TRIUMPH THRUXTON 1200 R (2016 - on) Review
- Handling and braking exceptional
- Beautiful attention to detail
- Long service intervals
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£180|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Unveiled to the world at the suitably trendy Bike Shed in London at the end of 2015, the Triumph Thruxton R was the final model to be released in the Brit company's new five-strong Bonneville range, which included the Street Twin, T120, T120 Black and Thruxton. It immediately captured the imagination and dealers couldn’t get their hands on enough of them to satisfy demand.
The Hinckley firm could’ve given the out-going Thruxton a short back and sides, checked shirt, beard and turn-ups and it would’ve sold in its droves anyway, but instead the British machine (made in Thailand) was an intoxicating mixture of retro style-meets 21st century performance and technology.
It looked like something out of the ‘60s with fastidious old school attention to detail, but it came with traction control, Brembo monoblocs, ABS, electronic riding modes, sticky Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa rubber, Showa Big Piston Forks, twin Öhlins shocks. and a lusty 96bhp liquid-cooled, 1200cc ‘High Torque’ parallel twin cylinder engine. There was also a cheaper base model with slightly lower-spec chassis parts.
- Related: Triumph Thruxton TFC revealed
MCN had its first taste of the Triumph Thruxton R at its Portugal world launch in February 2016 and quickly discovered it was more than just a styling job. It was a fine-handling, fast, easy to ride and above all fun motorcycle in its own right and even had a devilish appetite for skids and wheelies when you turned the electronics off.
The Thruxton R won MCN’s Best Retro award in 2016 and has been top dog ever since. It was joined in the range by the even higher spec Thruxton RS in 2020.
It gained the upper hand over the BMW’s R nineT and R nineT Sport, Yamaha XJR1300, Kawasaki Z900RS and Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport on the road and even on track along the way, where it stops, goes and handles like modern, well-sorted sportsbike. There’s very little not to like, but its low clip-ons and firm ride won’t be for everyone.
Triumph Thruxton R news and advice
In October 2019 Triumph announced a £1000 "personalisation contribution" towards optional extras to make your bike your own. And in February 2019 the firm announced a Triumph Thruxton 1200 R Black to accompany the standard model.
If you're interested in its heritage, you can find out what happened when MCN put the current Triumph Thruxton R up against the original model..
You're able to download your own copy of the owners' manual for the Thruxton R here. There's a lively community for this bike on the Thruxton R owners' page on Facebook, or alternatively there's the Triumph Forum.
During 2017 MCN ran a Triumph Thruxton R as a long-term test bike. Find out how we got on here.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
A tubular steel cradle frame had the same geometry and wheelbase as the Speed Triple of the day, which showed how dedicated Triumph were to making the Thruxton R handle. Its sporty spec included fully adjustable 43mm Showa Big Piston forks, twin Öhlins shocks and twin Brembo monobloc calipers.
The Thruxton R was everything we hoped it would be: smooth, easy to ride, fast, fun and has happy to potter, pose or scratch a sportsbike rider’s itch going bananas on a B road.
It steers with pin-sharp accuracy, has powerful brakes and such well-tuned suspension it glides from corner to corner with minimal effort. Whether you hang off like Marquez, or wedge your knees together like Surtees, the Thruxton R rewards like a lithe, perfectly balanced sportsbike.
What’s in a name?
Right from the beginning Triumph reserved the Thruxton name for the raciest models in their range.
The first Thruxtons were special factory versions of the T120 Bonneville road bike (which themselves were the superbikes of their day), pulled off the Meriden production line and fettled by Triumph. They competed in production-based, supserstock-type racing and the prestigious 500-mile endurance race at the fast Thruxton circuit in Hampshire. These races were a great proving ground for developing the bikes and for showed the world just how good your bikes were. In 1969 Triumphs filled all three spots on the podium at the Thruxton 500.
Triumph launched the limited edition 650cc Bonneville Thruxton production machine in 1964. The first of the modern day Thruxtons, built at the new Hinckley factory, arrived in 2004 - again based on the Bonneville of the day.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Powered by Triumph’s 1200cc ‘High Torque’ parallel twin-cylinder engine the Thruxton R has ride-by-wire and produces a claimed 96bhp and 83ftlb of torque. It burbles and tremors with feel-good vibes at tickover and on the move it rewards with big dollops of British meat and potatoes power and grunt. It spins up rapidly thanks to a lighter crank compared to its Bonneville sisters, but the motor is ultra-refined. The clutch is light and the six-speed gearbox snicks speedily from cog to cog with soft, mechanical, oily grace, which it needs to with a grunt-laden motor that runs out of revs quickly.
