Bikes we love

What I want: Triumph Street Tracker (which is probably actually a new Thruxton)

Let’s start with the fact that I don’t actually think the bike pictured above is the forthcoming Triumph Street Tracker. To me, it looks a lot like an updated Triumph Thruxton, and as such, what we’re looking at here is an updated Bonneville platform. Whatever it’s called, though, I want one.
Spy photos of the Triumph in question showed up on a number of motorcycle websites last week, including VisorDown, Cycle World, and Motorcycle.com. What strikes me about all the publications’ stories about the bike is how consistent they are. All agree that this is an 1100-1200cc machine that is liquid-cooled and therefore capable of upward of 100 horsepower. All agree the bike will have anti-lock brakes. All agree there will be a standard and an R model. Most agree the bike will be called a Street Tracker.
Obviously, some of that information is educated guesswork. Back in 2012, Triumph went to the trouble to trademark the name “Triumph Street Tracker,” so it seems to make sense that the name would be applied to this new machine. Similarly, ABS will be required on all new models sold in the European Union from 1 January 2016, so it’s pretty much a given that every new bike we see from this point forward will be ABS-equipped.
Notes on the engine size, though, suggest a certain level of inside knowledge. And such loose lips from the Triumph camp suggests an imminent release date for this bike. Based on the rather finished look of the machine, I’d expect to see it announced and in dealerships in time for the 2015 peak riding season.
But, as I say, I’m not convinced about the name. Do a Google image search for the phrase “street tracker” and you will be presented with a whole bunch of customised bikes that don’t really look like this one. The handlebars are different. On most street trackers the seat is different; quite a lot of street trackers use alloy wheels and have a flattened front that mimics where the number plate would go on a flat tracker.
Instead, this looks a whole lot like an updated Thruxton. In fact, let’s just go with that: What you see here are spy photos of a new liquid-cooled Triumph Thruxton being put through its paces in Spain. And I want one.
I mentioned in my post about Motorcycle Live that I have fallen in love with the Thruxton recently. I have long admired its looks but had not before had a chance to really ogle the bike up close and in person. And I’ll admit that I hadn’t made much effort to do so. Having ridden (and thoroughly enjoyed) the Bonneville, I have no doubt that the current Thruxton is a joy to ride. But, like the Bonneville, it lacks ABS. Add to this the fact that its ergonomics require more of a forward lean and I had told myself I wasn’t interested.
But then one day, back in mid-November, I found myself sitting in soul-destroying Cardiff morning traffic, en route to return a rental car I had used over the weekend, and I watched as a Thruxton slipped through the narrow alley between unmoving cars. 
“Ooh,” I said aloud. “That bike filters well. And the rider looks so cool doing it.”
With the possible exception of certain Victory motorcycles, I can think of no bike that looks better from the rear than a Thruxton. So, a week or so later when I arrived at Motorcycle Live, I made a point of heading to the Triumph area of the show and spending some quality time with the Thruxton. It is beautiful in person and its ergonomics are far more comfortable than I had imagined. 
Were it equipped with ABS, the Thruxton is already a machine that could answer all the demands I have for a bike whilst looking so much sexier than my Honda. When I got home, I showed Jenn a picture of one in Brookland green and her simple reply was: “Ooh, babe. You should get one.”
You may remember that my wife used to keep a sticker book of motorcycles when she was a little girl. She preferred the classic Triumphs — the bikes that were, in her words, “real motorcycles” — and of them, her favourites were those painted green. You may remember, as well, that back in March of this year, when I came very close to signing a loan deal for a Bonneville my wife had no opposition to the idea. Whereas she is totally indifferent to my swooning over, say, a Moto Guzzi Griso, and outright coughed in disdain when I once drew her attention to a BMW R1200GS, she is very much a Triumph girl. The Thruxton is 100 percent Mrs. Cope-approved and, obviously, that makes it quite desirable in my eyes.
It appears the R-spec version of this bike will have fancy suspension.
The Thruxton is, of course, part of the Bonneville line; the Bonneville, Scrambler, Thruxton, America and Speedmaster are all effectively the same bike, with different ergonomics and aesthetics. And since 2007, almost nothing has changed on the bikes other than paint. The platform has been in need of an upgrade for a while now, but that has become even more painfully obvious in recent months. Think of all the bikes against which the Bonneville line competes and consider the ways in which they are superior:
Admittedly, some of those bikes cost quite a bit more, but some do not. In particular, the Yamaha and (even more so) the Ducati offer bikes that make Triumph look lazy. And I’m not the only one to think that. In October, when Triumph announced its 2015 special edition Bonnevilles much of the reaction I saw online was akin to backlash.
So, it is good to know that this new Thruxton will be more than just the same old bike with government-mandated brakes. A larger liquid-cooled engine will offer more go, dual front discs will offer more whoa. I will be interested to see, too, how this new platform extends to the rest of the Bonneville line.
I am worried as to how it all affects the price tag, though. Some have noted that this new Thruxton looks similar to the Norton Commando 961 Sport and the BMW RnineT. My fear is that Triumph will try to price it similarly.