The Albrex Triumph Rocket III Turbo: "Rocket
Special Report - Press Release Edited by
(November 2007) - 750, 800, 850 pounds plus rider -- who cares?
When three cylinders and 2,300 cc's get hit by a
turbocharger driving a single wheel, Weight Watchers
is the last thing on your mind.
Much more important is both hands on the bars, a
grip of iron, upper arms more like the Governator
than Gumby, cojones of steel and rock-hard
butt skin. Because when the right wrist cracks
the whip and the reinforced clutch sends all that
power to the gearbox, the forward thrust will
squeeze you into the single seat like you've just
been pancaked by a fusion-drive freight train.
The Triumph Rocket -- er, Rocket III -- starts
life as a production bike with the biggest capacity
in motorcycledom (with apologies to the Boss Hoss).
And there are very few who would say that the stock
140 hp at 5,750 rpm and 147 lb. ft. (200 Nm) of
torque at 2,500 revs makes it wimpy ride.
There are rumors that Triumph's engineers
actually toned down the elemental force of the
Rocket's three cylinders by backing off the ignition
and injection mappings. But I'll bet that most
of the owners are more than happy with the output of
the powerplant, especially compared to the lame
stock HP of the Rocket's Made in the U.S.A.
But for those Rocketeers who believe in the old
adage "More is Never Enough", we have Conrad Gruber.
The forty-something Austrian has developed a
following by specializing in helping bikers to whom
bigger, better and faster is a matter of principle.
They come to him from all over the world, leaving
their Ferraris or Lamborghinis at his workshop at
1,200 meters above sea level in the picturesque
Wildschönau, one of the most beautiful spots in
the Kitzbühel Alps. They return after two,
three or six months, depending on the schedule of
the custom tuner, and they leave delighted that
their favorite toy now has at least 50 per cent more
Two turbochargers for a Ferrari F50 to ensure
that the V12 engine delivers brutal 850 instead of
the standard 520 horsepower? No problem!
A hefty power injection for the Diablo? Can do!
With lots of love for details, Gruber’s Albrex
shop fulfills the dreams of eternal boyhood, fueled
by testosterone and money.
Of course, most of his customers also have one or
more motorcycles in their garage. And since
Yamaha made the macho-bike devotees wait for a new
V-Max for at least 15 years and the Suzuki B-King
wasn’t in sight, many muscle bike owners purchased a
Rocket III instead.
So a guy who gets his Ferrari pumped up to the
max naturally also can’t live with the fact that his
Triumph could let its 240 rear tire go up in smoke
much more quickly if it only would have “real”
After his first ride on a stock Rocket III to a
favorite street café and back home, one of Gruber’s
clients sent his bike over to beautiful Austria.
"Conrad, put a turbo on it to make sure this bike's
got real power“ was written on the instruction
leaflet which was, of course, backed up with a nice
budget and six months of time for the conversion.
But...you can't simply go down to the local Auto
Zone, buy a turbocharger and slap it on. A
turbo conversion that will survive a triple-digit
trip on the Autobahn at 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday
morning without problems requires lots of detailed
engineering solutions, which have to be
professionally designed and manufactured -- many of
them by hand.
So as his first step, the Tyrolean stripped the
whole engine. Trust is good, control is much
better! After he examined the engine’s inner
workings and pronounced them to be strong enough, he
put the engine back together again but didn’t forget
to paint the block with some heat-resistant enamel
in, of course Bad Black. As a result, the Big
Triple's mill looks way more attractive than with
the stock silver color.
The next step was a new exhaust manifold to feed
the turbo with high-speed exhaust gases.
Gruber has lots of experience doing that and he
tried hard to make the three manifolds pipes equally
long and as short as possible.
Then he asked KKK to manufacture a special
turbocharger for the 2.3 liter engine which builds
boost as fast as possible. Its maximum is
reached at 8.4 PSI (0.58 bar); over that, you'll
hear a Moby Dick-like blow from the pop-off valve.
The stock Triumph engine has quite low
compression-ratio at 8.7:1, which works nicely with
turbocharging and doesn’t require any changes to the
inner workings, according to Gruber. "The
Rocket motor seems to be made for this kind of power
increase since it is massively built and has got
lots of reserves inside", he says.
