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Discussion Starter #1
Ok - a couple of admissions right up front. [1] I'm a newby [2] I own and regularly ride a Honda VTX 1300c [3] I'm an old guy at 54 [4] I am a Design Engineer - so please have patience :)

But...I did own and ride a '68 Triumph hardtail 500 for awhile and liked it (so did Marlin :D ). I do like the inline 3 Rocket - allot. Mechanically it makes sense; narrower frontal area; smoother rpms; lower center of gravity etc. It's just that it is too much for what I need. I'm a 6' 1" guy of prosperity (re: overweight) and my VTX1300 will accelerate and haul me around pretty quickly. Most of my riding though is cruising and although there is a Rocket Cruiser, I would be more comfortable at around 1500 cc.

As a holder of 10 patents I think it is probably one of the best Cruiser configurations ever - but does anyone else wish it was a bit smaller? All opinions appreciated and I have my flame retardant britches on :D

MechE
 

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I think those that wish it was smaller have never been on one and are too inimidated by its size to even try. Everyone that I've known that has given it a whirl agrees that it is much easier to ride than they first thought, and it quickly becomes an addiction. For those that only want 1500ccs, there is a new Triumph coming out....
 

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As owner of two Triumphs..an 2007 America(865 twin)and an 2008 Rocket3 Touring(2300 inline 3)..I can give a fairly accurate comparison of the 2 bikes.The America lacks pure power..seems to rev up to top rpm but handles well in corners,great fuel economy,and is an attention getter at all stops!!BUT,the R3T is pure animalistic from the start up,more power than needed,handles surprisingly well in the corners,35-38 mpg but not quite the attention getter that the america gathers,I would not wish less power(actually added exhaust and re-map)..a little intimidating at frist but after the 2nd day and 55 miles I found myself extremely comfortable riding the R3T..Not sure about how the Thunderbird(1500 Twin)will handle but can promise one thing..If Triumph engineers build it(they will)than it can be riden...with smile on your face and a little bit less money from your pocket.NO SMALLER ROCKET FOR ME!!!!
 

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Wouldn't trade my R3 for one, but I might get one for my son, look at the Triumph Thunderbird..
Smaller, more versatile, powerhouse, due out next yr.
 

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I think Triumph opted (wisely) to not build a smaller triple but build a bigger twin 1600cc cruiser for 2009. My advice, locate your check book and your nearest dealer and you should look forward to a bike that exactly fits your requirements. You should find the new bike at the Triumph website or in last months bike mag reviews.
 

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I have a deposit on the first '09 Thunderbird my dealer gets next year:





I won't be getting rid of my Bonneville or Rocket III though!
 

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xchopper, sure can't say I blame you, like I said, I wouldn't get off my rocket either,but now as for that down payment.. Whats the MSRP on that tbird.
i figure a 10% down is that about right?
 

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xchopper, sure can't say I blame you, like I said, I wouldn't get off my rocket either,but now as for that down payment.. Whats the MSRP on that tbird.
i figure a 10% down is that about right?
I put down a $500. deposit, not a down payment. When it comes time to take delivery I'll put down at least a few thousand. They haven't announced the MSRP yet but I'm guessing it will be a couple G's less than a Rocket III.
 

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The R3 is only 704 dry weight and balanced very well. My bud has an 1800 VTX and it's really no different at all as to feeling the weight. Well, Ok, before I get flamed-it does carry it's weight a BIT different-but there is really no functional difference.
I put 10,000 on a 04 Bonnie and 10,000 on a 07 America and I got used to the R3 in about 30 minutes. If you can ride a 1300 VTX you will have no problem with the R3.
I drag my R3 all day-it can be ridden!
 

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xchopper, I think I'll go to the dealer next Saturday, and drop a small "deposit" on the first one here. Dang, I hope its Black. :) ya know, it sure would look bitchin with 2 headlights wouldn't it. If I knew how to photoshop, I'd post a pic of it with two headlights, for now, my imagination will have to do. Double headlight mount may be a part to consider making for it though...
 

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The R3 is only 704 dry weight and balanced very well. My bud has an 1800 VTX and it's really no different at all as to feeling the weight. Well, Ok, before I get flamed-it does carry it's weight a BIT different-but there is really no functional difference.
I put 10,000 on a 04 Bonnie and 10,000 on a 07 America and I got used to the R3 in about 30 minutes. If you can ride a 1300 VTX you will have no problem with the R3.
I drag my R3 all day-it can be ridden!
I have a VTX 1800 and I agree. The R3 carries more of it's weight down low and is actually easier to ride aggressively than a VTX 1800. The Rocket's suspension is superior as well and the bike doesn't wallow in bumpy turns like the VTX. I like the styling of the VTX better than the Rocket but then it's a totally different kind of motorcycle. For me, the Rocket is all about the ride. No other bike I've ever ridden handles, rides and accelerates like the Rocket III. :D

My VTX



I greatly prefer the way my VTX handles with the changes I've made. The raked triple trees and lowered rear suspension make hard cornering much more stable. My rear air suspension can be raised on the go for tight cornering.

My Rocket III with 11.5" Progressive 440's and no other suspension mods. handles better than a stock VTX or a modified one like mine.
 

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xchopper, I think I'll go to the dealer next Saturday, and drop a small "deposit" on the first one here. Dang, I hope its Black. :) ...
My dealer said they will call me when Triumph notifies them they can order new Thunderbirds so I can specify which options I want. I'm sure yours will also.
 

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..Not sure about how the Thunderbird(1500 Twin)will handle but can promise one thing..If Triumph engineers build it(they will)than it can be riden...with smile on your face and a little bit less money from your pocket.
Maybe another bike to consider is the Thunderbird 900 triple. It has classic Triumph looks, a broad power band, the triple exhaust howl and gets good gas mileage. I think it is closer to a smaller Rocket III than the new Thunderbird. The only trouble is, you have to buy used since they have been discontinued since 2004. I am very happy that I did.

Just my opinion. :)

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #15
All good points and suggestion

My big thanks to everyone for your reply :D and some very good comments. I like the inline three due to smoother vibes and the driveshaft does not have to go through a 90 degree turn for power. It's simpler, more mechanically sound and fuel efficient.

In reality I'm not really intimidated by the power. I'm a private pilot and my bike compared to landing a small plane is tamer. I can hit 85 mph in third gear and had it over 100 a few desolate times. I guess I'm just being an Engineer. Why have all that power if I don't need or use it? My VTX1300c get about 50 mpg and it still scoots like crazy.

Honda did allot of nice things, and some not so nice. I think Triumph engineering and thought process is better and possibly quality. So to all of you kind gentlemen, I'll probably spring for a Rocket and turn my VTX into something with a sidecar for me and the boss (missus).

Thanks again for everyone's thoughtful comments!

MechE
 

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I think the Rocket handles great at speed. It may be 704 lbs dry, but with water, gas, and all the crap I have hanging on it, it must be 800 lbs. I find this weight a bit tedious when the bike is stopped, doing u-turns, maneuvering around parking lots and driveways. But I'm addicted to the power. The new Thunderbird is just going to be a lighter and less powerful bike. The V-Rod is a great alternative for the puny weaklings among us. The new V-Max blows the V-Rod and T-Bird away - 200 hp at only 683 lbs wet.
 
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