First Ride

First Ride: 2006 Triumph Rocket III Classic

The monster Trumpet gets a yankee makeover but it's still Brit beef at heart.

Visordown Motorcycle News

HAVING PARKED THE Rocket III Classic outside an ex-Little Chef which is now an Americanised diner with burgers and fancy ice-cream on the menu, I concluded the big triple has evolved similarly. On its launch two years ago the Rocket III was bold, British and unmistakably a Triumph, with its 2294cc three-cylinder engine and naked layout fronted by bug-eyed headlights.

Now this Rocket has been developed as an American-styled touring cruiser, with windscreen, footboards, sissy-bar, panniers and lashings of chrome. But just as Auntie Ruth's menu still features old favourites such as fish and chips, at heart the Rocket III Classic is familiar Hinckley fare. With chassis and engine mechanically the same, the new Classic is basically a Rocket III in different clothes.

Even calling it a Rocket III Classic is misleading because many of its parts are extras. The Classic's list of new components fitted as standard starts with footboards and pulled-back bars while a one-piece touring seat replaces the two-piece perch. Add two-tone paintwork, chrome cam cover and conical-tipped silencers, and that's your lot.

The rest shown here, like the panniers, are additional options. Still, the result is a bike that provides laid-back comfort without losing the ultra-grunty performance and improbably good handling that make the Rocket such a gas.

But specced-up as it is this is a bike you could imagine loading with passenger and luggage for a lengthy trip. You'd even welcome a few bends along the way thanks to the reasonable suspension and powerful Daytona 955i-styled front brake.

At £12,399 for the standard Classic plus almost two grand for the extras, it ain't cheap. Even so it's easy to see why the Rocket III has already sold well, especially in the US, and why the Classic looks like continuing the trend. The Rocket might have put on the pounds (both sorts) in its transformation to American tourer, but as well as being more comfortable it's still fast, fun, bursting with character and is unlike anything else around.

VERDICT 3/5
Pricey, but extras make the Rocket III twice as versatile without losing any of its fun. Good work, Triumph

SPECS
TYPE - CRUISER

PRODUCTION DATE - 2006

PRICE NEW - £12,399

ENGINE CAPACITY - 2294cc

POWER - 140bhp@6000rpm

TORQUE - 147lb.ft@2500rpm

WEIGHT - 320kg

SEAT HEIGHT - n/a

FUEL CAPACITY - 24L

TOP SPEED - N/A

0-60 - n/a

TANK RANGE - N/A

Click to read: Triumph Rocket III Classic owners reviews, Triumph Rocket III Classic specs and to see the Triumph Rocket III Classic image gallery.

Having parked the Rocket III Classic outside an ex-Little Chef which is now an Americanised diner with burgers and fancy ice-cream on the menu, I concluded the big triple has evolved similarly. On its launch two years ago the Rocket III was bold, British and unmistakably a Triumph, with its 2294cc three-cylinder engine and naked layout fronted by bug-eyed headlights.

Now this Rocket has been developed as an American-styled touring cruiser, with windscreen, footboards, sissy-bar, panniers and lashings of chrome. But just as Auntie Ruth's menu still features old favourites such as fish and chips, at heart the Rocket III Classic is familiar Hinckley fare. With chassis and engine mechanically the same, the new Classic is basically a Rocket III in different clothes.

Even calling it a Rocket III Classic is misleading because many of its parts are extras. The Classic's list of new components fitted as standard starts with footboards and pulled-back bars while a one-piece touring seat replaces the two-piece perch. Add two-tone paintwork, chrome cam cover and conical-tipped silencers, and that's your lot.

The rest shown here, like the panniers, are additional options. Still, the result is a bike that provides laid-back comfort without losing the ultra-grunty performance and improbably good handling that make the Rocket such a gas.

But specced-up as it is this is a bike you could imagine loading with passenger and luggage for a lengthy trip. You'd even welcome a few bends along the way thanks to the reasonable suspension and powerful Daytona 955i-styled front brake.

At £12,399 for the standard Classic plus almost two grand for the extras, it ain't cheap. Even so it's easy to see why the Rocket III has already sold well, especially in the US, and why the Classic looks like continuing the trend. The Rocket might have put on the pounds (both sorts) in its transformation to American tourer, but as well as being more comfortable it's still fast, fun, bursting with character and is unlike anything else around.

VERDICT

Pricey, but extras make the Rocket III twice as versatile without losing any of its fun. Good work, Triumph.

Triumph Rocket III Classic Specs

SPECS
TYPE - CRUISER
PRODUCTION DATE - 2006
PRICE NEW - £12,399
ENGINE CAPACITY - 2294cc
POWER - 140bhp@6000rpm
TORQUE - 147lb.ft@2500rpm   
WEIGHT - 320kg
SEAT HEIGHT - n/a   
FUEL CAPACITY - 24L   
TOP SPEED - N/A   
0-60     - n/a
TANK RANGE - N/A