Tyres for my Triumph Rocket 3 Motorcycle

Triumph describes its bikes as "Extraordinary. Unique. Ultimate. Legendary." And their owners will want tyres to match.

With a 2.3 litre engine and 146 bhp at 5750rpm this bike is simply at the top of the food chain, and tyres for a Triumph Rocket 3 motorcycle will need load-bearing ability. Good braking goes without saying, although the bike's ABS assistance already does a great job, and good handling is engineered into every part of it.

Metzeler tyres are currently considered the most glamorous performers, so it's no surprise that original equipment on the Rocket usually includes ME880 Marathons. For customised bikes an XXL version of these exists for up to a 300 section. Metzeler say these tyres use softer rubber for extra grip, but they also claim "outstanding wear characteristics", which is surprising - soft rubber and high mileage don't usually come in the same package.

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Even for touring countries where garages are few and far between, fuel consumption is a limited worry. The six-gallon tank should take you about 220 miles, but if you do intend to do long-distance touring, as the designers intended, instead of just looking at it (which they also intended) it makes sense to consider durability and mileage when buying replacements. 

Your choice could also depend on which model of the bike you have. For example, the current Rocket has 20% softer rear suspension than the 2004 model, so there's less need to seek comfort from the tyre.

Front tyres are 150/80 on a 17" rim, but rear ones were changed on the 2008 touring model from the Rocket's usual 240/50 into a 180/70 (on a 16" rim). Some earlier models were also reported to have been shipped with 240/60. While this is a small difference, the electronics are factory-calibrated to the tyres, so even this small divergence could necessitate some re-calibration.

Recommended speed ratings are sometimes given as V and sometimes as R. The reason is that UK-sold machines are speed-limited below the machine's potential performance. If your bike is uncapped, you need V speed minimum.

Alternatives to Metzeler Marathons notably include the Bridgestone Exedra Max, a recommended performer all round. Also consider their G701 and G852.
Dunlop Elite 3 are praised for their braking but expensive, as are the D427, original equipment on Harley Davidson's Fat Bob. The Dunlop D251 is half the price and Avon Cobras (AV71/AV72) are also good value though criticised for limited wet grip.

After replacing a tyre, allow 24 hours for it to settle into the rim. Thereafter, caution is needed for the first hundred miles because the handling will be different.