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Bloviating Zeppelin: Triumph Rocket III: British Heavy Metal

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Triumph Rocket III: British Heavy Metal

The motorcycle bug is at me once again. Perhaps because I am beginning to smell retirement. Not quite there yet, but I can start to see it through the fog.

I've customarily owned a motorcycle the bulk of my life. I started young, when my father brought home an ancient ex-CHP Harley-Davidson 74 that, for whatever reason, he purchased when perhaps having had smoked too many cigars one day. I can still clearly recall that the bike had the throttle on the right bar-end, and a "spark retarder" on the left bar-end. Yes, the bike was that old. It also had a flat-metal coil spring right-side kick start which, if one didn't retard the spark quite correctly, possessed the ability to fling you bodily up and over the motorcycle itself. Which is precisely what occurred to my father one time. I can still clearly envision that huge, square oil reservoir on the right side behind the engine, and those miniscule drum brakes. Because we had a gravel driveway in the back accessing Dad's Shop, it also fell over on him at low speed a time or two. He sold it for -- wait for it -- a British MG-B with the horizontal wires in the doors to open the doors.

I used to sit on that huge black leather seat comprised of vast butt-acreage (to a young boy, at least) and see myself motoring down the road. Dad once, in fact, took me on a local ride atop the 74's gas tank, sitting in front of him. We had no helmets, of course. The wind really rustled by. I loved it.

Pat Green later had a mini-bike powered by a red colored Briggs & Stratton engine. We both crashed it numerous times in the field behind the house. You could ride your bicycle faster than it would go -- but it was a mini-bike so no one cared. It had an engine; that was the entire point.

Later, when my family moved to Ohio and Dad was assigned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, I acquired a little 3-speed automatic Honda 50 mini-bike. We lived in Chatham Village on Harwich Drive. Dave Platten had his own red one, then Mike Vasiliadis got a larger, blue Honda 70 -- larger than mine. That was patently unfair. So, not to be undone, I purchased Terrell Allen's Honda 90 with the tank conversion kit, as the Honda 90 had a step-through (read: sissy) frame.

Just before leaving Ohio, I acquired a Yamaha 125 two-stroke with motocross handlebars. I can clearly recall buying a pair of Torsten Hallman riding gloves to wear whilst riding it.

After that, the bikes came cascading along. A series of Yamahas, a few Hondas, then my 1980 Yamaha XS1100 with matching Windjammer fairing, a 1984 Honda Magna and up to a gorgeous 1984 BMW R100RT in a shimmering silverish-blue. Heavy sigh.

I haven't had a bike for a number of years now, and the bug is at me again. I have my sights set on, thanks to Tim Frazier, a Triumph Rocket III, which possesses the largest engine in a current production motorcycle. A bit about the assembly of the average Rocket III by Triumph in England:

Already you can see: an uncommon motorcycle and not for the neophyte.

A few specifications: with a final shaft drive, the Rocket III weighs 703 pounds, produces 150 ft-lbs of torque and 145 hp at 2,500 rpm, 0 to 60 in three seconds, and has not only a low center of gravity but a low seat for those of us -- ahem -- who happen to be "inseam-ally"-challenged. As my doctor recently opined with a straight face, I am not overweight, I am simply under-tall.

I'm still in the pondering stage at this point, and haven't even thrown my leg over a Rocket III. Truthfully, I haven't been able to find one. And ideally, I'd care to focus more on the Rocket III Cruiser which appears to be more in tune with my potential usage, following retirement -- as I plan to scatter about with some of my fellow elderly ex-Sheriff reprobates, Silverbacks and current coppers on their metal steeds as well.

The Triumph Rocket III is, well, the embodiment of British Heavy Metal. And whilst we're at it, perhaps a taste of the original phraseology?

Any of you owners of various motors have any thoughts or opinionationisms?



Blogger Bubbles said...

OMG- what memories of those days at Chatham. I remember riding on the back with my arms around your waist with hot pants and body suit in the winter! We were nuts. Remember the rides to Bellbrook? Do you remember the name of the park we used to go to? I remember back in the 80's when I visited Chatham, Janet Hartel told me you were a cop in CA, I pictured you on a bike up and down the highways. "CHIPS" We did have a lot of enjoyment!

Mon Jan 24, 08:18:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I didn't get into motors until the early 2000s. But I did help instruct cops and create programs for motor officers in Fornicalia.

That aside, I'm feeling the Motor Bug once more. . .


Mon Jan 24, 08:38:00 PM PST  
Blogger Greybeard said...

2300 cc's?
Pissy-assed little thing.
Why not buy a REAL motorcycle!?

I remember the throttle retard grip.
I also remember the compression release on the BSA 441 thumper that pretty much accomplished the same task.
Damn, we're old.

Tue Jan 25, 12:34:00 AM PST  
Blogger The Old Man said...

