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Triumph Tiger 800 XRx First Ride Review

01 May 2017, 08:39 AM Vikrant Singh

What is it?

Meet one of the more popular adventure touring motorcycles in the country, the Triumph Tiger 800. This one is the mid-range XRx model, which means unlike the top-spec XCa, there's no 21-inch front wheel, no wire-spoke rims, no heated seats or grips, and no LED fog lamps.

But, the basics remain in place. It uses a 3-cylinder 800cc unit, a tubular chassis, long travel suspension, dual disc front brakes and a decent suite of electronics. We will get to that in a bit. First, let's answer the thing that must be bugging you the most – Is there really something new about the XRx for us to review it now, a year after it was launched? Well no. As with most things Triumph, it just took us this long to get one.

But, now that we have it, here’s what we were missing.

 

How does it ride?

The Tiger XRx won't instantly blow your mind. But, spend sometime riding it, and its tall stance and bulky aura dissolves away into kilometres of relaxed travel. Firstly, the seat height at 790mm is quite accessible for the average Indian. You can raise it to 810mm by moving a couple of rods under the seat as well.

Then the seating triangle – the relation between the seat, the handlebar and the footpegs – is oriented towards comfort over all else. The bars are wide but not too far forward; the footpegs are neutrally positioned; and the seat apart from being low is also large and luxurious. Seating for the pillion is equally good, barring the higher perch, of course.

 

And then when you start rolling, the Tiger’s lovely weight distribution makes it feel much lighter than it really is. It weighs 191kg dry. Add the prerequisite 19-litres of fuel and a few other litres of liquids like oils and a coolant and you are looking at a running weight of around 215kg. So, it’s not exactly light. But, on the move, even at crawling bumper-to-bumper pace, it feels more like an 180kg motorcycle. So, its maneuverable and not too bad to filter through traffic with either, thanks to good leverage on the handle bar and good visibility.

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Triumph Tiger 800 XRx [2017]

Triumph Tiger 800 XRx [2017]

  • Displacement800 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)94 bhp
  • Kerb Weight216 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 12,29,877

The only catch when commuting on the Tiger XRx is the weather. If it’s cold the XRx feels great; nice and warm like a good cup of coffee. But, in every other season, with the kind of heat it generates around the rider’s thigh area, it’s more like a barbeque oven. And I have mildly roasted thighs to show for it. But, of course, in the spirit of good taste we haven’t carried a picture of it; you see, I don’t have Deepika Padukone’s legs.

The engine – the 800cc, liquid cooled, inline triple – is,otherwise, a good fit for the city. It has good low and mid range torque that completely takes away the need for constant shifts. It has a near seamless and linear throttle response, giving the rider better control. And even if you have to shift, the clutch isn’t too heavy and the gearshifts are decently precise and weighted. The Tiger, especially at 3,000rpm and beyond, almost behaves like an automatic; just roll on the gas and pick those gaps.

This torquey nature of the triple also gives the Tiger XRx good legs for touring. Shift to 6th by 60kmph and from then on it’s a calm but quick ride. Every time you open the throttle thereon the bike just squats and shoots ahead. But, don’t expect it to set your pulses racing. The XRx might make 94bhp and 78Nm of peak torque. However, with its running weight as part of the equation, it’s no surprise that this Tiger isn’t exactly the leaping, attacking kind. The power, all across the engine’s rev range in that sense is more accessible than intimidating.

What you should be mindful of is that even with all the talk about the Tiger XRx being a long distance adventure and touring machine, it still doesn’t have the refinement or smoothness expected in a motorcycle that you’d be spending long hours on. There’s never a ‘no-vibe’ moment on the XRx. Under 5,000rpm there’s a constant tingle at the handlebar and tank. But as the revs keep rising, so do the vibrations. And by the time the engine is bouncing off the rev limiter, things get quite buzzy.

 

Anything else I should know?

