i was out for my weekend ride in the country and stopped at Fastbecks, back in Cedar Crest (run by a friend of mine) just to chat and check on some parts for the wife’s bike. On a lark, I decided to take out a used Thruxton, and run it up Sandia Crest. The Crest road is a “the” ride for the Albuquerque area — it’s 120 turns in about 12 miles to the top (10,000′ or so, compared to the 6,500 at the bottom.)

Just a hint of the kind of road I’m talking about… Fastbecks is at the bottom of 536 (the right.)

On my Street Triple, the ride is pretty exciting and I’ve found my comfort level with the bikes makes for a pretty quick trip up and down. The Thruxton is, on paper, pretty gutless compared to Hecate (my Street Triple) — 62hp compared to the 110 or so with the Two Brothers pipes on the Triple; 52 ft-lbs of torque…about the same. It weighs about 50 pounds more than my bike, so I figured it would be so-so, speed and maneuverability wise.

I was in for a surprise…

Despite the more traditional retro cafe racer bulk, the bike was fast! The gearing is tall, more like a Ducati than a Triumph triple, and I was a mile down the road in second gear in about a minute. The sharp turns of the Crest were nothing for this beast. I was easily handling turns with the same aplomb as Hecate — this thing can turn! It requires a bit more muscle than the lighter Triple, but not much. The torque brings it off the line just as fast, and you don’t have to work the throttle as much. To top it off, the engine doesn’t gush heat like the smaller mill, and the Epco cafe pipes were beautifully tuned to purr and growl, but without the ear-splitting roar of the Two Brothers for Hecate. I loved it!

I took the bike for a run to Madrid, about 25 miles to the north, and back. Mostly straight road with a bunch of nice sweepers, I was looking to see how she’d feel for longer hauls. By now i was already thinking i wanted one. I got back and got a straight trade banged out for Hecate and took the Thruxton home a few hours later.

I’m breaking my mythological naming convention with this one and am calling her Trixie, after the girlfriend in Speed Racer — pretty, classy, but surprisingly tough.

The important bits: The Thruxton is a fuel-injected 900cc parallel twin, with the injection hidden in fake carbs. There is a “choke” which will fast idle the machine; I find she’s a bit sluggish when you first wake it after a while, and a quick pop of the choke gets her running right. Even flogging her to test her ability to pass at speed and to get an idea of her top speed, as well as some around town driving, I got 60mpg. Assuming this will be a high end of the fuel consumption, I’m guessing a range of 240 miles (max!), but more likely 180-200 on the 4.2 gallon tank. She is fast as hell accelerating up to about 90mph, then her power starts to drop off quickly. I absolutely was not speeding, but 110mph is definitely achievable. The wind buffeting is minimal due to the flyscreen, but above 80 you really start to feel it.

Gauges are analog — speedometer with gas and engine warning lights ont the left, tach on the right, and a cluster of indicator lights underneath. The key is on the head of the bike on the left — not the usual place for the sportbike crowd, and I’m still getting used to it.

Did I mention that i got the bike with only 1800 miles on it, compared to my Triple’s 10,000 or so?