2008 Triumph Rocket III Touring Road Test Rider Magazine

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Triumph Rocket III Touring

2008 Triumph Rocket III Road Test

2008 Rocket III Touring


June 30, 2008

[this of the 2008 Triumph Rocket III was originally published in the April issue of Rider ]

You Triumph think you’re so clever. So just a touring bike, eh? a Road King or Star Yeah, right.

Sorry, but just no hiding that longitudinal triple between the and windscreen. Since 2004 been teasing the madcap crowd with the standard III, with its fat 240-series tire, 150-series front, a and little else wrapped the biggest, baddest torque-monster in motorcycledom. Now it seems you’re to hook the mild-mannered cruiser-touring on your 2,294cc of displacement

I can hear the salesperson now, sneaking in a comment like, and if you and the missus really wanna this big ol’ touring bike up for you see that large, round on the tank? Well, at 4 inches it’s about the same as one of this bike’s three This ain’t no potato-potato no sir!”

Despite having a dry the R3T’s engine hangs quite low, though clearance is very good for a big

Compared to big V-twins the 2008 Rocket III Touring is turbinelike, relentlessly like a jet on takeoff. In the new bike two low mufflers instead of an threesome to clear the saddlebags, has sacrificed some power–our bike made 135 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm at the rear on the Borla Performance Dynojet vs. 141 at 3,500 in our 2005 Rocket

Peak horsepower is way down, 127 to 90, though with redline at 5,800 rpm it hardly matters. And 135 is still so much torque the 2.3-liter R3T shrugs off the load of a and gear like so many and makes passes and pulls without even downshifting top gear. Heck, it’ll out from a stop in fourth and keep going.

At idle it sounds like a tiger, on the throttle like a P51 at full song. The only is a bit of throttle abruptness at low-to-middling speeds that can create a lurch in the power delivery it smoothes out.

When you build the largest-displacement production the next logical step is to a touring version, hence the Triumph Rocket III Touring. wasn’t merely a bolt-on and bags exercise, though–except for the the only parts the R3T shares the standard Rocket III are the brakes, and taillight.

Although the R3 is surprisingly despite its heft and wide rear tire, as a tourer the R3T had to be yet at low speed, and accommodate a pair of bags without being too in the backside. It started with new cast-aluminum wheels, a 16-inch one in front carrying the 150-series in place of the R3′s 17-inch In back a 5.00 x 16-inch rim a 180 tire instead of the R3′s wheel wearing a 240.

Add new front and rear, and the 10-gallon bags tuck in at 33 inches hinge-to-hinge, about the same as a Electra Glide.

Once it’s hard to believe riding an 875-pound motorcycle, as the III Touring has light steering and handling.

A new tubular-steel twin-spine frame to the Triumph Rocket III Touring’s handling at all speeds, too (although at 875 wet the bike is a massive lump to around). The engine remains mounted and part of the frame’s it the R3T adds a half-inch of wheelbase and 1.3 more trail.

It still more willing to turn the R3, which is to say smoothly and easily, yet is more stable and planted in a as well as straight up-and-down. clearance before the floorboards to drag is ample for a cruiser, so you can ride the R3T pretty spiritedly on its Bridgestone touring radials.

is simple and comfortably effective on the and at normal speeds on backroads, it can get overwhelmed pretty easily by of speed, weight and bumps. heavier fork oil up front and some heavy-duty shocks in would be more suited to loads close to the R3T’s maximum.

Like other the Rocket III Touring’s ignition hesitates for a moment when you the starter button, as if it wants you to be sure . then the liquid-cooled triple jumps to life without need of a fast-idle Twin catalytics in the 3-1-2 have helped this meet Euro III emissions since it was introduced in 2004.

most longitudinal multis the 40-pound crank creates an noticeable side-to-side torque at a standstill, rocking the bike you rev it as if it were hit by a strong gust. underway the counter-rotating transmission shaft and driveshaft join the shaft in canceling out the torque

Some high-frequency vibes in and out of the hand grips at higher speeds, but what vibes at lower or cruising engine rpm are of coarse rather than and don’t intrude on the ride or the clarity. The bike settles its smoothest, quietest cruise around an indicated 72 mph in top gear, it will cruise for hours at speeds without excessive or fuss. We didn’t notice any engine heat coming off the big though all of our testing was performed in January temperatures.

