144 Uriarra Rd Queanbeyan. N.S.W. 2620
Tall Tales and True;
Road Tests,Technical Stuff, Rally Reports,
Verbal Abuse and anything else that Springs to mind.....
LIVING WITH THE ROCKET III...
Over 60,000km travelled and many years servicing all those that EUROTUNE MOTORCYCLES have dealt with!
The concept of big motorcycles has always held a certain fascination
for motorcyclists of all shapes and sizes, sex and brand persuasion.
In the early 2000's John Bloor, the owner of Triumph Motorcycles set
his engineers the task of developing one mean mother of a cruiser which would blow all opposition out of the water. There were to be no prisoners taken!
For the next few years the engineers farted around with a range of concepts and eventually landed on a design which included three cylinders
in line of 1500cc capacity....Folk lore would have it that at the time the engineers had proudly finalised the 1500cc concept, John Bloor had been on a
trip to the USA, and returned carrying the piston out of a Dodge Viper, a monster, muscle car of the day..This was the size of the piston which he wanted
in his muscle bike. The Rocket III took shape and the 2300cc behemouth was born.
Upon its release on an unsuspecting motorcycle market, the monster was received with incredulous disbelief and awe...It obviously wouldn't handle, it
was too big to ride and would suck fuel like an interbalsitic missile. A bike built for Conan the barbarian!.. Arnold must have been ecstatic.
The skeptics were to be proven wrong!..Yes the machine was big. It was a monster to look at, oozing muscle in every direction. Nasty, mean and
intimidating. Not for the faint hearted.
Upon my first decent ride on the brute I returned from the excursion in awe. I had discovered one of the planets most
Yes it had great brakes, but it also had massive weight and inertia, and went like stink.The power delivery was simply awesome and the bike gained
momentum like a runaway freight train.What this meant was simply that on twisting mountain roads and in traffic the throttle had to be used with discretion.
The monster would accelerate hard and the next turn would come up at an alarming pace, necesitating the need to wash off speed immediately. Although the brakes are
big and tyre contact is huge, the sheer mass, and momentum meant that in the hands of the inexpirienced, and uninitiated, this machine would be really easy
to EMBED in the side of a truck, car, embankment, building or tree.
So here we are, many years later and the Rocket III has carved out a
reputation for itself.... But has it lived up to the hype and expectations or has it fallen flat.?
Perhaps I am a sucker, but I have now
lived with 2 of the beasts over the last eight years. But what does that really mean?
My first Rocket III was one of the original bikes.
Eurotune Motorcycles put one on as a demostrator and reality was that I was the one using the bike. Now I am only relatively short, 5ft 8in in
the old pommie measure and I found it a bit of a stretch to foreward mounted controls and footpegs. I have never really been a fan of the cruiser
riding position either. To be honest I found the machine to be a bit of a compromise...not quite laid back enough and not really upright enough
to be serious when punted hard.This did not mean that in the right hands the bike couldn't keep just about any well fancied contender honest.The secret lay in technique.
When the going got tight and the road twisty the best thing to do was to simply find third gear and leave it there.Using the throttle to increase and
decrease the massive momentum helped keep the unsettling, cumbersome and clumsy transfer through the gearbox and drive shaft under control.
Trying to use the gearbox in a traditional manner becomes quite messy and is not at all pleasant on these behemouths.Using massive amounts of
counter steering, heaps of muscle, testosterone gallore etc etc,even a fancy sports bike will find the Rocket condender quite a challenge.
Into the corners deep under brakes, straighten up then unleash the bazooka and hang on!!!
When the Classic arrived I changed mount and was
far happier with the riding position. Footboards made all the difference to my comfort level, and as the years went by I added a windscreen,riders back rest,
heated grips and all the other stuff a serious mile munching motorcyclist would require. This included a tow bar for the trailer I have hauled
around the country for the last 25 years. Yes the rocket is one hell of a trailer hauler, probably due to its little pistons.
And just for fun, Try pulling one of the
monsters apart.....NOT AN EXERCISE FOR THE FAINT HEARTED.
And well may you ask....why on earth would you ever want or need to
pull such a fine machine apart....Aren't they indestructible, and poured straight from the crucible of Odin?
Now for an overview...
what have these mechanical marvels been like to live with?
The answer to the question lies in two fields.....For owners, like myself, engaged
in the service and repair of motorcycles, it takes a lot to phase us and we can, and do, put up with vagaries which the average buying public
will find intolerable. For the average owner relying on others to keep their motorcycle on the road the Rocket III has supplied many, many of them with
a fantastic ownership expirience. Unfortunately it has also been a cause for great angst to far too many others.
Now this yarn is not intended to be
a tale of woe so I start with my own personal expiriences with the 2 Rocket IIIs which I have punted for the last 8 or 9 years.(Obviously with
continuous involvement for a period like that there is something there to keep my interest!)
The Triumph Rocket III was a fantastic concept
motorcycle!.....2300cc, double overhead cam, four valves per cylinder, twin plug combustion chambers and bags of attitude.Unfortunately I am of the
opinion it suffered initially from one simple failing, as have too many of it's stable mates, from conception to execution the rush to get it
into the market place allowed it to arrive on showroom floors with some fairly serious flaws. As a servicing technician I have wasted far too many
hours rectifying faults within the design on far too many motorcycles which simply should not have occured.