and most importantly, in the Indian context, on average they offer the best, most comfortable riding posture. The upright riding style is the most practical in the Indian riding cycle which is heavily leaned towards slow-moving city traffic.

A powerful, heavy sports bike with sleek panels and an aerodynamic fairing is great to look at, but its committed riding posture is not the most apt for everyone, and can be a pain in the back if you have to clock long distances intra-city. Test riding sports bikes have only been enjoyable on the track, sometimes an early morning ride uphill on a twisted stretch of tarmac comes close.

So being stuck in the city earlier this month, a longish test ride of the Triumph Thruxton R was still an inviting offer.


The Thruxton R is genetically a cafe racer, frankly, the even more evolved cousin of the naked bike. With the ability to combine the relaxed riding typical of city cruisers and the prowess to completely alter its character on the track, this bike belongs to a breed that doesn't just pull at your heart strings with its looks, but can also deliver mind-blowing performance. That heady mix's appeal is also fed by the amazing Bonneville 1200's engine sitting pretty in the middle of the tubular steel cradle.

It is easy to fall in love with the new Thruxton R (available in dealerships from April this year).

A classic round, chrome headlamp, the classy cast bar-end mirrors, a sculpted fuel tank with knee scoops, the flip-up ‘Monza’ fuel cap in brushed aluminium and the dual exhausts are perfect for the cafe racer design. In fact, every element and finish has been carefully choreographed for complimenting the design, including some of the other features like the single bullet seat and a painted seat cowl, the twin-pod instrument cluster and of course, the massive Brembo brakes (who can forget those).

Our test mule came with metallic grey livery and the front forks and twin Ohlin rear shocks were finished in a contrast gold plating. Attention to detail included double stitched all-weather leather seat cover in a contrast red. There is further customisation possible with a number of accessories available including compact bullet indicators, a custom cockpit fairing and Vance & Hines exhausts.


Triumph refers to the Thruxton R as a modern classic, one which has “all the brooding presence and poise of the original Triumph racers”. If this pedigree needs to be established in the performance department too, what better way to do that than choosing the 1200cc Bonneville engine in its new tuned up avatar.

This is the same parallel twin engine that delivers the goodies in the T120 Bonneville and the regular Thruxton.

The new Thruxton R features a tuned up version of the 1200cc engine. The engine worked through a 6-speed transmission is now capable of delivering a peak power of 97PS at 6,750rpm and a massive 112Nm of torque at 4,950rpm. The engine’s compression ratio is a higher 11.0:1 compared to the T120.

From the moment we crank the engine it is evident that the engine is a refined, high-revving unit, and you don’t need any convincing about its potential when you hear the exhaust note. It is not loud or thumping, but sounds more like distant thunder.

The 8-valve engine also features a lighter crank and a unique airbox which help boost performance. Accurate ride-by-wire fuel injection and twin throttle bodies together ensure that the low inertia offers instant response. In fact, more than 85 per cent of the torque is available from as low as 2,500rpm.

Acceleration is visceral and with oodles of grip offered by the Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres (that is a mouthful), the climb into three figures is almost within the blink of an eye. Linear acceleration and stability is remarkable. In fact, though it weighs in at a hefty 203kgs, the Thruxton R features a version of launch control to keep unnecessary wheelies at bay.

The bike also takes on corners with great ease. Perfect weight distribution and a dynamic suspension set up makes it literally stick on to tarmac. Very uneven tarmac does send up some of the feedback thanks to a fairly stiff set up. But, the big piston Showa forks at the front and the adjustable Ohlins at the rear are an absolute delight otherwise on average city roads. The Thruxton R’s stopping power is humungous.

The 310mm twin floating Brembo discs at the front and the 220mm disc at the rear with Brembo and Nissin callipers offer enormous braking ability. In fact, quick stops in traffic elicited a concerned look at the rear view mirror, just to make sure that the others behind the bike were also stopping in time. ABS on both wheels is standard.

The Thruxton R’s set up offers a lot of balance. Featuring a twin-sided swing aluminium arm and 17-inch wheels, there is a sense of stability to this café racer that is very unique.

Bottom Line

There are also three modes to choose from – road, rain and sport – which basically change the character of the ride-by-wire system to ensure better safety or more sporty performance.

During our extended test ride, the bike returned about 11 kilometres to a litre of petrol. The only feature which failed during our ride was the horn, which gave up despite being used extremely sparingly.

The Thruxton R is priced at ₹11 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) and is the café racer to own in that price range.

Published on September 22, 2016

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