A Marvel – Triumph Rocket 111
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There’s nothing like the thought of a biking holiday to inspire one to change ones bike! When some friends suggested a tour around Europe, this became reality as I looked to change my reliable but old BMWR100RS.
I had thought about buying a new BMW R1200RT, but a visit to a local dealer confirmed my worst fears. With BMW now selling their bikes alongside their cars the whole buying experience has changed. That’s if you get that far; the salesman I met was polite enough, but not really that interested, so I left and headed back to Triumph.
My problem is that as I get older, I seem to get bigger! I’m not comfortable on a sports bike anymore, and comfort is now important to me!
The dealer was friendly, and unlike BMW, seemed keen to sell, but was not at all “pushy”.
I ended up buying a Rocket 3 Classic.
I have been riding bikes for many years and have had a good number of modern Triumphs, and have always been fascinated by the Rocket.
As I sat on the machine before taking off on a test ride, I actually felt quite intimidated. It’s just so vast. It’s like sitting in an armchair, but with all the relevant buttons and switchgear just in reach.
Nervously I turned the key, pulled in the clutch and started the engine.
When I started it for the first time I instantly recognised that Triumph triple sound, and was surprised at how light the gear shift was.
Given the low seat and overall design of the bike with the engine running parallel with the gearbox, Triumph has done a remarkable job. Low speed stability is second to none, and the balance is fantastic.
Unlike my Honda Blackbird, the engine is not turbine smooth, nor does the bike feel like it wants to keep putting down the power.
Instead, we have a machine that is both happy to potter around back lanes, or jump to light speed if one twists the throttle more than a few millimetres. But you never feel that you have to ride it fast.
Obviously this is a very heavy bike, but that works to its advantage in that it feels incredibly stable at speed, and once the tyres are scrubbed in it corners well and eagerly.
Cornering is good, but if you try and corner like it’s a GP bike you are going to have a problem.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this bike copes with the hairpins in the Pyrenees!
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