Triumph Thruxton 900
> £5000-£7500 > 2005-2015 > 856cc parallel twin > 69bhp > 205kg If you want that authentic café-racer vibe, you can’t go wrong with a Triumph: after all, British parallel twins powered the original café-racer craze. While the 900 Thruxton has less urgency than the 1200 that replaced it, if anything it has even more character. It is, after all, a more authentic air-cooled engine, styled to look like a pre-unit lump.
But behind the achingly accurate retro lines is an effective modern roadster. The standard exhausts are disappointingly muted so don’t be surprised to find aftermarket cans adding a touch more character to any used bike. The riding position is a proper compact sporting crouch — tough on taller riders — but the handling is set for comfort rather than clipping apexes, as the soft suspension is basic, with only preload adjustment.
The big ace in the Thruxton’s hand is that there are plenty of decent, relatively low-mileage ones around for not too much money. Prices are stronger for the final years of production (2014-15) when it was produced in only limited numbers. However, as it didn’t change in the full run of production, it’s safe to go for an early one instead, buying on condition and service history to save a few bob.