‘ The ones with black en­gines are more re­fined’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - MCN Garage -

We get quite a few Rocket IIIS in, but they’re only re­ally ever vis­it­ing for tyres, brake pads and ser­vices.

The early bikes had a sil­ver en­gine and I think it was 2006 or 2007 that they went to black en­gines and the colour change co­in­cided with a lot of up­grades to the en­gine and gear­box to keep en­gine noise and harsh­ness down and to make them a bit more re­fined.

There are some things to watch out for on them, and the big­gest is­sue I’ve seen over the years is dodgy ig­ni­tion switches. You turn the ig­ni­tion on and if you fid­dle with the key the ig­ni­tion can cut out – we’ve had to change quite a few bar­rels over the years.

They’re also heavy on rear brake pads, which is to be ex­pected, and heavy on rear tyres, which prob­a­bly goes with­out say­ing.

Some rid­ers com­plained about clutch slip on re­ally early mod­els, but I re­mem­ber the clutch springs be­ing up­graded on later bikes.

There were also cus­tomers com­plain­ing about an oil leak com­ing from the side of the en­gine. It turned out to be a preser­va­tive that was sprayed on the bike while it was stored. It was cleaned off be­fore sale, but some of it would get trapped be­hind the side-mounted oil tank. When the en­gine got up to tem­per­a­ture the preser­va­tive would melt and drip down the side of the en­gine and look like an oil leak. If you see one that’s been sit­ting up over win­ter or in a show­room for a long time you might see fork seals start­ing to leak. But more of­ten than not, all it takes to sort it is to dry it off and go for a road test. The seal isn’t dam­aged, it just re­laxes and al­lows a tiny weep of oil out, so go­ing for a spin will make it good again.

I’ve never felt a bike so sus­cep­ti­ble to tyre pres­sures. Every bike re­acts badly to soft tyres, but on a Rocket III it feels like the wheels are go­ing to fall off. They should be 34psi front and 42psi rear. They’re a prob­lem when the rear tyres are squared off too. Any­thing wrong with the tyres, the bike will feel hor­ri­ble.

Over­all it’s a pretty trou­ble­free bike. The later you can buy the bet­ter. If you stick to the black en­gines you’ll be al­right and if I had to nar­row it down I’d say one from 2009 on is the one to go for.

‘If the tyres are too soft it feels like the wheels are go­ing to fall off ’

Tyre pres­sures are cru­cial and check for wear. Ig­ni­tion bar­rels can fail

ADRIAN CLANCY is Head Me­chanic at To­tal Tri­umph in Taun­ton, Som­er­set

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