2005 Triumph Rocket III
Without doubt the Rocket III has forever expanded the parameters of cruiser - and motorcycle - design. Triumph, through the desire and will to create something quite special has harnessed the sheer brute power of the world's largest capacity production motorcycle and, in doing so, has delivered one awesome machine.
The Rocket III's unique, fuel-injected twelve-valve longitudinally mounted inline three-cylinder engine has a cubic capacity of 2,294cc - that's 140 cubic inches - using massive 101.6mm diameter pistons. It makes 147ft-lbs of torque at 2,750rpm. This incredible output means even two-up the Rocket III accelerates incredibly hard without obvious effort, and relentless forward motion is just a slight twist of throttle away.
From the outset of the Rocket III project, back in 1999, gaining precise control of the huge engine was recognised as intrinsic to the bike's success. Twin butterfly valves for each throttle body are used and this set-up allows the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) to control the mixture flow and ignition map dependent on gear selected and road speed. This allows the torque curve to be tailored specifically for each gear ratio. And the result is impressive - over 90% of the engine's prodigious torque output is available at just 2000rpm, giving incredible levels of flexibility and making the five-speed gearbox (nearly) redundant.
However while the Rocket III's statistics and looks are striking Triumphs are built to be ridden, not just admired. At the heart of every Triumph motorcycle is a core belief in usability and the Rocket III is no exception. So while the Rocket's sheer presence was always a fundamental part of its appeal, one of the project team's other key goals was to build a great handling bike.
The Rocket III's chassis centres around a large tubular steel twin-spine frame, which houses the motor while maintenance-free shaft drive - a first for Triumph - lays power to the massive, 240/50-section rear tyre. The front brakes are sports bike specification - the Daytona 955i's twin four-piston calipers mated with 320mm floating discs - and provide awesome stopping power. The rear brake, developed by Brembo especially, is a single twin caliper and 316mm disc. The 43mm upside down forks and twin rear shocks, built by Japanese suspension specialist Kayaba specifically for the Rocket III, add composure and supple compliance. This and the relaxed, comfortable ergonomics allow the rider to take full advantage of the extended range provided by the fuel-efficient engine and huge, 25 litres fuel tank (6.6 gal US).
The Rocket III may be the largest capacity production motorcycle in the world but it's designed first and foremost to be ridden. Good lock-to-lock movement, seamless fuel-injection and a low centre of gravity combine to make low speed manoeuvring surprisingly easy, while the steering geometry and overall length give a securely planted feel. Added to this is generous ground clearance, making the Rocket III a truly useable machine that will tour highways, cruise streets and hustle turns with effortless ability.
The ability to personalise the Rocket III was integral to the design philosophy and as the bike went through its prototype stages so did the myriad of factory-approved parts designed specifically around the new machine. Designed, developed and tested by our accessories engineers in collaboration with the same Triumph design team and test riders responsible for the bike itself, the accessories reflect the same close attention to detail and finish. For example the leather panniers, which are crafted in England, are constructed from the highest quality 4mm aniline leather and feature triple themed detailing and quick release chromed buckles.
The choices a Rocket III owner can make to customise and enhance their bike are huge; street-rodders can add exhaust pipes, wind-cheating fly screens and a host of chrome. Likewise, high-mileage touring riders can match panniers, windscreens, sissy bars, back rests and chrome to the Rocket III's potential, making it an excellent long-distance motorcycle. Then there are the custom-paint options for the tank and bodywork, such as the stunning 'Tribal' and 'Flame' designs.
The standard paint options are Jet Black, Cardinal Red and, new for 2005, a sleek Graphite scheme.
Everything about the Rocket III sets it apart. Its raw character, muscular performance, stunning looks, attention to detail and monumental presence are simply unique. Which means the Rocket III isn't merely a special motorcycle. It's a truly extraordinary one.
Engine Type - Liquid-cooled, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder
Capacity - 2294cc
Bore/Stroke - 101.6 x 94.3mm
Compression Ratio - 8.7:1
Fuel System - Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Ignition - Digital - inductive type - via electronic engine management system
Primary Drive - Gear
Final Drive - Shaft
Clutch - Wet, multi-plate
Gearbox - 5-speed
Frame - Tubular steel, twin spine
Swingarm - Twin-sided, steel
Wheels - Front, Alloy 5-spoke, 17 x 3.5in, Rear - Alloy 5-spoke, 16 x 7.5in
Tyres - Front, 150/80 R 17, Rear - 240/50 R 16
Suspension - Front, 43mm upside down forks, Rear - Chromed spring twin shocks with adjustable preload
Brakes - Front, Twin 320mm floating discs, 4 piston calipers, Rear - Single 316mm disc, 2 piston caliper
Length - 2500mm (98.4in)
Width (Handlebars) - 970mm (38.2in)
Height - 1165mm (45.9in)
Seat Height - 740mm (29.1in)
Wheelbase - 1695mm (66.7in)
Rake/Trail - 32º/152mm
Weight (Dry) - 320kg (704lbs)
Fuel Tank Capacity - 25 litres (6.6 gal US)
Performance (MEASURED AT CRANKSHAFT TO DIN 70020)
Maximum Power - 142PS (140bhp) at 5,750 rpm
Maximum Torque - 200Nm (147ft.lbf) at 2,500 rpm
Colours - Jet Black, Cardinal Red, Graphite