There’s a reason why so many sportsbike riders have peeled themselves off their race replicas and on to Thruxtons. It looks great and you can waft along slowly and enjoy the dark rumblings of the motor.
It doesn’t squash wrists or knees and the seat is comfy enough for extended saddle time (around three or four hours) before you need to shuffle, but it’ll also scratch your speed itch. The Thruxton is still a performance bike, albeit one with turn-ups and a beard.
There’s nothing the Thruxton RS can’t do. It might be long and low, compared to a sportsbike or fiery naked and it’s still on the heavy side, despite a 6kg weight saving (thanks to lighter engine internals and battery), but it’s balanced and steers with accuracy, with just the right amount of rider input required to make you feel like you’ve worked for your speed. Fast flowing corners are its thing and not hairpins or flip-flops, but it gets through them all with poise.
We’ve long loved Metzeler’s Racetec RR K3 fast road/trackday tyre. Grippy, fast-warming, surprisingly durable and not bad in the wet, there’s little they can’t do.
New Brembos M50 monoblocs have pads with more bite and power, compared to the wooden stoppers of the R, but the ABS will eventually intrude if you’re the last of the late brakers.
Ride quality isn’t the last word in plushness, like a full Öhlins-clad Speed Triple RS, and you can get the suspension to wobble if you push very hard, but you can ride the Thruxton RS with all the fervour of a sportsbike.
And when you’ve finished being a loon you can saunter serenely into the next town for a coffee, looking cool (on your own, it’s a single seat only).
To keep the 1200cc parallel twin Euro5-fresh and to boost performance, the Thruxton RS also gets a raft of engine mods, including high compression pistons, cams and a gas flowed head, crank, balance shafts, clutch and generator are all lighter and a magnesium cam cover and thinner engine covers save further weight.
Power is up 7bhp to 103bhp and there’s more shove above 5250rpm. It makes the same 83ftlb of torque, but it’s delivered 700rpm lower in the revs, there’s 20% less inertia and an extra 500rpm to play with up top, so no more banging into the rev limiter so easily when you’re enjoying yourself.
Revised mapping has banished on/off throttle glitches and the new torque-assist clutch gives the lever a lighter action. Gears still snick home nicely, not that you need to trouble the 'box that often with so much torque on tap, but a quickshifter and blipper would be nice for the money.
Rider modes (Rain, Road, Sport) now have their own dedicated traction control settings, so there’s less intrusion when you don’t want it and more when you do. In reality there’s now so much grip you’d be hard pushed to ring the TC’s bell anyway.
Triumph took a huge step forward in quality when the Thruxton first arrived in 2016 and it’s now up there with the best. Owner reviews are all positive, so living with the RS should be a joyful experience.
Triumph claims 58mpg and a theoretical 185-mile range from its 14.5 litre tank and major service intervals are every 10,000 miles. Insurance premiums will reflect its spicy ticket price.
It’s a lot of cash for a single-seated retro-shaped sportsbike, but the Triumph is a quality object, packed with tastefully hidden tech. For the last word in off the peg café racer-styling, sounds and performance the new Thruxton RS is it.
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Based on the brilliant R – not a bad place to start an evolution - the RS keeps all its good stuff: the polished top yoke, ali tank strap, Brembos, fully adjustable twin piggyback Öhlins shocks and Showa Big Piston Forks.
Then there’s the old-school analogue clocks, lightweight 32 spoke wheels, sleek exhausts that cleverly hide the cats and carb-shaped throttle bodies…the list goes on.
Like the top spec Street and Speed Triple RS Triumph, the chassis components get a tickle, so the Thruxton RS has higher spec Brembo M50 monoblocs, Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsas make way for stickier Metzeler Racetec RR K3 rubber and there’s a lighter battery. The Öhlins shock springs have been given the blacked-out treatment along with all the engine covers and wheel rims.
On top of all the RS’s standard goodies, there are a plethora of accessories available, from Arrow pipes to tank bags, or a 'Track Racer' inspiration kit including a top fairing, lower clip-ons, a tail tidy and LED indicators, which can all be bought separately.