The Rocket III, a cruiser from British automaker Triumph Motorcycles, had something big (literally) going for it. At 2,294 cubic centimeters, the Triumph Rocket III had the largest displacement engine in the world at the time of its release in 2004. However, when it really wasn""t catching on in the United States market, where there was a preference for comfort over power, Triumph had to make some major changes, specifically with the 2007 model. And the following model year, the 2008 Triumph Rocket III, carries over from the previous one as a cruiser altered to suit American tastes.
The 2008 Triumph Rocket III is split into three models: the regular version known as the Rocket III Base, the Rocket III Classic and the top-tier Rocket III Touring. Introduced in 2006, the Classic is distinctive from the Base with its ""pullback"" handlebars, rider floorboards and altered mufflers.
The Touring, which Triumph had actually started developing during the Rocket III""s debut year, is a more comfortable version of the cruiser, and debuted in 2008 with the demise of the Classic Tourer. It has more torque but less horsepower than the Base and Classic models. It generates 106 horsepower at 5,400 revolutions per minute (RPM) and 154 pound-feet (lb-ft) at 2,025 RPM, compared to the 140 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 150 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 RPM of the Base and Classic.
The Tourer is a bigger and heavier bike than the other two models, and it has a smaller gas tank. Other distinctive features of the Tourer include tank-mounted instruments, handlebar-mounted scrolling switch for setting the clock and indicating fuel ranges on the digital dashboard, and 16-inch aluminum wheels fitted with tubeless tires. (The ones on the other models are 17-inch front and 16-inch rear wheels.) Triumph sets the manufacturer""s suggested retail price of the 2008 Rocket III at $14,999 for the Rocket III Base, $15,699 for the Rocket III Classic and $16,999 for the Rocket III Touring.
Each 2008 Triumph Rocket III is powered by a four-stroke liquid-cooled longitudinal in-line engine, which twelve intake valves in total on its three cylinders. Mated to the engine--which uses fuel ignition and is ignited by an electric starter--is a five-speed manual transmission. Only available in Jet Black, the cruiser is composed of a sturdy steel frame covered in plastic, with a digital dashboard that contains a tachometer, trip odometer, speedometer and a fuel level indicator light. Apart from the Classic model, which only accommodates the driver, seating is enough for two. Also included are halogen lighting and a pair of side mirrors.
The 2008 Triumph Rocket III uses Brembo® disc brakes, with a 12.6-inch (320-millimeter) dual disc is installed at the front and a 12.5-inch (316-mm) single disc is installed at the back. For promoting a smoother ride, the suspension on the ""08 Rocket III consists of an inverted fork and a steel twin-sided swing arm with two shock absorbers.
The 2008 Triumph Rocket III succeeds in providing something for everyone. Those two don""t mind the awesome power and long driving range should go with the Base or Classic models, while the more casual rider will definitely feel more comfortable with the Touring variant. Either way, expect a bike with great stopping power, handling and overall performance.