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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > 321 December 2016 > CLASS ACT

CLASS ACT

Triumph has been in the retro game for a while, but the Thruxton R ramps up the sexiness to ten for the first time. But does the go match the show? Time to take it to the track...
Britain's best looking bike or a case of Triumph trying too hard? You decide...

For half of my time on the Triumph Thruxton R, the top of the new old FBonneville range from the Hinckley hooners, I've felt nothing but elation, bordering on giddiness. Pottering through villages serenely, blasting down B-roads, catching glances of our combined form in shop windows, it's been summer personified. Having shown off the bike to the wife and kids, and received their admiring glances (that doesn't happen very often, let me assure you), I've then rushed out on brilliantly bright mornings to get in early, then made my excuses and ducked out early to go home along the most convoluted route imaginable. It's been nothing short of epic.

I've maxxed it out, I've pinged it off crests, I've hustled it through some dainty country roads, I've gone knee deep into some roundabouts. In short, I've treated it like any other bike ­ and it's reacted like any other bike. And why would it not? Öhlins rear twin shocks, Showa Big Piston Forks up front, chunky Brembo brakes and an eager and torquey 1,200cc parallel twin motor are all ingredients that, when blended well, should produce something very tasty after it's come out of the Hinckley motorcycle oven.

The other half of my time on the Thruxton, however, I've felt a complete fraud ­ just like the bike's `carbs'. This duplicitous reaction is borne from a natural aversion to the fundamentals behind modern classics. It's happened before, with the Ducati SportClassics, Moto Guzzi's V7 Racer and the BMW nineT ­ all bikes trying to be something other machines were. Aping a bygone era, that for most was way before the target audience was even born, is a case of trying too hard in my book. Shouldn't manufacturers be building bikes that future generations will talk reverently about, not jumping on bandwagons to chase the hipster pound? Bikes like these purport be the best of both worlds ­ gorgeous classic looks mixed with modern day performance, reliability and technology ­ but for me the equation just doesn't stack up. The car world hasn't gone down this road ­ we're not cooing over new-but-old Renault 5s or Ford Fiestas, so why bikes? I can't work it out...

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