Even with dual instead of three, the R3T’s triple puts out whopping

Although plenty of large use cable-actuated clutches like the instead of hydraulic, we had to blame it for our stiff shift-lever action and neutral. Clutch feel was and neutral locatable once we all of the clutch free play–this may have been hammered at the intro–and the heel-and-toe shifter well and doesn’t hog much space.

On the right the brake is similarly well positioned and to use and modulate, a good thing the front brake setup strength for spirited riding and need to use the rear in combination it at times. Between the large and beefy levers with no you’ll need some hand to operate the front well, particularly say, quickly approaching a slow

Rider floorboards provide to move around, but the passenger’s are a bit

Other rider accommodations on the III Touring are first-rate, starting the wide dual-density rider’s Though its shape holds you in I found I could sit there for a long time without Seat height is just 29 off the ground, but its width makes it higher and I can just get both at the ends of my 29-inch inseam on the at stops.

The rider reaches up to grips widely but comfortably apart on a big beach bar; feet on flip-up floorboards that plenty of room to move even on the left shared by the shifter. Your passenger floorboards and a large pillion a built-in gel pad, and like the seat it’s comfy for all-day rides, though the lacks any grabrails for the copilot the factory. The floorboards are also a bit between the saddlebag guards and leg, though they are at a height and flip-up when not in

Triumph Rocket III Touring

Standard “Look-Over” windscreen as as optional taller “Roadster” are made by National Cycle. pop off easily with stainless latches.

Wind protection on the R3T with the standard “Look-Over” which pops off in a jiffy a stainless-steel spring-loaded latch on side (for which a is optional). It’s flanked by lowers on each newly fork leg which help the wind out of your lap. coverage is full torso and and quite good, though the rider experiences some buffeting and noise from the screen.

I might opt for the optional “Roadster” windscreen to perhaps the buffeting, then trim it if so I could still see over it. the weather warms, take the off and the airflow is smooth and quiet.

A new throttle body cover and new seamless fuel tank the Rocket III Touring’s sleeker though the 5.9-gallon “Slim-Line” tank is .7 gallon smaller the R3′s to accommodate a chrome instrument nacelle. This a round analog speedo, a gauge and a scrolling digital LCD with clock, dual and remaining range controlled by a on the right bar.

Our test bike’s fuel tended to read empty and flick on the fuel warning when there were than two gallons remaining. the new tank takes some as well, since the fuel reaches the bottom of the filler well before the tank is full. In fact, our average economy of 35.6 mpg should be more of an educated guess, we couldn’t really be sure if we had the tank to the same level time.

Interestingly, Triumph the Rocket III only needs fuel, probably a result of its low compression.

Pushbutton-locking domed give the side bags capacity.

You’ll have an time filling the R3T’s saddlebags, which have domed locking lids flip outward; the bags can be easily for cleaning and service by turning a pair of Dzus inside each. They nicely on the floor when off the too.

I did not care for the built-in inside for documents, cell tools, etc. as they be removed and steal a bit of much-needed from the already narrow for loading other things. load is rated at just 15 each, so plan on getting the luggage rack for serious Removing the bolt-on seat access to the big battery and air cleaner, but no additional storage under nor any helmet locks.

In fact, I several things should be on a bike in this price that aren’t–a locking filler cap, for example, and more effective mirrors. In my the shorter standard windscreen be the option and the taller one standard, dealers will rectify upon request. While I’m the R3T’s beefy clutch and levers lack adjustability, and I the R3′s tachometer.

The R3T does come with a toolkit, ignition-integrated steering and a single key for all the locks, as well as right-angled Schrader valves on the Engine and saddlebag protection prevent extreme tipover The accessory list is extensive, and includes such things as grips, an auxiliary power and lights, even cushier seats and backrests, a luggage and different mirrors, as well as of chrome accents.

Sadly, no top is offered at this time.

Triumph Rocket III Touring

At the Rocket III bests the next production cruiser currently the roads of America by 241cc–by about the size of a typical twin. At 875 pounds ready to manhandling all of the Rocket III Touring may not be for everybody, but remember that underway the weight disappears and nothing between you and Mach III but right wrist.

Oh wait, I a touring bike–that power is there for big loads, right?

Triumph Rocket III Touring
Triumph Rocket III Touring
Triumph Rocket III Touring
Triumph Rocket III Touring

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