I loved my Triumph Street Triple. Loved. Fast, maneuverable, confidence-inspiring. But with the Two Brothers carbon fiber pipes she had she was loud. I never realized how much it bothered me until I took a Triumph Thruxton up the backside of Sandia Crest a few weeks ago.
I loved this bike. Loved. Fast, as maneuverable — more so to me, it seemed — and it sounded and looked great. My friend owns the shop it was at. He let me ride it up to Madrid about 20 miles away to see what she was like on the long grind sort of ride. Loved it. I did a straight trade: my 2010 Street Triple with a hair over 10,000 miles for the 2010 Thruxton with 1700 miles.
Here she is: Trixie (named after Speed Racer’s girlfriend — pretty, competent, and a bit retro…)
And haven’t looked back. Strangely, it’s also the first bike I’ve felt the need to play with her aesthetics. The Street Triple I threw a tail pack on for practicality, and a flyscreen because I thought it might help with wind flow (made it worse, actually.) Everything else was done by the previous owner.
This one went in for a tail bob today. The rear fender was replaced with British Custom red LED cat’s eye brake light and the turn signals with brushed chrome bullet lights. All that’s really left to get her where I want her cosmetically is to run the striping on the front fender, lose those big-ass Napoleon mirrors, and get adjustable levers. Might take off the chain guard so I can oil her more easily, and I want to flip the handlebars so it’s a bit more upright in seating position.
Here she is after her cosmetic surgery today…
Eventually, I’ll want to modify the suspension a bit. She’s damned comfortable for long rides, but doing 30-40 mph in switchback turns, she’s a bit…bouncy. Front forks will eventually get 20 weight oil, rear..Ohlins once I can afford them.
I was out for my weekend ride in the country and stopped at Fastbecks, back in Cedar Crest (run by a friend of mine) just to chat and check on some parts for the wife’s bike. On a lark, I decided to take out a used Thruxton, and run it up Sandia Crest. The Crest road is a “the” ride for the Albuquerque area — it’s 120 turns in about 12 miles to the top (10,000′ or so, compared to the 6,500 at the bottom.)
Just a hint of the kind of road I’m talking about… Fastbecks is at the bottom of 536 (the right.)
On my Street Triple, the ride is pretty exciting and I’ve found my comfort level with the bikes makes for a pretty quick trip up and down. The Thruxton is, on paper, pretty gutless compared to Hecate (my Street Triple) — 62hp compared to the 110 or so with the Two Brothers pipes on the Triple; 52 ft-lbs of torque…about the same. It weighs about 50 pounds more than my bike, so I figured it would be so-so, speed and maneuverability wise.
I was in for a surprise…
Despite the more traditional retro cafe racer bulk, the bike was fast! The gearing is tall, more like a Ducati than a Triumph triple, and I was a mile down the road in second gear in about a minute. The sharp turns of the Crest were nothing for this beast. I was easily handling turns with the same aplomb as Hecate — this thing can turn! It requires a bit more muscle than the lighter Triple, but not much. The torque brings it off the line just as fast, and you don’t have to work the throttle as much. To top it off, the engine doesn’t gush heat like the smaller mill, and the Epco cafe pipes were beautifully tuned to purr and growl, but without the ear-splitting roar of the Two Brothers for Hecate. I loved it!
I took the bike for a run to Madrid, about 25 miles to the north, and back. Mostly straight road with a bunch of nice sweepers, I was looking to see how she’d feel for longer hauls. By now i was already thinking i wanted one. I got back and got a straight trade banged out for Hecate and took the Thruxton home a few hours later.
I’m breaking my mythological naming convention with this one and am calling her Trixie, after the girlfriend in Speed Racer — pretty, classy, but surprisingly tough.
The important bits: The Thruxton is a fuel-injected 900cc parallel twin, with the injection hidden in fake carbs. There is a “choke” which will fast idle the machine; I find she’s a bit sluggish when you first wake it after a while, and a quick pop of the choke gets her running right. Even flogging her to test her ability to pass at speed and to get an idea of her top speed, as well as some around town driving, I got 60mpg. Assuming this will be a high end of the fuel consumption, I’m guessing a range of 240 miles (max!), but more likely 180-200 on the 4.2 gallon tank. She is fast as hell accelerating up to about 90mph, then her power starts to drop off quickly. I absolutely was not speeding, but 110mph is definitely achievable. The wind buffeting is minimal due to the flyscreen, but above 80 you really start to feel it.
Gauges are analog — speedometer with gas and engine warning lights ont the left, tach on the right, and a cluster of indicator lights underneath. The key is on the head of the bike on the left — not the usual place for the sportbike crowd, and I’m still getting used to it.
Did I mention that i got the bike with only 1800 miles on it, compared to my Triple’s 10,000 or so?