‘So it’s just a paint job, then?’ enquired an enthusiastic visitor to Goodwood who happened to be around not long after the Triumph Thruxton Ace was dropped off at the circuit. They were referring to the differences between this and the non-Ace model. Although the statement was (almost) accurate, to describe the Thruxton Ace as such sells the bike way short as an overall experience.
Just a hundred of these special edition Ace Thruxtons will be available to UK customers, and for their £8,199 they do in fact get a bit more than ‘just a paint job’. A seat hump, polished bar-end mirrors, an ‘oxblood’ seat and a plaque on the top handlebar clamp confirming the bike as part of the limited edition are included, and of course the Triumph parts catalogue will give owners the chance to further personalise their Ace.
On the road the Ace (predictably) feels exactly the same as the Thruxton on which it’s based; handling is sweet and you feel perfectly happy making good progress along familiar sections of tarmac twistiness. The kind of riders who get through a set of knee sliders in a fortnight might miss a bit more more ‘scratching’ ability, but to use the Ace in such a fashion just seems unnecessary. The word I most thought about when riding it was ‘stability’. Although it’s heavier than it might appear, and could perhaps be accused of not absorbing imperfections as well as you’d like, it is a joy to ride at speeds where much more powerful bikes feel dull.
That said, the 69 bhp motor with its fuel injection cunningly disguised at a pair of carburettors will not only allow you to to crack ‘the ton’, but will carry you further beyond this speed than you might think. There isn’t though enough of that evocative, snuffling, parrallel-twin ‘thump-thump’, although an exhaust system is available from the aforementioned parts catalogue which will surely cure this.
Of slightly greater disappointment is the fact that there is no extra performance over the standard Thruxton. Not that the Ace isn’t perfectly adept at providing thrills (after all, you need a very lively car to do a standing quarter mile in 13.2 seconds), but that such gorgeous livery really ought to announce an extra 5 – 10 % of power over the bike it’s based upon. But again, to dwell on performance alone is, for me, to miss the point of this bike, even though it does have enough power and handling capability.
What Triumph has added with the Ace paint scheme is style. Heaps of it. Never mind taking the Thruxton Ace to a weekend bike meet somewhere… Just put some fuel into it, go and pay, and by the time you will have returned to it an appreciative crowd will have assembled. Some bikers, some who wouldn’t know one end of a bike from the other, but all seemingly utterly in love with it. But just look at it! How could you not be.
Photography: Nicole Hains