Electronic rider aids came in the form of switchable ABS, traction control and three riding modes (Rain, Road and Sport), although you’ll settle on its middle mode – the other two are either too tame or snatchy. Turn the electronics off and you can have some proper fun…a bit like with Ducati’s brilliant old Sport Classic range (bet they’re kicking themselves now?).
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Engine and electronics have proved to be trouble-free. Fit and finish from new are excellent and it’s proved to be generally durable over the years, although over time some owners have found the dash glass to fog and some cases of corroded aluminium parts have been reported.
During 2016 MCN ran a Triumph Thruxton R on the long-term test fleet, and found it a comfortable, reliable companion.
Our Triumph Thruxton R owners' reviews show very positive scores, with owners having nothing particularly damning to say about it.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Thruxton R was never cheap, especially compared to Japanese rivals like the Kawasaki Z900RS and Yamaha XJR1300. It’s also over twice the price of Royal Enfield’s superb Interceptor 650, which arguably does the same job on the road. But it cost less than the BMW R nineT of the day. You get what you pay for and you’re never left feeling short-changed with the amount of performance, equipment and style you got for your money.
BMW’s 110bhp flat twin-cylinder R nineT rocked our world when it arrived in 2014. It cleverly mixes high performance with the German firm’s 92-year heritage. This Sport version costs £1090 more than the base model and comes with heated grips, a seat hump, a brushed ali tank and high-rise Akrapovic exhaust.
Yamaha’s inline four XJR1200 arrived in 1995 and evolved into the XJR1300 in 1999. Last year the 97bhp machine reinvented itself with new hipster clothes, a smaller tank, cleaner back end and a smaller headlight. Our test bike has £1336.92 of official Yamaha goodies fitted, including an Akrapovic end can.
Triumph Thruxton R vs Yamaha XJR1300 vs BMW R nineT Sport: the verdict
All three of these bikes make you feel special from the moment you roll them out of your garage. They stir the soul just standing still, they’re a cinch to ride slowly and all offer big thrills at speed. The smooth Yamaha offers fantastic value for money, but it’s close between the fast, raucous BMW and the hugely accomplished Triumph. But the Thruxton R wins our hearts. It’s a very special machine and without doubt Britain’s best café racer.
The Triumph Thruxton R was £11,700 when it was first launched in 2016, which was a lot less than a similarly equipped super naked, superbike or adventure machine of the day. It had Brembos, Ohlins, Showas, a torque-assist clutch, LED lights, USB charging socket, immobiliser, 160-section Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres, Monza-style filler cap, aluminium tank strap, polished top yoke, clear anodised aluminium swingarm and a set of analogue clocks with a full digital display discreetly buried within. It wasn’t short on beautiful detailing, either from the polished ali top yoke, to the carb look-a-like throttle bodies and NGK-style spark plug caps with Triumph logos.
Triumph are leading the way with a dizzying range of 470 parts and accessories for their new Bonneville range, including a pair of ready-made Inspiration Kits for the Thruxton and Thruxton R, to help make customising your new retro that little bit easier.
The Track Racer Inspiration Kit costs £1800 supplied and fitted and includes a delectable selection of 1960s road-racer-inspired extras like a sculpted cockpit fairing, single painted seat cowl (where not already fitted), authentic LED bullet indicators, lower clipon handlebars, rear mudguard removal kit with compact light, Vance & Hines slip on silencers, and a leather tank strap.
Turning the Thruxton into a more laid-back café racer is the £1300 Café Racer kit, which includes a rear mudguard removal kit with compact rear light, Vance & Hines slip-on silencers, single painted seat cowl, authentic LED bullet indicators, signature Triumph rubber knee pads and a leather tank strap.
Triumph Thruxton R accessories FAQ
- Q: Why doesn’t the R have an Öhlins fork? A: According to Triumph, the performance of the Showa BPF was more than good enough. Fitting Öhlins would have mainly been a fashion-pleasing move.
- Q: Can I switch off all the electronics? A: Yes, both the ABS and traction control are switchable on both Thruxton models.
