Two bikes enter. One bike leaves. Actually, spoiler alert, both bikes leave just fine under their own power. Only one can be the most powerful, however. Shadetree Surgeon puts his own Triumph Rocket 3 on the dyno against Bert's Harley-Davidson's latest custom ride. Known at "Road King Kong," it's a Road King with a 131 crate motor swap that seriously wakes it up, as well as whoever is riding it.
First, Shadetree and crew have to travel not to Bert's Barracuda, their local dealer, but 100 miles to Bert's Black Widow where the dyno is. Both bikes are big and comfortable, so the trip is no problem at all. Plus, despite its extensive modifications, Road King Kong still carries a warranty, so none of the traditional Harley-Davidson comfort and rideability have been compromised as they might be in an all-out performance beast.
As in baseball, the visiting team goes up to bat first, so the Rocket 3 is first on the dyno. This is an older 2006 model, not the latest and greatest, yet it still pulls an excellent 157 horsepower and 155 foot-pounds of torque. With no warranty holding it back, Shadetree Surgeon has had this engine rebuilt and upgraded, which is why even at its age it puts more power to the wheel than the original 142 horsepower crank rating. It also shoots massive flames out the exhaust on deceleration, which is awesome no matter how much power it makes. It was just as awesome when my ex's Suzuki Savage did that.
Next, it's Road King Kong's turn. Even Bert's Harley-Davidson had no idea what kind of power to expect. After the build, they were waiting to dyno it until the engine was broken in, which Shadetree and friends were kind enough to do for them. When the run was done the numbers told the tale: 130 horsepower and 143 foot-pounds of torque. The Rocket 3 was the winner.
In the Road King's defense, it is running a relatively mild tune for overall reliability. It is for sale, and it does come with a warranty. Bert's suspects that with a more aggressive tune, it could probably match the Rocket 3's numbers. While on the one hand I believe them, on the other it sounds a bit like Brian O'Conner telling Dominic Toretto, "Dude, I almost had you." To me, the Triumph is the clear winner here. I have no doubt that with a few tweaks, Road King Kong could potentially match the Rocket 3's numbers, but until then it does not earn the title.
Then they put Flip's Triumph Bonneville on the dyno, just for laughs after these two monster bikes. Its numbers would be pretty respectable if he could add a 1 to the front of them. Let's face it, though, the Bonneville is not in the same league as these other beasts and is a perfectly fine motorcycle in its own right.