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Triumph Rocket X: the big bad wolf

22 February, 2015

For well over a century, Triumph has defined ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ motorcycling — the British, gentlemanly motorbikes contrasting with their brutal, street-thug engines. Texan racer Johnny Allen’s 1956 achievement, hitting an average speed of 214.17mph in a Triumph-powered streamliner, remains to this day one of Triumph’s defining moments in history. The ‘world’s fastest motorcycle’ came through again in 1969, at the Isle of Man Production TT — Malcolm Uphill piloted his Triumph Bonneville to the first-ever Isle of Man lap at speeds in excess of 100mph.

So, how are Triumph faring well into the 21st century? The current Triumph line-up is broad, catering to just about every taste in motorcycle. From their stable, the Rocket III is the king of the jungle in this respect, powered by its giant 2.3-litre, three-cylinder engine, and is celebrating 10 years as the world’s largest-displacement motorcycle in mass production.

That fuel-injected 2.3-litre Triumph Triple is a far cry from the simple power plants of old, boasting double overhead cams, twin-butterfly throttle bodies, and a raft of sensors working with the cutting-edge ECU to actively tailor the torque curve to the gear ratio selected. The mighty engine delivers 163lb·ft of torque as low as 2750rpm, providing sublime acceleration at just about any speed in any gear, always accompanied by the Triumph Triple’s aggressive signature snarl.

To commemorate the Rocket III’s biggest and baddest milestone, Triumph has released a limited run of 500 Rocket X motorcycles. The 2.3-litre engine is obligatory, and the Rocket X also wears a host of aesthetic additions asserting its street dominance. Its paint finish is in a high-gloss jet black against patterned grind-effect stripes, courtesy of premium custom paint specialists 8 Ball. Fittingly, the exhaust has also been blacked out, as have various necessities such as the handlebars, mirrors, and levers.

Triumph has positioned the Rocket X as a perfect middle ground between a cruiser and all-out sports bike, without compromising on either counts. It’s fast, raw, and can see itself around a corner, but does not sacrifice on comfort and refinement — it also looks bloody good to boot. The Triumph Rocket X has an on-sale date later this year, to be confirmed soon.

The Jowett Jupiter turns 70

John Ball has always enjoyed tinkering with old boats and cars. He’s old enough to think having gearbox parts on newspaper on the floor of his bedroom, while the relevant car sat waiting on nail boxes, was a normal part of growing up. His passion has always tended towards old British bangers. He reckons he’s fortunate not to have got caught up in the American muscle scene.
John’s love affair with this Jupiter started in December 2015 when, with some time on his hands during a Christchurch trip, he searched online for ‘cars, before 1970 and in Christchurch’.

A passion for classics and customs

In the highly competitive field of New Zealand classic and custom restorations, reputations are won or lost on the ability to maintain consistently high standards of workmanship. A company managing to achieve this is D A Panel beating Ltd, of Rangiora near Christchurch. Is your classic or custom car restoration stalled, or in need of a refresh, or perhaps you are looking for experts to rebuild that recent import project out of Europe or the ‘States?