2010 Triumph Rocket III Roadster: holy shit, 15 percent more torque

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The Rocket III was the first cruiser I ever rode. It created the unfair expectation that all motorcycles of that type would be utterly mad, way too heavy torque monsters that somehow managed to handle. I’ve been sadly disappointed that every cruiser I’ve ridden since hasn’t been any of those things. Well, except heavy. The 2010 Triumph Rocket III Roadster now makes 163 lb/ft of torque – twice that of an R1 — 146bhp and becomes a little less of a cruiser and a little more of a streetfighter. I’m scared already.
Just in case a bike with those power and torque figures and weighing
367kg/807lbs (wet) wasn’t bad ass enough for you, the Rocket III
Roadster only comes in two colors: black or black. That’s not a joke;
you can choose between either matte or gloss black paint.

As attention grabbing as the numbers are, it’s the revised suspension
setup that most piques our interest. The old Rocket III (the Roadster
supplants that model) was a serious handler that’d drag all its shiny
bits around corners in utter composure. The new model uses 43mm upside
down Kayaba forks with 120mm of travel, Kayaba twin shocks with 105mm
of travel and new mid-mount foot controls. Brakes are upgraded with
ABS, 320mm front discs with Nissin 4-pots (front) and a 316mm disc with
a 2-pot Brembo (rear). While that still sounds decidedly cruiser-ish
and there’s no details on geometry, we’ll let the Roadster call itself
a streetfighter if it wants to.

The 2294cc inline, liquid-cooled triple makes its max power at 5,750rpm
and max torque at just 2,750rpm. Up from 147lb/ft and 140bhp on the old
model.  That engine lends the Rocket III its utterly unique character,
helping it defy categorization to become the best summation of
everything you wanted motorcycles to be when you were seven.

Triumph via MCN

  • Deltablues

    I got a chance to ride a demo Rocket III at our Triumph dealer here in Little Rock. I was just curious. It really did handle great for such a huge beast. And from some angles, this is one great looking bike…from other angles, not so much. But that engine! Wow! And to think some folks go on to turbo/supercharge these things.

    After I rode the Rocket, I got back on my Sprint 1050 and it felt like a freaking Ninja 250.

    Here is a great looking Rocket III:


  • vic

    the only cruiser i would ever own,it’s so mad it works

  • CafeRacer1200

    I put a couple hundred miles on one of the first ones. This thing is like owning a muscle car! Now with even more torque? Insane!

  • chuluun

    From the sound of Triumph’s press statement, there’s just this and the Touring version left in the Rocket III lineup.

    I don’t think they’re near finished with this engine yet, it was very softly tuned to start with. In happier economic times they might be squeezing around 180bhp out of it and pitching the bike against the V-Max. I still expect to see a Rocket III ‘Super’ or ‘Ultra’ or ‘X’ (well, if they can borrow ‘Roadster’…) in a couple of years.

  • area_educator

    Cruel Brittania! I’ve been fascinated by the Rocket III from the start. God bless Triumph.

  • nataku83

    Wow, 3 out of 4 of my cars have smaller displacement engines than that…

  • Scott

    I own a 2008 R3 Classic. Rolling on the throttle in second is like getting kicked in the ass. It’s hard to hang onto it. 0-60 in 3 seconds if handled properly (not me). It’s an amazing machine. If you like the sound of a Harley you won’t like the sound of the R3 engine. It kinda whistles and sounds like a tractor. I haven’t heard any aftermarket pipes installed on the R3′s that appeal to me.