But the turbo, of course, isn’t all that's
needed. The tuner draped two power-friendly
intercoolers left and right from the radiator.
They look a bit bulky, but Gruber is already
thinking about a visually more attractive design.
The British-engineered triple's cooling system seems
to live healthy, as the Albrex conversion didn’t
require modifications on the cooling circuits for
water and oil.
Finally, the tuner gave the bike an auxiliary ECU
with a special mapping for the turbo engine.
It's responsible for trimming the injection and
ignition systems with painstakingly calibrated
mappings for matching ignition timing and higher
injection quantities when the turbo is pumping.
Gruber’s final modifications to the engine in
addition to the exhaust system are polished
stainless steel covers which preserve the right
lower leg from fifth-degree burns caused by the
turbocharger, which can get red-hot.
The three organ-pipe like tailpipes of the
standard exhaust are sort of looked at as an
unfortuante design accident by many Rocket owners.
Gruber realized that immediately and as a result his
conversion ended up something like a sawed-off
shotgun: looking evil and scattering noise wide and
As the two turbo bikes that Gruber showed us on
occasion of our visit demonstrated very well, the
customer has the final say. "Since I make the
high performance exhaust by hand anyway, I can
fulfill the customer’s individual desires regarding
tailpipe length, design and diameter” the
sympathetic tuner promises.
The big share of individual handwork certainly
explains the hefty conversion price of 11,000 Euros.
You can find turbo kits from the U.S.A. for less
money on the Internet, but none of them has an
intercooler or European approval. And you also
won't find a reinforced clutch, which is necessary
with this much power and is included in the Albrex
Gruber’s huge know-how on the development of
turbo engines can be felt from the first few feet.
The engine doesn’t show any cold running problems
and demonstrates an enormously powerful but smooth
power curve with the often typical turbocharger lag
at low revs.
The combination of short headers and small
charger is obviously worth the extra work.
Power is in plentiful supply and first and foremost,
the bike requires a cool and experienced hand on the
When you consider that the Triumph development
engineers only believed their customers capable of
managing electronically restricted 147 lb. ft. (200
Nm) of maximum torque at 2,500 rpm, you can imagine
what 266 lb. ft. (360 Nm) at an unbelievably low
2,900 revs can do with a motorcycle before you take
a seat for the first time.
The bike isn’t poorly equipped with its 240 rear
tire as standard equipment, but on the turbo version
even 330-millimeter rubber would have big trouble
getting the power down on the road without thick
smoke signals and long black stripes on the asphalt.
During our visit it was way too cold to do exact
performance tests and besides, the autumnal roads of
the Wildschönau had the grip level of soft ice cream
due to busy agricultural traffic. And don’t
forget the Austrian police, who like to punish
speeders with hugely expensive fines...
It certainly isn’t the fault of the ten extra
kilograms caused by the turbo conversion that the
bike is only about two or three tenths of a seconds
faster from 0 – 100 km/h than the standard 3.4
seconds, in spite of 80 extra horsepower. But
woe betide you if the monster is already on the
move. Then the road turns into a drag strip
and the rider is hanging on the handlebar as a
spinnaker at wind Force 10 on an America’s Cup
Before you have taken a deep breath or, as
promised by Gruber, in about 10.5 seconds, the
needle of the speedometer has left behind the 200
km/h mark behind and it’s time to confidently make
heavy demands on the standard Triumph two-rotor disk
brake. Nevertheless, in normal riding, if
anything "normal" can be said about this turbo
monster, it does work quite well.
Since nobody will ever try for record laps on a
race circuit with the tuned Rocket III, the
suspension also doesn’t have too many problems with
the power increase. At least as long as the
road is straight.
The Turbo-Brit is certainly one of the most
fascinating ways to burn down the distance between
two corners in a very entertaining way.
Accompanied with the whistling of the turbocharger
the motorcycle inexorably seems to head towards
horizon. The force of acceleration heavily
attacks the rider’s body and you shouldn’t
underestimate that nearly half a ton including the
rider has to be decelerated again in front of the
Actually it doesn’t matter at all whether you
have chosen the third, the fourth or fifth speed on
a country road. The engine always delivers
more power than necessary and when the pointer of
the rev meter jumps beyond 2,500 you should aim it
very precisely down the road and hold on tight!
