An easy trip on a TriumphTouring the country by motorcycle is one of the best forms of travel and enjoyment offered to the human race. Yes, dogs and cats and other assorted animals can tour with us; however, we are alone in the choice of direction and mount. Now we are pleased to inform you there is another choice for touring America by motorcycle: the Rocket III Touring from Triumph Motorcycles Limited. We had the privilege to ride the Rocket III Touring a few weeks ago in and around San Antonio, Texas, with a host of other journalists, and sometime before lunch we discovered that we were aboard a great bike. The rest of that afternoon in the saddle only confirmed our discoveries, prior to the full stomach of Texas barbecue.
The Triumph Rocket III Touring is an all-new touring motorcycle bolted to the proven 2294cc Rocket III inline three-cylinder engine. The engine (with 154 lb-ft of torque at 2000 rpm) is "new" to this bike. With this amount of torque at the end of your wrist, you may question why there is a gearbox at all. The bike pulls from 30 mph in top gear smoothly and effortlessly. This seamless power is derived from a multiyear development cycle that saw all-new parameters from no less than eight sensors, feeding data to the engine management system. Vibration is Rocket nonexistent, mainly due to the primary balance of the engine firing 1-2-3 frontto- rear while firmly bolted to the frame as a stressed member. Transmitting power to the rear wheel is a drive shaft that counter-rotates to the crankshaft, eliminating any "twitch" of the bike, except a slight amount at idle. On the road, under power, you can whack the throttle as hard as you want without feeling any heave to the right.
The new, steel, twin-spine frame, designed to lower the center of gravity and the rider's seat, is stout. Wheels and tires are also new, with a 150/16 up front and a 180/16 out back. The wheels are 25-spoke cast aluminum and are housed under all-new sheetmetal. The 180 rear tire is there to allow for maximum traction without sacrificing saddlebag capacity and while not making the bike too wide from the rear view.
Now as far as capacity, there is never enough on a touring bike ... until now. The Rocket III Touring carries 10 gallons of gas and features a generous pair of hard saddlebags keyed alike to the ignition and sporting flat bottoms that stand on their own when the bike is being cleaned-a nice touch if your saddlebags have ever toppled over on the driveway. There is, however, another sort of capacity, i.e. "human" capacity in the form of comfort, which translates into how many miles can you cover before the little aches start to tickle your nerve endings. The Rocket III Touring has those areas covered as well. The hand and foot controls are all ergofriendly and infinitely adjustable for just the right feel and freedom of movement. Details such as bushed pivot pins, rubber bump stops and replaceable wear plates (on the outer edge of the rider footboards) all contribute to the feel of a well-thought-out motorcycle.
Another detail (which you'll never look at but will serve you well) is the seat. It's designed using two separate layers of different density foam for comfort, but the real trick is all of the internal seams have been taped to prevent the absorption of water into the foam through the stitching, so the seat will not stay wet for days after getting caught in the rain. The quick-release "look-over" windscreen is standard and excels in its duty to keep the "push" of the wind off of the rider's chest. But best of all, the windscreen doesn't rattle at any speed, even those posted speeds that we attained during our testing.
As with any new motorcycle launch we attend, we are given the opportunity to ride the new model, which only makes sense, but what of the accessories? Triumph brought along two or three Rocket III Touring bikes, outfitted with a slew of new accessories from the 65 new parts available. This is the bike we were most interested in, decked out in accessories like a rider backrest, highway pegs, quick-detachable sissy bar and some of the chrome embellishments like the front fender and oil tank trim. We really enjoyed the rider backrest with the easy-to-reach thumbwheel for obtaining just the right angle in relation to the seat. There's much more to tell about the new Rocket III Touring; alas we don't have the room on these pages to give the entire story. For the complete story, "up close and personal," we strongly suggest a trip to your local Triumph dealer's showroom. There is no better way to check out a new model than to plant your back pants pockets on one.
Riding Essentials From Triumph
As more and more motorcycle manufacturers realize that the cruiser market-more specifically the bagger segment-is a viable area of the industry for new product introduction,some companies are stepping up and producing clothing as well.
One motorcycle manufacturer in particular that has recently jumped into the bagger segment and made the commitment to outfit their riders with top-notch riding gear is Triumph. Triumph has introduced their own line of rider apparel into the U.S. marketand made some adjustments in their products to fit the lifestyle of the American motorcycle enthusiast, including a full line of leather jackets with CE-approved impact protectors, denim jeans with Kevlar reinforcements, a line of boots and gloves to protect your extremities and a full line of all-weather enduro jackets.
