04 Triumph Rocket III discussion forum: I think I got the first one sold in US, got a Red one on 7/3/04!
I think I got the first one sold in US, got a Red one on 7/3/04!
Well, I´m not sure but I picked up my Red Rocket III from Tom Clancy at the Augusta Triumph Dealership on Saturday, July 3rd (This dealer and dealership are tops in my opinion). We drove over there from Huntsville, AL area. I had seen and tested a black one from the Honda Hoot in Knoxville, TN in Mid-June and fell in love with it. I broke-in the bike driving it from Augusta to Atlanta staying overnight and then riding from Atlanta to Huntsville, AL, I put about 420 miles on it that weekend. By the next weekend I had already changed the oil to AmsOil 10W40 synthetic and have since got about 1200 miles on the bike. You can see the pics of my trip to the Honda Hoot riding the demo and pics of my new Red Rocket III at the following URL http://www.knology.net/~rglover/images/rocket3/ I also ride a Honda VTX1800-C (SilverStreak) and a Valkyrie Interstate (Green Machine) and I love all 3 of them. I have over 23K miles on the VTX and 38K miles on the Valk so I have a fair amount of riding experience with big, large displacement bikes. Okay, now for my opinion on the bike, as to raw speed and/or acceleration it lives up to all the hype, it was actually faster than either of my other 2 bikes while just breaking it in around the 3K to 4K rpm range. The bike was well balanced had great brakes and handled much better than I expected, it lays over much farther than the other 2 bikes and holds a line in curve easily without wanting to straighten back up. I road mostly all back roads coming back from Augusta and this bike has a really great stock suspension, I did have the rear shocks set at a #3 setting and I´m about 210 lbs. The bike is very easy to control if you respect it but you can easily exceed the speed limits without realizing it. I have ridden it 2up for about 300 or so miles and don´t notice any changes except maybe that the bike straightens up a little slower and is maybe a little less reactive in curves than when 1up riding. But considering the size of the tires and its wheel base and weight, this bike handles better than anything I´ve ridden except for some light weight sport bikes. It is very very quiet even more than my basically stock Valkyrie. The bike in 5th is doing 80mph at 3K RPM and slightly over 90mph at 3.5K RPM and has incredible acceleration up to 120mph which is all I want without a windshield. The wind is not to bad until you get over 75 to 80 mph and then it starts to wear on you if you ride any distance at all. The clutch was a little funky at first but smoothed out within about 50 miles BUT ... I still wished it had a hydraulic clutch instead of the old cable clutch (just my preference). Shifting is very smooth and quient when upshifing, is smooth but clunky when downshifting. When in neutral, going to 1st gear is difficult unless you pull-in then let-out clutch once before trying to shift to 1st and neutral can be hard to get to when completely stopped but overall the gears are smooth and very easy to master. The mirrors look funky but give really good visibility to the rear with very little vibration. The dual headlights look great but could give much better night lighting in my opinion, not near as good as my dual lighted Valkyrie. They are very good on High Beam bright but narrow but on low beam the adjustment is not out far enough and its beam is too narrow. The instrument lights are good in speedo and tach but the odometer light sucks can´t read it all at night. Bike is very smooth but it does have some handlebar vibration from 3.5K RPM on up and I find that I must move my throttle hand around a bit to keep from getting bothered by the vibration on trips over 50 miles, this might be fixed by getting better grips. I really don´t notice very much vibration on my pegs (just a little at high speeds) but my 2up rider has complained that the rear pegs vibrations bother her a lot after riding 100 miles or more, it is a definite problem for her. She says the stock rear pillion seat is more comfortable than the VTX rear seat and position is very good for her (5´tall). My position is very comfortable (5´11" tall) and I like the higher up front pegs over my VTX and Valkyrie. Okay, as to my stock seat well it feels wonderful for about 100 to 150 miles but it then starts to really bother my tailbone area because of the specific rear curve on the seat. I noticed this on both my rides from Augusta to Atlanta and from Atlanta to Huntsville. Its not to bad a problem because you have to stop and get fuel often enough that it allows your butt to rest some. But you will definitely need another seat to make long touring trips on or it may be that this is just unique to my butt shape but I doubt it. It is slightly more comfortable than my VTX stock seat but much worse than my stock Valk seat (which I can ride on forever without any problems). This bike puts out copious amounts of heat that rise up around the rear part of gas tank and on/around the 2 metal side covers (they get very hot to the touch) and when temps are in summer high´s as they are now, my thighs and legs have got uncomfortably hot when riding slow or in traffic. The kickstand is easy to get at and use but the lean angle is not enough (too straight up) in my opinion. I have been using 93 octane premium gas but I am going to change to mid-grade 89 octane since the compression ration is low. I am not sure what Triumph recommends but so far my fuel mileage is not as good as I expected (especially since the bike is broke-in, worse than the VTX or Valk) my fuel light comes on anywhere from 135 miles to 145 miles but I will drive the bike easily up to 180 miles before I start to worry. So far I have gone a max of 210 miles on it before I fueled up and it took about 6 gallons so I still had a little over half a gallon left. (I do ride at 70mph to 85mph range a lot). Changing the oil was fairly easy once you have the right 13mm sockets and 8mm allen head within a socket to take out the drain plug and the 2 other plugs. Filter was easy to get to and change. The bike took almost 1.5 gallons of oil and must add it in a certain way. You first put in 4 gallons then crank the engine for a couple of minutes, then let it sit for a few minutes. Then check the oil level and begin to add the last 1.5 quarts slowly. I added about 1/3 quart at a time, started bike for 30 seconds and then re-checked dip stick, my bike took all of the additinal 1.5 quarts and just a little more (total was about 5.8 quarts). When you first put the initial 4 quarts in and check the oil level it will show completely full on the dip stick but you must crank the engine and then add at least another quart to quart and half before its really full. Different but the owners manual is really easy to use. I have owned 21 bikes in the 42 years that I´ve been riding and up to now, I would´ve said that the best ´OVERALL´ bike that I have ever ridden or owned was my Honda Valkyrie but I must admit that my new Rocket3 is much faster, handles better, brakes a little better, is almost as smooth, balanced better, rides a little easier than even my Valkyrie so ... I guess I must admit to myself that it is now the best overall bike that I have ever ridden or owned. My one concern is over all durability and reliability. The Valkyrie is almost legendary for its reliability and durability. My new Rocket has a great warranty and its engine seems very strong and not even stressed when riding it but I will wait until I have had the bike for 10k to 15k miles and a year or two before I admit that it beats the Honda Valkyrie´s stamina. Another point is what I call just the ´Fun Factor´ for which I never thought I would find a better bike than my VTX-1800C but this new Rocket beats the VTX hands down in that category. You won´t be sorry if you´re fortunate enough to get one of these incredible machines.
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