The 2005 Triumph Rocket III arrived a year after the cruiser from British automaker Triumph Motorcycles made its debut. At this time, the Rocket III remained a lone model, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $15,990. The branching-out into additional models hadn’t arrived yet, but based on the intimidating power that the 2005 Rocket III provided, such an event was inevitable.
The Triumph Rocket III made history at the time for possessing the largest displacement engine in mass motorcycle production, at 2,294 cubic centimeters. The engine itself is a fuel-injected four-stroke liquid-cooled longitudinal in-line three-cylinder engine, with 12 intake valves (four on each cylinder) and mated to a five-speed manual transmission. It generates 140 horsepower at 5,750 revolutions per minute (RPM) and 147.5 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 RPM, and has a bore and stroke of 101.6 x 94.3 mm (4 x 3.72 inches) and an 8.7-to-1 compression ratio. Each 2005 Rocket III has a 6.6-gallon (25-liter) gas tank, as well as an engine starter for convenient start-up of the cruiser.
The 2005 Triumph Rocket III uses Brembo® disc brakes, with a 12.6-inch (320-mm) dual disc at the front and a 12.5-inch (316-mm) single disc at the back. For promoting a smoother and controlled ride, the suspension on the cruiser consists of a 1.7-inch (43-mm) inverted fork and a steel twin-sided swing arm with two rear shock absorbers. Each 2005 Rocket III rides on front 17-inch and rear 16-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in tubeless Metzeler tires.
Sporting a Jet Black color scheme, the 2005 Triumph Rocket III uses a sturdy steel frame. It adopts a sparse yet imposing design, with no major plastic covering apart from the customary front and rear fenders. Its digital dashboard contains a tachometer, trip odometer, speedometer, and a fuel level indicator light. A two-piece seat – set on top of the 2005 Rocket III at a height of 29.1 inches (740 mm) – provides enough room for the driver and a passenger, and parking ability comes from a kick stand. Halogen lighting and a pair of rearview mirrors are in place for enhancing visual perception on the road.
Each 2005 Triumph Rocket III has a length of 97.6 inches (2,478 mm), width of 34.7 inches (880 mm), height of 45.3 inches (1,150 mm), and wheelbase measuring 66.5 inches (1,690 mm). The dry weight of the cruiser is estimated at 704 lbs. (320 kilograms).
The 2005 Triumph Rocket III, like the debut version that immediately preceded it, failed to catch on in an American market that leans towards comfort. However, its lack of wider acceptance does not mean that the 2005 Rocket III is a bad bike – far from it. Performance enthusiasts, in particular, would be drawn to this bike simply for its large engine displacement and impressive performance specs. It also scores high marks in handling, braking, and fit and finish. Nevertheless, Triumph responded to the slow response to the Rocket III by releasing more comfort-oriented variants in later model years to better suit American tastes.