  • otto

    I have been a Triumph FAN since the late 60′s having been a devoted rider of the T140. However I have to recognize that TIMES have moved on and just like yesteryears, no Triumph product today is ever FINISHED or SORTED like their Japanese or German counterparts. Like it or lump it, that is the way it IS.
    Years and years of research and painstaking improvements learnt from moto GP’s and so on, have helped the present rulers of the motorcycle world stay where they are. People buy them in droves because they recognize this fact.
    The Rocket 3, is basically a trump card, designed by Triumph to go out on a tangent because they KNOW that if they went head on with the rest, they would not only be behind by a long way, they might also fail altogether. So the BIGGEST and BADDEST DONK it HAD to BE!
    Styling, well it doesn’t really matter because that is secondary.
    I have ridden the 09, 2.3l Rocket 3. It has nice enough slow speed handling, though not a whole lot different/better than any other cruiser. Sure the sledge hammer acceleration is marvelous, but so is sucking up the juice, high frequency vibrations at the bars and dialing in “CAUTION” when a semi tight corner is 100m away. It is BIG on IMAGE and the fact that the 2010 models only come in BLACK seems to suggest that
    “Image is ALL”.
    The Rocket 3 sells on it’s NAME, which is a very good one (at least it didn’t end up with something called “Legnum!”)…plus the kind of eccentricity that is designed to shock your Grannie, built along the design philosophy akin to a jet engine strapped to a Semi or a bull-dozer. You just DON’T EXPECT it to happen.
    OK, does it work? Yes it does. Is it refined? No it isn’t. Is it stylish? Yes.
    Economical? No.
    Go around corners like on rails?
    Yes, flexible rails.
    To sum up, yes it is MUSCLE stacked like
    Arnold Swarzernneger and it could even pull a Jumbo Jet.
    However, it is not elegant and agile like
    Rudolf Nureyev nor quick and deadly like
    Bruce Lee but like them, it’s got a great NAME.

  • Paulo

    Mommy!!! I got scared lookng at it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/ccrider77 CCrider77

    RIII as a street fighter, I like it. It doesn’t look like it’s quite made the full transformation yet, but it’s a start.

    To Otto, I disagree completely. Modern Triumphs are every bit as sorted as anything produced by Japan. They are building competitive, class-leading machines in several areas now.

    The RIII sells on it’s audacity. It has bragging rights and exploits those to no end.

    The styling is funky, no matter how Triumph tweaks it. It’s difficult to package what is essentially a car engine in a bike with any kind of aesthetic balance.

    I think a fully performance tuned, 200 horsepower version with Speed Triple styling and a 3 into 3 pipe on one side would be the ticket. Can you say Hurricane?

  • otto

    Certainly by all means, disagree especially if you have OWNED and ridden a Triumph, in this context, the Rocket 3. I have.
    Your last 2 paragraphs just prove that Triumph will never have a “Finished” product. By that time, ANY Japanese manufacturer will have researched, produced and re-invented about 10 products (motorcycles) each significantly improved from the previous. What Triumph buffs just don’t get (and I was in love with the Bonneville for 40+ years,)
    is that TIME has MOVED ON.
    Apart from questionable STYLE and an unquestionable 2300cc engine the rest of the Rocket 3 is just what you BELIEVE TRIUMPH to BE.
    On any given track apart from the 1/4 mile dash, WHY is there no one currently (and forever in the future) riding one to a World Championship?

    Sorry, the 2010 Rocket 3 is a wanabe and you know something(?) folks in the USA have FAR exceeded this little parcel with engines (V8′s) from corvettes and the like for quite some time! Even if the Rocket 3 DOUBLES it’s engine size, it’s still NOT THE KING the way it imagines itself to be but clearly sees itself as
    wanting to be.
    The original BSA/Triumph Rocket 3/Trident were FAR more honest and unpretentious. The unfortunate part is that the current Rocket 3
    is making a meal out of what was truly a wonderful BSA motorcycle and trading on the PURITY of the PAST.
    However, each to his taste. Some people worshipped the P76 in the same way.

    • Bradley


  • otto


  • Friar

    If you think the Rocket III is ugly, the Boss Hoss sets a new bar. The only thing it’s got going for it in the style department is that the Chevy V8 is a better looking motor than the Rocket III. The rest of the bike looks like hammered shit.

    There’s always going to be something faster, better looking, better handling, better stopping, etc. Those poor suckers who bought the original 350CID Boss Hosses surely got spanked by the 502s, and they by the 572s. It never ends.

    So the R3 haters can F off.

