Triumph Rocket 3: The British hot rod with the biggest engine in biking

A red 2020 Triumph Rocket 3 being ridden on a road

The Triumph Rocket III was the revived British marque’s all-new, monster-engined, 2294cc, three-cylinder, US-style hot rod which, when launched in 2004, was the biggest production motorcycle available. That bike lived on in various forms up to 2017. Then, in 2020, an all-new, fully updated version complete with electronic rider aids and even more power was launched, now called the Triumph Rocket 3.

Available in two forms, the roadster R and touring GT, the Rocket 3 remains Triumph’s biggest bike and one of the most awesome performing and sophisticated motorcycles anywhere.

History of Triumph Rocket 3

YearModelEnginePowerTorqueDry weight
2004-09Rocket III2294cc triple140bhp200Nm320kg
2006-09Rocket III Classic2294cc triple140bhp200Nm320kg
2008-2016Rocket III Touring2294cc triple106bhp204Nm358kg
2010-17Rocket III Roadster2294cc triple146bhp221Nm320kg
2020-dateRocket 3 R2458cc triple165bhp221Nm291kg
2020-dateRocket 3 GT2458cc triple165bhp221Nm294kg

Triumph Rocket III 2004-2009

The Triumph Rocket III caused a sensation when launched in 2004. A huge, US-style hot rod cum cruiser it was powered by an all-new, dedicated, in-line three-cylinder engine which, displacing 2294cc, made it the biggest production motorcycle in the world. Its performance was equally radical, with not just 140bhp but even more impressively, a massive 200Nm of torque. The Triumph Rocket III is a big, heavy roadster and not for the faint-hearted but also delivers straight-line acceleration like little else.

The original Triumph Rocket III remained in production up until 2009, received a few updates along the way, such as the 2006 Rocket III, and was joined by spin-off models before the original was replaced by the Rocket III Roadster. 

Triumph Rocket III Classic 2006-2009 

The Triumph Rocket III Classic was launched in 2006 as a supplementary model to the standard Rocket III, with a few subtle changes to enhance its appeal to the US cruiser market.

These comprised more pull-back handlebars, foot boards in place of footrests and more comfortable double touring seat. Paint options were also different, and a larger range of cruiser style accessories were made available. It remained on sale until 2009.

Triumph Rocket III Touring 2008-2016

The Triumph Rocket III Touring was another spin-off model of the original 2294cc Rocket, this time in a more laid-back, touring, ‘bagger’ style.

As such, it’s based on the Rocket III Classic but with significant modifications. The engine has been ‘detuned’ to deliver more torque but less peak power. The chassis has been revised with more relaxed steering geometry and a longer wheelbase (via a new swing arm) to give more stable handling, there’s a smaller front wheel, narrower rear tyre, plus, most obviously, a new touring screen with matching hard panniers.

Triumph Rocket III Roadster 2010-2017

The Triumph Rocket III Roadster was a slightly souped-up and restyled version, which replaced both the original and Classic versions of the bike and lived on alongside the Touring version.

As such, the Roadster was more aggressive, meaner-looking and modified to suit. The engine was retuned to give 15% more torque and 6% more power, brakes and suspension were revised, as was the styling with a new seat, flyscreen and blacked-out look.

Triumph Rocket 3 GT 2020-date

After the original 2004-2017 Triumph Rocket III was finally deleted due to being unable to meet the latest Euro emissions regulations, it made a surprise return in 2020 as an all-new model, now called the Rocket 3.

With a brand new, larger capacity but more compact inline three-cylinder engine, new chassis, top spec cycle parts and, most impressively, slick, new electronic riding aids including modes and traction control, the 2020 Rocket 3 GT was not only a far more advanced machine, it was better performing and better equipped and was available in two forms – roadster R and grand touring GT.

Triumph Rocket 3 R 2020-date

The Rocket 3 was launched in two forms – the GT tourer with a lower seat, feet forward footpegs and controls and higher, wider handlebars to give a more relaxed, touring riding position and the Triumph Rocket 3 R, conversely, with a more ‘hot rod’, roadster riding position with flatter bars, higher seat and mid-set pegs. There are a few cosmetic differences, too. In all other respects the bikes are identical.

All of that makes the R the more sporty, aggressive machine which, although sounding unlikely for such a large, heavyweight bike, is impressively accurate. The Rocket 3 handles impressively well, has explosive performance and has a wealth of rider electronics.

Triumph Rocket 3 special editions 2020-date

Since Triumph launched its all-new Rocket 3 in 2020, the British marque has also produced a number of special edition versions.

These include the luxurious, hand-finished 2020 Triumph Rocket 3 ‘TFC’ (for Triumph Factory Custom) and 2021 Triumph Rocket 3 Black Edition.

In 2022 Triumph also launched ‘221 Special Edition’ versions of both, with unique paint to commemorate its peak torque figure, plus, in 2023, special Chrome Limited Edition versions of both as well.

What to expect from the next Triumph Rocket 3

With the latest versions now only having been around only since 2020 it’s expected Triumph’s latest Rocket 3 will be around for many years to come with new variants and updates along the way.

Already the British marque has added special ‘Chrome Edition’ versions, with more likely to follow.