The world’s favorite factory build cafe racer gets a shiny avatar…
Cafe racers have been an inherent part of the motorcycling culture and while purists might tell you that the only way to be a true cafe racer rider is to build your own, in this day and age, most people would like to be a part of the community without actually having to go through the struggle of building an entire bike that is prone to breaking down more often than one would actually ride it. And to solve this problem, many manufacturers over time came up with their iterations of the ultimate cafe racer. Some were successful, some wildly off the mark, some ended up building their entire brands on the segment and some simply got lost with time. Triumph however made the winning formula. They managed to make the Thruxton in a way that it would send any cafe racer’s heart throbbing and also manage to keep the bike up to date with the tech of the modern times keeping the rider all retro for the vibe but also giving them the benefit of the modern times with great reliability and features.
2020 sees the Thruxton get the RS treatment, which begs the question, is it just a shinier and glossier Thruxton or is it really as RS as Triumph got their Street Triple to be. The thing that makes the Thruxton special is the fact that while its got this sexy classic appeal, it’s a sport bike at heart and will do anything as perfectly as your sport naked or fully faired bike. The ride on the bike is very comfortable and the ergonomics of the bike keep you tucked and happy, it’s not very hard on the wrists and gives you space to be relaxed when you simply wish to cruise. However wring its neck and the Thruxton RS will show you a great time as it flows through corners. While it doesn’t really enjoy very technical courses and tight hairpins as much, it definitely loves going through the curves on twisty mountain backroads.
It gets great grip thanks to the Metzeler rubber which adds to the rider confidence and also gets the new Brembo M50 calipers that bring more bite and effective braking to the RS which will allow you to push even harder if you’d like. The bike gets Showa 43 mm upside down forks which are fully adjustable and Öhlins twin shocks with piggyback reservoir which are also completely adjustable, and while they’re setup just right for street riding and even pushing it hard, go too hard and you’ll find them to be a bit wobbly which is reminiscent of the other RS in the Triumph stable. Which gives this bike this dual character, where it can be a complete lunatic as you’d expect your sport bike to be but also be this relaxed charismatic cruiser where you can simply relax and enjoy the ride.
The Thruxton RS is powered by a modified version of the 1200cc parallel twin seen on the standard bike. It gets higher compression pistons, cams and new gas flowed head, crank, clutch and balance shifts and to help with the weight loss that this bike has received, it gets magnesium cam cover and thinner covers for the engine. The Thruxton RS now makes a strong 103 brake horses, however the torque is 112Nm which is the same as before and a lot and now it comes even earlier which makes the gear shifts less frequent. The new torque assist clutch makes the lever lighter than ever before and the gearbox is sharp and precise, and while nitpicking one could say it misses out on a quickshifter, its not really a complaint because not only that would kill the character of the bike, but it simply has all this enormous torque one would simply not need to shift as often. The bike is also smarter than ever, with individual traction control settings for the 3 rider modes that makes the experience brilliant.
The build and fit and finish of the new Thruxton RS is top notch and it just simply feels so simplistic yet premium. Nothing on the bike feels downmarket or cheap and that should be because this bike is quite expensive. While you wonder that at the price that the Triumph Thruxton RS comes at the bike is the ultimate cafe racer that any manufacturer could possibly come out with, it does see very tight competition in the segment as many who are into this class of bike are aware of the BMW R nineT Racer. While the RS version of the Thruxton finally comes close to the figures of the Beamer, it still falls marginally short. However the RS gets liquid cooling which makes it just a little bit more better with the heat compared to the air cooled 1170cc boxer twin on the BMW and it even sounds better with the classic rumble of the cafe racers from the days of yore which adds bonus hipster points to the Triumph.
To be more concise though, the BMW is more pure a cafe racer than the Thruxton RS could ever be, as its simply more unbearable to live with. It gets hotter, has only ABS as the electronic on board and traction control is an option and has no rider modes. Its more pure and rugged which purists would appreciate after nagging it for being built up in a factory and the exorbitant price which makes the Triumph Thruxton RS the more smarter choice. If you’re going to be nagged, why not go through it more comfortably, in a more enjoyable and an elegant manner. However you could save a ton of money and if straight line speed means nothing to you, go for the much cheaper, more purer and really fun to ride Royal Enfield Continental GT 650. But this is about the Thruxton and what it stands for. The 2020 Triumph Thruxton RS is a brilliant bike that has just the right balance of retro and modernity and is an incredible bike to put it simply. Its as good as it gets and the RS treatment surely works for the Thruxton.