Triumph Rocket III Roadster – Totally absurd, totally desirable

Triumph Rocket III Roadster in black

Update: Old post – newer Rocket III Roadster with Cat Bypass is here

Yes – perhaps a little over the top: 2.3 litre, fuel injected, shaft-driven example of British Engineering awesomeness. But I want it. It’s so beautiful…

Youles Motorcycles of Blackburn (Triumph Dealership)

Taking the Thunderbird in to see Royce at the exemplary Triumph Dealership Youles of Blackburn, he actually sold me the ‘bird originally – if he offers me the right exchange then this beasty could be going home with me.

I only went in to pick up some brake pads…

Update 17th May

Triumph Rocket III Roadster in Black (mine)

My Triumph Rocket III Roadster in Black sat outside Youles of Blackburn

Well… after giving the Thunderbird a good going over and pointing out what flaws he could (very few), Royce of Youles came through with the right offer.

Picking the Rocket up on Friday morning after its pre-sales checks and polish.

Huzzah for Youles of Blackburn.

If you look closely I’ve noticed that you can see yours truly and the Thunderbird reflected in the mirror as I was taking this photo… shiny.

Update 22nd May

At home – bars raised and more forward, cissy pad removed, put back on and then taken off again (permanently this time). Ugly tank pad removed.

Triumph Rocket 3 Roadster in black

Triumph Rocket III Roadster on drive at home

Click the image for higher resolution pic

Removing the tank pad was a mission – peeled off easily enough but the glue residue took me the best part of an hour to carefully clean off – petrol did the job for the last stubborn bits, followed by a clean and thorough waxing.

What I don’t like about the Rocket III Roadster

  1. Riding position – pegs too high and too far back, I have to sit on the front edge of the pillion seat. I’m getting used to it but seriously considering changing it somehow (changed – see post regarding FC17 forward controls Rocket III Roadster)
  2. The exhaust system – too big, too heavy, too quite, too much, to be removed
  3. Not sure if tune is correct for the pipes – pulls like a train under load but feels strangled at low revs (less than 2,500 coughs, splutters and lumpy). Feels like she’s missing if you try to hold a steady speed of less than 40 mph. Could check myself but may just whip it back to Youles for a look (booked in for Friday 10th June)
  4. 5 previous keepers in 4 years – yes, I should have checked before I bought it – hoping this is because the Rocket was too damned awesome for them and not because of any problems

Update: Took the Rocket into Youles Blackburn at 3 on Friday – mechanic took it out for a quick spin and on his return rode straight past me and into the workshop. I suspected at that point he agreed with me. Turned out the Throttle Position Sensor was iffy – Youles had it replaced and tested in around an hour and under warranty. Can’t fault the service from these guys. Kept me supplied with good coffee throughout too.

I’m a little miffed about the exhaust as was going to sell it and do something different, but close inspection of the right silencer reveals two small flat spots on the top of the rear edge. Looks like previous owner gently backed her into something. You can just about see them on the high-res image click on image above).

Additionally, what I suspected to be disturbing slack in the primary drive (heavy clunking on acceleration and gearing down) turned out to be the right silencer shifting under positive or negative acceleration. No nuts on the back of its mounting bolts and no lower retaining allen bolt on the heatshield..! Fortunately had some spare nylocks and a bolt of the correct size. Had only done a few days commuting since leaving Youles with it – not saying they gave it to me like that, but for both nuts to be missing is pretty unusual. Oh – and the headlights were not mounted correctly (compare the early pictures with the one at the end of the article) – the bracket wasn’t clipped into the mounting holes on the bottom yoke, had to almost remove the top yoke to correct it. Annoying.

Thorough inspection and polish failed to reveal anything else amiss.

What I do like about the Rocket III Roadster

  1. Everything else
  2. Surprisingly nimble and filters easily though heavy traffic
  3. Surprisingly economical – getting around the same fuel consumption than I did on the Thunderbird (40 – 45 mpg)

Once I’ve sorted the (suspect) tuning issue, the seating position and the exhaust I think I’m going to be real happy with her.

Missing the Thunderbird just a little though – the Rocket III is nowhere near as attractive but is definitely more suited to me – a large, ugly presence with character.

I’m looking for a quality replacement silencer or silencers (prefer the singular) for the Rocket 3 Roadster and am open to suggestions. I’m not considering the snaked pipe systems I’ve seen – just want something that’ll slip on to the stock header. The Extremeblaster below is the kind of feel I’m going for…

Extremeblaster XB08 tuneable slip-on for Rocket III Roadster

As mentioned above, the sound and look of the Rocket III Roadster exhaust is one of the things that, in my opinion, let it down a tad. Enter the enthusiastically titled ‘Extremeblaster XB08’ slip-on tuneable silencer. Headphones or decent speakers please and just give this badboy a listening to. Exactly the appearance and sound I’m looking for. If I can’t find anything similar in the UK to replace the gargantuan stock system and bypass that complex cat then I may just have to order one of these from our cousins across the pond.

Update 31st May 2016

Couldn’t find anything else I really liked so ordered Extremeblaster XB08 from the States (£250 including delivery). Estimated delivery June 15th – 21st. That’s so long away…. If I don’t die of impatience before then I’ll post a vid when it’s on (Update: Add two day delay at customs and £26 import duty).


Rocket III Roadster seen from the Man Cave

My favourite room in the house – cold beer, great view and birdsong.

Rocket III Roadster seen from the Man Cave

View from the Man Cave

Rocket III Roadster with XB08 fitted – in the Man Cave (Door closed due to inclement weather)

Rocket III Roadster with custom exhaust

Rocket III Roadster with custom exhaust (Extremeblaster XB08)

Almost 1 year on and 11,000 miles later (it’s been a quite year)

Triumph Rocket III Roadster with Refined Cycle FC17 Forward Controls

6 Comments
  1. I have had my Thunderbird Storm for over a year now and absolutely love the intoxicating sound (short TORS – no decat YET) and torque. I tried out a 2011 Rocket recently and even though it also had the TORs, personally found the sound nowhere near as awesome. I did like the insane warp factor acceleration though, but not enough to buy.
    Let us know how you get on with the Rocket as many have progressed via the Thunderbird route. I think though for me the Storm is very special and at the mo a real keeper.

    • Hi Grahame – loved my Thunderbird, she was set up exactly right. I miss her but like to think she’s gone to a caring owner that’s going to polish and pamper her, only going out on sunny Sunday mornings. A well earned rest after the stress of over 2 years high mileage commuting.

      Once the seat, exhaust and tune are sorted I’m sure I’ll grow to love the Rocket just as much. Almost sure.

    • Pro: Sounds awesome, incredibly light, looks good.

      Con: Header gets damned hot – melted suit pants that stuck out past bike pant legs, melted bike pants too a little.

      I’ve seen pics of it fitted with the stock heat shield, but think a ‘short pipe’ is required for this. Also should have got the billet end cap as steel one is now nicely blued.

      Otherwise very happy with it 🙂

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