Triumph’s design team has obviously been channelling their counterparts over at Porsche because here’s the ‘all new’ 2016 Bonneville/Thruxton and things are looking pretty familiar. That might be a little harsh because the new Bonneville and its offshoots are fitted with an engine that Triumph says is ‘all-new’ and when you take a closer looks, things start to look a little more modern.
One of the biggest criticisms of the previous Bonneville was that the performance from its air cooled, 865cc twin mimicked its vintage looks. The 2016 update looks to have gone some way to addressing this. Now running a 1,200cc water cooled parallel twin that delivers 112nm of torque in Thruxton form and 105Nm in Bonneville form, the 2016 engine produces 62 and 53 per cent more torque respectively than the outgoing models. That extra torque is now delivered to the rear wheel through a six-speed gearbox (previously a five-speed) and the fuel injection is now controlled by Triumph’s ‘next generation’ ride-by-wire throttle. However, the new bikes still feature faux carburettors that I’ve never been quite sure of. Another first for Triumph’s modern classic range is the switch to water cooling for the 270 degree parallel twin. The radiator has been well hidden up front between the twin down tubes of a completely redesigned frame. Despite the switch to water cooling the cylinder head retains the classic finned look to fool people into thinking your brand new bike’s 45 years old. Sounds odd when you say it like that doesn’t it?
The model we’re most interested in here however happens to be new for 2016, the Thruxton R. The up-spec model features the same more powerful twin as the lesser Thruxton but is fitted with superbike spec items like Showa big piston forks, Brembo monobloc calipers and master cylinder, Ohlins rear shocks and track-spec Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres. Continuing on with the superbike esque features the Thruxton R is also fitted with ABS and rider selectable engine modes that cover ‘road, rain and sport’. If all that’s not quite racey enough then Triumph will also offer you a ‘Track Racer Kit’ which includes a minimal front fairing, lower and lighter clip-on handlebars, Vance & Hines slip-on exhausts and a leather strap on the fuel tank. Nothing says race quite like a leather strap!
Having done a few kilometres on the previous 865cc Triumph Scrambler I can honestly say that this is an update that needed to happen. You had to be willing to make some fairly serious trade-offs for the sake of style if you were to buy one the previous Bonneville based bikes. That’s not to say they weren’t a decent bike. The Scrambler always made you smile when you swung a leg over it but the five-speed gearbox was clunky and long legged, the single disc front brake didn’t instil much confidence and the bike was all too heavy for its size. In other words it relied far too heavily on its faux vintage looks. 2016’s update looks to have gone a long way to fix these pitfalls but I still worry about its reliance on the past. Ducati’s Scrambler manages to look modern while referencing the past. Triumph seems to work on a copy-and-paste principle, but if I suppose if it aint broken, don’t fix it.
The modern classic range has been Triumph’s most popular since its revitalisation and this update has taken all the things that were still working for the Bonneville and Thruxton (looks and character) and seemingly added more substance to the style. I just wish they’d ditched the faux carburettors…