From the stalwart Bonneville to the latest Scrambler 1200, Triumph owes much of its current success to the desirability of its Modern Classic line of retro bikes. The bikes are easy to modify and Triumph’s parts catalog offers owners plenty of temptations.
Triumph Factory Custom, or TFC, is the next step. New for 2019, this new line will offer factory-modified Triumph models produced in very limited numbers. “Every TFC model will be built to embody the pinnacle of custom Triumph design with enhanced levels performance, technology, engineering, specification and finish,” says Triumph. “Carefully crafted to be the most beautiful and desirable Triumphs ever made.” Read: nicer and faster with a price tag to match.
Kicking off the line is the Thruxton TFC, because when launching a halo retro bike line, you start with your halo retro bike. Triumph’s highest performing modern classic gets even better in TFC trim, picking up 10 horsepower and every part in the catalog, plus some unobtanium parts only available on TFC bikes. There’s full Öhlins suspension, titanium Vance & Hines pipes, and an untold number of pounds shed through the use of lightweight components like the new carbon fiber bodywork.
TFC branding and badges prove you're riding one of the few, priced at $21,500. That’s on par with Kawasaki’s supercharged Ninja H2 SX SE! Or if you’re on a budget, the Ducati Panigale V4 is $21,195. Very different bikes, but TFC’s premium positioning is no joke. Just 750 Thruxton TFCs will be built, “never to be repeated,” and only 200 are coming to the United States. They’ll sell out here. If you get one, don't crash it.
Slipped into the press release was a concept Rocket III TFC. That’s big news for Triumph. The Rocket, long overdue for an overhaul, gets the full factory custom treatment here, too. Rumor has it the Rocket scientists behind this road-going leviathan jammed a 2.5-liter triple into its frame, because the old Rocket’s 2.3 liters just didn't measure up. No word on availability or pricing for the revised bike, though I’d take this release as an omen of Rockets to come.
So, Triumph goes ultra-premium? I can’t write this article without considering Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) line. Harley’s made a mint on their high-end factory custom jobs. Unique paint, more powerful engines, and special parts come at a prestigious custom price. If anything, Harley’s CVO sales prove that people are absolutely willing to pay for the motorcycle they want. Triumph isn’t crazy to follow their model. Yeah, $21,500 is still a pile of money for a parallel twin. Consider adding all those upgrades to a Thruxton R ($15,400), though. The limited production is just icing on the cake.
Like I said, I’m sure Triumph will sell out of Thruxton TFCs in no time. Look for availability in June of this year.