This is the biggest production motorcycle that money can buy – a 2458cc, 165bhp, 221Nm monster of a bike and Mikko Nieminen, Editor of Motorcycle Sport & Leisure has been out on the world launch of the big-ass motorcycle.
Actually, that’s not strictly speaking true because there are two bikes that share the same engine, chassis and brains: The Rocket 3 R roadster and the touring-oriented Rocket 3 GT.
Both feature the all-new inline triple engine and all the main components from the new aluminium frame, single-sided swingarm and shaft drive to an 18-litre tank, high-end electronics, Brembo brakes and Showa suspension units. The differences are subtle, but they change the looks and ride feel.
The R has mid-positioned foot pegs and roadster handlebars, but no screen or pillion back rest. The GT features forward-mounted pegs, touring handlebars, fly screen and a more padded pillion seat with a back rest. It also gets heated grips as standard whereas on the R they are an optional extra. All these items are interchangeable between the bikes – so you can pick and choose if you want.
Apart from this, the bikes are identical.
Because both bikes are all-new Triumph managed to shave off 40kg of weight. They’re still heavy bikes though – over 300kg fully fuelled.
Riding the bikes is an absolute giggle. The amount of torque makes the Rocket 3 what it is, but all that power is harnessed beautifully. The suspension and brakes are high spec (they need to be to control a bike this big) and the new aluminium frame and swing arm help deliver the power to the rear wheel through a shaft drive in a deliciously smooth manner.
The whole riding experience is surprisingly effortless and easy, thanks to the low seat, slick gearbox, and intuitive controls. All you need to do is decide if you want the cruiser feel of the GT or the more involved roadster vibe of the R. Personally, I preferred the riding feel of the GT, but I like the red colour scheme that’s only available on the R. And I think I would go for the mid-position foot pegs too. So for me, the ideal bike would be a Rocket 3 pick and mix special.
The bikes will be in dealerships in January 2020, but in the meantime you can read the full launch ride report in Motorcycle Sport & Leisure.
Rocket 3 R & GT (2020)
Price: R: £19,500 / GT: £20,200
Engine: 2458cc inline 3-cylinder, water-cooled, DOHC
Bore/Stroke: 110.2mm x 85.9mm
Power: 165bhp (123kW) @ 6000rpm
Torque: 163lb-ft (221Nm) @ 4000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, with shaft, bevel box final drive
Frame: Full aluminium frame & single-sided swingarm of cast aluminium
Wheels: Cast aluminium (F) 17 x 3.5in; (R) 16 x 7.5in
Tyres: Avon Cobra Chrome (F) 150/80 R17 V; (R) 240/50 R16 V
Suspension: (F) Showa 47mm USD 1+1 cartridge front forks, compression and rebound adjuster. 120mm travel; (R) Fully adjustable Showa piggyback reservoir RSU with remote hydraulic preload adjuster, 107mm travel.
Brakes: 320mm discs, Brembo M4.30 Stylema 4-piston radial monobloc calipers; (R) 300mm disc, Brembo M4.32 4-piston monobloc caliper. Cornering ABS front and back
Seat height: R: 773mm / GT: 750mm
Dry weight: R: 291kg / GT: 294kg
Fuel tank: 18 litres
Fuel consumption: TBC
Colours: R: Red or Black / GT: Silver with a red pinstripe or black