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2009 Triumph Rocket III Touring Review


by Marc Cantin ,

Riding the most scenic roads of France is a dream for many of us. The opportunity to fulfill that dream this past fall, with an exceptional motorcycle like the 2009 Triumph Rocket III Touring, has made me yearn for more -- more time on these roads and more time with this machine.

On the gulf St-Tropez - Brigitte Bardot would not take my call!!!

Here's what you need for such a delightful, memorable experience: a comfortable and powerful touring bike (the R3 delivers 106 horsepower and an incredible 154 pound-feet of torque), a carefully-planned itinerary crisscrossing the French country from Paris to the French Riviera, and decent luggage space in the dual side bags and magnetic tank bag (Here again, the R3 delivers).

This great trip started in Paris, heading toward Magny-Cours (Central France) to attend a 24-hour race called "Bol d'Or" that's part of the World Endurance Motorcycle Championship. I then continued south through Saint-Étienne and the Massif Central, through Valence and on to Cannes. Returning along the Mediterranean through St-Tropez, Marseille and Nîmes (Where denim originated), I climbed back up to Paris through Alès and Mande in the Cévennes mountains, then Clermont-Ferrand and the Loire valley. Yes, that was some week!

The Rocket III lineup has been part of the Triumph family since 2006, when a "Classic" naked cruiser started dominating the competition in terms of size, weight, torque and displacement. Triumph took the logical next step in 2007 by introducing a long-distance Touring version with windscreen and side cases.

Torque to spare
The impressive 2,294-cc, inline three-cylinder engine is mated to a 5-speed transmission that can handle the mountains of torque, as well as rather imposing tailpipes - the result is a commanding yet well-balanced look.

Flawless ignition mapping and electronic fuel injection make it possible to get the most out of the engine's torque, especially under acceleration and during low-speed maneuvering.

An impressive exhaust manifold, to say the least.
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