Ok..it’s a little ridiculous. I’m attempting to write a review and I’m the one that sells the product. It’s a bit like getting one to comment about one’s son or daughter without bias. Pointless right?
Well I’m also a human being (most of the time) and I feel the need to express my thoughts on this particular bike. The Triumph Tiger XC800.
I’m one very lucky guy (literally) working with such brands around me and I’m going to boast. Sorry…but this bike is bl…dy epic.
Not because it’s blisteringly fast or it climbs mountains like a billy goat, although I reckon it would give it it’s best shot. It’s just that the Tiger has already become my best friend and I’ve only done 450km on it.
I normally ride an Aprilia Tuono 2003 and it’s fast, torquey, tough and if I want it can scare the hell out of me, more than likely because I’m not a die hard knee slider.
I have ridden my fair share of bikes out of our range and others. I like the others. I like all bikes actually. Each one has it’s own story to tell and experience to deliver but when I hopped aboard the Tiger I felt immediately at home.
At the heart of the bike is its 799cc liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder powerplant with a bore and stroke of 74 x 61.9mm and multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection. This is mated with a six speed gearbox and chain drive. One of the key features of the engine is an oil cooled alternator that pumps 645watts so you can run auxillary lights, GPS, heated grips and charge your phone or light up a small suburb.
It sits within a tubular steel trellis frame with a cast aluminium alloy swingarm. Up front is Showa 45mm upside down forks providing 220mm travel and at the rear a Showa Monoshock with adjustable preload and rebound damping with 215mm of travel.
The front wheel is a 36-spoke 21 x 2.5in, Excel aluminium rims and rear 32 spoke, 17 x 4.25in up the back. The whole package is brought to a stop with twin 308mm floating discs, Nissin 4 piston radial calipers up front and a single 255mm disc, Nissin 2 piston sliding caliper. Our demo bike has no ABS but ABS models are available for comfort on the slippery stuff.
When it gets down to dimensions it has a wheelbase of 1568mm and a wet weight of 215kg. It also has a fuel tank capacity of 19 litres, which is two more than its german counterpart. I can live with that. Oh… and 95hp.
So that’s the technical blurb out of the way. Riding the XC800 is easy to describe but better to experience.
I’d been begging Shivani (the boss) to release this bike for demo since it arrived. It’s not a simple choice. You see it’s not so easy to demo a bike in the UAE. No trade plates or group insurance you see. Cars yes, bikes no. You have to register and insure just like a bought one. Anyway, we begged and she let us have it.
First things first, I had to lower the seat because I’m of average height, 5’9″ and tippy toes on the highest setting.
What a doddle. Once you find the key hole in the rear one just pops the passenger seat, adjusts a couple of heavy duty rubber bands and you’re good to go.
Once seated the bike sits down and accommodates your weight beautifully. It was all natural from there.
The seat felt brilliant. Snug, comfortable. You become one with the bike. The engine is sooo smooth. Triple smooth. Wind her up and gear change are surgical in execution. Cornering is handled with great aplomb and the bike just absorbs unruly undulations in surfaces without hesitation.
Compared to my usual ride the Tiger is refined and considered. Uncomplicated. A trusty steed. I love my Tuono and will probably never get rid of her but the Tiger is so much more usable. Whether it’s off down to the shops, out into the desert or to take on my favourite street circuit on a Friday morning. She’s a cruiser and a missile. A wolf in sheep’s clothes. And clothe her you can. You can go online to Triumph’s comprehensive web configuration and go ballistic with up to 55 different accessories on tap.
All I can urge you to do is come in and have a go…that’s if you wrestle it off me first. I’m happily smitten and my Tuono is uncomfortably nervous.