One of the most anticipated motorcycles of the season is the new Triumph Tiger, which are closely related: the Tiger 800 and the Tiger 800 XC.
The Tiger 800 is more or less an on-road bike, very reminiscent I think in its design strategy of the original Ducati Multistrada. The Tiger 800 XC is a direct competitor of the very successful BMW F 800 GS (review) and it has rugged off-road tires and a 21″ front wheel.
I thought the basic Tiger 800 was the better looking of the two, and probably much more practical. It just seems to have less pretense to me.
No offense to GS and other adventure-touring bike owners, but I’d guess that the percentages of these bikes that really see off-road use is about the same as the percentage of SUVs that do the same. Maybe 10% if that?
So I’m biased towards street use, even though I bet I travel on more unpaved roads than many people. In any case, it’s fun to farkle the heck out of these things, imagining that one day you just might need to cross Death Valley or something. I think that’s part of the mystique of this type of motorcycle, which is hugely popular.
The basic Tiger 800 looks like a good handler to me and sitting on it gives me that nice feel of sitting “in” the bike rather than “on” it. I think the shape of the fuel tank does it.
There was quite the buzz at the Triumph stand as they went through the usual routine of 30 minutes of boring sales statistics before they got to the “meat” of the occasion and pulled the wraps off the bikes.
They introduced the Tiger twins and a new Daytona 675R and said they will be in Supersport racing next year with a factory effort.
[UPDATE: Triumph Tiger 800 pricing has been released. The Tiger 800 street version includes cast aluminum wheels (19″ front and17″ rear) and an adjustable seat height of 31.9″ to 32.7″, in white or yellow. It has a list price of $9,999 and $10,799 for the ABS version.
Triumph Tiger Seat Height
By the way of an update, I sat on the BMW F 800 GS and then went directly across the aisle to sit on the Triumph Tiger 800. The 800XC was on a rotating stand, so I couldn’t sit on that one.
But comparing the two, I was able to nearly flat-foot it sitting on the road-biased version of the Tiger, while on the F 800 GS, I could barely tiptoe my feet to the ground.
I have a 30.5″ inseam, so the F 800 GS is definitely out for me. The G 650 GS fit me nicely though and I could nearly flat-foot it, so it was comparable to the Tiger 800 in that regard.
The Tiger 800XC off-road version uses 36-spoke aluminum rim wheels with a 21″ front and 17″ rear.
It has longer suspension travel than the street version and a taller seat at 32.2″ to 34″. It’s available in orange with a list price of $10,999 or $11,799 for the ABS version.
Canadian pricing is as follows: Tiger 800, road model, starting at $10,799 CAD; Tiger 800, road model, with ABS, $11,699 CAD; Tiger 800XC, multi-purpose model, $12,199 CAD; and Tiger 800XC, multi-purpose model with ABS, $13,099 CAD.]
Back at the Triumph display, Triumph staff handed me a press pack with all the info but when I got back to the hotel, I discovered it was printed in Italian. So I’ll have to see if I can get an English version tomorrow. By the way, some readers have asked why we have so many BMW motorcycle announcements.
The answer is easy: first, I like BMWs. Second, BMW is very good at providing many high-quality photos to the press, which makes my job easier. They also have detailed descriptions of the new bikes, albeit not always in a user-friendly English translation. So whichever motorcycle company makes it easier for journalists will be the ones who get their info published first. Makes sense, eh? Some manufacturers are terrible at getting the word out…like Moto Guzzi.
Triumph isn’t bad, but they’re certainly not near the best either. Manufacturers, wake up! It’s almost 2011 and the internet has been in common use at least since 1993. Time to get the old act together and develop a new marketing strategy for the 21st Century!
OK, rant off. Here are some photos of the new Triumph Tiger, with apologies for the quality. Just as the Indy show, it’s very difficult to get good quality photos in the highly variable lighting used in these shows. But, you’ll get the idea I hope. I have a nice video of the Tiger introduction also, but it’s taking a very long time to upload the videos to YouTube from the hotel, so that will be posted later (hopefully). Enjoy!