We recently got to sample the new line of Triumph gear; here's a sneak peek.
Triumph Roadster GlovesMSRP $65.99
With an aggressive look, the Roadster gloves are constructed with a combination of Hitena and leather with Keprotec abrasion panels, nonslip palms, 3M night reflective piping, raised wrist padding, double-strap fastening and a ventilated hard knuckle panel. These tough-as-nails gloves come in sizes small through 2XL.
Triumph Highway BootsMSRP $149
These rugged and functional boots feature fullleather construction, antiqued adjusters, embossed Triumph logos and a nonslip rubber sole and are super comfortable. They come in U.S. sizes 5.5 through 12.
Triumph Denim JeansMSRP $110
Designed with rider comfort and safety in mind, these soft and stylish jeans feature Keprotec-reinforced knees and seat, are boot cut for a little more length when you're in the seated position and come in sizes 30 to 42 here in the U.S.
Triumph Sympatex Pantha JacketMSRP $315.99
This waterproof jacket is breathable and windproof and features Hitena water-repellent outer fabric. It has removable CE95 shoulder and elbow protectors, removable dual-density back insert, removable inner liner and plenty of ventilation air flow panels. This jacket also features 3M night reflective tape that we could easily see when we tried to shoot the jacket with the camera-mounted flash. This jacket is very versatile and would be perfect for touring (hint, hint). It comes in sizes small through 3XL.
Triumph Samford JacketMSRP $409.99
This jacket is made from glove-soft 1mm cowhide and features double-stitched impact seams, easily removable CE95 shoulder and elbow protectors and hidden vent panels, and the zipper is insulated from your skin by an inner panel to help seal out the wind on those chilly days. The Samford comes with an option to fit a fleece neck warmer and is supplied with a waist connection zipper for when it gets really cold. This amazingly soft jacket comes in U.S. sizes 38 to 56.
|TYPE||Liquid-cooled, DOHC, inline, three-cylinder single primary balancer (gear-driven)|
|BORE X STROKE||101.6x94.3mm|
|FUEL SYSTEM||Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection twin butterflies, progressive linkage on primary butterflies|
|EXHAUST||3 into 1 into 2, large volume catalysts in front of silencers, stainless steel headers and link pipe, chrome-plated mild steel silencers|
|IGNITION||Digital-inductive type via electronic engine management system, twin spark plugs per cylinder|
|PRIMARY DRIVE||1.034:1 gear ratio with backlash eliminator|
|CLUTCH||Wet, multiplate, cable-operated|
|GEARBOX||Five-speed constant mesh|
|THROTTLE BODY DIAMETER||52mm|
|OIL CAPACITY||5.9 liters dry fill (1.6 U.S. gallons), 5.4 liters oil & filter change (1.4 U.S. gallons), 5.1 liters oil change only (1.3 U.S. gallons)|
|FRAME||Tubular steel, twin spine|
|FRONT WHEEL||Alloy, 25-spoke,|
|REAR WHEEL||Alloy, 25-spoke,|
|FRONT TIRE||Bridgestone Exedra G853|
|REAR TIRE||Bridgestone Exedra G850|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||Kayaba 43mm fork,120mm|
|REAR SUSPENSION||Kayaba chromed spring|
|FRONT BRAKE||Twin 320mm floating|
|REAR BRAKE||Single 316mm fixed disc,|
|INSTRUMENT DISPLAY/FUNCTIONS||Tank-mounted instrument assembly with large speedo and integrated fuel gauge; includes LCD to display odometer, trip 1, trip 2, range-to-empty and clock; warning lights include alarm LED; instruments control auto-cancelling indicators; integrated instrument scroll button on switch cubes|
|WARNING LIGHTS||Indicators, high beam, neutral, mileage, fuel, oil pressure, alarm, water temperature|
|WIDTH (HANDLEBAR)||895mm across handlebar end weights (excludes levers and mirrors)|
|HEIGHT||1182mm (excludes quick-release screen and mirrors)|
|WEIGHT (DRY)||362 kilograms|
|FUEL TANK CAPACITY||22.3 liters|
|(MEASURED AT CRANKSHAFT|
|TO DIN 70020)|
|MAXIMUM POWER||108PS (107bhp) at 5400 rpm|
|MAXIMUM TORQUE||209Nm (154 pound-feet) at 2000 rpm|
|MILES PER GALLON||Not yet available|