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Road Test: Honda Goldwing vs. Triumph Rocket III

It's a monster mash touring bash on the mightiest mile-eaters motorcycling can muster. Wallflowers need not apply.




Way down in the south of France there's a secret village up on a hill, overlooking a secluded cape where the President of France has a hidden holiday home next to a concealed beach. The village itself is all steep, narrow streets, hanging baskets, pastel walls and terracotta roof tiles.

The hairpin approach from the south affords views out over the Mediterranean; from the north, a short but spectacular stretch of twisting road through dry, cork oak woodland offers a brief slice of some of the finest riding southern France has to offer. It's all very, very nice. Me, being a creature of forced habit, like an insane captive bear pacing back and forth across its cage, I keep returning to the same places again and again. This is one of them.

And it being that time of year again, that time when thoughts turn to travelling long distances on motorcycles for the purely self-indulgent reason of wanting to, we thought wouldn't it be a nice idea to go back to that secret special place.

But what we needed were some equally special motorcycles. This was a trip with a destination in mind, not a harum-scarum cross-country blast by sports bike. So we required fitting transport. Something stylish, something elegant, something that would make a special place feel even more special. "Hello? Honda? Can we have a Goldwing please?"

The latest incarnation of Honda's continuously refined, indecently luxurious, opulently equipped Wing is as focused and single-minded a slice of motorcycle as is currently available. Like a supersport 600 or a motocrosser, the Goldwing is designed to do one thing well, and everything else be damned. And that thing is whoosing two people and their things in comfort, style, and a slightly exuberant manner, across large swathes of foreign lands.

Our foil to the Wing's effusive sophistication? There is little to compare directly with a Wing - BMW's K1200LT and Harley-

Davidson's Ultra Classic Electra Glide come closest - but we wanted something even more ostentatious, even more over-the-top. And we found it. Triumph's 2.3-litre Rocket III is a blunt but mightily effective weapon in the battle to be noticed, but this Classic edition takes things a step further. A more comfortable seat, feet-forward footboards and swept-back bars set the Classic apart from the standard Rocket, but add another two grands worth of official Triumph extras - including screen, sissy bar, leather panniers, heated grips, chrome this and two-tone that - and we've got a Yankee-style mile-eating behemoth with which to head south, fully loaded, two-up and in imposing style.

Despatching the tedium of northern France's autoroutes gives one time to appreciate a motorcycle's creature comforts, or lack of them. The Goldwing lacks virtually nothing, equipped as it is with more features, extras and add-ons than a comfortable family car (not to mention similar load capacity, bigger engine and greater asking price). Ours failed to arrive with an optional CD player, but did have virtually everything else: central locking, heated grips, heated seat (both rider's and pillion's), push-button preload and headlight adjustment, an overly complicated radio plus cruise control and a built-in satellite navigation system. Enough to keep anyone busy for a while.

The Triumph came with less to amuse us. Basic equipment is just that, and ours had but foglights and heated grips to play with, both non-standard extras. But there's an ace up the Rocket's sleeve that provides more than enough entertainment for any man or woman: the vast 2300cc, three-cylinder motor.

While the 1800cc flat-six Goldwing serenely glides and hums along, the Triumph both chugs and thunders. Should that be 'chunders'? I prefer 'thugs'. So thug it does, launching forward with a twist of throttle in a way no other motorised vehicle can match. Much of the motor's puff has run out above 90mph or so, but below that it's unique entertainment. Over 130lb.ft of torque appears below 3,000rpm. Launching away from the autoroute toll booths, with the added traction provided by a pillion sat over the rear tyre, is something I will never, ever tire of. She might, though...

Neither bike is built for headline grabbing top speed, but both were happy enough cruising at 95-100mph or so, the Goldwing a shade more if the mood took. It rarely did. Both, too, were rock-solid stable at that speed, but long, sweeping bends at much above the ton would have either bike weaving gently as a reminder that such behaviour really isn't the done thing on these beasts.

