The legendary British motorcycle brand pays homage to its race roots and café racer culture with a special edition Thruxton
Triumph’s racing pedigree runs deep, and their iconic bikes from the 1950s-60s still drive the styling of their entire Bonneville line. The flagship of their “modern classic” parallel twins line has long been the Thruxton model, and for 2022 the Brits are honoring the roots of this unique machine by debuting a special edition tribute to the racing and café racer days of the iconic bike.
1969 Triumph Thruxton production-class racer in action. Photo by Triumph Motorcycles.
The Thruxton name was originally derived from the Thruxton Circuit, a race track in Hampshire, England. In 1965, the Triumph Engineering factory race shop set about producing a hand-built production-class race bike at their Meridian Works site, based on the Bonneville T120 of the time. It was entered in the British endurance race series by local riders and shops, and quickly became a dominant machine, winning races and topping standings for a decade. In 1969, Triumph swept the podium at the Thruxton 500 endurance race, and the bike also won the coveted Isle of Man TT that year, with Malcolm Uphill not only winning the race, but setting the first production lap record over 100 mph. With those hallmarks, some say the “Café Racer” era was solidified- standard production motorcycles being modified for track racing performance, as well as street racing.
The phrase, “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” certainly held true for Triumph, and the company found a new audience with the teen and young 20s crowd. A new subculture of speed freaks came to be known as “The Ton-Up Boys” for their penchant to strip bikes to bare minimum and modify them for more speed to achieve the goal of “doing the ton”- running in excess of 100 mph on open roads. The Ace Café Transport Station became a major centre for this street racing culture, combining racing and Rock N Roll, and forever embedding itself in the world of motorcycling.
1960s Rockers and their steeds. Photo by Triumph Motorcycles.
In 2004, the reborn Triumph Motorcycles factory in Hinckley, England revived the Thruxton name and applied it to the Thruxton 900, an air-cooled, carbed (later EFI) 360 degree parallel twin with all the modifications of the café racer era- rearset pegs, small flyscreen, rear seat cowl, reverse cone pipes, and analog instrument clusters. The bike was an instant hit with both young and old(er) for its sleek throwback looks and outstanding performance. In 2016 Triumph completely redesigned the Thruxton around their all-new 270 degree water cooled, EFI 1200cc powerplant, yet retained that classic custom-café racer look and feel with their Thruxton and Thruxton R models. I’ve ridden a few of them, and they are powerful, thrilling beasts in a modern retro package. (My 2017 Street Cup actually resembles the previous Thruxton 900 model, in uncanny ways.)
Triumph Motorcycles proudly pulls the wraps off their tribute to the Thruxton 500 and IOMTT record-setting years, as well as those youngsters who bought, customized, and raced the Triumphs of their era, forever changing the face of motorcycling. Their Thruxton RS Ton Up Edition is one stunning machine, with its unique paint scheme and accouterments. The “100” emblazoned across the bike’s white rear seat cowl and front fender in black letters over red racing oval is outstanding, as well as the Aegean blue tank with black knee insets. The black side covers hold the “Thruxton RS” moniker, with a cursive “Ton Up” underneath. The bike is a looker, for sure. Apparently an accessory-fit Aegean Blue cockpit fairing will be able to be purchased and fitted, as well as a host of other factory farkles. We’d love to see what that fairing looks like, as they don’t have press photos of one kitted out with it yet. Soon enough.
Shots of the special edition Thruxton in and around London’s famed Ace Cafe. Photos by Triumph Motorcycles.
Triumph will only run this special edition model for 2022, the 120 year anniversary of the motorcycle brand. Looks like they’ll hit dealerships in January, as we’re hearing. If you’d like to get your hands on one, check with your local Triumph dealership and see if you can get on a list if they have it. We’re guessing these will sell out pretty quick. They’ll come with Triumph’s two-year unlimited mileage warranty, which includes Triumph factory accessories (like the aforementioned fairing, etc.), and they look to go for between $17-18.5K in USD. Want to own a very cool, unique homage to motorcycle history? Reserve yours now, via your local dealer.
For more on the Thruxton RS Ton Up, click here:
We’re loving this look. Photos by Triumph Motorcycles.