Triumph Rocket 3 sets new capacity standard for mass production motorcycles
Back in 2004, when Triumph first introduced the Rocket ΙΙΙ,its 2.3-liter engine set a benchmark in the world of mass-producedmotorcycles. Running uncontested ever since, the British motorcycle manufacturer has upped the ante with an even bigger three-cylinder engine in twonewly unveiled Rocket 3 variants, the R and GT.
Foralmost 15 years the first-gen Rocket III enjoyed its status as themotorcycle with the biggest engine in mass production. Apart fromsome notableexceptions such asthe Boss Hoss customs, even the most eclectic andrare of motorcycles – forinstance, theMünch Mammut 2000 or the Hesketh 24 –wouldn't breakover the two-liter mark.
Assoon as Triumph decided it was time for the Rocket to get anoverhaul, there was practically only one way to go. The new Rocketchanged the latinIII for the Arabic numeral 3 and arrived in May 2019 with a similar three-cylinderengine, longitudinally placed in the frame, now boasting 2,458 cc (150 ci) anda considerable power hike.
Triumphopted to kick off the second generation with the Rocket 3 TFC – asin Triumph Factory Custom – in a limited production run, buteveryone suspected that a mass produced version lurked around the corner. TheTFC batch of just750 bikes worldwide sold out in less than two months, setting thestage for Triumph to lift the curtain on the "basic"Rocket 3.
Interestinglyenough, the mass-produced model doesn't shy away from theimpressive specsand gear of its now unavailable limited-run sibling. It maynot be clothed in carbon fiber, it won'tenjoy the crunchysound of the special Arrow exhaust system or those few bits andpieces that make the TFC stand out but, other than these, the newRocket 3 is more or less the same motorcycle.
Itrolls on the same fully adjustable Showa suspension, stops with thesame Brembo Stylema M4 brakes and, apart from a quick shifter, isequipped with an almost identical electronics package. Which, in tunewith the Rocket's raw image, incorporates just the basicsystems: cornering ABS, traction control, selectable riding modes anda couple of treats in the shape of hill hold control and cruisecontrol.
Triumph also threw in a specialized software kit for GoPro cameras, incorporated in the Rocket's TFT dash, along with smartphone connectivity via a Bluetooth module – but these were extras even in the high-end TFC Rocket, let alone the standard models.
Producing164.7 hp (122.8 kW) at 6,000 rpm, the basic Rocket 3 bites a bit softer than the179-hp (133.5-kW) TFC variant; the difference should mostly be attributed to thestock exhaust system, instead of the TFC's Arrow cans. The goodnews is that, in terms of torque, going from 225 Nm (166 lb-ft) to221 Nm (163 lb-ft) doesn't really register as a serious loss.
Apart from the beefy gain in horsepower over the previous model's 148 hp (110.4 kW), maximum torque appears to be the same, but now it's achieved at 4,000 rpm, quite higher than the 2,750 rpm of the first-gen engine.
TheRocket 3 will be produced in two versions, the R and the GT. The maindistinction pointsto the riding ergonomics, as the R places the foot pegs in a midposition, whereas the GT puts the feet forward and sits the rider 23mm (0.9 in) lower; seat height is 773 mm (30.4 in) and 750 mm (29.5 in) on the R and GT, respectively. Inboth cases the pegs are adjustable, vertically in the R andhorizontally in the GT.
Otherthan that, the GT boasts some extra equipment, such as aslightly higher screen, heated grips asstandard (can be optionally fitted to the R) and an adjustablepillion backrest.
Thesolid black color will be common for both variants, but each willalso get an exclusive paint, red for the R and two-tone grey for theGT.
Triumphclaims that the new Rocket 3 is some 40 kg (88 lb) lighter than itspredecessor, with 18 of them shavedoff the enginealone. In fact, that is accurate for the GTversion at 294 kg dry (648.2 lb), while the R turns out to be another3 kg (6.6 lb)lighter.
Pricingis set to be revealed on November 19, 2019, which will be a few days after the EICMA 2019 show draws its curtains. Production should follow.
Seeboth the new Rockets in action in the 45-second clip that Triumph just released,unfortunately without any engine sound.