If you want big, sophisticated and classy, then Triumph’s latest Rocket 3 may just be the bike for you. With it’s bold, muscular stature and big engine, there’s plenty of ego massaging grunt and larger than life attitude.
Combining big cruiser styling with more power than your average mid sized family car, bystanders will not be left wondering about the intent and lure of the 2022 Triumph Rocket 3 GT.
Don’t let the intimidating size of the bike fool you though, get the Rocket 3 into the twisty stuff and it feels anything but what its physical stature, or its 123kW/221Nm 2458cc inline 3-cylinder powerplant, suggests.
There’s plenty of mumbo on tap at the flick of the right wrist, and power delivery is smooth and crisp. It’s so good it’ll have you pondering whether this is really a cruiser under your helmet. Effortless is the best description, and that’s thanks to four riding modes.
Those include Road, Rain, Sport and a Rider-Configurable, and all can be accessed through the TFT display. Each one offers definable performance characteristics to influence the bike, based on your riding preference.
Get the Rocket 3 on the road and it feels light and well balanced, despite its 294kg dry weight. While you might expect it to handle like say a Harley-Davidson Road King or Street Glide, it’s much more akin to a Ducati Diavel.
Navigating the Rocket 3 through the city is not the big task you might think either, and while there’s no denying its scale, the 750mm seat height makes it nice and easy to get your feet to the ground if you need to pull up quickly.
Lane filtering takes a bit of consideration, with an 886mm width at the handlebars. Once out in the wild of open spaces though, throwing the Rocket 3 in and out of corners is pure fun. Handling is very good for such a big bike too, and offers plenty of rider confidence.
Push the big power cruiser hard through corners and get on the gas early as you exit and it just feels magic. That’s partly due to the full aluminium frame with single-sided cast aluminium swingarm, which also plays a part in weight reduction to make the bike agile.
The other big factor is the quality suspension componentry. The front of the Rocket 3 features a Showa 47mm upside-down cartridge front fork, with compression and rebound adjuster, allowing 120mm travel.
On the back is a fully adjustable Showa piggyback reservoir RSU with remote hydraulic preload adjuster and a slightly reduced 107mm of rear wheel travel. Even for a bigger gent such as myself, this setup was great for touring and more enthusiastic riding endeavours.
Braking on such a big bike is also critical and the setup on the Rocket 3 offers good feel at the front and rear, enabling the rider to brake late (in cruiser terms) when entering a corner and pull up in a hurry if required, in an emergency situation.
Up front, dual 320mm discs with Brembo M4.30 Stylema 4-piston radial monobloc callipers find a home, while on the rear, a single 300mm disc featuring a Brembo M4.32 4-piston monobloc calliper throws out the anchors. Both feature Triumph Cornering ABS.
A 6-speed gearbox works well too. The clutch is relatively light, although getting the Rocket 3 moving from a standing start does take a little effort. A quick shifter is available as an optional extra but would add a little extra performance.
Our tester came with a windscreen, pillion backrest and forward foot controls as standard kit (the upside of the GT over the R), and the latter aided the ergonomics of the riding position, ensuring you don’t feel cramped if you’re a taller rider.
That little windscreen offers reasonable wind buffeting relief across the chest too. Handlebar controls are easy to operate and feel good to the touch. We reckon self cancelling blinkers and heated grips would be a nice addition to future generations though.
Our test bike did have some gremlins though, including a fuel light that stayed on constantly, meaning we had to follow our nose a little as far as fuel economy and fuel in the tank was concerned.
Triumph claims 6.82-litres/100km from the 18-litre tank. In real world conditions that should translate to 200-230km out of a single tank. For a cruiser that wears the GT insignia, that’s a little lacklustre, and should be up around the 300km mark.
Visually, the Rocket 3 sports a striking stance all of its own. Stainless 3-into-1 headers and dual exhausts protrude from the engine, adding to its imposing nature. Dual headlights mark the unmistakeable Triumph heritage.
Paint and finish are first class, with our test bike adorned in Silver paint, with striking black and red highlights, and a brushed aluminium finish that couldn’t be faulted. The LED lighting package also gives a modern high tech touch.
There’s also traction control, keyless ignition, cruise control and support from the MyTriumph app. Tyre pressure gauges, integrated Bluetooth and GoPro accessories are all optional extras.
Whether the 2022 Triumph Rocket 3 GT is truly a touring motorcycle though is debatable. It certainly moves the needle on how a traditional cruiser is defined, with its massive 2.5-litre powerplant, its character-enriched styling and its handling.
It’s only let down by fuel range, and the fact simple things like the quick shifter are not standard. The 2022 Triumph Rocket 3 GT is priced form $36,550 ride away and is backed by a 2-year Triumph factory warranty.
If you’re keen on one, and you’re quick, you may even be able to get your hands on one of the limited edition chrome Rocket 3 GT’s currently on offer for $37,900 ride away.
Our test bike was provided by Triumph Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Triumph Rocket 3 GT, contact your local Triumph dealer. Images courtesy of Heather Ware.