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Spotted: All-new 180bhp Triumph Rocket

Published: 11 January 2019

New powercruiser has the potential to dethrone the mighty Diavel

After we revealed a concept illustration two weeks ago (see below), spy shots have now emerged of the new Triumph Rocket being tested, seemingly confirming that a new model is in the pipeline. The old model fell at the Euro4 wayside but the new one is much more than an update – it’s a completely new bike.

One thing has remained a constant though and that’s the massive inline triple. The old Rocket III had a 2.3l engine that produced 145bhp and a whopping 163 ftlbs of torque but we’re expecting the new one to be bigger still.

It’s believed the new engine will be 2.5l and power will be in excess of 180bhp. To tame this, we expect the Rocket will come with the full suite of modern electronics including lean sensitive traction control, cornering ABS, rider modes and a quickshifter plus the usual creature comforts such as heated grips, cruise control, flyscreen and LED lighting.

On top of that the Rocket appears to have the full colour TFT dash from the Scrambler 1200, so it’s likely it will have the same Google maps and GoPro integration. Compared to the old model, it’s a technological revelation. There’s a big update in the handling stakes too.

The new Rocket has almost no real frame as we know it. Instead the headstock appears to bolt to the front of the engine, while the subframe attaches straight to the back of it. Up front the Rocket has huge fully adjustable USD forks, that hold a huge balloon front tyre and a set of Brembo monobloc stoppers.

At the back the shaft drive remains albeit on a single sided swingarm held up by a giant monoshock. That, combined with the curvy single seat, makes it plainly obvious that the new Rocket is targeted to go after the Diavel. While the Diavel will almost certainly have the edge on weight, the huge torque of the Triumph should make it a thrilling ride.

There’s no official word from Triumph about the bike but they are making an announcement about the Triumph Factory Custom (TFC) range on the January 21, so it’s possible we may see something then.

Visible Rocket 3 updates

  • Footloose: This model has forward controls but the sketch had mid controls. Mounts suggest they may be interchangeable
  • Going solo: This model has no pillion provision but a second subframe like the Speedmaster may be an option
  • Three, one, three: Exhaust headers divert into single huge collector behind the engine before exiting via three end cans; two on the right side, one on the left
  • Torqueing to me? There’s no torque arm visible, so how Triumph have prevented shaft jacking is a mystery for now
  • Weight of the world: The lack of frame should help save bulk. Essential as the old model was nearly 130kg heavier than a Diavel
  • Getting clocky: The dash appears to be straight off the Scrambler 1200, meaning colour second-gen TFT with app-based turn-by-turn satnav and GoPro integration, as well as multiple screen modes and Bluetooth connectivity for music, phonecalls, and messages.

MCN revealed all-new Rocket III two weeks ago!

Triumph will release an all-new Rocket III in 2019, and the styling and spec suggest it will be a serious weapon, aimed at kicking Ducati’s new Diavel squarely in the V-twin.

This official Triumph design sketch was revealed to dealers at Triumph’s annual conference in late October, swiftly followed by a pre-production test mule being briefly ridden across the stage.

But despite the firm releasing a raft of new models since, there has been no official public confirmation of the return of the Rocket III. However, MCN has learned that the new bike is scheduled for release in 2019, and will boast class-defining performance figures.

When revealed to dealers at the closed-door event in October, Triumph claimed the new Rocket III would deliver in excess of 180bhp from its new 2.5litre inline triple engine - which we expect to then be rolled out through a whole range of new Rocket models.

Spy shots of the bike appeared after the conference

In addition to the monstrous power output, which looks likely to exceed Ducati’s new Diavel by a clear 21+bhp, it has also been suggested that the torque on offer will exceed 170lbft at under 3000rpm - that’s about 80% more than a Diavel, delivered at half the revs.

Performance cruiser

Move past the headline power and torque figures, and it’s clear that the new Rocket III is intended to be more than just a straight-line traffic light hopper.

The wide fat-bars will provide great leverage over the beefy triple clamps and huge forks, residing at the bottom of which are a set of Brembo M50 calipers gripping what look to be 330mm floating discs attached to an all-new design of cast alloy wheel.

The rear wheel is also new, and now sits on a single-sided swingarm in readiness for a Diavel-busting style battle, with the three-into-two exhaust exiting through twin stubby slash-cut silencers.

A deep scalloped seat

The seat also looks familiar, with a deep scalloped rider’s seat aimed at preventing an unwanted rearward exit under maximum acceleration, and a pillion pad that you’d have to be exceptionally brave and small of bottom to perch on.

While the rear light is located high in the tail, the stubby unit is further cleaned up by the swingarm supporting the numberplate hanger and indicators.

The seating position is clearly mid-peg on the sketch and the test mule, but the sketch appears to hint at a secondary mounting position that could make a feet-forward peg position possible - something that will help its evolution into XDiavel and bagger/tourer territory.

Tech revolution

In addition to heavy engineering and brute force, the Rocket III is likely to be bristling with IMU driven tech. Traction control, high-spec cornering ABS and multiple rider modes are a given. In addition, we'd expect a full TFT dash with multi-mode displays, and Bluetooth connectivity with GoPro and Google Maps enabled.

All the lighting will be LED with a DRL headlamp, while keyless ignition is certain to feature, along with cruise control and we may even see launch control. While Triumph have refused to confirm or deny the new Rocket III, we believe an announcement will be made early in 2019, with the bike arriving for Summer.

Family ties

Knowing Triumph, this new Rocket III performance cruiser will be the start of a whole new family of models based on the same chassis and engine platform.

The outgoing Rocket III range consists of multiple models

The previous Rocket III family included cruisers, roadsters and tourers – and Triumph are highly unlikely to go to all the effort of developing a whole new Rocket platform without having a complete family of models designed in at birth.

That means a bagger and a full-dress tourer are likely to follow in 2020, and with their new Triumph Factory Custom division being launched, who knows - we might even see a special version produced.

The X model Rocket is a special version in the current range

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