Motorcycles

Triple XL: The biggest production motorcycle on Earth is back, and it's got bigger

If bigger is better, than the new 2.5-liter Rocket 3 TFC is the best
If bigger is better, than the new 2.5-liter Rocket 3 TFC is the best
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A new TFT dash – Triumph's dashes lately have been very dashing
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A new TFT dash – Triumph's dashes lately have been very dashing
It says Rocket 3 on it
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It says Rocket 3 on it
Right twistgrip
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Right twistgrip
Left switchblock, with the all-important cruise control buttons
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Left switchblock, with the all-important cruise control buttons
The sight of those three giant headers should get your heart pumping
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The sight of those three giant headers should get your heart pumping
Fully adjustable Ohlins suspension
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Fully adjustable Ohlins suspension
Twin round LED headlights with daytime running lights
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Twin round LED headlights with daytime running lights
Another close look at the exhaust headers, provided for exhaust header buffs
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Another close look at the exhaust headers, provided for exhaust header buffs
Brembo Stylema brake calipers are about as good as they get right now
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Brembo Stylema brake calipers are about as good as they get right now
You thought we were finished with the exhaust headers, didn't you? Wrong
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You thought we were finished with the exhaust headers, didn't you? Wrong
Bike comes equipped with front wheel
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Bike comes equipped with front wheel
Triumph has put logos on the bike
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Triumph has put logos on the bike
2-up seat unit – the bike also comes with a solo seat you can swap out
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2-up seat unit – the bike also comes with a solo seat you can swap out
Ride-by-wire throttle with multiple engine modes
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Ride-by-wire throttle with multiple engine modes
Hill hold assist is terrific if you're not great with a clutch, or you need to scratch yourself with both hands at the lights
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Hill hold assist is terrific if you're not great with a clutch, or you need to scratch yourself with both hands at the lights
Wears a little carbon hat
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Wears a little carbon hat
Solo seat unit
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Solo seat unit
The left side of the Rocket III engine always looked a bit agricultural, and the new version will stick to tradition in this regard
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The left side of the Rocket III engine always looked a bit agricultural, and the new version will stick to tradition in this regard
Built for wide loads
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Built for wide loads
Shaft drive on a single-sided swinger
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Shaft drive on a single-sided swinger
240-section rear tire should look enormous, but is swallowed up by the rest of the bike
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240-section rear tire should look enormous, but is swallowed up by the rest of the bike
Allo allo allo
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Allo allo allo
Neat TFT dash
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Neat TFT dash
The tank you can store your fuel in – just 14.5 liters' worth
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The tank you can store your fuel in – just 14.5 liters' worth
Another view of the Rocket 3 TFC's little carbon hat
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Another view of the Rocket 3 TFC's little carbon hat
Each bike gets a numbered plaque
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Each bike gets a numbered plaque
The new Rocket 3 TFC will weigh in somewhere around 320 kg
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The new Rocket 3 TFC will weigh in somewhere around 320 kg
The most powerful bike Triumph has ever made
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The most powerful bike Triumph has ever made
Dear lord, what a thing to look at
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Dear lord, what a thing to look at
The largest torque figure on a production motorcycle to date
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The largest torque figure on a production motorcycle to date
If bigger is better, than the new 2.5-liter Rocket 3 TFC is the best
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If bigger is better, than the new 2.5-liter Rocket 3 TFC is the best
Chock full of electronic goodies
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Chock full of electronic goodies

Fans of sheer largeness, pour yourself a bucket of champagne. The biggest, baddest production motorcycle in the world is back, and it's bigger then ever before. The new 2.5-liter Triumph Rocket 3 TFC is a trailer-pulling beast of a thing that'll dwarf anything this side of a Boss Hoss.

I still remember the first time I saw a Rocket III. It was 2005, and I was walking back from lunch. Some dude had just bought a gleaming black brand new one, and he was showing his friend in a driveway on a busy boulevard. A small crowd began to gather, folk just gasping at the sheer presence and monstrous 2.3-liter engine on this thing.

"Piston bores so big you could punch a fist down 'em," said the proud new owner of what was then the largest production motorcycle on the planet, and all were mightily impressed, and the stage was set for an epic smoky burnout exit and this man's crowning as the coolest man on Earth.

