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Sometimes you just don't want to hit the 'submit' button, but ...

OK - I just received my January edition of "Motorcyclist". In it there is an article that compares the Thruxton with one of the new Ducati retro bikes, and guess what ... the Thruxton doesn't come off looking too good. Matter of fact, it comes off looking rather bad. And I don't think it's because of the bike it is competing against. Read the article.

Now, those of us who already own Bonnevilles and Bonneville derivatives can come unglued over this article, declare the writers idiots, the magazine garbage, etc, etc. But we have to remember ...we've already made the purchase, and defending our buying action is a typical thing to do ..... you cannot talk about my baby like this .....

But there's a bunch of other riders (non-Triumph) who may be considering purchasing Triumph motorcycles who will be turned off by this article. I would be.

Possibly, "Motorcyclist" positioned our favorite ride against too formidable an opponent. Or maybe the writers just don't like Triumphs. (hard to believe, since there's two other articles quite favorable to Triumph in the same issue). Or perhaps, in this particular instance, they are right ... the current bike is too heavy and underpowered to compete in today's retro cafe bike market. Or maybe the writers just don't get what we already get. Who knows?

Whatever, I'm sure Triumph Motorcycles will react to this article, and will consider it when coming up with the MkII version of the Bonneville and related bikes.

Although our current bikes run and handle quite well (once we do our rejetting and Progressive fork spring things to them) they could certainly come from the factory with a bit more power, a better-sounding exhaust, and certainly a few less pounds than they currently do.

If I was building and selling Triumphs, I would take an article like this quite seriously. Because even though I've already bought into the Triumph thing, there are lots of other potential buyers who haven't.

Bob
 

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I wouldn't worry about that. Buying any retro bike, including all of the Triumph "modern classics", is a lifestyle choice. Either you love the look/feel or you don't, and one magazine's comparison of two makers' very different retro bikes won't make a lot of difference to most buyers.

Besides, if you want a true cafe racer look, how could it be anything other than a British twin? I don't think there were many Ducatis bombing it around the North Circular in the 60's.

Mind you, I agree Triumph will need to keep raising their game with the Bonnie range, as the other manufacturers all know that building retro bikes is a good way to get some of that disposable income from the, er, 'mature' biker. :-D
 

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Possibly, "Motorcyclist" positioned our favorite ride against too formidable an opponent. Or maybe the writers just don't like Triumphs.
Perhaps the writer of the article is coming from a sport bike background and prefers the feel of the duc? Perhaps the writer was told to write an article that pumps-up the duc?
while the Duc sport1000 and Thruxton are both "retro"classed bikes that is all they have in common.
from a design stand point the two bikes are quite interesting
The Duc sport1000 is a fully modern sport bike that has some "retro" styling cues, where as the thruxton is a modernized version of a classic. The 2 design teams started with completely different attitudes and just happened to meet somewhere in the middle.
I have never ridden a Thruxton but I have ridden a Sport1000. It rides ,handles and performs like a modern sport bike.
If one wants a retro bike then get a W650, Enfeild or Enfield of India, Ural.
If one wants an updated classic then get a Bonnie or Thruxton.
If you want a sport bike that looks sorta retro then get the Duc.

The difference is really quite dramatic when they are viewed side by side in the flesh.
I think the 2 bikes will appeal to different demographics. The duc riders are starting to age. This is Ducati's concession to them (?).

I looked at the duc sport and for an extra $800 you can get the Monster s2r1000 which have much better components.

I'm sure Triumph Motorcycles will react to this article, and will consider it when coming up with the MkII version of the Bonneville and related bikes.
Triumph sells every one they make. why would they mess with a money maker?
I've already bought into the Triumph thing, there are lots of other potential buyers who haven't.
There are a lot of people who haven't bought into the whole Ducati thing. The S3 is proof of that.
Time will tell.
If the truth is told, I really don't care what other people buy. It's all good. I would perfer that the Bonnies remain in low production numbers. Last thing I want is thousands of people on Bonnies riding around like they just got back from the Ace cafe.
 

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Steviek said it best..."don't worry, it is a lifestyle choice".

My guess is that 98% of those who buy/bought a modern Triumph Bonneville have/had never read that magazine. Did you? I'm sure Triumph will sell as many Bonneville's as they want to sell but I have some doubts about the Duc retro bike. IMO that is one ugly looking bike. I see very little about its appearance that harkens back to the good old retro days of cycling and I believe that's the market they're trying to capture. I have nothing against Ducati in general but my gut tells me that bike will not sell nearly as well as the Bonneville if only due to appearance. I believe that most retro motorcycle buyers place appearance well above performance.