On-bike comfort can be a subjective thing, but disappointingly neither the Honda or the Triumph offered either rider an all-round cosseting on our long journey south.

For my part at least the Wing's mini-backrest needs angling back slightly, or at least the adjustability to have the choice. The screen too could do with more adjustment than it has, and push-button electric at that. I prefer the constant pressure of a directed windblast to the arrhythmic side-to-side battering of airflow directed around a tall screen, and hankered after something a few inches lower, not higher, at times.

In fact, amazed to admit it though I am, the Rocket nearly offered markedly better comfort than the Wing. I say 'nearly', mind. You perhaps wouldn't think it but the feet-way-forward riding position really works over distance. The screen better suited my preference too, its lower top edge replacing buffeting with a reduced, if constant, wind pressure. The only downside, and a significant one at that, was the bend of the bars. Their backwards sweep made holding the Rocket's heavy throttle open for any length of time excruciating, and caused problems for both myself and snapper Si.

But no trip to France, or for that matter anywhere, should take place entirely on the motorway. If time allows they should take place entirely off them. There's no better way to absorb a country than by gliding through its towns and villages on a jolly great big motorbike. Enjoy the view, turn heads while you're doing it, move along please.

Away from constant speeds and fixed throttle positions, the Rocket is even more enjoyable. And it nearly, properly handles too. Yes, there's hardly any ground clearance, and anyone with any recent experience of anything approaching a sports bike must remind themselves of this on the approach to every single corner or they'll end up in the hedge. But the Rocket is genuinely well balanced and genuinely well braked, with a chassis composure that, considering the whole package's bulk, is as impressive as the motor's performance alone. Once dialled in to the bike's tiller steering, this thing can honestly be ridden with some spirit in the turns, scraping and scrawping round then catapulting out with the tiniest blip of throttle. It brings a whole new meaning to the notion of in slow, fast out, point-and-squirt riding.

As a rule I don't do cruisers, but we rode stretches of Mediterranean rural backroad and wide, snaking, sub-Alpine Route National that were more fun than I could have possibly imagined, both in the dry and the wet. On the right road, in the right country and with the right weather, it's uniquely joyous.

The Goldwing is different. Pillion or not it handles well, very well, for a machine of such size and weight, but the experience is far less involving for the rider. On the Rocket there's a direct if crude connection between rider, chassis and road below; on the Goldwing the opposite is true, and direct connection becomes distinct detachment. Often the only time you're ever aware there's Tarmac beneath you is when it grinds against the end of the footrests. That's not to say the Honda isn't an effective and well executed package, it is, but the end result for me is a little... sterile, almost over-accomplished.

Trickling into the suburban fringes of this lost little corner of the French Riviera, our mode of transport seemed ever more appropriate. The French adore bikes of all kinds and you never feel out of place or unwanted on two wheels anywhere in their country, but the Goldwing and the Rocket III Classic fit even more comfortably into the swing of things down there.

In town centres, at traffic lights, in petrol stations, on the peage and in middle-of-nowhere lay-bys, the Rocket III turns heads like no other motorcycle. Parked in isolation it's the Goldwing that stops people in their tracks; stood in the Triumph's shadow, gawping passers-by look straight past the Honda at the Rocket's gargantuan, extrovert bulk.

Next to the Triumph the Honda appears understated and conservative, and it's not often you can say that about a Goldwing. Our bike's gentlemanly burgundy hue only helped it slip further into the background next to the Triumph's thick chrome and two-tone cream and blue. That for many will be a good thing. While a Wing's undoubted abilities appeal to a range of potential buyers, there are those who are put off by the Honda's outrageous and very public statement of excess. For them, any opportunity to blend in is a welcome one.

