A completely revamped Triumph Rocket III looks set to be launched in 2019 and it has emerged dealers were given a sneak preview of the design at the firm’s international dealer meeting in October.
Like many other models, the Rocket III has been withdrawn from the European market thanks to Euro 4 emissions rules, and when it makes its comeback it seems it will be a rather different machine.
A prototype of the new bike was quickly ridden across the stage at the dealer meeting while a design drawing was flashed on stage to give an idea what to expect. It was a brief glimpse, but nonetheless some images have since emerged on social media thanks to videos of the event and dealers quick enough to grab snapshots.
The indications are that where the old Rocket balanced its unusual 2,294cc inline three-cylinder engine with conservative cruiser styling, the new bike takes its cues from more aggressive muscle bikes like Ducati’s Diavel.
Key details on the new Rocket III include a single-sided swingarm encasing a driveshaft and sprung via a modern monoshock rather than the traditional twin shocks and dual-sided arm of the original. That suggests there’s a completely new chassis hiding under the bodywork, which is also completely new.
While the twin, round headlights remain a Rocket signature, the prototype and drawing shown to dealers had a short, high tail unit and a swingarm-mounted license plate bracket, again very much like the Ducati Diavel. Up front is an inverted fork, probably from Öhlins, fitted with Brembo radial-mount calipers. The head angle looks steeper than before. The old Rocket’s long, chrome exhausts are gone, replaced with a stubby system with two tail pipes exiting just behind the rider’s right foot.
That foot, by the way, sits on a peg directly below the seat; there’s no feet-forward, reclined riding position here. Relatively low, straight bars again add to the look of a muscle bike rather than a cruiser.
It’s sure to have the brawn to back up its style too; in its current form the 2.3-liter Rocket manages 148 hp. More impressive is the 163 pound-feet of torque that it summons at a mere 2,750 rpm. The new model is likely have even higher figures, with some sources suggesting the engine could be increased to 2.5 or 2.6 liters in capacity. The Diavel, with 159 hp but far less torque from its revvier 1,262cc V-twin, is the likely target.
Weightwise, the Rocket will struggle. The existing model is 736 pounds, dry, and even if Triumph uses lightweight materials and a redesigned chassis it’s going to be tough to get it much below that thanks to the sheer size of the engine and transmission.
There is a suggestion that the new Rocket III could be part of Triumph’s planned “TFC” (Triumph Factory Custom) range, which will focus on making relatively low-volume or limited-edition bikes using higher-spec components than the mainstream range. The firm intends to announce plans for that lineup, which will be spearheaded by the upcoming Thruxton R TFC, on January 24, when we might also discover more about the future of the Rocket III.