You would think that riding the largest triple on earth with it’s impressive torque and horsepower stats would put you well ahead of the clock and you’d never be late getting anywhere on account of your ride.
But Triumphs have a tendency to make you late, at least if you live in the United States.
Especially Triumphs that stick out like the Rocket III. If I have to stop for fuel or some other mundane reason along my morning or afternoon commute there is almost always someone waiting by my bike when I exit the store wanting to chat.
“What is that thing?”
“Didn’t Triumph go out of business in the 50s?”
“Is that one of them Boss Hoss motorcycles?”
“Is that a v6 out of a car?” (They always assume there must be three pipes exiting the other side as well)
And then there’s the old codgers who know their history and are a joy to have a conversation with:
“Triumph, huh? I had a Bonnie back when I got home from Nam. Best motorbike I ever owned. Lot smaller than that one, though.”
And then I simply must tell them about John Bloor who ascended from running a drywall business to real estate tycoon and then single-handedly engineered Triumph’s glorious come-back.
The rags to riches story of how a non-enthusiast came to buy the oldest continuously producing motorcycle brand in history and turn it from an abandoned factory with a production trickle of less than a hundred Bonnies a year into one of the most successful and largest privately owned vehicle manufacturers EVER is as intriguing to me as the cutting edge and historic diverse bikes themselves.
Then I spin into how they aren’t the best bikes on the planet, but they’re darn close. And how British mechanical engineering seems to be an inscrutable paradox of overkill on quality and good strong chrome plated steel punctuated with disappointing sprinklings of painted and chromed cheap Taiwan plastic in surprising places (like factory mirror housings that break off in your hand when you try to adjust them while riding).
We chat, I learn from the old codgers, and sometimes I learn from a younger enthusiast who knows more than I about the brand, and by the time I break away I’m late for work or dinner.
Triumphs aren’t exactly rare here in Texas, but they are fewer and farther between than Harley Davidsons, Suzukies, Hondas, etc. Sometimes I go for weeks without seeing another one on the road.
Perhaps I should pick up a Victory or Yamaha for when I really need less of a conversation piece to get somewhere in a hurry but have to make a stop or two along the way.