My appreciation of the Honda remained pretty much the same from the beginning of our trip to the end. The Wing is a hugely accomplished device, but those abilities were a known quantity at the start. The built-in sat nav was a new addition for me, and for the most part it worked well (looking at the instructions before we left would have enhanced the Garmin set-up's usefulness even further...), but other than that we knew what we were getting and the Wing performed admirably. It's less of an involving ride than I generally prefer, but rider involvement in the business of making progress perhaps isn't in the brief. It surely won't be long before Honda dispense with the Wing's manual gearbox. So much of riding a Goldwing appears to happen automatically after all, so why not changing gear too?

But the Triumph was a different matter, an unknown quantity. Having never travelled far on a Rocket before our trip, I was honestly concerned it wouldn't have the makings of a proper tourer and would hold us back over the journey. I was wrong. Only the awkward bend of the bars spoiled the package, so sort that, or somehow fit a cruise control, or do both, and I would be inclined to take the Triumph over the Wing for a repeat journey. No, the Rocket doesn't have the Honda's luggage capacity, equipment, sophistication, or its fuel range. But it's the most entertaining, outrageous, gobsmacking motorcycle you can buy, and yet it succeeded at doing what was asked of it, and doing it well. The single most impressive thing Triumph has ever done is make the Rocket III so over-the-top and yet so easy to use, and the spec'd-up Classic is a further extension of that.

Parked between the marina and the boules piste in a pleasant seaside town that reminds those that know of St Tropez 20 years ago (before the riff-raff and moneyed wannabes descended en masse), both the Honda and the Triumph appear unexpectedly at home. Young men, old men and policemen cast covetous glances and nod approvingly in the way only the French do. Later, cruising gently along the seafront before heading inland feels absolutely the right thing to be doing on these bikes. There's none of the hint of embarrassment or cringing conspicuousness that can mar a similar sojourn in Bournemouth or Brighton or elsewhere in Britain.

The notio n of touring by bike is a personal thing, and you absolutely don't have to buy bikes such as these to embark on a trip such as this. Conversely, if you do have such bikes, you're under no obligation to take it anywhere other than takes your fancy, as near or far as that may be.

But the Goldwing is as purpose built as any bike on the market, and to not embark on faraway adventures, two-up and fully laden, would be putting its capabilities to waste.

The Triumph is a different matter. It's not sold as a luxury tourer, and it's certainly no direct rival to the Goldwing. As standard, the Rocket III Classic isn't so well equipped for distance work, and it's only with the outlay of a significant amount of money on extras that it becomes as such (although the asking price is still way below that of the Wing). Its intended purpose is less clear cut, although there's very little you can do on the Rocket that won't raise a smile. We went touring , we smiled.

The undeniable truth is that a combination of lavishly well appointed motorcycle and a far-off, glamorous destination make for a truly unforgettable mix. Honda's Goldwing will devour any long distance trip and make the journey very special indeed. But for me and my needs and my tastes I've made my choice and would take the Rocket III Classic again, suffering the wrist ache for the relentless entertainment given by motorcycling's maddest motor in the most ostentatious package under the sun.

And no, we're not telling you exactly where we went. Sorry. You can probably work it out for yourself, but if we go public, heaven knows who will start turning up there.

GOING THE DISTANCE

Fuel range is a big deal to touring types. The Goldwing holds 25 litres, the Rocket 24. Average mpg for the Wing was 36.6, with a best of 38 and a worst of 33.9-mpg. The Triumph had more of a thirst: 33.6mpg average, 39.2 best, 27.3 worst. Those figures give the Wing a range of up to 205 miles, with a theoretical max of 180 for the Rocket. 'Theoretical' because a dodgy fuel gauge kept telling us we had less gas than we did.

Note the Rocket is fairly frugal at constant speed, but throw in regular acceleration from low or no speed and consumption plummets - so much so we got caught out and ran it dry in town, hence the auxiliary fuel tank on the rack in some pics.

