There are a few brushed aluminium elements sprinkled across the Rocket’s powertrain to add some visual relief, which works rather well for the bike’s overall look, and the only part that was slightly underwhelming was the multi-spoke cast aluminium wheel design, which could have been a little less staid and a bit more flamboyant to match the rest of the bike. We don’t get the Rocket 3’s touring sibling, the GT, here in India and that has the same wheels in a silver finish which I would have much preferred. Those tyres, though, 150/80 R17 at the front and 240/50 R16 at the rear, are pure Rocket big, brash, and in your face in the most delightful way.
The 2.5-litre triple that powers the Rocket 3 R is its crown jewel, the pièce de résistance of this sinewy contrivance that is part metal, part madness. And, boy, does it make its presence felt! Not only does it offer more displacement than the unit propelling the outgoing Rocket, but it is lighter too — by about 18 kilograms in the powertrain alone and about 40 kg lighter overall. With 167 hp on tap peaking at 6,000 revs and 221 Nm of torque at 4,000 revs, this engine isn’t all show and no go either. It is mated to a six-speed gearbox with a shaft final drive and has a whole host of electronic hand-holders to make sure the motorcycle doesn’t rip out your throat as soon as you twist the throttle. Ride-by-wire allows for custom throttle maps and three pre-set riding modes (rain, road, and sport) plus one custom option which allows you to set traction control, ABS, and throttle settings to suit your needs. There is also a Continental IMU included that allows for optimized acceleration and braking performance through corners.