Friday, January 20, 2012

Bad, bad bike! (What my Triumph Rocket III Touring puts me through.)

Oy, my R3T is really testing me! Went out for a nice ride with 9 other bikes this past weekend. I met up with everyone in Temecula and proceeded to the desert (Borrego Springs) from there. Less than a 200-mile ride round-trip.

First issue: At the gas station where we all met, a Harley rider had to inform me that my Rocket was leaking. What?! Of all people, a friggin' Hog rider... Anyhow, it turned out to be a fresh (bright green) coolant leak coming from one of the 3 hex bolts on the pump cover. I tightened it, but we'll see. I have a chrome cover I've been meaning to install, so maybe now is a good time. I smelled coolant during the entire ride...

Second issue: On arriving to Borrego Springs, my bike decided not to start back up when leaving a service station. It appeared to be electrical so I checked the usual suspects -- fuses, loose wires, battery. Looks like I had a dead or dying battery. I jump started it off a Goldwing (what is going on in this world if a Harley guy tells me MY bike is leaking and a friggin' Goldie has to jump start me?).

Anyhow, I got home (100 miles of worrying) and turned the bike off; it would not turn over after immediately trying to restart it. No biggie, if it turns out to be the battery, I need a new one anyhow as this is the stock one.

I took the BMW for a planned ride to Julian over the Sunrise Highway (S-2) the next day. Too bad, as I love rolling thru Julian with my Rocket!

UPDATE: After my recent dead battery travails, I scoured the net for info on The Best Battery for our Rockets. The site I like ( agreed with others that:

1. The Scorpion was the best battery available, overall.
2. The Odyssey came in a close second.
3. The best place to buy it was

I followed the sage advice provided by the genius Rocket Scientists on that site and my battery arrived 3 days after I placed the order on-line. I installed it last night (it was an easy drop-in direct replacement). My bike fired up, sounding stronger than ever.

One bonus with the Scorpion battery is the extra mounting posts on the sides, allowing for uncluttered terminals for all those farkles we're prone to add.

So, it was a $100 fix and the bike is running stronger than ever. No biggie, as battery replacement (every few years) is just an accepted part of bike maintenance. I'll keep it on a battery tender.

Ah, the continuing saga of a very bad bike...

I still love her, even though she treats me bad.


  1. Loving your bike even though she treats you bad is very sweet of you, Dan. As a bike enthusiast, I have come to know that the lowly battery, believe it or not, is a very common cause of motorcycle breakdowns. Check them as often as you could, and recharge only when necessary.

    Clare Westby

  2. So, what happenened with the antifreeze? I have slow drop leak somewhere and can't find the source, its coming from either end of the tube connecting the reservoir to radiator!

    1. Easy fix. Undo each bolt--there's probably a loose one--and torque it back in with LocTite.

      Stuff shakes loose on these big ol' bikes! No worries.

  3. Your Rocket does love you! I have an 05
    6k fuel pressure regulator
    19 k dropped bolt from shift pawl into trans.
    22k new trow out bearing and actuator ( maybe my bad )
    31k new clutch assembly, new voltage regulator, and motor out again to replace grounded stator.
    I'm a Tech and do the work myself. This is a pain in the ass power plant to service!

  4. Can any of you rocket lovers tell me if it normal for the exhaust to turn red.I have an 2008 r3. Thanks

  5. I've seen red hot (glowing) exhausts and was told that it does happen. Perhaps you can ask the pros over at

  6. iv been told by the garage i bought it from my rocket battery has gone flat because i only ride it once a week and the alarm drains it so i need to disconect the alarm is this right

    1. Paul,

      I'd suggest a battery tender/trickle charger if you don't already have one.

      I have 3 bikes and the batteries would all die if I didn't keep them on a battery tender.

      That and riding them as often as possible!

      Good luck!