  • otto

    Spoken by a true gentleman with paranoia.
    Who hates Rocket 3′s? Who said it was ugly(???) Not me! I even said I understood why people might find it appealing. It’s got a great name!
    Each to his taste.
    I am putting the present day “Rocket 3″ in context
    as a genuine wannabe,
    just like their admirers.
    I come from a tradition of admiring Triumphs right from the mid 60′s.(Brando Wannabes…) Now, I just see them for what they ARE.
    I would buy another one if I thought they actually have improved significantly and are moving to a new, fresh and modern direction.
    Bonnevilles only got EFI THIS YEAR!(but minus a centre stand!)
    If you think Boss Hoss is ugly, then
    it’s not for you, or perhaps you secretly would like one just to pose with…it’s all up to you, so take your pills, though it’s clearly too late.
    If you actually own one and love it, then that’s all that matters. Who really cares?
    Whether you like Corollas or not, they are the best selling small car in the World bar none. Hondas are the best selling bikes period…(though I’ve never owned a Honda…)
    By the same token as far as Cruisers go, the Rocket 3 is not even in the ballpark. No hate here, just fact.
    Whether you spit or choke, it’s up to you big man.

    • Chuluun

      Hmm, Rocket III as wannabe? What exactly does it want to be? I think I get what you’re saying — in some respects it’s a statement about what the Triumph name means to people as much as it is a motorcycle — but ‘wannabe’ implies ‘failure’ or ‘imitator’ and the Rocket III seems like an original and successful bike to me, although I do bow to your superior knowledge of the Triumph brand.

      And I do feel a little uncomfortable with their incessant regurgitation of old model names (this is the SECOND time they’ve re-used ‘Thunderbird’ already) — they should have given the Rocket III a new name.

      And yes, it probably isn’t the future of motorcycling, but so what? If you’re looking for Triumph’s ‘new, fresh and modern direction’, what do you think of the Daytona 675 and Street Triple?

      Chances are no new fossil-fuelled motorcycle is ever going to make as significant an impact as the best bikes of the 1960s and early 1970s did. That doesn’t mean the new bikes are dishonest, it’s just a different world.

  • young Stunt

    The rocket 3 is not trying to be anything. It is a real motorcycle in that it’s using parts designed for a motorcycle. The boss hoss is stealing a motor from a car. The quarter mile times for both are the same due to the fact boss hoss only uses a 230 rear tire and can not hook up properly. The rocket 3 also handles better then a lot of cruisers. The boss hoss really doesnt handle that great. It’s also an automatic which takes away from the motorcycling experience in my opinion. The rocket is the king of real motorcycles. As far as taking it’s name from an old bike, who cares they dont make it anymore so if they want to thats fine. There are only so many names bafore stealing from someone so why not yourself? It does have a 3 cylinder. It is probably put together as well if not better than jap cruisers( the rocket 3 is a cruiser despite what they want to call it). My main point is that it will not be left behind by a boss hoss or a sport bike in every day riding situations(form light to light). It wont lose to a boss hoss in the quarter mile either. The boss hoss might have a higher top speed(might). There isnt a faster or better motorcyle as far as cruisers go, so stop ragging on it and just accept that until harley puts a modern motor in their bikes or boss hoss uses a bigger tire and starts to manage their power, the rocket 3 is the king of all cruisers(better speed and handling with the capability to add saddle bags and a windshield).

  • RedRocket3

    I’m so tired of critics of the R3! I’ve had Hondas, Suzukis, Kawis and Harleys and my 5-year old R3 is the best of all worlds. I can stay with most sport bikes in the mountains, ride the highways in more comfort and style than ANY Harley, have the power to take a Hyabusa from 0-80 and still get 40 miles per gallon; all with my girlfriend on the back!!! Harleys are a cult! I was tired of having my teeth vibrated out of my mouth by 40-year old technology! My GPZ-1100b2 is fast but not good for both of us on a long ride. You get the picture. If Triumph had the R3 and the Thunderbird 5-years ago when I was looking to replace my Road King, I would have bought the T-bird but now 5-years later, you can’t pry my R3 out of my hands for any amount of money (unless you give me the new Roadster version). And once you fall in love with the performance and handling, the looks just grow on you because there’s nothing else this beautiful. . .