Look at Harley Davidson. I can't call their bike retro because it has looked the same for 50+ years and it is still one of the best sellers out there. Yes, they've made improvements but incrementally at best. I believe that more than half of those who buy HD do so primarily because of how the bike looks. Image/American made etc etc etc might influence the other half. Either way they certaintly didn't buy a HD because of their performance or some positive cycle magazine article and I feel the same is true about our beloved Bonneville's.

CC
 

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Very good observations all around, but Bob is very objective overall. None of us can read the mind of the next buyer. I researched every bit of information on the Internet that I could find, from rider reviews, magazine reports as well as several long standing chat rooms. I looked seriously at every comment on how it affected me as an owner and rider. I grew up with Triumph (along with many other brands still alive and some long gone) so seeing the new Triumphs rekindled that positive memory of the brand. It was an easy sell for me to go into the dealer thinking positively. I love the classic look of the twin and my wife likes black, chrome and spokes or as she says, it looks like a motorcycle should look.

I also researched Ducati, BMW, Guzzi, HD and UJM with equal interest. Price was not a top concern, but relative to price point and quality/dealer support/FACTORY support. I believe if Guzzi and Ducati had been a little earlier with some of these newer models and a longer track record of better maintenance costs etc. I may have had a much tougher choice. HD, BM I like but price for value is not there for me. YMMV.

Triumph dropped the 790, 1 engine easier/cheaper to build and certify in various configurations. Mags on the America and a swap of pipes, T-100 paint color, etc. is stop gap at best. The twins are stagnant. If there is not a major commitment to upgrading it will not meet emissions, rider performance expectations etc. An "increment" approach to quality suspension doesn't require Ohlins, there are spoked tubeless rims out there (BMW/HD) that you don't hear about broken spokes, rust and IMO offer better use of tubeless tires.

I love my BA. I am drawn to adding a Thrux to my stable, but it likey won't happen. It is not different enough, upgraded enough etc. for me to consider being a returning twin buyer at this time.

I love riding my bike most of the time. I am looking at the Sprint/Tiger and a few other brands too. Maybe 08 model year will address our beloved twins with the attention they deserve and require.

Cheers!
BobW
 

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On top of all the other great observations stated here, I would like to add that the issue of Motorcyclist in question is the first under a new editor. Brian Catterson has taken over for Mitch Boehm and does indeed come from a decidedly sporting background. What is more, he is doubtlessly full of the uncompromising idealism that comes with a new start. Our wonderful bikes are inferior in nearly every easy-to-measure way, compared to the latest sport or GT bike from many other manufacturers. But as all of you have said, that is just not what our bikes are about. In the same of issue of Motorcyclist, there is an article about Sixth Street Specials...a NYC shop that caters to riders of older BritBikes. It is discussed virtuously and the riders are treated as chic and avant-garde. Now do any of you think that a 1968 BSA Lightning would do any better than our bikes in Mr. Catterson's estimation? Of course not...these magazines take the easy way out and promote that which is easy to quantify. Besides, it is in their best interest to perpetuate horsepower wars, et al. They can't write much if bikes don't change from year to year...
 

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You folks are all so smart and articulate...seriously. Great comments and perspectives all around. Judged as a sportbike, the Thrux does not hold up, I suppose. But it's pretty, fun, low-maintenance, charismatic, and inexpensive. Those are the ones you take home to Mom. :)
 

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not that it really matter, but Ducati is late to the game & have had time to watch as Triump developed the market for "Retro" bikes.

I hope that Triumph will continue to develop the product line, a few more ponies and some better suspension ..
 

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Motorcyclist is a US magazine -which tend to be myopic.

for example just reading the British bike mag SUPERBIKE. last month instead another whos the fastest in 600 1000 1400 sport bike and so on
they were comparing 3 makes of 125cc sport bikes
now i dont want a 125 derby but still nice to know

What i am getting at is that i dont expect a US bike magazine who needs to sell magazines and its readers
to understand why any one of us would buy a bonnie when we could have bought a gsxr or a HD superkingthingy.
 

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MES hits it on the head. Although the Ducati does have some great components such as USD forks, high end brakes, I think if you upgrade Thruxton shocks and springs, you're there. I hear that Ducatis suspensions that are not Ohlins suffer badly and beat the driver up. Put some Ohlins on a Thruxton and you have much more comfortable, ridable motorcyle. I wouldn't thro a Ducati out of my garage for eating crackers, but MES is right-they are not the same type "Retro" bike.
 

