RADIATING charisma, the 2020 Triumph Rocket 3 R presents with an authoritative stance, thanks to a protruding stainless steel triple exhaust and a single-sided swing arm that holds a fat 240mm rear tyre in place, adding to the mystique of this bike.
Jumping on board the Rocket for the first time, we were surprised how light it felt, helped by the low 773mm seat height. It added to the anticipation of the motorcycle we were about to experience.
Once motoring along though, we noticed that like a 1000cc sports bike, not much happens below 3,000rpm from the 2458cc inline 3-cylinder water cooled DOHC power plant. Not much at all.
But kick it up over that line in the rev range, and the words ‘holy crap’ spring to mind. It’s like being kicked in the back of the head by a thoroughbred race horse, and it runs strong and hard, right through to the 7,000rpm red line.
There are, for the record, four ride modes, including rain, which drops power to 100hp or 45% of the 165hp top and decreases torque to a 180Nm. Road and Sport deliver the full box of jellies, along with 221Nm. Rider mode is essentially custom mode.
We will say though, our first experience in Sport mode was a fun one. Pulling the throttle on hard in second gear, you’ll find the bike squats down, and feels like it is going to rip the back tyre off the rim, before it shoots you out of a cannon.
You can credit that exhilarating experience to the ride by wire throttle driven through the shaft drive, for smooth and controllable power delivery, without too much jerkiness. The clutch is light and has good feel too, and the gearbox is accurate and precise.
Neutral is easy to find when you want and we didn’t experience any false neutrals at all, which is a good thing, especially when riding spiritedly. Riding much like a naked sports bike, the Triumph Rocket 3 R really only lacks a quick shifter to make it truly outstanding.
Fuel economy during testing averaged around 8.0-litres/100km, which means around 200km in ride distance from the 18-litre fuel tank. It’s not great but it’s not ugly either, although we would have liked a bigger fuel tank.
Handling from the Showa 47mm upside-down 1-1 cartridge front forks is nimble and light, yet sure-footed at the same time, thanks to its compression and rebound adjuster and 120mm travel.
Throw in its fully adjustable Showa piggyback reservoir RSU with remote hydraulic pre-load adjuster and 107mm rear wheel travel and 1677mm wheel base and its easy to see why it devours twisty roads, giving you the confidence to push harder through the bends.
Much to our delight, we found the Rocket 3 R tips into and holds corners beautifully. In fact better than we could imagine. While riding enthusiastically we did scrape the foot pegs, but never felt out of control.
Cruise control is easy to use too and as you’d expect hill hold assist is awesome, but works from the front brake only. Braking is delivered via dual 320mm discs with 4-piston radial monobloc Brembo calipers on the front.
The rear scores a single 300mm disc with 4-piston monobloc Brembo caliper for phenomenal stopping power, and the big Triumph comes with cornering ABS and traction control as well.
The TFT multi-functional instrument pack includes a digital speedometer, trip computer, digital tachometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, service indicator, ambient temperature, clock and easy reference for the ride modes.
Switching between ride modes is also an easy task, even while on the move. It even incorporates a feature that allows the rider to personalise the start-up screen message with their name or a message.
The bike also come with key-less ignition and push button steering lock. We’d add the Bluetooth module if we were going to buy a 2020 Triumph Rocket 3 R, as it adds My Triumph app integration, turn-by-turn navigation and integrated GoPro functionality.
Under seat storage is big enough to fit an iPhone Max and card wallet, and it has the added bonus of a USB charger. There’s another charging point on the back of the headlight in front of the instrument panel.
The standard seat is okay, but after riding more than 150km in one sitting, it got hard really quickly. If we were buying one, we’d add a Grand Tourer seat, just to make longer trips more enjoyable.
That said, the seating position is comfortable and controls are easy to reach. Our test bike was supplied with forward foot controls, which we think added to the comfort and rideability of the bike.
There’s no doubt the 2020 Triumph Rocket 3 R is a real head turner, and attracts attention. Everywhere we stopped people would come and look and want to talk to us about the bike.
Triumph have added some nice touches including Triumph British logos in the headlights and on the radiator and wheels too. It’s a solid, well built bike that’s an absolute blast to ride, whether you’re in the city, or chewing up bends on the open road.
The 2020 Triumph Rocket 3 R comes in Phantom Black (as tested) or Korosi Red. It’s priced from $29,990 ride away and comes with a 24 month unlimited kilometre warranty.
Our test bike was supplied by Triumph Motorcycles Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Triumph Rocket 3 R, contact your local Triumph Motorcycles dealer.