Dear GOD - 700 pounds? "In retirement, bike rides YOU"

Maybe you should make Greybeard an offer on the Pizza Bike - seems to be excess right now. I guess a lot depends on your fiscal situation.... But if you really expect it to drop in the pot, get a Ural w/sidecar. Russian designed and built, an AK with spokes. Looked seriously at that one before I bought my Kaw.

See ya on down the

Tue Jan 25, 02:12:00 AM PST  
Blogger Old NFO said...

LOL- BZ, if it feels good, screw what we think... Just do it! :-)

Tue Jan 25, 05:59:00 AM PST  
Blogger dmurray said...

Auburn Boulevard between Mad and Kohler, west side. Or if the Kwakasaki is still whispering your name, look a few furlongs toward 244 on the same side of the street.

Lets go look at the tags.

Heck, I don't even get a t-shirt for saying it.

Tue Jan 25, 06:10:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Greybeard: like it said, the Midalu doesn't even really make it to "production," and you can clearly see that seat was made for someone thirty years younger than me. . .

Old Man: welcome aboard, thanks for visiting and thanks for taking the time to comment. Yeah, I've seen ads for the Ural. Looks like it's right out of Stalag 13. That'd be a mindblower.

DM: that just might be an idea, there, sir.


Tue Jan 25, 08:23:00 AM PST  
Blogger dmurray said...

I checked today: Performance Triumph went out of business 1-4-11. III's are still in there, I don't know if a deal can be made.

Down the street a couple of '08/'09 Kwakkers made me salivate. No ABS or traction control on those puppies, though.

Good hunting!

Tue Jan 25, 10:30:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

DM: okay, they have bikes on the floor but the doors are shuttered? Dammit, Jim!


Tue Jan 25, 03:20:00 PM PST  
Blogger Z said...

My mother during my high school years:
"If you come home on the back of a motorcycle, don't bother to come home." :-) (no vans, either, of course!!)

I love motorcycles but am a tad afraid of them.......I was once on a very big one with a short tennis skirt on....."Can we go over easy?" I asked, scared out of my wits as I realized I"d jumped on after throwing my tennis racket to a friend, not thinking of how much skin was exposed potentially to TAR :-)....the answer was "NO, we won't go over easily, but if we start to go over, I can't keep it from going over!"

I did dirt bike once and had a nasty fall down a very long hill of grease and tar......I was picking tar out of my hair and other things for hours afterward..

I still love a's a marvelous feeling.
Get a great one and retire tomorrow!

Tue Jan 25, 03:55:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Z: wish I could get a "great one" and wish I could "retire tomorrow." But the political prairie winds are blowing and not in my favor.

But motors are -- indeed -- LIBERATING.

When riding on a motor you somehow embrace freedom.

If you haven't done so, you won't "get it."


Tue Jan 25, 05:01:00 PM PST  
Blogger Timothy Frazier said...

I'm happy for the honorable mention. I'm still crazy about my "BB" and she turns heads everywhere we go.

She nearly got me in trouble a few weeks back when I walked out of a restaurant and there were two gals waiting with their camera..."Could you take a picture of us sitting on your bike? It's sooo big and pretty..."

I took their picture for them, refused to give either of them rides, and high-tailed it outta there as fast as I could without standing BB on her back wheel.

Nothing will get my bike turned into slag faster than if it starts attracting stray broads and Robin notices.

And the guys are just as bad...or worse. Robin saw one dude drooling over BB when we were coming out of a store one day. "Your bike draws as much attention as a bikini model." she scoffed. I just smiled and thought about how I used to drool just like that over Rocket IIIs every time I saw one before I got my BB.

Go get yerself a test ride. You'll fall in love.

Tue Jan 25, 10:53:00 PM PST  
Blogger Dave said...

Have a look at this. It may be a little more than you want though.

Wed Jan 26, 06:30:00 AM PST  
Blogger FireCap5 said...

Tow bits of advice from an old bike mechanic friend of mine.

"Sit on the thing with your hands on the bars, feet on the pegs, close your eyes and FEEL it. If it doesn't feel good, walk away."


"Remember, its a stupid machine. It will do exactly what you tell it to, whether you can handle it or not. Know your limits."

I like Trumpers, have had several rice burners. But I am totally into my '08 Road King Classic. Nice ride, good handling and LOVE the 50's look!!

Wed Jan 26, 02:30:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Tim: so far that's the problem; finding one much less one to ride.

T'stick: yeah, I concur, that's a little over my head; a 350 V8 in a bike frame.

FireCap5: thanks for visiting, welcome aboard, thanks for the advice. I know one thing I DEFINITELY want in a motor, and that's the most upright seating position possible. I can't have too much pressure on my wrists anymore or my hands go numb.


Wed Jan 26, 03:22:00 PM PST  

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