Triumph Dishes Out Rocket 3 Models For 2020

Brits announce two production versions, the Rocket 3 R and the Rocket 3 GT.

When it first announced the limited-edition TFC version of the Rocket 3 last year, Triumph was pretty cagey with the details, letting us in on the fact that the 2,500cc beast would be all-new, bigger, lighter, more powerful, and, yes, more expensive. Eventually they'd tell us it spat out a whopping 180 hp, 168 pound-feet of torque, and that you could only get 750 units of it, worldwide.

2020 Triumph Rocket 3 R and GT on road.
Triumph’s launching the Rocket 3 R and GT for 2020. When you’re sitting atop the world’s largest production motorcycle engine, riding on the wrong side of the road doesn’t matter.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles

Fortune favors the bold they say, and once we got our eyes on the images and details (and spy shots), the cohesiveness of the design, the thoughtfully engineered components and the premium choice of running gear made it pretty apparent this would be way more than just a short-run design exercise. Too much cash, time, and R&D were being harnessed for a project of this size and scope (literally and figuratively) to remain limited, and we could see the writing on the wall.

2020 Triumph Rocket 3 Factory Custom
The 180-hp Rocket 3 Triumph Factory Custom sold out for its limited-edition North American run in June, so we had a feeling we’d see a full production version soon.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles

So with the resounding success of the TFC Rocket 3—the limited editions sold out pretty much as fast as they made them—we’re not really surprised to see Triumph releasing the all-new Rocket 3 R and Rocket 3 GT models for its 2020 cruiser lineup.

They retain the same muscular but tasty and sleek styling, but there are a few minor differences between the TFC version and the production models. Nevertheless, all the important (and desirable) bits are still there, like the world’s biggest production motorcycle engine, a 2,500cc liquid-cooled triple monster that’s good for 165 hp with awesome acceleration, and the highest torque of any production motorcycle with 163 pound-feet at 4,000 rpm. (In case you’re wondering, that’s a power increase of 11 percent from the previous generation mill.) A new crankcase assembly, new lubrication system, and new balancer shafts all combine to reduce engine weight by 40 pounds over the previous generation, and as expected, many of the premium components from the TFC version have trickled down also, like adjustable Showa suspension and Brembo Stylema Monoblock calipers along with cornering ABS and traction control.

2020 Triumph Rocket 3 R and GT waterside.
The new Rocket will come in two trims: the base R roadster and the more touring-oriented GT.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles

The bike will come in two versions: the Rocket 3 R, which Triumph dubs “the ultimate muscle roadster,” and the Rocket 3 GT, which will bring more comfy bits to the table along with a laid-back cruiser attitude and enhanced touring capability. Both sport similar design features like twin LED headlights, the unique hydroformed three-header exhaust run that ends in lovely swept mufflers, and 20-spoke cast aluminum wheels wearing that massive signature Avon Cobra 240mm rear tire. The single-sided swingarm keeps the look clean, with an offset monoshock suspension and a premium finish on the bevel box.

2020 Triumph Rocket 3 engine.
The new 2,500cc triple puts out 165 hp and 163 pound-feet of torque, slightly less than the 180-hp TFC model but still insanely raucous.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles

The new Rocket 3 models’ more premium features include a fully adjustable Showa monoshock out back with piggyback reservoir (adjustable for rebound, compression, and preload) and 47mm adjustable Showa fork (with rebound and compression adjustability) to soak up the bumps and enhance touring comfort.

The lightweight race-spec Brembo Stylema Monoblock calipers also come standard on both models, and rider electronics are top-notch with angle-adjustable and configurable full-color TFT instruments where you can view the status of the various included rider aids that come standard on both bikes. That includes Optimized Cornering ABS and Cornering Traction Control with an IMU to support them, and four riding modes that adjust the throttle response (Road, Rain, Sport, and Rider-configurable). Hill-hold control and cruise control also come standard on both models, as well as LED lighting all around, including a DRL. High-spec options include Triumph Shift Assist, an integrated GoPro control system (the world’s first), turn-by-turn navigation, as well as phone integration and an accessory Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

2020 Triumph Rocket 3 adjustable Showa suspension.
Adjustable Showa suspension comes standard on both models. The rear monoshock is adjustable for rebound, compression, and preload.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles
2020 Triumph Rocket 3 TFT instruments on dashboard.
Angle-adjustable and configurable full-color TFT instruments allow you to check data like rider modes, traction control, and other crucial rider info.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles

But it’s really the ergonomics that distinguish the two, with the Rocket 3 R sporting aggressive roadster-style handlebars, and the Rocket 3 GT opting for a more open and higher touring-oriented unit (which also bakes in heated grips as a standard feature). The differences continue with the saddles, though both models have rider and passenger seats that are designed to be easily switched between solo and two-up riding. The R’s saddle is set at 30.4 inches while the GT’s has a more touring-biased shape and is only 29.5 inches from the ground. The Rocket 3 GT also adds a brushed aluminum (and height adjustable) backrest so you’ll hear less moaning from back there. As a sweet bonus, you can vertically adjust the mid-controls of the Rocket 3 R between two positions, while the Rocket 3 GT’s more forward foot controls come with three horizontal position choices (-0.98 inch, 0 inch, +0.98 inch). A ride-by-wire throttle, a new torque-assist hydraulic clutch to reduce lever effort, and a new six-speed helical-cut gearbox also make the cut, and both Rocket 3 models get their first service interval at 10,000 miles.

2020 Triumph Rocket 3 LED lighting.
Full LED lighting all around, including a Daytime Running Light on those signature twin bulbs.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles

Naturally you won’t get the same exclusive badging and, uh, tailor-made goody bag you received with the TFC bike, but there’s still plenty of goodness here and we’re thinking these two new beasties should do very well for Triumph indeed.

2020 Triumph Rocket 3 seat.
Rider and passenger seats on both models are set up for easy swaps between solo and two-up configurations. The GT’s seat sits lower.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles

Of course Triumph’s still being cagey; we don’t have the price yet. That’ll be announced in November 2019. But seeing as how the TFC model sold for $29,000, we’re guessing it’ll come in at around the $24,000 mark for the base 3 R trim, with the GT ringing in at a couple thou more. We also don’t have a physical specimen, but those are set to be available in January 2020. But what we do have for right now are lots more pretty pictures, so have another look.

2020 Triumph Rocket 3 R model in Phantom Black on white background.
The Rocket 3 R model will be available in Korosi Red or Phantom Black when it arrives in January 2020.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles
2020 Triumph Rocket 3 GT on white background.
The Rocket 3 GT can be had in two-tone Silver Ice & Storm Grey with Korosi Red pinstripe decal or Phantom Black.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles
2020 Triumph Rocket 3 luggage accessory.
Triumph has rolled out a healthy selection of accessories for the new Rocket 3 models, with more than 50 pieces that can change up the looks as well as utility. They include luggage, various handlebars, touring and sport seats, racks, and forward and mid foot controls.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles
2020 Triumph Rocket 3 GT beside water.
The Rocket 3 GT as outfitted with Triumph’s Highway Inspiration Kit.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles
2020 Triumph Rocket 3 brakes on wheel.
Premium components include Brembo Stylema calipers for superior stopping power.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles
2020 Triumph Rocket 3 Avon Cobra Chrome rubber 240mm back tire.
Can’t miss that fat 240mm back tire—in this case Avon Cobra Chrome rubber.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles
2020 Triumph Rocket 3 GT graphic on tank.
The Rocket 3 GT comes with a tasty graphic treatment for the tank as well as a Monza style filler cap.Courtesy Triumph Motorcycles