2008 Triumph Rocket III Touring Launches

October 16, 2007
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
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Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

Triumph has taken its big bad cruiser and equipped it for the long haul. Changes have been made to the frame  wheels  suspension  seat  fuel tank  instruments  and lights.
Triumph has taken its big bad cruiser and equipped it for the long haul. Changes have been made to the frame, wheels, suspension, seat, fuel tank, instruments, and lights.

Though the official unveiling of Triumph’s Rocket III Touring bike isn’t until this weekend at the U.S. Dealer Conference in Atlanta, GA, we’ve tracked down enough information to whet your appetite about the transformation of Triumph’s popular cruiser to a touring-oriented ride.

It would have been easy enough for Triumph just to slap on detachable hard bags and a backrest and call it a touring package. Of course, it does have lockable panniers and a range of seats and backrests available with two-up, long-distance riding in mind. But these cosmetic changes are but the tip of the iceberg.

High on the list of changes is a new chassis. The Rocket III previously used a large, tubular steel twin-spine frame, a 43mm inverted fork up front and twin adjustable spring rear shocks out back. Initial reports claim that the frame on the Touring package is new, and the upside-down fork has been ditched for a right-side up version. The suspension is said to have been retuned to make it more touring-friendly.

The Royal Caribbean-sized cruiser has also undergone changes to its ergos. Triumph has attempted to make the relaxed riding position even more comfortable over the long haul. It has a large, dual seat, swept back handlebars, and oversized hand controls. The forward-set floorboards are now tear-shaped and utilize a fully adjustable heel-and-toe gear lever. The dual seat places more emphasis on passenger comfort and includes fold-out pillion floorboards. The tank has also been slimmed down so rider’s can snug in tight to the wide-bodied bike.

The five spoke design used on the Rocket III has been switched out for billet aluminum slotted wheels. The new wheel design is also narrower than the previous 150 front, 240 rear configuration of the standard Rocket. No word on whether there has been any changes to the 320mm floating discs yet, but with twin four-piston calipers boasting sportsbike-like specs, bringing the 704-lb giant to a stop has never been a problem.

The Rocket III Touring bike will continue to use the same engine platform with only a few minor tweaks, most likely to accommodate the anticipated weight gain from loaded saddlebags and a passenger on board. But with 2294cc of power to tap into, the 2.3 liter Inline Triple has never been short of torque on hand. The mill has a reputation of having plenty of low end power, with 90 percent of the torque output claimed to be available at just 2,000 rpm with max numbers of 147 lb-ft at 2,500 rpm.

A new, larger windscreen should deflect some of the windblast on riders. The screen has lockable mountings for added security but still disconnects easily for a quick transformation to a more conventional-looking cruiser. It sits right above a big single headlight that has also been updated for the Triumph’s new tourer.

Riders seeking to add a personal touch to the 2008 Triumph Rocket III Touring bike have 70 brand new accessories to choose. This includes the aforementioned range of seats and backrests, a variety of luggage options and tons of chrome parts. The motorcycle should be available at U.S. dealers in January, 2008. MSRP here in the States has been set at $16,699, while our friends from the Great White North are looking at a price tag of $19,999 if they want to bring one home to Canada.

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