The Thruxton RS is arguably the crown jewel of Triumph’s Modern Classic lineup of motorcycles. It’s an interesting mashup of modern, high-end components and technology, with a decidedly old-school powertrain. It’s a bike that shouldn’t make sense, but after spending time with it, it’s a bike I can’t get out of my head.
The 2021 Triumph Thruxton RS is powered by a 1,200-cc liquid-cooled 270-degree parallel-twin engine, which produces 103 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 83 pound-feet of torque at just 4,250 rpm. It’s an engine that, thanks to its large displacement and firing order, makes a noise that will get your heart pumping, even if its performance pales in comparison to more conventional naked and sportbikes.
The engine delivers its power smoothly, thanks to Triumph’s excellent fueling. The bike routes its power through a smooth six-speed sequential transmission and out a chain final drive. The gearbox offers light, crisp shifts and an easy-to-find neutral. The age of the engine’s design shows, but that’s a good thing, given Triumph’s continued development.
The formerly-range-topping RS is now the only Thruxton model you can get, and so Triumph seems to have spared no expense in kitting it out with the best-possible chassis components. While the Thruxton’s frame is a conventional and old-timey tubular steel affair, the suspension is modern and well-considered. The front fork comes from Showa and uses that company’s “Big Piston” design as found on high-end sportbikes. It’s fully adjustable and makes for a controlled and plush ride, even over bumpy pavement.
The rear shocks (that’s right, two — this is a heritage bike, after all) come from Ohlins and are also fully adjustable. Typically, in my experience, twin-shock bikes don’t necessarily offer the best control over broken pavement or on fast roads, but these Ohlins units toss all that out the window. The back end of the Thruxton feels as comfortable and confident as I could hope for. It uses some fairly trick wheels to help with its handling, too. It has 17-inch, 32-spoke wire wheels, but unlike most wire wheels with steel spokes, the Thruxton uses weight-saving aluminum spokes. The wheels are wrapped in sticky Metzeler Racetec tires.
The brakes come from Brembo, and as such, they’re excellent. Having big Brembo brakes on a motorcycle isn’t unlike stopping at a Starbucks on a long road trip. Sure, there are other options, but this way you know exactly what you’re in for. In the case of the Brembos, what you’re in for is an excellent feel from the lever, huge stopping power, and almost jewel-like build quality. The twin front rotors on the RS are sized at 310 millimeters and gripped by Brembo M50 four-piston radial-mount calipers. The single rear rotor comes in at 220 millimeters and is clamped by a single, twin-piston Nissin caliper.
The Thruxton has anti-lock brakes, but they’re not lean-sensitive since the bike lacks an inertial measurement unit. On a bike like the Thruxton — one that’s more about looking good and having fun than outright speed — this is totally acceptable. The Thruxton also packs user-selectable ride modes, which include Road, Rain, and Sport. I generally find myself leaving the bike in Sport mode all the time because I like the extra responsive throttle. The Thruxton RS features a very handsome analog speedometer and tachometer. Each also packs an LCD display that provides all the pertinent rider information that I want to see — fuel level, gear indicator, trip odometer, etc. It’s a bit old school, but so is the bike.
~And as always…
~Live Free Ride Hard~
Let AMERiders give you the skinny Triumph Thruxton RS Cafe Racer Offers an Engaging Ride & Killer Looks.
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