BMW K1200R, Harley-Davidson FLSTCI Heritage Softail, Triumph Rocket III - Three massive motorbikes that can go toe-to-toe with a tank
If you'd given me the option in 1939 of which side I'd have fought on during the war, it would have had to be Germany. It's a terrible admission, I know, and one that my family would be mortified by (we come from a long line of jingoistic, flag-waving duffers who furthered Britain's empire-building interests around the world) but Germany had the best uniforms, the best guns and the best tanks by far. The sense of juggernaut unstoppability as their stormtroopers swept across Europe must have been tremendous. You can stick your Dunkirk spirit up your arse, what you really needed back then was a Schmeisser MP40 in your hands and a Panzer III if you really wanted to impress.
Britain, of course, wasn't prepared for war and so our tanks were rubbish. We were a gullible lot back then, and when the spineless Neville Chamberlain held his piece of paper aloft in 1938 after being bamboozled by a crafty Adolf, we did nothing to gear-up for a scrap and were caught completely napping by the hordes of fancy Panzers that rolled up to the Channel. The Americans were so busy trying to hide under the table and not get involved that they didn't have anything useful at the time, so Germany and their fleet-footed tanks were sitting pretty.
Fast forward 67 years and we're rolling south-west to Dorset on three of the biggest lumps of metal produced by the British, German and American motorcycle industries today. These are bikes designed to get you noticed and they all make sure you arrive in style and comfort. Weight isn't an issue here, but performance and presence are and each bike is taking a very different route. Triumph's outrageous Rocket III makes up for the deficiencies of its wartime cousins by being the biggest, brashest machine on the market today. What it lacks in finesse is more than offset by the sheer imposing size of the thing.
BMW have gone back to their blitzkrieg roots with the K1200R, a bizarre mix of cruiser, streetbike and sportsbike. Like their tanks of yesteryear, the K1200 is festooned with complicated gadgetry that means it's way ahead of its time. And finally there's America's Harley Softail, all-new for this year but the same as always. Laidback style and serious cruising comfort for the kind of rider who likes to turn up late and then take all the credit. Start your engines and let battle commence!
Continue for the Triumph Rocket III Review - 2/5
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