The Dayboro hills.

Home run in the trusty Thruxton

Wheels: Triumph Thruxton

Ride: Mt Nebo and Mt Glorious, South-East Queensland 

Photos:  Steve Spalding, Barry Green


‘You never know your luck in the big city’, so the old saying goes.

In the context of finding a couple of great driving roads close to Brisbane, your luck is in. A

bout half an hour from the CBD and to the north-west are two of the River City’s best.

We’re talking State Route 31 — Mt Nebo Road and its partner in sublime, Mt Glorious Road. 

In nearly 20 years as a motoring writer, they were favourite road testing haunts of mine to the point where I dubbed them my Home Run.

While those days are gone, I ride the very same roads these days for fun on a 2010 Triumph Thruxton 900.

It’s just my kind of bike. With a tall, air-cooled parallel-twin engine and twin rear shock absorbers, the Thruxton looks like the Triumphs of 50 or 60 years ago, back when I bought my first two.

But these days, it’s a safer, more reliable and practical beast boasting twin disc brakes, electric start and fuel injection.

The sum of its 50kW of power from 900cc is nothing to email home about by today’s standards, but 68Nm of torque and good road holding gives the Thruxton the wherewithal to handle the mountainous terrain nicely. 

Come along for the ride.


Mt Nebo

From Samford village, we take Mt Glorious Road and, within a few kays, the pace picks up as the speed signs change from 60 to 80.

Properties bordering the road grow into acreages bearing larger homestead dwellings and, in no time, we’re heading through Highvale. 

Then, the looming D’Aguilar Range closes out the openness and the road begins to contort and climb through tall, dense native timber. This brings a return to 60.

At the top of the ascent is a T-junction, well sign-posted – right to Mt Glorious, left to Mt Nebo.

Take the latter and, within a few hundred metres, the speed signs shift to 80 as Mt Nebo Road progressively cracks its knuckles and uncoils. 

It’s easy to blast past Westridge Lookout without noticing the recessed entrance, but should you take the time to pull in, the reward is a sweeping, 180-degree vista that extends as far the major regional city of Toowoomba, perched on the Great Dividing Range.   

Back in the saddle, the 80 zone gives way to 60 as the road winds through the forest, then ascends through a succession of tight turns clinging to the mountain side.

At the top, a left turn leads through Mt Nebo village with its primary school, a couple of cafes and small cluster of houses. 

From here on, SR31 rides a long, closely-timbered ridge towards Brisbane and 70 becomes the operative speed.

This section has it all – twists, turns, dips, climbs – presented in a logical, natural flow. 

Or nearly all. It’s mostly double-line and overtaking lanes are near non-existent.

Patience is called for, so if you get stuck behind the proverbial immovable object doing 20km/h under the limit, best pull over.

There are a couple of options to help temper your frustration, one being McAfee’s Lookout, which offers expansive views across Brisbane and beyond to Moreton Bay. 

Suburbia, in the form of The Gap, is now encroaching, but there’s one last, sustained hurrah of enticing S-bends to carve up before Mt Nebo Road blends into Waterworks Road.

You might then prefer to keep going straight ahead into Bris Vegas, but to complete the loop and finish at Samford, hang a left on to Settlement Road (SR40) and left again at Keperra on to Samford Road (SR22). 


Mt Glorious

From the earlier mentioned T-junction of Mt Glorious and Mt Nebo roads, the village of Mt Glorious is just a few kilometres away.

The 50km/h speed limit lifts to 60 on the outskirts and the road cuts a swathe through dense, lush rain forest as it takes a deep dive into the D’Aguilar Range.

A proliferation of steep cuttings is the major point of difference to the Mt Nebo experience, along with more leaf litter in the centre of the road, so care and attention need to be taken. 

Things flatten out at the bottom of the range and the road offers kilometres of sweeping, smooth bends with generous width that would do justice to a racing circuit.

Take note, though, the 80km/h speed limit receives regular enforcement from the boys and gals in blue.

When Northbrook Parkway butts up to the Wivenhoe-Somerset Road, it’s time to turn around and do it all over again, delighting once more in the serpentine sweepers.

Then, around the White Cedar picnic area, tall timber closes in and the speed limit returns to 60. 

This time, though, climbing those steep cuttings can be taken by tucking into the meat of the engine’s torque band in 2nd and 3rd gears.

Traction and grip are boss and the Thruxton punches upwards and on.

At the top of the range, it’s impossible to miss the Mt Glorious Café.

Here is a mandatory pit stop for motorcyclists and clubman car owners to enjoy a good coffee, do a lot of tyre kicking and enthuse over their ride/drive. 

2010 Triumph Thruxton 900

Basic price (new): N/A

Engine: 865cc air-cooled parallel twin

Power: 50kW @ 7400 rpm

Torque: 68Nm @ 5800 rpm

Transmission: 5-spd manual

Weight (dry): 205kg

Drive: rear-wheel

0-100km/h: 5.0 secs


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