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Think of the arguement this way: what old classic bike from the 1960s or 1970s would beat a brand new bike with modern brakes, overhead cams, modern suspension and electrics, etc? Probably none. Therefore, if the beloved Truxton comes in at second to a throughly modern Ducati equipped with today's sport bike accessories, then are you surprised? In my opinion, the Truxton's second place finish is an honest testament to its true retro styling.
 

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When I go out to the shed in the morning, carefully back the Bonnie out, put her up on the center stand, gently coax her to life (she doesn't like the cold), pull the helmet and gloves on, throw my leg over the saddle and head off to work in the wee hours of the morning with a big big smile on my face, the LAST thing I'm thinking about is any other bike on the planet.

What other ride does that to its owner? :cool:
 

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I haven't read the most recent article spoken of above, but I read plenty prior to my first Bonneville purchase. I bought my Bonnie having come from 60,000 miles aboard a 2002 BMW, even did almost 40,000 miles on a 2000 Harley dual plug Sportster 'Sport', and a quick sojourn from the saddle hovering over a FANTASTIC 955cc triple Sprint RS. I KNEW that the little 790cc BonnieBlack was gonna be cheap both in components and overall craftsmanship when I bought it. AND THE THRUXTON IS A VASTLY SUPERIOR PACKAGE TO THE BASIC BONNIE FOR JUST A LITTLE MONEY MORE..... but it ain't no modern Brembo equipped Teutonic designer name, nor is it a speed demon readily available for a mere pittance. I KNEW THAT GOING IN!

But check out my below pictured love affair I had with a "cheap" 2005 standard Black for over 22,000 miles. No elitist article in some distant rag can take from me the fun and attention this jewel got me while I had it:



And if the BonnieBlack wasn't 'punishment' enough (oh yeah, it hurt so goooood!), I hadda go out and buy me another one! But truth be told, on THIS one I replaced the cheap wheels (prone to rusting) with alloy Excels. And about those spokes that break (what, Triumph still not 'fessing up?!), I replaced 'em with Buchanan stainless steel spokes. Those cheap springs up front and total lack of damping..... replaced them with GOOD single rates and Thruxton tubes w/adjustable preloads. The throw away wannabe pogo's in the back; replaced 'em with Hagon Nitros (after throwing away the Hagon spring made for sub-130 pounders.....). And the ignition module, added a tach, signal cancel switch, air filter, jetting, pipes, bars, etc........ Yes, I attempted to make "a purse out of a sow's ear", but it's still a 60 horsepower retro bike, I like it for what it is!

But if I wanna go for an extended trip on a 124 horsepower modern machine that stops and handles decently, with it's 26,000 mile valve adjustment interval..... then I take a used bike I picked up for a mere five grand, HALF of what I've got in that Red "purse" of mine. It's all subjective. I hear that the Thruxton didn't fare well against the Duc', jeez..... can you imagine if they compared the cheap standard Black Bonnie to it?!?!?!



When it's all said & done, there is ALWAYS some arsehole who just gotta talk smack 'bout "them Harley people", you got yer elitists who subscribe to the NEW poser machines..... the Ducati, and Hooligans & Rebels turning their noses up at Pacific Rim iron. And you got magazines that sometimes just gotta say it like it is..... regardless of how UNpopular it may be.
But none of the above is gonna stop me from doing whatever the hail I want, and if they gotta problem with that, joke 'em if the can't take a phuck! Oh yeah, and I happen to look GOOD with a dolled up cheap purse......
:cool:
 

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Like every bike mag I subscribe to, as soon as the new issue of Motorcyclist arrived, I tore it open in hopes of some mention of Bonnies, Thruxtons, or Scramblers. After all, they're the bikes I love. Like a proud parent, I want my little girl to be noticed, loved, respected, and discussed. Thus, when I saw an article on the Thruxton, together with the Sport 1000, which is the next bike on my wish list, I couldn't close my office door and read the article fast enough.

Obviously, I was disappointed that the reviewer didn't like the Thrux more than he did. I even got pissed off for a minute. But then I sat back and realized that he knows a helluva lot more about bikes than I do, his review is based entirely on a technical/performance perspective, and he probably is coming from a sport bike viewpoint (which is what 75% of the articles in Motorcyclist and Cycle World talk about, when they're not talkin' about whatever's new with HD). Bottom line: One guy rode a Thruxton and wasn't particularly taken. But that's him. Period.