PILLION OPINION

HONDA GOLDWING

When the chance came to go pillion on a touring test, I thought: 'How hard can it be to sit on the back of a Goldwing and watch France pass by?' Have you seen the pillion seat? The multitude of places to put stuff? It came as a bit of a shock then to realise sitting on the elevated rear throne put me right in line for the air passing round and over the bike. I know nothing of the technical jiggery pokery that goes on when designing bikes but I do know it seemed noisier and colder than the Rocket. The seat was comfy though and its heating probably stopped me freezing to death, but I didn't want to turn it off and find out for the sake of a fair review.

TRIUMPH ROCKET III CLASSIC

I thought the Honda would be the main attraction - all the Rocket's chrome did nothing f or me - but I was pleasantly surprised to discover it's brilliant for pilioning. The seat's fairly solid so the motor's vibes and bumps in the road were more noticeable, but I wasn't uncomfortable. Not even after being on the road for several hours. The backrest was just right too, as long as the buckle on my Kriega bum bag didn't push against it. I felt more like I was actually on a motorcycle compared to the Goldwing. Being closer to my man also made a difference to the noise and I wasn't as cold either, both of which make a huge difference over distance. The luggage allowance was a nice surprise too, and I even grew to like the chrome.

SPECS - HONDA

TYPE - TOURER

PRODUCTION DATE - 2007

PRICE NEW - £17,499

ENGINE CAPACITY - 1832cc

POWER - 116bhp@5500rpm

TORQUE - 123lb.ft@4000rpm

WEIGHT - 363kg

SEAT HEIGHT - 740mm

FUEL CAPACITY - 25L

TOP SPEED - N/A

0-60 - n/a

TANK RANGE - N/A
SPECS - TRIUMPH

TYPE - TOURER

PRODUCTION DATE - 2007

PRICE NEW - £12,399

ENGINE CAPACITY - 2294cc

POWER - 140bhp@6000rpm

TORQUE - 147lb.ft@2500rpm

WEIGHT - 320kg

SEAT HEIGHT - 7400mm

FUEL CAPACITY - 24L

TOP SPEED - N/A

0-60 - n/a

TANK RANGE - N/A

Way down in the south of France there's a secret village up on a hill, overlooking a secluded cape where the President of France has a hidden holiday home next to a concealed beach. The village itself is all steep, narrow streets, hanging baskets, pastel walls and terracotta roof tiles.

The hairpin approach from the south affords views out over the Mediterranean; from the north, a short but spectacular stretch of twisting road through dry, cork oak woodland offers a brief slice of some of the finest riding southern France has to offer. It's all very, very nice. Me, being a creature of forced habit, like an insane captive bear pacing back and forth across its cage, I keep returning to the same places again and again. This is one of them.

And it being that time of year again, that time when thoughts turn to travelling long distances on motorcycles for the purely self-indulgent reason of wanting to, we thought wouldn't it be a nice idea to go back to that secret special place.

But what we needed were some equally special motorcycles. This was a trip with a destination in mind, not a harum-scarum cross-country blast by sports bike. So we required fitting transport. Something stylish, something elegant, something that would make a special place feel even more special.
"Hello? Honda? Can we have a Goldwing please?"

The latest incarnation of Honda's continuously refined, indecently luxurious, opulently equipped Wing is as focused and single-minded a slice of motorcycle as is currently available. Like a supersport 600 or a motocrosser, the Goldwing is designed to do one thing well, and everything else be damned. And that thing is whoosing two people and their things in comfort, style, and a slightly exuberant manner, across large swathes of foreign lands.

Our foil to the Wing's effusive sophistication? There is little to compare directly with a Wing - BMW's K1200LT and Harley-Davidson's Ultra Classic Electra Glide come closest - but we wanted something even more ostentatious, even more over-the-top. And we found it. Triumph's 2.3-litre Rocket III is a blunt but mightily effective weapon in the battle to be noticed, but this Classic edition takes things a step further. A more comfortable seat, feet-forward footboards and swept-back bars set the Classic apart from the standard Rocket, but add another two grands worth of official Triumph extras - including screen, sissy bar, leather panniers, heated grips, chrome this and two-tone that - and we've got a Yankee-style mile-eating behemoth with which to head south, fully loaded, two-up and in imposing style.

