Triumph enters the power cruiser class of motorcycles with style and substance. With the largest displacement engine ever installed on a mass production motorcycle, the 2009 Triumph Rocket III truly deserves the tag “muscle bike."" This bike exudes a lot of attitude and intimidation, not just for potential challengers, but to riders as well. The Triumph Rocket III is not a bike for everyone, and true beginners should probably not consider the Rocket for a first bike. Also, anyone without the confidence or strength to handle a bike weighing 800 pounds should probably look elsewhere. The Triumph Rocket rewards experienced riders who crave power and performance, combined with a classic cruiser look.
The name Rocket is derived from a classic Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) cruiser from the late 1960s. Developed by Triumph Engineering, the original BSA Rocket was also sold under the Triumph Trident badge. The 2009 Triumph Rocket III evokes this proud heritage, while also paying attention to modern styling details. With clean lines and a great looking teardrop gas tank, as well as low swept chrome exhaust pipes, the Rocket III’s appearance radiates pure power.
In this case, looks are not deceiving, as the Triumph Rocket III has muscle to back up its looks. The Rocket launches its rider towards the horizon with a 2300cc longitudinal in-line three-cylinder engine Described as “awe-inspiring” and a “masterpiece of Triumph engineering,” this engine is, simply put, a monster. Triumph tuned the massive 2.3 liter engine for low-end torque, and the numbers back this up. A factory stock Rocket III generates a maximum 140 hp at 6,000 rpm, and 147 ft. lbs. of torque at 2,500 rpm. That is an impressive amount of torque for such low rpms. This produces a zero to 60 time of 3.3 seconds and runs the quarter mile in under 12 seconds. While there are a few high-end sports bikes that are a little faster, no other motorcycle in the power cruiser class can match this raw acceleration.
While Triumph usually uses chain drives for their bikes, they determined a chain drive wouldn’t be enough to handle the amount of torque the Rocket produces. Shaft drives are stronger and provide more long-term durability, so for the Rocket III, this was a good choice. Shaft drives typically require less maintenance, so that is an added benefit for Rocket owners. A 5-speed constant mesh gearbox with a wet multi-plate completes a transmission designed to handle the Rocket’s abundance of low-end torque.
The Rocket is surprisingly nimble for a bike of its size. With Kayaba twin 43mm forks in front, and Kayaba spring-twin-shocks in the rear, the Rocket’s suspension supplies better handling than might be expected for an 800-pound power cruiser. A tubular steel, twin spine frame anchoring the chassis, and twin sided swing arms ensure the Rocket has the stability it needs. The braking on the Rocket derives from sports bikes. Twin 320mm floating discs with Nissin four-piston calipers are in front, while a single 316mm disc with Brembo two-piston caliper in the rear endows the Rocket with sufficient stopping power.
Ergonomically speaking, the Rocket III provides great ride quality. The seat fits both a rider and a passenger comfortably, while the handlebars are positioned for a natUral upright riding position. The massive 240/50 rear wheel size assists in handling the Rocket’s power, while maintaining great ride quality.
While the Rocket’s size and power might not be for everyone, for those riders who can handle it, the 2009 Triumph Rocket III rewards them with an excellent bike.