Triumph 2006 Rocket III Classic review

The 2006 Rocket III Classic may appear to be yet further Americanised, but does it still do the business in terms of performance?

A slightly blinged up version of the Rocket
Size still hampers it

2006 Rocket III Classic: Design

Having parked the Triumph 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.

Should I buy the 2006 Rocket III Classic?

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.