Since we are on the topic of touring, the Tiger XRx comes with a manually adjustable front windscreen. In its lowest setting, the rider too must crouch quite a bit to avoid wind buffeting. After the first 15 minutes on the highway, I went for the tallest setting and left it there. Even then, I had to tuck my head in a bit, and I am not exactly very tall.

Also part of the XRx package is the electronic suite. To start with, the rider can choose between three different riding modes. There’s Road that runs a regular throttle map with ABS active on both wheels and traction control setting at its most alert. Then there’s the Off-Road mode. The throttle map gets lazier here while the ABS only works on the front wheel and the traction control allows the rear wheel to slip and slide till the engine hits 5,000rpm.

Now we did take the XRx on a few trails and the Off-Road mode helped. With the traction control cutting in later, we could jump the bike and make direction changes on power. Plus, with the rear ABS off, coming down slippery slopes was a lot easier than in Road mode. The only issue we had here was the lack of suspension travel and its tendency to bottom out. This was in the stock suspension setting of course, which when dialed up for stiffness should prevent the suspension from collapsing under the bike’s own weight quickly.

There’s also a Rider mode. As the name suggests, it’s customisable. The rider can choose from four throttle maps – Rain, Off-Road, Road and Sport with increasing levels of throttle sensitivity and response. The rider can also choose to run ABS and traction control settings in either the fully alert Road setting or the less intrusive Off-Road. Or switch them off completely for that matter. Additionally, the Tiger XRx gets a comprehensive but boring looking instrument cluster. Touring friendly luggage racks, two power sockets and cruise control come as standard as well.

Why should I buy one?

There’s a lot to like about the Triumph Tiger 800. It is comfortable, easy to ride, has a torquey engine good for touring duties, and there’s some smart electronics in there too. Plus, if you end up showing it a few corners or a dusty trail, the XRx doesn’t mind these much either. And it’s good for two-up riding.

Our challenge with the Tiger then hovers around three things. The engine heat is just too much on a regular day to use it as an all-round motorcycle. The engine, though torquey, isn’t silky enough to make touring a glorious affair. And finally, the brakes lack the progression to handle the sort of performance the Tiger can deliver.

No wonder, the Tiger XRx feels a little dated.

Where does it fit in?

At Rs 12.6 lakh ex-showroom in Mumbai, the Tiger XRx has varied competition. There’s the Ducati Hyperstrada at Rs 12.3 lakh. It has a larger engine and better city centric performance. One can also look at the Rs 12.7 lakh Honda CB1000R, which again isn’t as touring friendly as the Tiger, but packs in way more in terms of dynamics and engine capacity. And then there’s the Indian Scout Sixty. A cruiser which does the long distance thing really well and isn’t a pain to ride in the city or around bends (for most part). But of course, it’s not dirt friendly at all. And at Rs 12.9 lakh, it is more expensive too.

But, the biggest threat for the Tiger 800 will be the upcoming Ducati Multistrada 950. It will be priced at Rs 11.5 lakh. So, it will not only be cheaper but more desirable than the Tiger as well.

Photography by Kapil Angane

Gear check

 

1-Arai Axces-II helmet: The entry-level Arai helmet one can officially buy in India. It is great on fit, quality, safety, comfort and even visibility.

Price: Rs 48,000

2- Sena 20S Bluetooth set: Sena’s top of the line 20S is a one-stop solution for all one’s music and communication needs. It is expensive but I love it.

Price: Rs 20,999

3-Rjay Octane II Jacket: Extremely light with fantastic ventilation, the Octane works like a charm in Indian weather conditions.

Price: Rs 8,500

4-Ixon RS Circuit HP gloves: Not the best full-glautlet gloves I have used but the Ixons do a fair job be it comfort or protection.

Price: Rs 8,000

5-Café Racer Moto Kevlar Jeans: These Kevlar lined denims offer adequate breathability and are comfortable even on long rides.

Price: Rs 4,500

6-Forma Adventure boots: Forma has got the touring, commuting and some bit of off-roading handiness bang on with the Adventure boots. I like them.

Price: Rs 16,000

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