Triumph Rocket III Classic-King Kong of classic tourers
When Triumph launched the majestic Rocket III in 2004 it was to be the most spectacular flagship model since Hondas Gold Wing. The inevitable has happened and the Rocket III has evolved into a Classic version with a comfortable seat and big footboards. It still packs almost as much torque as two 999Rs so don’t let the cosy cruiser looks deceive you.
Words: Tor Sagen/Photography: Claire McHugh
The Rocket III sounds quite boring and more like a car when on idle. Put it next to the mega twins from Kawasaki, Yamaha, Harley and Suzuki and you wouldn’t raise an eyebrow from the sound. Despite the fact the Rocket develops 200Nm @ a ridiculously low 2,500rpm it’s when you really spin that huge 2.3 litre engine up that you start thinking about Nirvana.
Three enormous pistons move up and down at breakneck speed and produce a sound unique in motorcycling. This is where the Rocket III becomes addictive. The monster torque curve just slings the 320 kilos up into the power and when the thing starts revving with 200Nm and 140bhp activated there is not a thing in the world that could stop it-truly a rocket on two wheels.
The momentum is unbelievable and you start praising those very decent double four pot brakes mounted on a USD fork and the gigantic rear brake. A huge 240mm rear wheel takes care of all that power and torque and allows the Rocket to out drag any litre superbike up to at least 30-40mph. I could only imagine if this bike was chain driven with the opportunity to alter the gearing further…
That huge 2.3 litre engine is agricultural in size and is held in place by some serious frame tubes. On the move the riding position is laid back with a double touring seat and stretched handlebars. The powerful engine slings the 320 kilos of metal forward as if it was a 160 kilo sportsbike. In the bends it is a different story though and the Classic features footboards that limits ground clearance even more than the standard Rocket III.
You are not really bothered when riding the Rocket as all that thrust is entertainment enough. The brakes need to be really good as the stop and go style is the one that counts on the winding roads. Purely for the fact that if you try to ride it smoothly as it was meant to you lose too much speed in and out of the corners. So a bit of braking and acceleration is necessary to keep up with your mates where there are loads of tight bends.
The solid upside-down fork allows heavy usage of the front brake alone, but for optimal deceleration it’s always best to stamp the right foot down as well. On the A roads and motorways the Rocket III Classic is an absolute delight. There is plenty of torque to pass cars and lorries on low revs and the directional stability is impressive. Like a bloody freight train as a matter of fact.
Excerpts of the full article. WA
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