Norton Dominator Vs Triumph Thruxton 1200 R Vs BMW R nineT: Spec Comparison

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  • Apr 30, 2020
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Three heritage classics with unique personalities and massive engines, but which one’s a better bet on paper?

The ongoing trend of neo-retro motorcycles has given birth to some pretty cool products in the past couple of years. This includes British offerings like the Triumph Thruxton 1200 R and Norton Dominator that take on the likes of BMW Motorrad with its R nineT. While the Brits dig into their cafe racer roots, the Germans enter the ring with a roadster. All three have their own distinctive personalities. What they have in common though are massive twin-cylinder engines. Question is, how do they stack up against each other on paper?



Norton Dominator

Triumph Thruxton 1200 R 

BMW R nineT


961cc, air/oil-cooled, parallel twin

1200cc, liquid cooled, parallel twin

1,170cc, air/oil-cooled, opposed-twin 


80PS @ 6500rpm

97PS @ 6750rpm

110PS @ 7550rpm


90Nm @ 5200rpm

112Nm @ 4950rpm

116 Nm at 6000rpm





Of the three, it's the Triumph Thruxton 1200 R which has the larger engine and produces the most amount of power. It even gets a sophisticated liquid-cooled engine compared to its rivals that make do with simple air/oil cooled setups. 

The Thruxton makes less torque when compared to the R nineT but offers it at lower revs, which should give it slightly better drivability while pulling off the line. Same goes for the Norton Dominator. 

The Norton Dominator, which is the least powerful bike on paper, also loses out on the crucial 6th gear that could have vastly improved its highway touring capabilities.



Norton Dominator

Triumph Thruxton 1200 R 

BMW R nineT


Dual-cradle frame

Tubular steel cradle

Four-part chassis with removable pillion frame

Front suspension

43mm Ohlins upside down forks, fully adjustable

Showa 43mm USD big piston forks, fully adjustable

46mm upside-down fork, fully adjustable

Rear suspension

Ohlins mono shock with remote reservoir, fully-adjustable 

Fully adjustable Ohlins twin shocks with piggyback reservoir

Monoshock with adjustable, fully adjustable

Front brake

320m discs with Brembo calipers 

310mm discs with Brembo calipers 

320mm discs

Rear brake

245mm disc with Brembo caliper

220mm disc with Nissin caliper

265mm disc

Front tyre

120/70 ZR17

120/70 ZR17

120/70 ZR17

Rear tyre

190/55 ZR17 

160/60 ZR17

180/55 ZR17

All three bikes feature fully adjustable front and rear suspension setups. However, Norton’s Dominator takes the cake with a set of premium Ohlins. The Thruxton comes in a close second while the Beamer settles for third in this case. All said and done, it all boils down to how reactive these suspension setups are in the real world, how easy they are to tune, and how it helps improve the bike’s handling. 

The R nineT may lose out in terms of premium suspension components and may not be the best handler of the lot, but it packs the biggest brakes which should help it drop the anchor quicker. To add to this, the roadster comes with fatter tyres which should help with stability. The Dominator though, has a fatter 190-section rear tyre.



Norton Dominator

Triumph Thruxton 1200 R 

BMW R nineT





Ground clearance




Fuel tank capacity




Seat height




Kerb weight

227kg (kerb)

203kg (dry)

222kg (kerb)

The shortest wheelbase means the Dominator should be quick to turn in and inspiring confidence. So is the case with the Thruxton R which is just 15mm longer. 

The R nineT, on the other hand, sets itself as a better tourer. It comes with straight handlebars that offer a relatively relaxed riding posture as opposed to clip-ons on its rivals. The BMW R nineT’s touring capabilities are further highlighted when its larger 18-litre fuel-tank comes into play. More fuel at your disposal should keep you on the road a bit longer. 

Average sized riders would also find it easier to swing a leg over the R nineT which gets a lower seat height. A seat height of 810mm (5mm more) on the other two bikes may not be a deal breaker, but it could be problematic for shorter riders.

Then there's the weight. At 227kg, the least powerful bike - the Norton Dominator - is also the heaviest, which affects its power-to-weight ratio. The BMW R nineT takes second place while the Thruxton 1200 R stands tall in first.


Price & Verdict

Norton Dominator

Triumph Thruxton 1200 R 

BMW R nineT

Rs 23,70,000

Rs 12,15,800 

Rs 17,80,000

(all starting prices, ex-showroom)

Each one of you may have your pick, but it all boils down to the bikes’ pricing. And in this case, it’s the Triumph Thruxton 1200 R, imported from Thailand, that offers more bang for your buck. It looks gorgeous, offers more power and premium mechanicals for the least amount of money. 

The BMW R nineT also makes for one heck of a bike if you’re looking for a powerful yet comfortable ride. Bear in mind that the bike’s opposed twin engine configuration does suffer from torsional vibration, but even that has a charm of its own.

If you have money to splurge, the Norton Dominator could be your pick. In theory, it should handle better, gets better equipment to do so and has an authentic retro vibe to it.

More on Norton Dominator

Norton Dominator

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