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Triumph Rocket III Touring

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Make Model

Triumph Rocket III Touring

Year

2008 - 09

Engine

Four stroke, longitudinal three cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder

Capacity

2294 cc / 140 cu in
Bore x Stroke 101.6 x 94.3 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 8.7:1

Induction

Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection

Ignition 

Digital  inductive type  via electronic engine management 
Starting Electric

Max Power

77.3 kW / 105.9 hp @ 5400 rpm

Max Torque

203Nm / 200.7 kgf-m / 150 ft.lbs @ 2500 rpm
Clutch Wet, multi-plate

Transmission 

5 Speed 
Final Drive Shaft
Frame Tubular steel, twin spine

Front Suspension

43mm Upside down forks
Front Wheel Travel 120 mm / 4.7 in

Rear Suspension

Chromed spring twin shocks with adjustable preload
Rear Wheel Travel 105 mm / 4.1 in

Front Brakes

2 x 320 mm Discs, 4 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 316 mm disc, 2 piston caliper
Front Wheel Alloy 25-spoke, 17 x 3.5in
Rear Wheel Alloy 25-spoke, 16 x 7.5in

Front Tyre

150/80 -R16

Rear Tyre

180/70 -R16
Rake 32į
Trail 152 mm / 6.0 in
Dimensions Length  2603 mm / 102.4 in
Width   995 mm / 39.1 in  (including levers (widest fixed part)
Height  1182 / 46.5 in (excluded quick release screen & mirrors)
Wheelbase 1705 mm / 67.2 in
Seat Height 730 mm / 28.7 in
Wet Weight 395 kg / 869 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

22.3 Litres / 5.9 US gal / 4.9 Imp gal

 

The Rocket III Classic Tourer is a true cruising motorcycle, and one firmly focused on rider and passenger comfort. Itís aimed squarely at those who favor a more laid back approach to motorcycling and features a relaxed riding position with forward set floorboards, pull-back handlebars plus a supremely comfortable stitched touring seat as standard.

Triumph has built a Limited Edition Touring variant of the Rocket III Classic that offers Touring-oriented riders an excellent value when compared to the Standard Rocket III Classic. These bikes come complete with $1,978 of must-have touring accessories and feature 3 unique two-tone paint schemes.

Purring through Bandera County, Texas, with signs for Dude ranches and various horse ranches beside the road, as the vast vista slowly rises and falls before me there is plenty of time to let my mind wander. With the distant horizon almost blurred through my sunglasses the way the world distorts in a heat haze, lone trees and buildings transform into cowboys and wagons rolling west in search of gold. As an Englishman in a foreign land, the highly untypical motorcycle beneath me that is pulling these incredible scenes across the handlebars seems to be the perfect platform to explore this wild, rugged American land.

All new for 2008, the Triumph Rocket III Touring is not just a warmed over Rocket III. Starting with its own tubular steel twin-spine frame, it also gets a new steel swingarm. The dimensions of the new frame differ from the original Rocket some with a more relaxed rake and trail which give the bike a 67.2-inch wheelbase, compared to 66.7 inches. This slightly lazier set up is not noticeable from the riderís perch though as the Touring comes with much wider bars for increased maneuverability. Also helping the bike to be more agile are the new 25-spoke machined cast aluminum wheels. Gone is the Rocketís chunky 240/40-rear tire, replaced by a more sensible 180/70 series 16-incher. This is complemented up front by a 150/80 R 16, which is the same width as the Rocketís but comes wrapped around a smaller diameter wheel. This new combination gives the bike very reasonable handling manners for a machine that is tipping the scales a double cheeseburger and fries away from 800 pounds.

Still displacing a whopping 2300cc, and kicking out more torque than a barn full of Texas Steer, a mind blowing 154 foot pounds at 2,000 rpm, the new Rocket III Touring is producing 108 horsepower at 5,4000 rpm. Where the original Rocket was laying down 140 horsepower, Triumph has elected to detune the new Touring, which makes an enormous amount of sense for a bike that has been built for cruising. And, as an added bonus to this more manageable power output, the bike now makes more torque than ever at even lower rpm. I have to admit I have always enjoyed the Rocketís wild ride, but it has always seemed like a strange idea for a cruiser to have so much power. So now, with the Rocket III Touring, Triumph has gone and created a true American style cruiser, and tuned the power out put accordingly.

