Not too long ago we featured our favorite Triumph Scramblers. Today we turn our attention to the Scrambler’s café racer-styled sibling, the Thruxton.
Named after the British Thruxton racing circuit, it was added to Triumph’s modern classics line in 2004. Like the Scrambler, it’s based on the Bonneville with subtle styling changes—most notably a removable rear seat cowl, rearset foot controls, an 18-inch front wheel and twin upswept megaphone mufflers. It was initially released with clip-on bars, but these were later changed to ‘Ace’ style units, complete with bar-end mirrors as standard equipment.
Out of the box, the Triumph Thruxton is a great looking café racer—guaranteed to turn heads, with little to no modification required. Still, there’s always room for improvement. So we’ve picked out five builders who have managed to take a great motorcycle and make it exceptional.
As always we’d love to hear your thoughts. Would you ride a stock Thruxton, or would you pick one of the five below?
Kiddo Motors This ultra-crisp, 2005 model Thruxton from the Barcelona shop is probably one of my all-time favourite Triumphs. Not only does it have a great stance and a minimal, tasteful colour scheme, but it’s also kitted with some rather trick parts. The spoked wheels are a proprietary tubeless system from Alpina Raggi, while the handlebars and clamps are Easton’s unique EXP system. Kiddo installed a 904cc big-bore Wiseco kit, Keihin FCR 39mm flatslide carbs and a two-into-one exhaust from Triumph specialists British Customs. They also rewired the Thruxton and fitted a keyless Motogadget m-Lock ignition. The suspension’s been upgraded too—with Öhlins rear shocks and Andreani/Öhlins cartridges in the forks—and the brakes are from Beringer. [More about this bike | Kiddo Motors]
Mr Martini T-Type Nicola Martini has over 20 years’ experience working with Triumph. It should come as no surprise, then, that another one of his gorgeous bikes has made it into our list. Mr Martini’s treated this Thruxton to a host of top-drawer components—starting with a 988cc big-bore kit from Wiseco. There’s Öhlins suspension at both ends, as well as 17” Marchesini wheels and Brembo brakes. Exhaust specialists Zard fabricated a full system specifically for this project, with the intention to make it openly available at a later stage. The bodywork is new, with a shortened subframe to accommodate the new saddle, and tailor-made side panels that give this British motorcycle a distinctly Italian look. Italian magazine MotoSpecial had an opportunity to ride the ‘T-Type’ and reported noticeable increases in power, comfort, handling and braking. [More about this bike | Mr Martini]
Speed Merchant Based in California, Speed Merchant produce bolt-on parts for Triumph modern classics and Harley-Davidson Sportsters. This sharp-looking Thruxton street tracker features selected parts from their catalogue, plus a few one-off items. It was put together by Brawny Built—the company of Brandon Holstein, who forms one third of the Speed Merchant team. SM parts include the finned stator and sprocket covers, and the 1” ‘Speedbar’ handlebars which have been stepped to run 7/8” controls. The exhaust system is completely custom-made, and the carbs have been swapped for Keihin FCR units. The tail section, complete with grab rail and leather seat, is also custom, and sits on a modified subframe. Up front, the Thruxton rides on inverted Marzocchi forks, with Öhlins shocks at the rear. Completing the tracker-inspired theme is the front number board. [More about this bike]
British Customs Triumph aftermarket specialists British Customs are constantly taking their builds back to the drawing board—it’s an essential part of their process when it comes to developing new products. This Thruxton started out as a project for season two of Café Racer TV. It soon found its way back into the workshop though, where the team started by re-installing the stock 2-into-2 exhaust headers with their own Predator mufflers for a classic look. They also added their Café Racer seat, with a built-in Lucas tail light, and the stock Triumph side covers. The right hand side cover was modified with a wire-mesh cutout, showing off the K&N air filter. Even though the Thruxton’s suspension had already been upgraded, British Customs wanted to try out Hagon’s Nitro 440 shocks—so those were fitted. The rebuild also gave them the opportunity to refine their chain guide design—a part that they weren’t entirely happy with before. With too many parts to list, ‘Café Racer Deux’ is a perfect showcase for British Customs’ products and expertise. [More about this bike]
Wrenchmonkees #32 I find it hard not to love the Wrenchmonkees’ builds. They have a raw, honest aesthetic that is often emulated, but seldom replicated. The owner of this bike wanted a matte, naked, no-nonsense bike with improved handling and power. The Wrenchmonkees slimmed the bike’s lines down by fitting a Kawasaki Z750B tank—left unpainted. Shorter-than-stock Bitubo shocks were installed at the rear and the forks lowered, all to improve the Thruxton’s stance and handling. A custom seat and new battery box were built, and the front end cleaned up with a 6.5” headlight, Tarozzi clip-ons and a Motogadget speedo. By fitting K&N filters and Supertrapp mufflers, and re-jetting the carbs, the Wrenchmonkees managed to squeeze an additional 12Nm of torque from the stock motor, with a run on the dyno showing 61hp at the rear wheel. [More about this bike | Wrenchmonkees]
Last week’s Top 5 covered the Yamaha SR500.