And then he couldn't work out how to start it. And we stood there watching as he impotently thumbed the starter, fiddled with the kill switch and the ignition, and the crowd began to murmur and dissipate along with any Fonzie points this hapless chap was hoping to gain.

"Perhaps it's like a Suzuki," I offered, "maybe it needs the clutch in to start?" And lo, it was so, for it seems Triumph did not trust its neutral switches, and the great beast was duly thumbed into life with a low growl so the smoky burnout and triumphant exit could proceed and the owner could escape with most of his dignity.

You thought we were finished with the exhaust headers, didn't you? Wrong
You thought we were finished with the exhaust headers, didn't you? Wrong

I was a minor hero that day, folks, I won't lie to you. And while I've never had the pleasure of riding one, the Rocket III has always had a special place in my heart. I had a vague plan to buy one around the time I learned of the concept of peak oil. "If petrol is going to become scarce," I reasoned, "I want to put as much of what's left as I can through a motorcycle engine, and the best way to do that has to be through the giant fist-bores of a Rocket III."

My thinking has evolved substantially since then, I'm glad to say, but this morning's press release still sends a shiver through my root chakra. The Rocket is back, and it's bigger.

The new engine is both bored and stroked out, each cylinder having a bore of 110.2 mm and a stroke of 85.9 mm, so a wider fist can go even deeper into this bike's guts. Up to three fists will fit, because there are three cylinders, so you and two friends can roll your sleeves up and get in on the action. We're not recommending this course of action, just pointing out your options. What you do with your Rocket is your own business.

The left side of the Rocket III engine always looked a bit agricultural, and the new version will stick to tradition in this regard
The left side of the Rocket III engine always looked a bit agricultural, and the new version will stick to tradition in this regard

Riders will now have a 2,458cc engine between their legs, which is more than twice the displacement of some of the hapless cars you'll roar past on the highway. Torque is thus boosted to somewhere over a gargantuan 221 nm (163 lb-ft), which is substantially more than anything else that's not electric or built to order, and something like 70 percent more than anything else in the mega-cruiser segment. Peak horsepower is somewhere over 170 ponies, which is starting to approach Yamaha VMAX levels of straight-line lunacy. Power and acceleration will not be an issue, ask and ye shall receive.

The rest of the bike looks nice, too. Despite the capacity leap, the Rocket 3 TFC (Triumph Factory Custom) is at least a whopping 40 kg (88 lb) lighter than the old Rocket III thanks to new aluminum designs for the frame and the single-sided shaft-drive swingarm, as well as the fact that all bodywork is carbon. While Triumph won't give us an exact weight just yet, the old one weighed 362 kg (797 lb), so you're still looking at a motorcycle of substance, with a giant 240-section rear tire that frankly gets swallowed up by the rest of the bike's bulk.

The new Rocket 3 TFC will weigh in somewhere around 320 kg
The new Rocket 3 TFC will weigh in somewhere around 320 kg

It's also undergone a thoroughly modern electronic makeover with goodies like a gorgeous TFT dash, cornering ABS and traction control, four riding modes, an up/down quickshifter, tire pressure monitors, keyless ignition, hill start assist and an optional Bluetooth connectivity module that handles phone stuff, navigation stuff and even control of a connected GoPro action camera. That's if you're not bothered by the fact that you'll basically be collecting evidence against yourself everywhere you ride.

A new TFT dash – Triumph's dashes lately have been very dashing
A new TFT dash – Triumph's dashes lately have been very dashing

Triumph has learned its lesson from the chorus of bleating that accompanied every Speed Triple launch after 2010, and retained the Rocket's signature twin round headlights. They look better than ever, in a new LED format with daytime running lights as standard. And as comfy as the new bike looks, it'll be even comfier on long rides thanks to standard cruise control.

Twin round LED headlights with daytime running lights
Twin round LED headlights with daytime running lights

Brakes are Brembo Stylemas – the superbike choix du jour – and fully adjustable suspension is from Ohlins. Buyers will get not one, but two seat units with the bike, one with pillion accommodation and one for lone wolves.