PILLION OPINION

HONDA GOLDWING
When the chance came to go pillion on a touring test, I thought: 'How hard can it be to sit on the back of a Goldwing and watch France pass by?' Have you seen the pillion seat? The multitude of places to put stuff? It came as a bit of a shock then to realise sitting on the elevated rear throne put me right in line for the air passing round and over the bike. I know nothing of the technical jiggery pokery that goes on when designing bikes but I do know it seemed noisier and colder than the Rocket. The seat was comfy though and its heating probably stopped me freezing to death, but I didn't want to turn it off and find out for the sake of a fair review.

TRIUMPH ROCKET III CLASSIC
I thought the Honda would be the main attraction - all the Rocket's chrome did nothing f or me - but I was pleasantly surprised to discover it's brilliant for pilioning. The seat's fairly solid so the motor's vibes and bumps in the road were more noticeable, but I wasn't uncomfortable. Not even after being on the road for several hours. The backrest was just right too, as long as the buckle on my Kriega bum bag didn't push against it. I felt more like I was actually on a motorcycle compared to the Goldwing. Being closer to my man also made a
difference to the noise and I wasn't as cold either, both of which make a huge difference over distance. The luggage allowance was a nice surprise too, and I even grew to like the chrome.

Despatching the tedium of northern France's autoroutes gives one time to appreciate a motorcycle's creature comforts, or lack of them. The Goldwing lacks virtually nothing, equipped as it is with more features, extras and add-ons than a comfortable family car (not to mention similar load capacity, bigger engine and greater asking price). Ours failed to arrive with an optional CD player, but did have virtually everything else: central locking, heated grips, heated seat (both rider's and pillion's), push-button preload and headlight adjustment, an overly complicated radio plus cruise control and a built-in satellite navigation system. Enough to keep anyone busy for a while.

The Triumph came with less to amuse us. Basic equipment is just that, and ours had but foglights and heated grips to play with, both non-standard extras. But there's an ace up the Rocket's sleeve that provides more than enough entertainment for any man or woman: the vast 2300cc, three-cylinder motor.

While the 1800cc flat-six Goldwing serenely glides and hums along, the Triumph both chugs and thunders. Should that be 'chunders'? I prefer 'thugs'. So thug it does, launching forward with a twist of throttle in a way no other motorised vehicle can match. Much of the motor's puff has run out above 90mph or so, but below that it's unique entertainment. Over 130lb.ft of torque appears below 3,000rpm. Launching away from the autoroute toll booths, with the added traction provided by a pillion sat over the rear tyre, is something I will never, ever tire of. She might, though...

Neither bike is built for headline grabbing top speed, but both were happy enough cruising at 95-100mph or so, the Goldwing a shade more if the mood took. It rarely did. Both, too, were rock-solid stable at that speed, but long, sweeping bends at much above the ton would have either bike weaving gently as a reminder that such behaviour really isn't the done thing on these beasts.

On-bike comfort can be a subjective thing, but disappointingly neither the Honda or the Triumph offered either rider an all-round cosseting on our long journey south.

For my part at least the Wing's mini-backrest needs angling back slightly, or at least the adjustability to have the choice. The screen too could do with more adjustment than it has, and push-button electric at that. I prefer the constant pressure of a directed windblast to the arrhythmic side-to-side battering of airflow directed around a tall screen, and hankered after something a few inches lower, not higher, at times.

