Now before you yell at us to be more creative with our Klassified Finds, hear me out. Sure, everyone knows about Triumph’s air-cooled modern classic range but did you know that you can now pick one up – a Thruxton 900 with low kms no less – for just under six grand? That’s a lot of bike with a heap of modifying potential for not that much coin. Triumph’s air-cooled modern classic range is so well supported by the aftermarket that you might as well be buying a giant Mecano set, with more bolt-on mods than days in the year to fit them.
Triumph Thruxton $5999.00
2008 EFI Triumph Thruxton in great condition. 17000km only. 2 into 1 arrow exhaust British customs tail tidy and front fender. Located in Collingwood. Rego (May 2020) Brand new battery K&N air filter Will come with spare oil filter and plugs.
The good bits
There’s plenty to like about these Triumphs, from the under-stressed, smooth and relatively punchy parallel-twin, to the sweet styling that really kicked off the ‘old but new’ styling. The 865cc parallel-twin has proven to be hugely reliable, with close to six-digit mileage achievable with basic maintenance. A Thruxton isn’t going to rip your arms off under acceleration and its handling won’t have you dragging knee-sliders, but its dependable feel-good performance has won plenty over.
The best thing about the Thruxton (or its Bonneville and Scrambler cousins for that matter) is the sheer number of bolt-on modifications available. A quick check of Triumph modern classic specialist British Customs’ website reveals 142 individual bolt-on bits specifically for the Thruxton 900. Because of how closely related all of the air-cooled modern classics are, parts are easily interchangeable across models, further increasing your access to parts. While getting into the Kommune and fabbing up your own custom parts is great for some, you could be like me and lack the patience and/or ability to actually do this. Having easy access to parts specifically designed for your bike means you can still get in the workshop and create something unique to you with minimal downtime and swearing.
‘Our’ Thruxton is a 2008 model, which means it’s the first of the fuel-injected modern classics. The fuel injection, hidden in what looks like a couple of carburetors, means that while the engine retains its classic looks, it’ll start easily regardless of the conditions. The fuel injection isn’t without its issues though, but more on that later…
The not so good bits
While we said there was plenty to like, there are also a few things not to like, including how that fuel injection operates on light throttle. For more detail on this and some of the Bonneville’s (and Thruxton’s) other foibles, check out this particularly honest review:
Something not touched on in that review is the fact that water and Triumphs don’t mix that well. A quick Google search brings up plenty of owners with problems due to wiring looms that have trapped moisture and corroded connections. The result can be anything from dodgy lights to a non-starting bike, so ideally look for a bike that’s been stored inside. Still on the wiring front, there’s a spot in the loom (on the left-hand side, under the tank) that will undoubtedly give you trouble at some point. The benefit of these Triumphs being so popular is that another quick Google search will present you with guides on how to fix this wiring issue, and pretty much anything else you’re likely to come across.
Cafe Racer Deux by British Customs
This build from British Customs is what your Thruxton will look if you click select all and purchase on their website. No stone has been left unturned on this bike, but the whole transformation would be possible with basic hand tools and little-to-no experience in using them. Herein lies the beauty of these giant Meccano sets/motorbikes.
In taking the select all approach, the team at British Customs have addressed pretty much all of the Thruxton’s weak spots, while keeping those classic looks that have drawn so many to these bikes. One of the best upgrades you can make to a Thruxton (or any bike for that matter) is the suspension. The Cafe Race Deux has ditched the original rear shocks for a pair of Hagon nitrogen-filled units, while the forks have been beefed by with a brace, new springs and preload adjusters.
With suspension performance taken care of, the engine has been treated to slip-on mufflers, an air-box removal kit, secondary air injection delete and a new fuel map. All in, these mods will free up a few horsepower, while addressing the low-throttle choppiness these bikes have from the factory.
The rear fender and light have been tossed and replaced with British Customs’ cafe seat, which has a tail light integrated into it. This mod’ slims some weight off the rear of the bike – visually and literally. Sure, The Cafe Racer Deux isn’t a ground-breaking custom, but it looks cool, would be a whole lot of fun and only needs basic tools to build.
Bonneville by 6/5/4 Motors
Here’s a custom Bonneville from Sweden that’s been given a healthy dose of off-road ability. The builders, 6/5/4 Motors, are actually a motorcycle lifecycle brand, workshop and commune made up of around 40 motorcycle enthusiasts.
The bike is a 2010 Bonneville that only had a few thousand kms under the wheels before being taken off the road for its transformation. One of the most noticeable modifications has to be the almost 10cm chopped off the rear of the subframe. The shortened subframe supports a new rear mudguard that was originally meant for a Suzuki GSX. Instead, the team chopped it up to fit the Bonneville, painted it black and fitted with a stainless steel number plate bracket. The new subframe also meant a new seat base was needed, which has been padded out with new foam and covered in diamond-stitched brown leather.
The wheels and suspension have been beefed up to handle throwing the Bonneville’s 200kg at the rough stuff, with taller and stiffer rear shocks and front springs. The stock wheels have been ditched for 19-inch front and 18-inch rear spoked units, wrapped in Pirelli Scorpion Rally tyres. To add to the off-road cred, there’s a steel bash plate protecting the front of the engine and a high-rise exhaust to save the headers from rocks and debris.
We’re betting this Bonneville would be a riot off-road and it shows that the air-cooled modern classics are as versatile as they are popular.