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Living with a Rocket 3

Following the Biblical flooding of NSW, I was concerned about The Mother.


There was talk of landslips. There was talk of alligators emerging from Darkey Creek to snap at passing trucks. The Social Medias were awash (pardon the pun) with angst-filled bed-wetters demanding information from their fellow bed-wetters regarding the Mother’s “conditions”.


None of that was of any moment to me. If I  want to know of the Mother’s condition, I go and visit Her. She’ll let me know soon enough if I should have stayed home.

Besides, I had a Rocket 3 that had been sitting in my garage with a the corpses of dead mice arrayed around it for some days now. How did the dead mice come to be dead in the Rocket 3’s presence? My beloved wife had a theory.

“Are you making animal sacrifices to that Triumph?” She asked as I bagged the corpses. “Tell me our marriage has not entered a significant new phase.”


“Don’t be silly,” I laughed, my hands full of dead mice. “Such is the puissance of the Rocket, that when small animals approach, they perish from its sheer awesomeness.”

“Stop holding those things out to me like you’ve just come back from a hunt. And do not crash today. I haven’t got time to attend the hospital. I have to vacuum.”


I set forth astride the Rocket – caparisoned in weathered leather, and basking in its vast omnipotence.


Now, I gotta tell you, I love this thing. I loved it when John Bloor first punched the motorcycle world in the face in 2004, by offering it a 2300cc in-line triple carved from the eldritch Bones of Torque itself.

And then he made another even more magnificent one in 2019. I attended the press launch and left a soiled and brooding mess of a man.


A month or so ago, a long-term Rocket 3 arrived in my garage. The blessed R iteration. Not the cruiser GT. Which was my preference. And it was black. Which is also my preference.


It sadly came with shagged tyres, because the Plague has prevented all sorts of tyres from arriving in Australia in a timely fashion. Tyres are coming for it – though with my luck they’re on that stupid boat currently blocking the Suez canal with its stupid – but how am I not meant to ride it anyway?


I can’t just keep looking at it and whimpering? I can’t do any big runs yet, but I can certainly give the black brute a sound lashing around the neighbourhood now and again. And The Mother is my neighbourhood.


I was also concerned about the lovely Miss Kim Grace and her Commissar William ‘Lenin’ Wallace at the Grey Gum Café. They had been without power for seven days and cut off from the rest of the world at both ends of The Mother. It’s entirely possible a Lord Of The Flies scenario was taking place there. My brother, Shane, had arrived for the birthday celebration some weeks ago, and had not yet left. I feel he has replaced the Cuntosaur in the Commissar’s dark heart, and between the two of them, it was possible Miss Kim had been turned into a pagan idol and was being worshiped in all manner of strange and exotic ways by the two of them.

And that, I had to see. And I had to see it upon the Rocket 3 so that a rapid escape could be effected if it all cot too weird or spears were being used.

They sure did give it a crew-cut.

I stopped for a photo at the old giant fig-tree which marks the beginning of the Ten-Mile (or the end, if you’re coming from Sydney). The tree has been brutally lopped by council because it dropped a massive branch not long ago – probably due to lightning – and councils tend to over-react about such things. It’s now just a massive sawed-up tree. It ain;t dead, but it will be decades before it ever offers travellers the grace of its shade again.


The road-surface was clean and mostly dry, and I set upon it with a will. The Rocket is not the fastest-steering bike, but it does offer some magnificent and very visceral cornering experiences. It’s long, so its steady, and when you open the taps and it starts to lay pound that time-stopping toque into the road, it’s hard not to hoot with joy. So I hooted. I was the only bike on the road, so there was no shame.


The pegs would kiss the tarmac now and again, but it was all about those astonishing Brembos and the massive engine-braking going into a sharp bend, and then that almost inconceivable power-delivery coming out.

The Rocket 3 is quite an amazing bike to ride hard. You don’t imagine for one second it will do the thing you’ve asked it to do – and then it does it. I guess that’s what happens when you pay attention to ensure the suspension, brakes, and steering geometry work the package like it’s meant to be worked.

I had to wonder why anyone would choose to buy a Harley over one of these. Like what would be the thinking behind that call? The sound? Maybe. The Rocket does not sound like a V-twin, and if you’re wedded to that, then that’s fine. But in terms of the ride and the performance, and the sheer piss-offery 2500cc and 221Nm of torque offer you, there’s nothing to match it.


Ducati’s brilliant Diavel has the Rocket’s measure in the twisty stuff – but even it cannot bang this hard.

You can change gears if you want. Or just pick one you like, and stay in that one. That torque has your back.


And thus did I arrive at Grey Gums, feeling very war-like and powerful and lordly – which is the only way you will ever feel on a Rocket. And the only way any man should ever feel ever, quite frankly.


Miss Kim was not strapped nude to a tree, and the Commissar and Shane were not stripped to the waist, greased with chip-oil, and contending for dominance, despite the knives I saw on one of the tables.


“That is magnificent!” were the words which Shame greeted me with. “I’m seriously impressed.”


He was, of course talking about the Rocket 3. And he continued to walk around it, peering at its bits, when Will joined him. Will rides a Harley, as any true Communist does, and he will not easily be swayed from that path.


I let them both sit on it. Will immediately commented on how light it felt compared to his hog. Shane, who rides a K1300, and is a huge and tall lump of manliness, sat upon the Rocket in grinning silence and admiration.

“When I win the lottery…” he muttered whimsically. “It’s a great thing, isn’t it?”

I nodded. “Yes, I feel it is a milestone in motorcycle-making. It is a wonder to ride. No. Do not ask. The tyres are shagged.”


And they are – and this is evident in the slight extra effort needed to lever the Rocket into and out of a corner. It’s a big bike and it pounds its power into the pavement – and that, as you might guess, eats tyres.


I don’t care. If I owned one – and maybe one day I will, because the Rocket ticks every one of my boxes – I would actually admire and brag about the way it devours rubber. I would laugh contemptuously at men who could get 5000 out of a rear. I would be broke and eating dirt, but I would not care.

I would be riding a Rocket 3. All would be right in my world.

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Boris Mihailovic

Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.

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