Triumph Rocket III Touring | Second Ride

Nearly five months ago we sent commandant Hearn out over the pond for a quick first ride on the new rocket III touring, and he came back all atwitter, singing its praises. Well, it finally came time for our turn on the thing last month, and we trundled out to the outback of San Antonio, Texas, for the touring's world launch. we reckoned we'd see if all that blather about the big triple was just polite English banter or a real gut reaction.

After a 250-mile, all-day ride through Texas hill country we're here to say our bloke was spot-on about the latest Beast from the Near east. its riding position impressed us right off the bat-the touring seduces you with a lower seat and handlebars and a wider, cushier saddle for a relaxed ergonomic setup. the original rocket III's raspy powerband got sent to boarding school, too, and throttle response feels more refined and controllable in its touring sibling. Handling has likewise been sorted, with none of that falling-over feeling the first rocket's massive rear tire created.

That said, there were a few nits. Several colleagues at the launch agreed that the touring is unquestionably a home run but that at this level the bike should have cruise control-or at least the option to order it. some of the more senior journos also mentioned a heavier throttle-opining that holding it open at cruising speeds got tiresome for the wrists (insert limp-wristed journalist joke here). Another tester dissed the accessory options-he reckoned that guys riding the touring will invariably bring along a significant other, which begets the need for more storage capacity. Having the option to mount luggage out back would help maintain domestic bliss.

After voicing our concerns to corporate, however, they assured us that cruise control and a top box (plus an ABS option) were already in development. I also confronted the tech guys about the throttle, and they too were adamant that the whole assembly-springs and all-was unchanged from the original bike (though the cable's slightly longer on the touring). The position of the bars and angle of the grip on the touring are different from the rocket, which may add to the perception of a heavier feel.

Some will say the touring is a neutered version of the original rocket, and technically they'd be right-about the power, anyway. triumph ended up 20 horses shy of the original rocket III's number thanks to some retuning and a more restrictive exhaust, but you've still got 120 hp to play with here. others will say the styling is too cookie-cutter, but there's no arguing that the fit and finish are top-notch and the overall design is much more proportional. the whole package makes for a complete, civilized touring option, and if that won't cut it for the 1-percenters, the original rocket III is still in the lineup.