The World of the Triumph Thruxton 900

Text: Michael Bernleitner • Photography: Kurt Pinter

The Thruxton 900 is a tribute to the days when a motorcycle was about rebellion and freedom, instead of a fat wallet. Welcome to an England of a bygone era.

ThruxtonRace Circuit
The first race was held at a former air base in Hampshire in 1952. In 1968, it took its present form as a 2 1/3 mile circuit, and is considered the fastest in Great Britain. The most important historical races were the "Thruxton 500" in the '60s, where a win meant big sales for the bike manufacturer. Triumph enjoyed great success with the T120 Bonneville and built the 650 Twin as a production racer under the Thruxton T120R name. Fifty-five handmade bikes were manufactured, and won their greatest victories in 1969.

Record Racing
Record racing was a very popular variation of café racing. A coin in the jukebox was the starting gun, and the idea was to get to a given point and back before the record ended. The fast ride was a test of ability and an expression of a way of life. And at the time, English motorcycles were considered the best and fastest in the world.

Café Racers
There were no speed limits on the highways around postwar London, and private races from café to café (or truck stop to truck stop) were a popular pastime.

The classic British Café Racer has no fairings. It is distinguished by rear-set footpegs and steep clip-on handlebars that keep the rider out of the airstream. For more ground clearance in curves, the mufflers angle up as steeply as possible.

Ton-up Boys
A tuned engine and a goodly portion of courage were the tickets to an exclusive club. If you could reach "the ton" - 100 mph - in a ride around the block, you were one of the "ton-up boys," and awarded all the resulting status and admiration that entailed, in certain circles at least. A patch on your leather jacket further announced your drive for speed.

Ace Café
This legendary truck stop on the London North Circular Road opened in 1938, offering 24-hour service. In the '50s and early '60s the Ace Café was the hangout for rebellious London bikers, until speed traps and accidents got the upper hand. The Ace didn't fit in with the peace and love ethos of the hippie era, and it closed in 1969.

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For the complete article of the riding impression(s) and technical specifications, please purchase the September/October 2005 back issue.