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Well my year-long love/hate relationship with the Triumph Rocket III Touring is officially over. I had posted it for sale back in February on Craigslist and had exactly one person come look for it about a month ago. He lowballed me and I declined. I never heard back from him (or anyone else) and had pretty much decided to just ride the bike for another year and give it another chance.
Then out of the blue on Wednesday the guy called me and told me he was ready to buy and would pay my asking price. He and a buddy came last night with a cashiers check, put it on a trailer, and its gone.
So ends this saga. I was enraptured last spring by the notion that bigger is better. I tested the R3T at a demo day and decided I had to have one. A few twists and turns later I had the big, powerful, head-turning bike I wanted. I hated it almost from the beginning:
- It was hot. And not in a good way. The 2300 cc engine generates a crap-ton of heat, and made the bike wickedly uncomfortable to ride in the summer months. I’d arrive at work after my morning commute drenched in sweat. If I got stopped at a red light I would literally have to turn the motor off. I’m convinced that Triumph de-tuned the demo bikes at its demo events or richened up the fuel mixture to make this less noticeable because the demo bike I rode (and I took 2-3 turns on it) didn’t run hot.
- It sucked gas. Ask any Rocket III owner or Triumph dealer what the MPGs are on this bike and they’ll say, “Oh, about 40 miles per gallon.” It’s bullshit. This thing drinks gas like a drunken college fratboy drinks beer.
- It was expensive to own. My premium doubled the day I bought the bike. My gasoline bill went up by at least 40%. Tires and maintenance were expensive. It goes on and on.
- It was heavy. Backing out of my parking space at home became part of my workout routine.
I should have known all these things. I lost sight of it though after getting drunk on the notion that bigger is better when it comes to motorcycles. My very expensive lesson learned: it isn’t.
The Rocket added insult to injury when the shifting mechanism failed in August, leaving me stuck in third gear permanently. The repair cost me three weeks of ride time during the nicest time of the year. To Triumph’s credit, they covered the repair under warranty even though the manufacturers warranty had officially expired a month earlier (big assist to Steve, the service manager at Manayunk Triumph, who facilitated this and who tolerated my daily calls for a status update.)
There were good times too. My trip through West Virginia and North Carolina in October was an absolute blast on the Rocket. The bike was just flat-out built for rolling up miles on the open road. There were times when I would twist the throttle and that 2300 cc beast would spring to life and I would feel nothing but…joy. Ultimately when the dude called and told me he would take the bike, I decided it was an opportunity to reset and pick something else.
Tomorrow I’m going to pick up its replacement. It’s already paid for. Stay tuned…
As I mentioned in my first post, I spend a lot of time on weekends visiting local motorcycle dealers and testing out new bikes. I’m grateful that most of the dealers in my area support test rides and will let me take a spin. I’ve even been honest with them: “I’m not looking to buy.” They seem to get it. Maybe I’ll take a ride and just have to have the bike. This has happened recently. Twice this season, in fact.
So as the season winds down, I’m going to list the bikes I tested this year and provide a brief blurb on each. When I put this list together, I was pretty shocked. I’ve ridden a lot of different bikes this year.
1a. Rocket III Touring. Numero Uno on this list is the bike I currently own. I rode the R3T a number of times at a demo day at Eurosports back in May. I liked it so much I ended up shopping for one and bought my current ride from Hermy’s later that month. Since then it’s been a love/hate relationship. In summer, on a 90 degree day, in traffic, I hate this bike. It is like riding a convection oven, it throws off so much heat from that 2300 cc powerplant. When I’m filling it up with gas, I hate it. I’ve averaged 30 miles per gallon this year and more often than not been in the mid 20’s. But when I’m rolling up heavy miles and cruising along on a nice twisty, or passing a tractor trailer on the slab, I absolutely love it. When I’m on a trip with my friends and hauling my camping gear, I love it. When I park it on Main Street in New Hope next to about a dozen ElectraGlides and the peeps walking by stop to look at my bike and ignore the Harleys, I love it. Read the rest of this entry »