Thruxton is a name that has long been used for sporty Triumphs, though not remotely like this. In the Sixties the old, Meriden-based Triumph firm produced a special Thruxton edition of its 650cc Bonneville, to mark the Bonnie’s 1962 victory in the prestigious 500-mile production race held at the Hampshire circuit. The T120 Thruxton was assembled by hand using specially selected parts. Fewer than 60 were made; only a handful survive.
In 2004 the modern Triumph firm revived the Thruxton name, again for a sportier version of the Bonneville roadster, featuring a mildly tuned 865cc engine and a racier riding position thanks to clip-on handlebars and rearset footrests. The Thruxton 900 was no sports bike but cool looks helped make it a lasting success, boosted in recent years by the rise of café racer culture. Now the Thruxton R (and the standard Thruxton, which shares most parts) follows the same pattern. Essentially it’s a café racer based on Triumph’s new-generation T120 Bonneville, complete with 1200cc liquid-cooled engine.
This time round there’s much more difference between Thruxton – especially in racier R designation – and standard Bonneville. The sohc parallel twin motor has higher compression, lighter crankshaft, new exhaust and more, adding 17bhp to give a maximum of 96bhp. The tubular steel main frame is shared with the Bonnie but the Thruxtons have more modern, though still classical, styling. They get uprated electronics featuring an additional Sport riding mode, plus lighter rear subframes and racier chassis geometry incorporating a 17- instead of 18-inch front wheel.