ILOVE THE THRUXTON R for emotional reasons, I’m really proud of what we have achieved with it, but also because the riding experience is great too. It’s a classically styled café racer that also works ergonomically, is fuel efficient and hits all the emissions legislation but it’s fun to ride and looks great. I don’t actually own one, I’m lucky that I get to ride the whole range and development bikes too, but I’d have one with clip-ons, because I definitely prefer the lower bars riding position. And I’d have the cockpit fairing too, which is more about looks than wind protection. It’d be in the silver ice colour scheme. It’s fantastic in that colour. My favourite ride on one was probably on the press launch in Portugal. It was fast riding on a mixture of open sweeping roads and very twisty turns. Great roads, and people were really having fun. We got to the first stop and everyone was smiling. I know they’re really experienced riders, but the fun they were having really validated the bike. As a café racer it’s got a basic stance and lines and proportion that you expect. It’s a modern, high capacity engine but there is daylight around the engine and that is critical to getting that classic café racer feel. It really is a great piece of packaging. But it’s so intuitive to ride. It doesn’t matter whether you are really experienced or a novice. We were obviously developing a whole new Bonnie platform, 900cc and 1200cc, at the same time, so the process took longer than if we were working on a single model from an existing platform, but the Thruxton project took about three years. We were always going to do a café racer, and six months into the process you know what it’s going to look like. Styling and engineering happen together. The bore and stroke is considered alongside the look of the bike, because the height of the engine is going to affect the line of the tank. The potential of the bike only really became apparent during testing. A bike really comes alive during testing, we started to ride it and to develop it, and the potential became crystal clear. The geometry allowed it to feel like a sportsbike, so it became a bike that demanded sports specification suspension, brakes and tyres. The thing I find so pleasing is that the team have achieved something that works, but which looks obvious and elegant. No one really needs to know how much effort goes into making that packaging possible.
‘I love the Thruxton R, especially because the riding experience is great’