You can quickly get addicted to this method of
riding. Pull the throttle, boost is rising,
the engine catapults the bike forward and the next
gear is engaged accompanied by a wild chuffing of
the pop-off valve on the right side intercooler and
fun is going on and on without taking a breather.
Clutch, gearbox and shaft drive certainly are
engaged in very heavy work and it is hard to return
to cruiser mode, prescribed by law by the Austrian
enforcement authorities. But even then it is
impossible to forget that 266 lb. ft. of torque are
at work. The possible speed range covered in
fifth reaches from about 31 to 150 MPH (50 to 240
The power surplus is both fascinating and
dangerous. Each tiny turn the throttle grip is
answered by too much power, which requires a great
sense of balance and the exercise of restraint.
It isn’t prudent at all – at least if you are not
Casey Stoner or Valentino Rossi – to accelerate hard
and fast, as long as you are still in an inclined
But the brute may be worth thinking about for
mature bikers who don’t want to struggle with the
roughly 200 kilograms more in a Boss Hoss, or who
don’t want to ride a rolling living room like a Gold
They will maybe also add a bit more cosmetics
than Gruber’s shorter fenders made from carbon
fiber, which are a good start to exorcize the
Triumph’s Harley style. Rocket Roll!
Triumph Rocket 3 Turbo - Technical
Albrex engine tuning with one KKK turbocharger
in special Albrex configuration and integrated
boost control and symmetrical Albrex intercooler
system. Albrex high-performance exhaust
system with special manifold and three
tailpipes. Auxiliary Albrex ECU for
ignition and injection including special mapping
for turbo engine.
Water-cooled three-cylinder four-valve in-line
engine with Albrex turbocharging system.
220 hp / 161.9 kW at 5,000 rpm
360 Nm at 2,900 rpm
8.4 PSI (0.58 bar)
gearbox with reinforced multi-disc clutch, shaft
0 - 100 km/h in about 3.1 s; 0 - 200 km/h in
about 10.5 s
Thierbach 236, A-6311 Wildschönau, Austria, Tel:
+43 / (0) 53 39 / 86 94, Telefax: +43 / (0) 53
39 / 86 87.
Date of Publication: November, 2007
Note: For informational use only. All material and
photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC - 2000-2011. All
rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld®
page. NOTE: Product specifications, features and details may
change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read
Terms and Conditions!
►Your Comments and
Please send comments to
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
From "S.S." (12/10): "Nice
article about the Gruber turbo Rocket but there are
some errors in it first is the claim of non
availability of the reinforced clutch as MTC
engineering in the USA has a billet clutch basket
made for this beast.
Not to mention the other three
types of modifications one can do to the beast. The
supercharger conversion Developed by TTS Performance
UK and the Stage 1 and stage 2 conversions that
Carpenter racing has developed. Then you have well
as I call it the TransWarp drive initiative which is
what I am doing to mine on the next stage as I
already have the Intercooled TTS Supercharged
I am now adding the high compression
pistons along with cams that are almost .125" higher
lift then stock, 2mm larger titanium intake valves
with custom CNC porting. This bike with the ICSC has
buried the tachometer at 8300 rpm which is off so in
reality it is only 7800 by doing the math one can
easily figure out that is 207 MPH to bad we do not
have the autobahn in the USA but hopefully next year
at the land speed races you will see this thing join
the 200+ mph naked bike club.
Just thought I would
let you know that you were right about a ton of
power hiding in the beast. Triumph sure did put a
muzzle on it but we have taken it off !!!!!
real facts are the Carpenter stage 1 conversion at
244 hp and 196 ft lbs of torque will hit 9000 rpms
in a brief moment of time. Sure it has less torque
but in reality HP and rpms is what wins races not
the ability to pull a 4 bottom plow thru the
I personally have seen it pull 176 mph in
4th gear. So when one tries to imagine the 280 HP
stage 2 all naturally aspirated this turbo bike is
a snail. Oh and the stage 1 conversion is 5900.00
USD drive in drive out without six months of
waiting. I can't help but wonder if this is an old
Editor's Note: The article
was a Gruber press release issued in November of