- Q: Can I fit Thruxton R parts to the Thruxton? A: Most of the accessories and upgraded parts on the R are interchangeable between the models and so are the Öhlins shocks. Fitting the BPF with their radial brakes is not possible as the ABS tune is unique to the R.
- Q: What accessories are there for the Thruxton models? A: The official Triumph Café Racer inspiration kit brings naked café racer styling for £1295 while the Track Racer kit is more sports inspired and includes a half fairing for £1620. All the component parts are available separately and there are around 160 extras such as the V&H exhaust silencers, quilted seat and various bolt-on accessories. All accessories can be fitted to either model.
- Q: Is the Vance & Hines exhaust offensively loud? A: That’s a subjective issue, but the exhaust is available in a roadhomologated specification with removable baffles if you don’t want to upset your neighbours too much. And a full de-cat (race only) one if you do!
|Engine type||Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Fuel capacity||14.5 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm conventional, non-adjutsable fork (Showa BPF on the R, fully-adjutable)|
|Rear suspension||Twin shocks, adjustable spring preload (Ohlins on the R, fully-adjutable)|
|Front brake||2x310mm two-piston calipers (four piston Brembo monobloc on the R), ABS|
|Rear brake||220mm disc, two piston. ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 R17|
|Rear tyre size||160/60 R17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||50 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£180|
|Used price||£6,400 - £9,200|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||2 years unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||96 bhp|
|Max torque||82.6 ft-lb|
|Top speed||135 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||150 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2004 – 69bhp, 865cc parallel-twin cylinder Thruxton introduced. Café racer version of the Bonneville with revised suspension, wire wheels, drop handlebars, rearsets, single seat and 18” front wheel.
- 2008 - Thruxton gets Euro 3 compliant fuel injection and detail changes.
- 2016 – Thruxton R released 96bhp, 1200cc parallel-twin cylinder. Features rider modes, traction control and ABS.
- Triumph Thruxton: Base model (costing £1300 less at the time). Identical chassis, engine and electronics, but slightly lower spec twin-piston sliding-pin Nissin brakes, Kayaba rear shock and forks, Pirelli Angel GT sports touring tyres, lazier steering geometry and weighed an extra 3kg. It also did without the R’s seat cowl, polished top yoke and clear anodised aluminium swingarm.
- Triumph Thruxton RS: Launched in 2020 for £13,000, the RS model has even more fancy kit installed. It has more revs, more power, extra equipment and better handling.
Owners' reviews for the TRIUMPH THRUXTON 1200 (2016 - on)
12 owners have reviewed their TRIUMPH THRUXTON 1200 (2016 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£180|
The handling is great if i was being picky a bigger fuel range would help
Buying experience: From a dealer i paid 10,500 for it
Annual servicing cost: £70
The bike is beautiful to look at and always makes me feel proud to own when I look at it. It is wonderful to ride, with one point of exception, the front brakes. It has been utterly reliable which inspires confidence. I mainly ride in London which is not the best area to get the most out of it but even so I love being on it. It does make my wrists ache a little in the traffic but long distance trips to the continent have been a total joy. The brakes though are dreadful; they do not have a consistent biting point so every time I grab the lever I never know what I am going to get. On fast country roads I find myself pumping the lever which is far from great. It has been back to the main Triumph factory twice and they assure me it is within tolerances but I just can't head round that. I would avoid Brembo brakes on my next bike if I could. It is a shame because otherwise it is just delightful.
Ride is sublime. Brakes not.
It has had perfect reliability and despite living outside under a cover has aged with elegance during the past 4 years.
I have started to service it myself and am unsure how much it cost last time but it didn't feel expensive and was both straight forward and enjoyable to do.
The standard bike has a high level of quality in the components supplied. I retro fitted the low handle bars and then the heated grips. In an ideal world I would have liked a speed limiter or cruise control for the motorways as it is so easy to creep up to 80/90 MPH if I'm not careful.
Buying experience: The dealer was helpful and very good to work with.
Annual servicing cost: £250
Great: smooth engine with a lot of torque, good sound, great looks, reliable, low costs Not so great: lacking feel front-brake, over-damped front fork, uncomfortable seat during long rides
the bike is at it's best on twisty roads riding 50-80 mph, not comfortable at bumpy roads due to overdamped suspension (1200R), I need a break every hour
great engine with lot's of smooth torque the whole range, 97 bhp more than sufficient, 3 riding modes useful, a little nervous on the throttle on bumpy roads
well built, light corrosion after 28k miles, foggy dashboard replaced under garantee
moderate servicing costs
Buying experience: I bought my bike second hand from a dealer, who sold the test bike for the motorcycle magazines for the Dutch Triumph importer,
Great retro looking bike that’s always gets attention and will keep up with your mates with sportsbikes!