  • http://www.smith.com bob

    otto needs to UP the MEDS.

  • John Solo

    Bought one of the first in 2004 – done 30K weekend riding.

    …waited all my life for this bike.

  • rick

    It’s not a VMax….

  • http://HTML Ken

    R3 Roadster will be in my garage next year after the Tiger 1050 SE this year.

  • nobullshit

    Can´t you just admit it?

    Rocket just rocks! I´m a very proud owner of

    2004 rocket 3 (tuned a little bit for better

    perfomance). Economical? who cares!?

    blast to drive? who cares!?

    But when you “drop the hammer”,there´s no-one

    (and I mean no-one) who can beat me.

    My friends can verify that( hayabusa and zx-14

    owners) Rocket is the king of red lights!

  • Keith

    I owned a Valkyrie for 10yrs, bought an 06 rocket in 07. I have put 18000 miles on it and love every minute. Not enother cruiser on the market that can beat it, eccept for new V-Max. That being said I’ve added a 50hp of nos plus computer chip. Rocket is now around 220hp. 0-60 ?? really fast. Triumph has come a long way and getting better every year

  • Andy

    Amazing bike !!

    Modern Trumpy’s are as well made / finished as Jap / German bikes. 18,000 Rocket III’s sold worldwide says to me TRIUMPH have their act together. If you have any doubts, go to a dealer and check them out. You won’t be disappointed !!

  • Otto's man

    It’s okay, otto had some PMS and made a few comments between school homework assignments and tweeting her friends.

    The Rocket is a man’s bike. Wanna have a latte with the boys and go 300kph on something that has the styling of your mum’s tupperware? Get a Japanese bike. Wanna hit out a few 400lb bench presses and then hit the road with style? The R3 Roadster’s your bike.

  • http://reply rich

    triumph now knows the rocket is more for people like me than for cruisers, move the pegs back so your feet are under you and you can handle it like a BMW R1200RT and can control it and ride it long a time unlike the V max or any other powerful pocket rocket I have ridden one many times and if the new has it pegs moved back so my feet are under me , there will be a new roadster next to my R1200RT this year. all the power but you not it a racing position or your feet are out in front of you where you don’t have good control

  • Michael

    Love ALL of the comments!!! Even Otto’s!!! To each their own…I currently ride a 2000 Trophy 1200 but looking to trade up. I am looking for something different and the Rocket III fits the bill o a tee!!! I took an extended test ride on one last summer…like riding a bus compared to my Trophy…but a REALLYcool bus!!! I hate Harley’s…mostly I hate Harley riders attitudes. I’m looking for a cruiser style bike that all eat most Harley’s lunch

  • Willie

    Had my 2005 Triumph Rocket 3 for 9 days 1 closey 9 fast mornings and regenerated Heart. From a 74 T150 to a Jet that encourages RESPECT. Don’t Dis it till you try it. If your nutless you will fail if you have Love & Respect in your Heart.
    Like Fine Woman and Wine Rocket 3s are Forever.
    Are YOU!

  • otto

    Happy New Year FOLKS! I can see, as a NY Resolution, that I need to make peace with ALL…
    I will re-visit the 2010 R3 (Roadster-Toaster)with FRESH appreciation and try to understand why it’s so admired…I might even JOIN these wankers and buy one, start wearing a Bandana and a studded black leather belt around my neck too… !(Just JOKING OK?)
    I can do with another bike in the garage! Genuinely folks, no offence…I am happy to join ANY party as an added EXTRA.
    I have come to the conclusion that having a PARTY is all that matters…I just hope the guests don’t trash my place…
    I WILL seriously check my wife’s pulse, when the R3 reaches 2.5L, 199RWHP and 1/4 mile in sub 10 seconds.

