EARNING ITS STRIPES: The 2015 Triumph Tiger 800 is available in two versions - the road-biased XR and off-road-biased XC. This is the XRx. Image: Wheels24 / Dries van der Walt
It's a fact of motorcycling life that a great many adventure bikes spend most, if not all, of their time on tar roads. Several manufacturers have acknowledged this and offer tar road-biased motor-cycles that retain the rugged, macho appearance of adventure bikes.
Triumph, with its Tiger 800, has done so with two versions: the road-biased XR and off-road-biased XC.
Each of the two versions comes in two flavours – standard and higher-specced - the latter denoted with a lower-case “x” in the model name. Here in South Africa we get the high-spec versions only, hence the XRx and XCx model names.
The x-specification adds some additional features: off-road traction control and anti-lock brakes, a centre-stand, cruise control, two 12-volt power sockets and self-cancelling indicators.
However there are some notable differences between the two versions. The Tiger XRx has cast alloy rims - 19" front and 17" rear; the XCx has spoked wheels, the front one being 21".
GALLERY: 2015 Triumph Tiger 800 XRx
The XRx has Showa suspension, which is lower than the WP suspension of its more adventurous stablemate, as well as adjustable seat height to make it practical for shorter riders.
Like most adventure bikes, the XRx is comfortable enough to be a good long-distance bike yet nimble enough for commuting. The long and the short of it is that the Tiger is a very good everyday mount.
STICKING TO SPORT
The engine, an enlarged version of the 675 Street Triple, is pleasantly responsive, with surprisingly good pulling power from as little as 2500rpm. There are four preset riding modes – Road, Off-road, Rain and Sport. Sport gives a more assertive throttle response, though I felt it was a tad over-sensitive.
Road mode, however, dampened the response too much for my liking, so I elected to keep it in Sport and adapt my riding style to the sensitivity.
The bike also has a customisable Rider mode which allows changes to the set-up the traction control and ABS. The menu system on the computer takes some getting used to but by the end of the review period I had the hang of it. Fortunately, the riding modes can be changed on the move, which makes it easy and practical to switch between them when needed.
Due to its lower suspension, the XRx has less nose dive under hard braking than the XCx. The brakes have a nice progressive feel and the ABS is effective without being too intrusive. I didn’t have the opportunity to thoroughly test the traction control in Sport mode but the few instances where it did kick in was also not particularly intrusive.
SALES LEADER IN EUROPE
Handling was generally better than I expected and it turned out to be great fun to fling the XRx into corners and then use the low-end torque to power out of them.
Each Tiger 800 is extremely enjoyable to ride and it's no surprise to learn that they are Triumph’s sales leaders in Europe.
The eager performance of the inline-triple engine places them on the sporty side of the adventure spectrum – the XRx, with its lower ride height and better handling, even more so.
If you’re in the market for a competent mid-size all-rounder, I suggest placing the Tiger 800 XRx high on your shopping list.SPECIFICATIONS
Triumph Tiger 800 XRx
Type: 800cc liquid-cooled transverse triple
Maximum Power: 70kW @ 9250rpm
Maximum Torque: 79Nm @ 7850rpm
Fuel supply: Multipoint electronic fuel-injection with three throttle bodies.
Fuel type: Unleaded, 95 Octane RON
Fuel consumption: 4.9 litres/100 km
Type: Six-speed constant-mesh gearbox
Final drive: Chain
Overall length x width x height (mm): 2215 X 865 X 1390 mm
Kerb weight: 216 kg
Fuel tank: 19 litres
Front: Dual 308mm discs with Nissin dual-piston floating callipers and switchable ABS.
Rear: 255mm disc with Nissin single-piston floating calliper and switchable ABS.
Front: 43mm Showa inverted cartridge forks
Rear: Showa monoshock with hydraulically adjustable pre-load
WHEELS & TYRES
Tyre, front: 100/90 - 19 (90/90 - 21) tubeless.
Tyre, rear: 150/70 - 17 tubeless.
PRICE: R127 500