Fundamentally, I honestly don't care what he thinks. I love my Bonnie. Some reviewer with an unknown agenda and unknown background ain't gonna change a thing for me. I didn't buy my bike for performance, torque, horsepower, etc. Even stock, she's got plenty of that for me to be happy. I'm not one to take her out on the track, thread the needle on the highway, or otherwise behave like a sport-bike-riding wanker. I've got too much to live for. Instead, I bought my Bonnie because it was love at first sight. And I fall more madly in love with her every time I throw my leg over her and fire her up. She's drop-dead gorgeous. She's so ***** classy. And she takes my breath away and always has. That's the sort of thing that just can't be quantified in a mass market trade publication. If love is blind, I guess I'm in love.
 

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Yup, always been my motto, buy what you like, ride what you want, it seems to get lost on this board a lot though. Lots worried about people being posers, rather then riding, or wrenching.

Nathan
 

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I read the article last week when it came in the mail. I had a similar reaction---another sportbike enthusiast disappointed by the Thruxton's lack of 'true' sportiness...as was his two other comrades who weighed in. One famously called the Thrux "an embarrassment". Ouch!

BTW, he was also relatively underwhelmed by the Ducati---to him, it was better than the Thruxton (mostly due to its power-to-weight ratio and acceleration). But it's 1000cc, costs $2K more, and still had dreadful suspension.

Most interesting and telling to me was the rhetorical question Catterson asked at the conclusion of his comparo---"do the folks who buy these things really want to buy something that needs to be fixed?" Like the sportbiker he is, he fails to understand the mindset of Triumph buyers---their love of mods, of wrenching, of history, etc.

P
 

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Comparing a Thruxton to a Duc is sheer idiocy. The Duc is a modern bike and the Thruxton isn't. Yeah they may both look retro but they are completly different bikes.If this is any indication of the direction Motorcyclist is going then I'm glad I subscribe to Brit magazines.
It's kinda like comparing that new Hyosung sportbike to a Gixer 600. Yeah they both LOOK like sportbikes but anyone with any real knowledge of bikes knows it's a useless and unfair comparison.Just like comparing a Thruxton to a Ducati.
 

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cobra, I couldn't agree more (didn't see poser comments) and I think the comments have referenced our love for our current Bonnie derivatives. No one here needs me to defend or offend them. I ride all the time rain or shine. I have 8k on my bike since June 06 and put 300 miles on 2 rides in the mountains this week when it got above freezing. Many ride more than me, but I have been an enthusiast for over 40 years to include a stint as a factory trained mechanic in a couple of shops that sold Triumph, Honda, Husqvarna, Penton, Maico, Suzuki and Laverda. In those days, everyone raced, blue printed and modified everything they could ride.

I didn't read the article, I understood the position they took from Bob's and others synopsis. My reference to the twins becoming stale is MHO only. I don't have a problem wrenching, riding or understanding how personal each buyers choice is in making a purchase. I think HD is a great bike, but overpriced for the technology. They are brilliant marketers and people flock to pay top dollar for all their products. Triumph is expanding in Triple offerings and clothing/accessories. They reduced the twins by one motor. The twins are certified for emissions until 08/09 according to fairly reliable postings I've read. Many here expressed insiders had hinted at a bigger cruiser and/or mini Rocket,, we'll see. So far the shell game on painting and pipe swaps equals stagnation, again in MHO only. Triumph keeps their cards close to the vest and have done very well with getting the marque re-established. I think improving the weaknesses discussed here/other boards and updating technology is not playing UJM horsepower wars. With China and other Asian imports competing for the entry level bike buyer, Triumph ends up being higher priced. Again, in MHO, Triumph must keep the returning buyer with their quality/support and be able to expand with more than T shirts and head light covers.

Bottom line, what they do with the Asian assembly/expansion and the 08/09 emission solution will indicate where the majority of their R+D efforts place the twins in the companies priorities. They can make a bike that sets the standard, it doesn't matter who watched them for a couple of years, look at 01 Bonnie or todays R3 and 675, a fist in the as* to the big boys. Twins are super competitive. new BMW 800, new mid size Duc's, HD isn't going away, KTM, Guzzi, etc, etc, etc. When you have made a long dollar you can afford to improve the offering without huge price increases. Quality/Value/Price Point in market.

Cheers, no poser, just concern for a loved one's future.
BobW
 
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