2013 Triumph Rocket III Touring Test
The existence of the Triumph Rocket III Touring allows us to tackle the evergreen question: Is bigger better? We can tell you this straight away, there is nothing bigger than the 2.3-liter beating heart of this beast, and the longitudinally mounted inline-3 is more visually evocative of what you would see in a tractor than between two wheels.
Like a tractor, the Rocket III Touring motor is torquier than its Roadster brother. The numbers are staggering – 150 ft/lbs of torque at a miserly 2500 rpm – yet the real-life performance is even more impressive.
That amount of stump-pulling torque could be unmanageable, even when propelling a bike that tips the scales at over a half-ton with the rider aboard. Wisely, Triumph has imbued the motor with enough flywheel weight to damp down the brutish power impulses.
It may not be particularly quick, but the RIII Touring accelerates with more authority than any production motorcycle. Its muscularity is exhilarating and liberating. Fill the bags and grab a passenger, and the Triumph will not notice; the same feeling of abundance will be at your beck and call.
Naturally, a machine of this size and capability may intimidate many riders. That feeling diminishes within moments of riding the well-balanced motorcycle. Agile is not a word you would use to describe the Touring, but neither is stodgy.
With unlimited roll-on power, and a chassis born of the sporting heritage of Triumph, the RIII Touring will work its way through traffic and canyons with unexpected finesse. The Nissin/Brembo brakes and Kayaba suspension are first-rate, while the chunky 16-inch Metzeler Marathon tires add to its handling prowess.
On the open road, the Rocket III Touring rumbles along at a relaxing pace. The low windshield affords a great view, and the ergonomics are as roomy as you will find. Modern features are kept to a minimum, as this is an old-school bagger, with the focus on the riding experience. You do not feel isolated from the road, yet you have the protection you want on a long-distance run.
Triumph’s opulent Rocket III Touring may seem like too much motorcycle to some, yet just right for those who get on board for a ride.