The Triumph Rocket 3 motorcycle made its debut in 2004 with more engine displacement than an overwhelming majority of the hatchbacks frantically buzzing across Paris. 2019 marks the arrival of an updated model with less weight, more tech features, and, of course, an even bigger engine to keep the coveted displacement crown in Triumph's court.
The British motorcycle maker split the Rocket lineup into two models named 3 R and 3 GT, respectively. The R is, as its name implies, a roadster developed with an eye on performance, while the GT caters to riders who want to cruise rather than carve. Both were previewed by the limited-edition Rocket 3 TFC unveiled earlier in 2019, and both are powered by a new, 2.5-liter three-cylinder engine with two significant superlatives on its resume.
It's the biggest engine currently found in a series-produced motorcycle. To add context, the average new car sold in the European Union uses a comparatively puny 1.6-liter engine. The sheer amount of displacement allows it to offer the most torque available on two wheels. Its output checks in at 165 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque, figures we'd normally associate with a turbo four, and it's bolted to a six-speed manual transmission.
Ride-by-wire throttle technology moves the Rockets down the road, while Brembo brakes bring them to a stop. Both are about 90 pounds lighter than their predecessor; the three-cylinder notably lost 40 pounds as it gained 200 cubic centimeter thanks part to a redesigned crankcase assembly. The diet will make them easier to handle and more enjoyable to ride.
Triumph also increased the Rocket 3's IQ. Every model comes with a configurable digital instrument cluster, while an inertial measurement unit (IMU) developed jointly with Continental monitors the bike's angle and feeds data to electronic riding aids like cornering ABS and traction control. Cruise control, a keyless ignition, heated grips, and a USB charging port also come standard.
With car-like features and car-like torque comes a car-like price. While Triumph hasn't published pricing information for the new Rocket 3s, we expect both models will start at over $16,000 when they go on sale in January 2020.