This is not to say that the GT

is averse to taking a bend

enthusiastically, it just feels a bit

insane diving into a bend laying

back with your feet leading the

way instead of your elbows

and shoulders which certainly

does add another dimension

of adrenalin pumping fun into

the mix. The foot pegs on both

bikes can be shifted forwards

or backwards by 3 positions

to obtain optimal rider comfort

and confidence and naturally

the bars and levers are all

adjustable. What we really like

is the fact that all the parts are

interchangeable between the two

models so you can retro fit your

bike to your personal aesthetic

and riding style.

Rocket 3 GT

The GT is definitely aimed more

at the touring market. This is a

muscle bike with a very relaxed

attitude. Swinging a leg over and

dropping onto the saddle is very

satisfying and natural, although

at just on 2 metres tall I would

look at a slightly taller and wider

handle bar option for myself if I

ever owned one, but for ‘normal’

sized people the ‘off the shelf set

up’ is perfect.

Hitting the starter button awakens

the beast of a motor with a

beatial rumble and the whole

bike becomes a living thing

underneath the rider, rolling

and shuddering in anticipation

with every twist of the throttle.

Unfortunately for our young new

photographer, who was only

encountering the Rocket for the

first time, he had to pillion with me

… Another unknown to him.

He was soon to experience a

baptism of fire, as early as the

first bend in the road heading

towards the Freeway from

Triumphs head office. Knowing all

of this and being the evil jerk that

I am, I hit the gas hard, banged

on the quick shifter into second

and chucked the big machine

into the reasonably tight double

apex, uphill left hander and tilted

over even further into the second

apex giggling with glee as I felt

the appy tense up and try to grab

onto anything and everything with

every part of his body and being.

I do believe that had it been any

other bike we might have been in

a lot of trouble. The Rocket 3 is a

very torquey and heavy bike and

its riders are literally passengers

on it. Where other bikes are

largely affected by the input of

the rider and pillion’s weight and

trajectory the GT maintains its

designated course

That been said, you do need

to plan ahead and be entirely

certain of what you want to do

or be really strong and assertive

with the handling if you are riding

enthusiastically. (On a side note,

at one stage later on in the day

I swapped with Garth Taylor

and climbed aboard the 1200

Scrambler, which suddenly felt

more like a little 250cc plastic dirt

bike as opposed to its 1200cc of

iron and metal).

Acceleration is as sublime as only

a 2,458cc triple with 220nm of

torque at just 4,000rpm can be,

but you are quite happy to call

on all those torques all the time

because the length and weight of

the Rocket keep both wheels on

the deck and the suspension and

chassis keep it all neat and tidy in

the corners. Twist its ear and the

BIG Triple growls in appreciation

and hurtles off towards the horizon

in a huge hurry. Grab the anchors

and she scrubs off speed and

comes to a stop elegantly and

perfectly stable with the gigantic

320mm front and 300 mm rear

rotors and 4 pot Brembo calipers

keeping all that weight and power

in check very nicely, inspiring the

rider to have a lot more fun with the

Grand Tourer.

The “GT’s” party piece though, is

it’s relaxed riding style and sitting

position with all of that huge power,

but still keeping your grin out in the

breeze with the little wind-deflecting

screen taking just enough pressure

off the rider to be comfortable,

ideally crossing the divide between

car like cocooning and joy and

freedom of pure ‘bugs in the teeth’

real spirit motorcycling. The pegs

pull your legs out just far enough

forward to be comfortable and

natural, the seat has enough lower

back support to take off the strain

and the handle bars hang your

shoulders comfortable low to ease

all tension off them easily keeping

you in the saddle all day long.Of the

two, the GT is most pillion friendly

with a roomy seat and plenty of bits

for the pillion to hold on to.

Rocket 3 ‘R’ Naked Musclebike...

So, why do you need the R

version then of the GT is so

capable and comfortable?

Well, because some of us still

want to try and chuck it into a

corner and scrape whatever we

can and will invariably end up

perpetrating some form of abuse

to the Rocket in an attempt to

customise it for said purpose. And

Triumph knows this, so they have

saved us the effort and the money

making the R slightly cheaper

than the GT.

When we went out on the first

ride just before we were robbed

of rights by the national lock

down, I came back loving the GT

and not really understanding or

appreciating the R. Even though

the pegs are further back than

on the GT and the bars more

forward and straighter, my 2m

long chassis and old school riding

style wants the pegs a good 5cm

further back to push me into a

more superbike riding style.

However, after attacking some

proper bendy roads I have a

deeper appreciation for the R and

would possibly say that it is now

my favorite of the two models

- and had I been riding in full

leathers, I might have had a bit

more of a go in the corners than I

did in my road riding gear. I would

love a go around a track on this

thing in the near future. it begs to

be ridden hard and is impressive

to ride in the twisties.

Muscling all that weight and

power through the corners does

require some definite and positive

input and planning from the rider

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