Brakes ace, suspension is hard on some broken British back roads.
Full of torque but on/off throttle is poor until you get used to it. And there is lots of vibes felt at the bars.
Reliability been fine but bare alloy finishes leave a lot to be desired.
More than enough for style of bike.
Annual servicing cost: £100
Outstanding machine, ridiculously beautiful, wicked fast and handles like a Daytona.
If it weren't for the front brake issues, I would rate it a 5. Not all of them have it, but it is annoying and potentially dangerous for an inexperienced rider. The brakes bite HARD and have not experienced any fade. One tank of fuel, (about 150 miles) and I need a break. The bike rides firmly, even with the suspension dialed down, and the riding position, while I prefer it over upright riding, is not for everyone.
Glorious. Smooth, tractable, and torque, torque, torque! The 270 degree crank makes the thing sound a bit un-Triumph like, but it is a highly refined unit. Downshifts are rarely needed. Just roll and go.
Broken shift rod and still dealing with oddly spongy front brake. No complaints otherwise. Build quality is chart topping.
I do my own work, had the dealer reset the service wrench for me. Changed oil at 500 and again at 3000. Have only had to tension the chain once. All torques in spec.
The polished upper triple is beautiful, if a bit of a pain to keep looking good. The clocks are great, and the displays for other things like clock, rider mode etc are easy to use and useful. The Rosso Corsa Diablo tyres are not long for this world but are perfectly suited. I have a set of Dunlops on it now, and they are every bit as good (I am not an an aggressive rider). Seems like they may go more than the Corsa's 4500 mile stint, cut short by a flat. I have added a phone holder, heated grips, case guards, sport pillion pegs and Triumph nylon panniers. I have also purchased the two-up comfort saddle (it's great) and the low-rider saddle, which seems no lower to me than standard, but has a nice cross embroidery. The throttle spacers for Ducati are also highly recommended.
Buying experience: Best dealer experience ever. I made a fair offer and it was accepted with little haggling. They delivered the bike with just 1 mile showing.
Annual servicing cost: £300
A cracking update to the previous air cooled model.
The suspension on the non-R model like mine is basic but performs well on the road. It seems to strike a good balance between firm and absorbent.
Grunty and it sounds lovely with the standard exhaust system fitted. I've left it well alone and I reckon it's the bike's best aspect.
The servicing figure is New Zealand Dollars.
Modern electronics that are easy to understand and use. There's no more to say really.
Annual servicing cost: £171
I had a new 2004 "Series 1" Thruxton when they came out and over 4 years spent far to much on it, trying to make it the bike I wanted, but never got there. My 2016 model Thruxton R is the bike I was trying to make, and a whole lot more. Triumph has captured the look, the feel and the soul of a 1960s Cafe racer, yet delivered it in a bike that handles as well as a Street Triple and with a glorious paralel twin. What is not to like?
The ride quality is, when compared to the stock 2004 model, as different as night and day. Other than my Tiger XC I've never ridden such a comfortable bike.
Ride by wire throttle controls can be less than smooth, especially at small throttle openings. This one is good: not perfect, but good. I have V&H US Specification cans. they sound glorious with the db killers in, with them out a bit on the noisy side.
The black plastic ring round the Ohlins body has, at 3200 miles, become scored and looks unsightly. Triumph replaced the rear shocks, without argument, supplying new 2017 model version that doesn't have this plastic collar.
Heated Grips: work, and elegantly integrated into the controls. Fly-screen: reduces wind load well between 50 and 80 mph. Essential.
Buying experience: Bought as a 12 month old used bike from the dealer.
Amazing, brakes, suspension and engine. Surges forward from 3000rpm.
Changed the suspension to the comfort settings which improved ride and handling on typical winding roads. Brakes are excellent and very reassuring.
Love the instant surge of the low revving high torque engine. Plenty of power for wheelies and flying out of corners.
Excellent materials and beautiful touches. So far survived the February salt and responds well to cleaning.
Still under warranty.
Heated grips are excellent. The dual comfort seat could be more comfortable for a passenger.
