It might not have the magnitude of a Beatles reunion tour, but Triumph Motorcycles staged its own British Invasion when the English manufacturer unveiled its 2020 Rocket 3 R and Rocket 3 GT at the mother of all American motorcycle gatherings, the 2019 Sturgis Rally. Triumph showcased its apex power cruiser at Rice’s Rapid Motorsport in Rapid City with the help of stunt riders extraordinaire, Ernie Vigil and Nick Apex. Enlisting the services of two riders who can flog the hell out of a motorcycle was apropos considering the wicked disposition of the new Rocket 3 R which features a monster 2500cc powerplant and an eye-popping claim that the behemoth will blast off from zero to 62 mph in only 2.89 seconds.

“Super fun week at Sturgis presenting the new Rocket 3 R & GT. Killer job by @nickapex7 and @ernievigil21 who took the bikes deep into the belly of the beast,” wrote Triumph PR man Phil Read, Jr. on Instagram.

The 2500cc Triumph Triple is claimed to be the world’s largest production motorcycle engine (calm down all you Boss Hoss fans out there, BH isn’t a major manufacturer) that delivers the “highest torque of any production bike,” a prodigious 163 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm. Purported horsepower claims aren’t too shabby, either, the 2020 Rocket 3 R said to put out 165 hp @ 6,000 rpm, an 11% increase over the previous Rocket 3. The big Triple features a new crankcase assembly that shaved 24.25 pounds off the engine, a dry sump and integral oil tank lubrication system that cut off another 8.96 pounds, and new balancer shafts that took off another 7.94 pounds.  Overall, the new Rocket 3 R is 88 pounds lighter than the old Rocket 3. Lighter and more powerful. Color us interested.

The big engine is mated to a six-speed transmission with helical-cut gears. A forward-facing air intake helps the beast breath deeply while triple headers funnel into one before bellowing back out of three pipes. A torque-assist hydraulic clutch aims to keep clutch pull light and manageable.

Triumph reps are saying the new Rocket 3 R will surprise you with its handling. We'd love to test those claims! 

Much of the other weight savings can be attributed to its new aluminum frame and host of cast and forged components. That list includes a cast aluminum single-sided swingarm and an offset monoshock, a fully adjustable Showa RSU with a piggyback reservoir. Suspension duties on the front will be handled by a 47mm USD Showa cartridge fork with compression and rebound adjustability. Brembo’s performance-minded Stylema Brakes are tasked with braking duties up front, the compact Stylema’s designed for increased airflow around the brake pads to help the calipers cool quicker. A Brembo 4-piston monobloc caliper will scrub speed from the rear, the new Rocket 3’s also equipped with cornering ABS and traction control.

The racy new look of the Rocket 3 R includes 20-spoke cast aluminum wheels shod in Avon Cobra Chrome tires built specifically for Triumph’s muscular roadster. The single-sided swingarm leaves the 240mm rear prominently on display. The “R” version features mid-controls while the GT’s foot pegs are forward-mounted. The handlebars are kempt thanks to internal wiring while diagnostics are presented on a customizable TFT dispaly. The 2020 Rocket 3 has four ride modes (Road, Rain, Sport and Rider), cruise control, hill-hold control, and a keyless ignition. It also has what Triumph is touting as the “world’s first integrated GoPro control system” which allows riders to operate a camera via the bike’s switch controls. Turn-by-turn nav and Bluetooth phone and music operation are also part of the package. The latest Rocket 3 sports LED lights all the way around, including the trademark twin headlights. Triumph Shift Assist, which allows for clutchless up and down quickshifts, is one of many available factory options.

The 2020 Triumph Rocket 3 GT is kitted more for touring purposes, hopefully with your favorite riding partner. 

The 2020 Rocket 3 GT package includes an adjustable pillion backrest, heated grips, a fly screen, a larger 5-gallon tank (the Rocket 3 R holds 4.8-gallons) and the aforementioned forward foot controls with three horizontal position settings. The touring-friendly handlebars also taper back a bit more. A touch of machining on the rim and spokes of its otherwise black wheels differentiates it as well. The Rocket 3 GT comes in two distinct colorways, Phantom Black and a two-tone Silver Ice and Storm Grey, while the Rocket 3 R is offered in either Korosi Red or Phantom Black.

Triumph tipped its hat at the new design direction of the Rocket 3 when it unveiled its limited-edition Rocket 3 TFC back in May. While Triumph hasn’t released a price yet on the 2020 Rocket 3 R and Rocket 3 GT, the TFC (Triumph Factory Custom) version had an MSRP of $32,710.

2020 Rocket 3 R Specs

ENGINE & TRANSMISSION

Type: Inline 3-cylinder, water-cooled, DOHC

Capacity: 2458cc

Bore: 110.2

Stroke: 85.9

Compression: 10.8:1

Max Power EC: 165 HP (123 kW) @ 6,000rpm

Max Torque EC: 163 LB-FT @ 4,000rpm

System: Ride-by-Wire, fuel injected

Exhaust: Stainless 3-into-1 headers with 3 exit silencer / CAT box

Final Drive: Shaft, bevel box

Clutch: Wet, multi-plate hydraulically operated, torque-assist

Gearbox: 6-speed

CHASSIS

Frame: Full aluminum frame

Swingarm: Single-sided, cast aluminum

Front Wheel: 17 x 3.5 in. cast aluminum

Rear Wheel: 16 x 7.5 in. cast aluminum

Front Tire: 150/80 R17 V

Rear Tire: 240/50 R16 V

Front Suspension: Showa 47mm upside-down 1 1 cartridge front fork, compression and rebound adjuster, 4.7 in. (120mm) travel

Rear Suspension: Fully adjustable Showa piggyback reservoir RSU with remote hydraulic preload adjuster, 4.2 in. (107mm) rear wheel travel

Front Brakes: Dual 320mm discs, Brembo M4.30 Stylema 4-piston radial monobloc calipers, Cornering ABS

Rear Brakes: Single 300mm disc, Brembo M4.32 4-piston monobloc caliper, Cornering ABS

Instrument Display and Functions: TFT multi-functional instrument pack with digital speedometer, trip computer, digital tachometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, service indicator, ambient temperature, clock and rider modes (Rain/Road/Sport/Rider-configurable) – Triumph TFT Connectivity System can be added with accessory fitted Bluetooth module

DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS

Width Handlebars: 35 in. (889mm)

Height Without Mirror:  41.9 in. (1065 mm)

Seat Height: 30.4 in. (773mm)

Wheelbase: 66 in. (1677 mm)

Rake: 27.9 degrees

Trail: 5.3 in. (134.9mm)

Dry Weight: 641.5 lbs (291kg)

Tank Capacity: 4.8 US gal