You shouldn't have much trouble locating a used Triumph Rocket III, while you read this, as one of our members is selling his Rocket III right here. Since its 2004 launch, Triumph's 2300cc triple has been one of the top selling cruisers in the world. In Thailand it's still quite unique, and here we've got the Rocket III classic, with foot-boards, pulled-back bars and an armchair seat to transform the world's largest production bike into a sort-of tourer.
Triumph's forthcoming 2009 Rocket III Touring will go even further down that road of becoming the ultimate tourer. As Triumph puts it 'When designing a new long distance touring motorcycle, an engine capable of effortlessly devouring the miles is without doubt the best place to start', and we cannot disagree.
In the meantime, the Triumph Rocket III Classic is the closet thing you can get to a tourer with the big triple's 200Nm @ 2000rpm torque on tap. Picture the scene. You need to visit the in-laws upcountry you thinking of going on your motorcycle, then even if you have money enough to buy what ever you could buy you will take the Triumph Rocket III. Why? Because Triumph have transformed the biggest-engined bike in the world into a veritable armchair on wheels - you almost get the feeling that the touring Rocket won't even let you get wet in the rain...
The Triumph Rocket III 2300cc triple cylinder comes with 140 horses at the rear wheel, 200Nm torque at 2000rpm (this most be a record of some sort). Frame, suspension and geometry are all unbelievable perfect. In fact, the Triumph Rocket III might weigh 320kg, and is concentrated low in the bike, so if feels very stable and in control at low speeds - one modest Rocket III owner was even able to U-turn in our small street without ever the need to touch the ground.
The Rocket III at any revs, in any gear, open up the throttle and there's instant urge, the big Rocket simply surging up to the 6500rpm redline, by which time the triple is snarling in a very un-tourer-like way. Some people have said that the Triumph Rocket III is a bit scary at 160km/h on twisty roads and the way it begins to bounce through corners at 120km/h seems to confirm it. There's no getting away from the fact that this is one heavy motorcycle sitting on softish suspension, something you're reminded of as the forks dive under strong braking, which the 320mm front discs happily deliver.
But same like with a Harley-Davidson, that's not really what this bike is for. Comparing a Triumph Rocket III to lets say a Harley-Davidson Road King I would go for the Triumph Rocket III.