Version: Thrust on R
The engine is strong and refined, making it easy to access the power on tap. It also sounds great, particularly during acceleration and overrun; a very evocative sounding British twin. The handling is sharp and stable at all speeds. Pirelli corsa tyres add good adhesion to the road surface. Most of all, it's just about the best looking bike on the road.
Great handling and brakes, drops into corners with ease and the Pirelli tyres do the rest. The motor needs about 3000 revs to start pulling strongly but at that point it really comes on tap. This feels perfectly matched to the handling of the bike, which when combined with those powerful Brembos, just inspires confidence in myself to use the full potential of the bike. That confidence has led to me beginning to explore the out reaches of tread on the sidewall of those super sticky corsa tyres.
Very smooth and enough power to win the traffic light drag race. The motor sounds great, just like an old fashioned British twin, with plenty of crackle and pop on overrun. The standard pipes are fine but would potentially sound even better with updated cans. I'm looking forward to riding the bike after it's first service when I can push the motor into the upper reaches of it's rev range. Early performance from the motor, up to about 4000rpm suggests to me that it has a lot more to offer; can't wait.
Only had the bike for two weeks, so early days yet.
No servicing costs or repair costs yet, only two weeks old. I'm getting well above 50mpg and with service intervals at 10,000 miles the bike will be cheap to run. Insurance was also good value at £224 for fully comp.
The switches are all in the right place and easy to use. Having three engine modes helps on occasion. Self cancelling indicators would be useful; being old I keep forgetting to cancel them. I added a small fly-screen to the front, a dual comfort seat, for my old butt, and of course rear pegs to go with the dual seat. (The dual seat looks good - honest). the "Info" button is easy to use and toggles through all the information about the bike that you'll ever need to know. I just keep an eye on the speedo to be honest. The clutch lever and brake lever have good adjustment, for different sized mitts. The Olins & Showas offer infinite adjustment to the suspension, combined with Brembos for only and extra £1300 over the standard Thruxton; great value!
Buying experience: I bought Mike bike from Drew at Bevans Motorcycles,Triumph dealership, in Cardiff. A great bike shop with really decent and helpful staff. My sincere thanks to Drew.
Version: Thruxton R
Combination of handling, brakes and modern elactonics serving a wonderful engine. I'd recommend a test ride, as my requirements will be different from anyone else.
I could ride this bike as a commuter, or for a sunny Sunday run. At a stretch you could tour no problem. Limiting factor is the low fuel light at around 120 miles.
Lovely engine, smooth with a nice burble on the standard exhausts. Even pops a little on the over run! Lovely.
The bike is only 2 weeks old, with 250 miles so far too early to tell. However the components look top spec, and well finished.
Good on fuel, shows 57 mpg during running in!
My bike is standard at the moment. The best texture is the ability to change mode on the fly.
Buying experience: Having placed a holding deposit in November 15, I was lucky to be one of the first to receive my bike in mid May 16. The dealer was helpful, and the whole process easy and quick (PCP)
This is the best cafe racer on the market. Handling is agile, braking is excellent, and power output is strong. Seating and ergonomics are just about right for 5'9" - 5'11" rider. The bike may be the best looking on the market.
Dual Brembos up front are spectacular. The bike does not come with a pillion seat. It is an option which I will not buy. I usually commute to work about an hour each way. I have never felt uncomfortable. The riding position is aggressive but not torture.
This engine pulls hard. It may not have the highest HP in its class, but it has tons of usable torque, which makes power usable in daily riding situations. Traction control, ABS, and three rider modes also make for exhilarating rides.
The quality and build is excellent. Well approaching other european bike manufacturers. The only issue I found was a tendency for the bike to stall during the break-in period.
The 500 mile service is free. The next scheduled maintenance is a at 10,000 miles which is about 3 years for my riding.
Awesomely smooth. Tons or torque. The bike pulls. It will wheelie. I am thinking about the Vance & Hines slip ons since the stock pipes are a little on the quiet side for my tastes. The grips are a little small for my hands but this is easily upgradable. The only thing I don't like about it is the seat. There is a stitching across the back of the saddle which makes it uncomfortable to slide back into a full tuck.
Buying experience: Purchased the bike from Triumph of Philadelphia. They are a knowledgeable Triumph dealership. The bike came in at the end of April about two months later than originally scheduled. There was a huge demand for these.