  • smoken joe

    I street race the yamahe roadstar 1700 with stage 4 and its a blast now im out racing this rocket 3 and it handles mutch better then i expected . at takeoff riding this bike , i feel like i may put velcrow on my handlebars to keep a better grip on the handlebars .twice ive lost grip on my left hand aborting the race . the torqe is there so is some adrenlin . like to get performance kit like pistons and h/p cam . none available ,this bike could stand a bigger back tire .it burns shit out of the stock tire ,and a 6 speed .lil worried about durability of the gears/engine ,i dont like repairs.ill be running this bike hard and post what i break apart..oh it is fun and it feels good . cops hate it already…

  • Rocketman AU

    Hi guys, My roadster has just arrived to the shop here in Australia. As far as the shop has informed me it is the first sold rocket 3 Roadster in the country. Today is Friday and the pickup is Tuesday. I just cant wait!!! and not even the minutes are passing :(

    As for the discussion, I believe all bikes are great and they each have their purpose. I had many different bikes(Yamaha Virago, Vespa, Turbo Busa, Harley Softail, Honda CBR 900RR, Kawasaki Vulcan)and now it is a different journey.

    I say lets enjoy these great machines and keep riding. As for my view on the Roadster, it looks like everything I ever wanted from a bike and heard great reviews about the previous models.

    4 sleeps to go and I will be riding it and I am sure I will be enjoying! :)

  • Steve B

    To the comment of otto,b***s***.
    I have built various jap bikes and as for finish the rocket is right up there and beyond.Ride it for what it is and it is hard to beat.not quite a street fighter or a cruiser it falls inbetween the two.LOVE IT

  • LL

    How about someone giving me a true and factual 1/4 mile time and a top speed and I might buy one if they can trounce my souped up Legend 900. LL

  • ZIM

    Ive owned an 08 Rocket3 for a month. Not long ,but long enough to know this bike is one of the few all rounders on the market.
    Its capable of being a long distance cruiser, street rod.(ok,its not a commuter)

    Im also impressed with the fuel economy,many of my Harley friends are getting the same with much smaller engines.
    Its also got a good range ,well over 300klms a tank.

    When its moving it feels very stable and at speed it takes a good size truck to make enough wind to rock the Rocket.
    Ive been away from riding bikes for quite a few years ,but within days I felt like I had always been there with the big black Triumph.

    Most of all I like riding it at 100-130 kph.
    If someone dares to slow me down,its just a blip of the throttle and they are left behind.

  • LL

    I cannot believe nobody can beat my LEGEND! 1/4 mile time best is 11.64.Lets go rocket boys. LL

  • Peter

    On Otto’s comments: One is left feeling that if one is controversial then one will glean more comments thereby making one most self-important.
    If tastes are not to be discussed, may I civilly state that I don’t agree AT ALL!
    I’ve had the 900 since’94 and all riders take a second look at her. It is respected in performance, peerless in reliability, solid as a rock at high speeds (I know that I’ve hit 125mph when my head starts to wobble)and, when changing the plugs, a peek inside sees a pristine chamber.
    So let others grind their axes and their gears. The Bitch is perfect! P.

  • Jon

    I think it is interesting that some view the Rocket III and say things like: It could have more power…, it could go faster… and it could be better designed by a company in the orient. Well if you like simple power upgrades look up Jorge Jamon a single turbo and 197HP, so obviously with a little more money 250HP is easily within reach. If you want the bike to go faster simple changes in the transmission will draw the torque down and the speed up, as with any racing style calibration in the past. Lastly, if the manufacturers in the orient could do a much better job, and could do this many times over in the time Triumph accomplishes a small change, simply show this to be true. There are large cruisers made by many companies and some changes have been made over the years, but what great changes are you claiming that they can and will make that others have not already made. At some point you reach a barrier to improvements, and the engine on a motorcycle is one of those barriers. If you think there is more to know about the engine that will be developed you are mistaken. Some very minor changes may be made but the engineering has reached a limit some years ago in bikes and cars. Triumph whether simply or boldly chose to make an engine which would allow them to make future developments. The engine on this bike is not completly engineered to perfection as it is still in early devlopement, and while many changes to the motor are likely never to come, it really is not possible to say for sure as they are the only company which makes it, and comparisions to other companies cannot be drawn because they do not make the same engine. Cosmetic comparisions are all you can make, as the V-twin and the DOHC in-line 3 cannot be compared they are not at all similar. Just thought I would comment,as it seems there have been some unfounded comments made in this thread.