A new Triumph Rocket III has been spotted by spy photographers, revealing substantial changes to the British manufacturer’s mammoth cruiser. The current Rocket III has been around in various forms since 2004, and though it is still available in North America, the bike was dropped in Europe due to Euro4 restrictions. It doesn’t look like we’ll have to wait very long for its replacement as the bike pictured here looks close to being production ready.
Whispers of a new Rocket III emerged in the fall after Triumph’s dealer meeting which also generated leaks about the new Scrambler 1200 and Speed Twin. According to various reports, a prototype Rocket III was ridden on stage during the meeting while a design sketch was also showcased. The spied test model appears to match the design sketch, while giving us a good look at both sides.
The engine exterior looks similar to the old inline-Three, with the three cylinders stacked vertically front to back. The engine is expected to have been completely revamped with rumors swirling of a displacement increase from the previous 2294cc to closer to 2500cc. The new engine will no doubt pass Euro 4 regulations, as well as the even stricter Euro 5 regulations set to kick in for 2020. Helping on this front is the new exhaust system, with three pipes flowing from the right side leading to two short, stacked silencers on the right side and a third on the left. The original 2004 Rocket III had a similar two and one setup, but with long, straight pipes. The most recent Rocket III Roadster and Touring models had a pair of long pipes running to either side of the rear wheel.
The shorter exhausts make it easy to notice the Rocket III will remain shaft driven, but now with the drive shaft hidden inside a single-sided swingarm. Gone are the previous Rocket III’s twin rear shocks, replaced by a linked monoshock located beneath the seat. The new suspension also means a new frame.
The front suspension has also changed, with a completely different, beefy inverted fork. The new Rocket III has a more muscular-looking stance and a much steeper-looking rake. The new model also sports Brembo brakes, with ABS.
The design sketch and prototype shown at the dealer meeting had relatively neutral footpeg placement but the model in the spy photos show a much significantly forward reach. This may indicate more than one version of the Rocket III is in the works.
From the rear views, we can see a stubby tail with an integrated rear brake light. The rear turn signals are mounted to a tire-hugging combination fender and license plate holder.
Other changes we can make out include twin LED headlights, bar-end mirrors and a new fuel tank shape. Also visible is a new instrument cluster which will likely be helpful for managing the new Rocket III’s electronics such as ABS, traction control and engine mapping.
Unlike most European manufacturers, Triumph hasn’t been dead set at saving its model announcements for the big motorcycle shows so we expect the new 2020 Rocket III to be announced in the months ahead instead of being held for a fall EICMA reveal. We’ll have more information here on Motorcycle.com as it becomes available.