In fact, amazed to admit it though I am, the Rocket nearly offered markedly better comfort than the Wing. I say 'nearly', mind. You perhaps wouldn't think it but the feet-way-forward riding position really works over distance. The screen better suited my preference too, its lower top edge replacing buffeting with a reduced, if constant, wind pressure. The only downside, and a significant one at that, was the bend of the bars. Their backwards sweep made holding the Rocket's heavy throttle open for any length of time excruciating, and caused problems for both myself and snapper Si.

But no trip to France, or for that matter anywhere, should take place entirely on the motorway. If time allows they should take place entirely off them. There's no better way to absorb a country than by gliding through its towns and villages on a jolly great big motorbike. Enjoy the view, turn heads while you're doing it, move along please.

Away from constant speeds and fixed throttle positions, the Rocket is even more enjoyable. And it nearly, properly handles too. Yes, there's hardly any ground clearance, and anyone with any recent experience of anything approaching a sports bike must remind themselves of this on the approach to every single corner or they'll end up in the hedge. But the Rocket is genuinely well balanced and genuinely well braked, with a chassis composure that, considering the whole package's bulk, is as impressive as the motor's performance alone. Once dialled in to the bike's tiller steering, this thing can honestly be ridden with some spirit in the turns, scraping and scrawping round then catapulting out with the tiniest blip of throttle. It brings a whole new meaning to the notion of in slow, fast out, point-and-squirt riding.

As a rule I don't do cruisers, but we rode stretches of Mediterranean rural backroad and wide, snaking, sub-Alpine Route National that were more fun than I could have possibly imagined, both in the dry and the wet. On the right road, in the right country and with the right weather, it's uniquely joyous.

GOING THE DISTANCE

Fuel range is a big deal to touring types. The Goldwing holds 25 litres, the Rocket 24. Average mpg for the Wing was 36.6, with a best of 38 and a worst of 33.9-mpg. The Triumph had more of a thirst: 33.6mpg
average, 39.2 best, 27.3 worst. Those figures give the Wing a range of up to 205 miles, with a theoretical max of 180 for the Rocket. 'Theoretical' because a dodgy fuel gauge kept telling us we had less gas than we did.
Note the Rocket is fairly frugal at constant speed, but throw in regular acceleration from low or no speed and consumption plummets - so much so we got caught out and ran it dry in town, hence the auxiliary fuel tank on the rack in some pics.

The Goldwing is different. Pillion or not it handles well, very well, for a machine of such size and weight, but the experience is far less involving for the rider. On the Rocket there's a direct if crude connection between rider, chassis and road below; on the Goldwing the opposite is true, and direct connection becomes distinct detachment. Often the only time you're ever aware there's Tarmac beneath you is when it grinds against the end of the footrests. That's not to say the Honda isn't an effective and well executed package, it is, but the end result for me is a little... sterile, almost over-accomplished.

Trickling into the suburban fringes of this lost little corner of the French Riviera, our mode of transport seemed ever more appropriate. The French adore bikes of all kinds and you never feel out of place or unwanted on two wheels anywhere in their country, but the Goldwing and the Rocket III Classic fit even more comfortably into the swing of things down there.

In town centres, at traffic lights, in petrol stations, on the péage and in middle-of-nowhere lay-bys, the Rocket III turns heads like no other motorcycle. Parked in isolation it's the Goldwing that stops people in their tracks; stood in the Triumph's shadow, gawping passers-by look straight past the Honda at the Rocket's gargantuan, extrovert bulk.

Next to the Triumph the Honda appears understated and conservative, and it's not often you can say that about a Goldwing. Our bike's gentlemanly burgundy hue only helped it slip further into the background next to the Triumph's thick chrome and two-tone cream and blue. That for many will be a good thing. While a Wing's undoubted abilities appeal to a range of potential buyers, there are those who are put off by the Honda's outrageous and very public statement of excess. For them, any opportunity to blend in is a welcome one.