So how does it perform now it has more weight and less power, I can hear you ask. Well, this was one of the first questions on my mind, and the easiest way to describe the new Touring is it feels exactly the same as the previous Rocket from take off until you hit the peak horsepower output. The additional torque offsets the added weight and it feels completely similar. At this point you are happily cruising along your road of choice at 70mph and life behind the handlebars seems exactly the same. The big difference is, if you twist the throttle at this point, the Touring feels sort of flat. Where the original Rocket would be taking off like a scolded cat, the Touring is wandering off with quite disdain. This really isnít a problem on a cruiser though, as the last thing you want at is your passenger exiting the rear when you crank the throttle at speed if you donít have the luggage rack in place.

Later in the day, I had an opportunity to try an accessorized version of the new bike and found a completely different animal. This is the one geared to the single guys out there who are going to ditch the touring windshield, slap on a single seat and install the pipes. These come with a factory re map to increase the horsepower to 125 and the added sound and grunt totally change the nature of the Touring. Louder, without being obnoxious in anyway, the power output is more aggressive, and with the shorty windshield allowing more wind in your face, the whole experience feels more edgy and exiting. With the modifications easy to perform, of course it gives you the options of having two motorcycles with two completely different personalities from the one platform.

On the highway the seating position is plush and reach to the bars is not taxing. The broad, wide seat sits closer to the floor this year, making parking lot maneuvering a tad easier than the slightly taller Rocket. It has never been a big problem though, as the longitudinal engine sits low in the frame and the bike has great low speed balance. A light clutch and foot controls that donít put your legs in an advance Yoga stretch to reach compliment this ease of operation.

The Touring differs from the original Rocket here again, with its use of floorboards instead of conventional foot pegs. Using a heel toe shifter, it is set up so you can use it like a conventional gear lever without using your heel if you want. The floorboards themselves are sensibly placed and are just about wide enough to wriggle your feet around for comfort on a longer ride. They are also high enough up to allow some healthy lean angle in the turns before you are greeted by the sound of metal grinding away beneath you. And, I would hazard a guess the Touring has the most Ground Clearance in the heavy weight cruiser class.

Suspension duties this year are handled by a set of 43mm, inverted, shrouded forks. I know the original Rocketís were a derivative of Triumphís aging sport bike, the 955i, and I wonder if these are just more left over units modified to take the Touringís greater weight. Either way they have a pre-load option available and gave a very compliant ride on the less than smooth Texas tarmac. Keeping the rear wheel connected with the ground, Kayaba also supplies the rear suspension with a pair of twin, chrome shocks that have a total of five positions of pre-load available. With the bike having a pair of good-sized hard backs, and a large rack, this is the minimum you are going to need for adding a passenger and luggage. Down at the wheels, a pair of 320mm floating rotors and two Nissin4-piston caliper brakes handles stopping duties. These calipers look also as if they came out of the 955i left over bin, but do an adequate job of slowing the beast without any weird behaviors to report. They are joined in their speed loss campaign, by a single Brembo two-piston caliper getting cozy with a single 316mm disc when required. This set up allows a good healthy stomp of the boot before the fun begins, and you start leaving trails of smoke from the rear tire. Did we really behave like that on a press test? Surely not!

Traveling on the near deserted Texas Hill Country roads gave plenty of opportunity to try the Touring high speed cruising abilities and it passed these tests with aplomb. There arenít too many twisty sections to be found, but there are a couple of high-speed sweepers that pop up, and here the Triumph proved to be stable and competent. With a good ability to turn in at speed, adjust lines, as well as soak up mid-corner bumps, the Rocket III Touring

Source Smart Cycle Shopper