Triumph Tiger 800XC
by Brian Robinson
One of the reasons why SUV’s are so popular is that people love the feeling that they can go just about anywhere at any time, whether they actually do or not. And that go anywhere theme is working its way through the motorcycle ranks as well, as adventure bikes become more and more popular. And this week Brian Robinson goes Two Wheelin’ on one that really growls.
BRIAN ROBINSON: The Tiger name has been on many Triumph’s over the years, but none quite like this. This Tiger 800XC looks to take not only the Tiger name, but the Triumph brand on a whole new adventure.
Based on the more street-biased Tiger 800, the XC is built for those who like to take their adventures off the pavement occasionally. Not that the Cross Country is a true dual-sport machine; it’s still a bit too heavy for that.
I’m not much of an off-roader, myself, but I do enjoy a nice gravel road on occasion, and often where they lead me. And for that, the well-balanced XC is more than capable. If your plans call for more serious trail-riding, you’ll want more aggressive tires for the standard 21-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear.
The Tiger 800’s tubular trellis frame is old school steel, no lightweight aluminum here. The dual-sided swingarm however, is aluminum. Motivation is provided by a liquid-cooled, 799cc inline-triple engine. Though mostly new, it does get some parts from Triumph’s 675cc Street Triple. Horsepower comes in at a healthy 94, and torque at 58 pound-feet.
A small standard skid-plate offers some protection, but this extra-beefy full sump guard is one of the many options that Triumph has available. Another is this Arrow muffler. Mounted high on the right side, it sounds great, yet is not overly loud. A full fuel tank holds 5-gallons, which will take the weight of the Tiger to 473-pounds and get you about 200 miles between fill-ups.
Our test bike had been ridden very hard at the hands of a few testers before we got our paws on it, and there were a few fit & finish issues that stood out, but we like the overall styling of the XC. It looks ready for just about any type of adventure. Dual headlights complement the beak-like front end, and a small windscreen is standard. Also standard on the XC is a beefy luggage rack and there’s even a decent tool kit. Both hard and soft saddlebags are optional.
Front forks are hefty 45-millimeter Showas, with over 8-inches of travel. A single Showa monoshock does a good job of soaking up bumps in the rear, and is adjustable for both preload and rebound. Brakes are your standard dual front, single rear disc affair. Dual pistons calipers get the job done upfront, while a single piston caliper resides in the rear.
Both the handlebars and seat height are adjustable to custom fit the Tiger to your body. Gauges are fairly basic by modern bike standards, but a trip meter is included.
Having an off-road focused agenda has done little to squash the fun factor of this mid-size bike. It feels very solid, and is quick to turn in. While riding position is fairly high, you still feel like you’re sitting in the bike, not on it.
Power is more than adequate, but never overwhelming. And for those that feel an 800 is not enough for long-distance touring, I found the Tiger managed quite well on long highway slogs. The only problem being a bit of buzz coming through the handlebars at interstate speeds.
Pricing for the Triumph Tiger 800XC is very competitive with the rest of the segment at $11,999. Now if you have no off-road intentions whatsoever, the more street-friendly Tiger 800 can be had for a grand less.
This bike couldn’t have arrived at a better time, as adventure bikes look to be the next motorcycle fad in the coming years. And, this 800XC is just the start of the adventure for Triumph, as they’ve recently announced a larger Tiger 1200 Explorer coming later this year. Both bikes will finally give the BMW GS some serious competition in the adventure bike category.