My appreciation of the Honda remained pretty much the same from the beginning of our trip to the end. The Wing is a hugely accomplished device, but those abilities were a known quantity at the start. The built-in sat nav was a new addition for me, and for the most part it worked well (looking at the instructions before we left would have enhanced the Garmin set-up's usefulness even further...), but other than that we knew what we were getting and the Wing performed admirably. It's less of an involving ride than I generally prefer, but rider involvement in the business of making progress perhaps isn't in the brief. It surely won't be long before Honda dispense with the Wing's manual gearbox. So much of riding a Goldwing appears to happen
automatically after all, so why not changing gear too?

But the Triumph was a different matter, an unknown quantity. Having never travelled far on a Rocket before our trip, I was honestly concerned it wouldn't have the makings of a proper tourer and would hold us back over the journey. I was wrong. Only the awkward bend of the bars spoiled the package, so sort that, or somehow fit a cruise control, or do both, and I would be inclined to take the Triumph over the Wing for a repeat journey. No, the Rocket doesn't have the Honda's luggage capacity, equipment, sophistication, or its fuel range. But it's the most entertaining, outrageous, gobsmacking motorcycle you can buy, and yet it succeeded at doing what was asked of it, and doing it well. The single most impressive thing Triumph has ever done is make the Rocket III so over-the-top and yet so easy to use, and the spec'd-up Classic is a further extension of that.

Parked between the marina and the boules piste in a pleasant seaside town that reminds those that know of St Tropez 20 years ago (before the riff-raff and moneyed wannabes descended en masse), both the Honda and the Triumph appear unexpectedly at home. Young men, old men and policemen cast covetous glances and nod approvingly in the way only the French do. Later, cruising gently along the seafront before heading inland feels absolutely the right thing to be doing on these bikes. There's none of the hint of embarrassment or cringing conspicuousness that can mar a similar sojourn in Bournemouth or Brighton or elsewhere in Britain.

The notion of touring by bike is a personal thing, and you absolutely don't have to buy bikes such as these to embark on a trip such as this. Conversely, if you do have such bikes, you're under no obligation to take it anywhere other than takes your fancy, as near or far as that may be.

But the Goldwing is as purpose built as any bike on the market, and to not embark on faraway adventures, two-up and fully laden, would be putting its capabilities to waste.

The Triumph is a different matter. It's not sold as a luxury tourer, and it's certainly no direct rival to the Goldwing. As standard, the Rocket III Classic isn't so well equipped for distance work, and it's only with the outlay of a significant amount of money on extras that it becomes as such (although the asking price is still way below that of the Wing). Its intended purpose is less clear cut, although there's very little you can do on the Rocket that won't raise a smile. We went touring, we smiled.

The undeniable truth is that a combination of lavishly well appointed motorcycle and a far-off, glamorous destination make for a truly unforgettable mix. Honda's Goldwing will devour any long distance trip and make the journey very special indeed. But for me and my needs and my tastes I've made my choice and would take the Rocket III Classic again, suffering the wrist ache for the relentless entertainment given by motorcycling's maddest motor in the most ostentatious package under the sun.

And no, we're not telling you exactly where we went. Sorry. You can probably work it out for yourself, but if we go public, heaven knows who will start turning up there.

Specifications

SPECS - HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING
TYPE - TOURER
PRODUCTION DATE - 2007
PRICE NEW - £17,499
ENGINE CAPACITY - 1832cc
POWER - 116bhp@5500rpm
TORQUE - 123lb.ft@4000rpm   
WEIGHT - 363kg
SEAT HEIGHT - 740mm   
FUEL CAPACITY - 25L

SPECS - TRIUMPH ROCKET III CLASSIC
TYPE - TOURER
PRODUCTION DATE - 2007
PRICE NEW - £12,399
ENGINE CAPACITY - 2294cc
POWER - 140bhp@6000rpm
TORQUE - 147lb.ft@2500rpm   
WEIGHT - 320kg
SEAT HEIGHT - 7400mm   
FUEL CAPACITY - 24L