Solo seat unit
Solo seat unit

As a limited edition, only 750 of these beauties will be made for an as-yet-undisclosed price, and your only color choice will be black on carbon black. That's the correct color for this bike, and I won't hear you argue otherwise. Everyone who buys one will be treated to a numbered form letter signed by Triumph CEO Nick Bloor, as well as a numbered plaque on the instrument mount, a set of baby photos as your particular bike goes through the production process, a leather rucksack, and a Triumph TFC indoor bike cover.

Dear lord, what a thing to look at
Dear lord, what a thing to look at

It looks like a profoundly excellent motorcycle, and I'd desperately love to ride one. For gentlemen like myself with, shall we say, broader rear aspects, many motorcycles can simply look and feel too small. This will not be a problem with the Rocket 3 TFC, which will engulf my lardy proportions and dare me to eat more donuts. And I will eat those donuts, oh yes.

It is, however, the wrong bike to go for if you want to sacrifice as many hydrocarbons as possible to the motorcycling gods, because Triumph says it'll sip fuel, British-style with pinky out, at just 5.2 liters per 100km (45 mpg). Not the way I want to ride it, it won't.

At 170-plus horsepower, this becomes the single most powerful motorcycle Triumph has ever made. I'm not sure that's anything to be proud of, chaps, when are we going to see a superbike? But this two and a half liter beast is most certainly something to be proud of, and we hope a de-carbonized version for the masses is soon to follow.

Lots more pics in the gallery. Or you can watch a video below that adds nothing but lighting effects and dramatic music.

Source: Triumph

All New Triumph Rocket 3 TFC

10 comments
Nik
I've been told, that in Japan, if you cant lay your bike down, AND, then pick it up again, single handed, then you wont get a licence to take it on the road. I wonder how many people could pass that test with this new Triumph? I know I wouldn't! At 74, I've lost the lust, for this sort of machine, but wish it was around in my misspent youth;-)
Kpar
Good points Nik, I'm just a bit younger (67) but still have my Honda Valkyrie (six cylinders, no waiting!) and it is the perfect motorcycle for me- defined as "it is faster than I am willing to go". I really got a kick out of the first Rocket III I saw- I'm glad Triumph is still in the game.
chidrbmt
Agree Nik. After 55 years of riding almost everyday (weather permitting),my motorcycles and chainsaws keep getting smaller and lighter. What a beast & total overkill. But always a alluring attraction. And with so many powerful models today,probably best they weren't available when we were young. As we might not be here writing comments. Loz,I had the same "problem" starting a used Triumph I picked up at a delivery semi. Thought it was a dead battery. Never too old to be a fool at times. Especially guys with their new toys.
Ah Clem
These bikes will actually change lanes unless you lean pretty hard into the strong torque steer. On my first ride on the original, it really took me by surprise! I had been riding for over 50 years, bikes like V Max and even more powerful bikes, but I never experienced anything like that.
mediabeing
I'm looking forward to seeing photos of the bike. Keep the close ups. I just want to see the thing out in the daylight. There isn't a decent shot of the whole bike in the group offered here. Enough with the 'shrouded in darkness' poop.
BeinThayer
"...it's got bigger. " . Well, it's definitely gotten awkward, grammatically speaking.
Jason Catterall
Maybe, just maybe this could steal my heart away from my M109R....
rude.dawg
+1000 for Nik! With a bike this huge and heavy, you'd think Triumph would've found room to install self-balancing systems to keep the bike from tipping over. https://newatlas.com/honda-self-balancing-motorcycle/47257/
NewThings
I would love to see this bike in a scaled down version of at most 1000cc. I rode one of these bikes at a Triumph demo a few years ago and it was way too huge for me to like it. Felt like I was strapped on top of a rocket which is what they are going for but I was not impressed. Seemed like it was so heavy that stopping it in an emergency situation would be impossible. Triumph likes the bragging rights of making this bike but I'd be curious what the sales figures on it are. I'm looking forward to seeing if the electric bike they surely must build will be to my liking since I am going to buy electric for my next bike.
toyhouse
Regarding the pick-up issue; for the older guys, (like myself), the trend seems to be trikes. A few folks in our neighborhood went that way with their Harley's. I've seen a few goldwings done that way as well. I guess it's true about the thought of trying to muscle around so much late in life. For a lot of us, it's lost it's appeal completely. I've discovered the joys of an e-bike late in life. Much easier to pick-up, lol. But I'll admit, apples and oranges.