Triumph’s Tiger brand changed India’s adventure scene for good. The reason being, for the longest time, the Indian market was missing a motorcycle that was powerful, had great off-road capabilities, was loaded with features and the most important one, an ADV that was aspirational and had access to official company service.
But when the Tiger came in, Indians finally had a big ADV they always wanted. And no surprise there that the bike was an instant hit. The sales grew rapidly and at one point the Tiger was the highest selling bike for Triumph in India. As a result, the British company kept bringing in new variants and updates frequently to India. And what we have today is the Tiger 900 Rally– their mid-spec variant and a few dealers tell us that this is their highest selling model right now which is really good considering the fact that this bike costs around Rs 17 lakh on-road Mumbai.
The first thing we Indians love to have when we bring new vehicles home is the attention from our neighbours, friends and colleagues. This is only possible when the vehicle has a stunning design. And with a brand new sharp and aggressive bodywork, the Tiger is more than just an attention-grabber. I mean just look at it. It looks angry. It looks solid. And more than that, it looks like a motorcycle that you don’t want to screw up with.
The reason we say this is because of the design language the folks at Triumph has based this bike on. The face sports a small but aggressive headlamp unit. The DRLs inside make the bike look a bit cunning and that’s a good thing. Then there’s this sharp beak and the large windscreen that makes this Tiger look adventure ready.
Come to the side and you’ll see these nice sloping lines that exhibit a sense of completeness. Starting from the shrouds, the fuel tank and all the way to the grab rails – this Tiger speaks prowess. Then there are certain bits like golden fork tubes, large exhaust, rugged handguards and white frame paint that make it standout.
Now when it comes to features and electronics, Triumph has made sure to go all out with this new Tiger. And the company tends to follow this approach in most of its Rs 10 lakh plus motorcycles.
It gets this super cool looking seven-inch full colour TFT instrument cluster which is one of the finest in the segment. This unit shows tons of riding information like speed, trip meters, average speed, clock and ambient temperature. But our favorite is the ability to choose the various theme options. This feature helps you personalise your overall riding experience.
The bike comes with adjustable Showa suspension and that means you have lots of options to customise your riding quality – on the road as well off it. Then there are safety nets like cornering ABS and multi-level traction control system. The bike also comes with four riding modes – sport, road, rain and off-road.
For touring comfort, there’s cruise control and heated grips – in case you spend a lot of time in cold regions. And because it’s an ADV, the bike is equipped with spoked tubeless tyres. It also gets phone charging points. For touring comfort, there’s cruise control and heated grips – in case you spend a lot of time in cold regions. And because it’s an ADV, the bike is equipped with spoked tubeless tyres. It also gets phone charging points.
At the heart of this bike is a brand new 888cc liquid-cooled motor that produces 94bhp at 8750rpm and good peak torque of 87Nm at 7250rpm. The interesting bit here is that the engine is lighter and more powerful than the Tiger 800. And that means the fun quotient has just increased.
Like the other triple in its family, the engine on the Tiger 900 Rally too is extremely refined and smooth, but at the same time, it has good amount of grunt. The throttle response is crisp and the fueling is accurate. The overall power deliver is linear but twist that throttle to see this ADV turn into a different animal. Plus, now with better low and mid-range the Tiger 900 Rally is extremely comfortable to ride in the city and on the highways. But one aspect that we loved the most about this Triumph is the tractability. The bike can do as low as 40kmph in sixth gear and that means you don’t have to do a lot of gear change while riding in the city. Plus, overtakes are also extremely easy. On the highways too, this aspect allows you to go from 50kmph to triple digit speeds all day long without the need of shifting gears more often and that reduces the overall fatigue. What we didn’t like about this engine is the vibe it generates post 130kmph. The buzz can be felt on the handlebar and the footpegs. It is negligible but it tends to bother a bit when you are continuously touring at high speed.
Firstly, I love the seating ergonomics of the new Tiger. The handlebar is placed a bit closer to the rider and now with the wider seat, the overall comfort has gone to a whole new level. And then there are these large footpegs that accommodate your entire feet while sitting or standing. For the pillion too, there’s ample amount of space to sit and also to adjust yourself during long day rides.
When it comes to riding in the city, the view from this saddle is incredible. You can see everything clearly even through this large windscreen which by the way works quite well. And then thanks to this wide handlebar, you have so much control while moving around tight city traffic. And then when you want to take it to the corners, this Tiger won’t disappoint you. I know there’s a large 21-inch wheel up front and it’s also a tall bike, but somehow this ADV manages to perform like a proper road bike.
Now coming to the most fun part – off-road. Can you actually have fun with a bike that weighs close to 200kgs? The answer is a big yes! In fact, we tested this bike on fast trails, off-road section and also did lots of jumps, and each time this bike came out with flying colours. The biggest credit goes to this top of the line Showa suspension system. It has lots of travel - 240mm at the front and 230mm at the rear and that allows you to take this Tiger to places that is impossible for other genre of motorcycles. And there’s this large ground clearance that allows you to ride through big stones and large boulders.
But the most interesting aspect here is the way the bike handles off-road and on trails. Due to the revised weight distribution and engine placement, the Tiger 900 feels extremely easy to handle. The top heaviness has disappeared making the bike less intimidating on trails.
There’s one aspect of this bike that we didn’t quite like and that’s this split radiator design. So when you are riding in the city or doing some high speed runs on the highway, the engine tends to get hot and these fans throw that air directly to your knees. And that spoils your overall ride comfort.
It is clear after spending three days with the new Tiger 900 Rally that it is one extremely capable adventure motorcycle. In fact, I’m so glad Triumph ironed out the issues the Tiger 800 had because now the Tiger 900 feels complete. It feels like an all-rounder ADV. It can do long distance touring extremely easily, it can cut through some really hard trails without any fuss and it can also become a motorcycle that will take you to office every single day.
And then there are some fine features like TFT screen, cruise control and safety nets like TCS, ABS and multiple riding modes that makes this Triumph so much aspirational.
But there’s just one issue – the heat from the radiator fan. It might not affect the riders from colder regions, but if you live in Mumbai or Chennai, you might feel the heat. But as an overall product, the Triumph Tiger 900 is a great bike to have and if you have around Rs 18 lakh lying around in the bank and want to travel the country, then I think you should definitely visit the nearest Triumph showroom.
Photography by Kapil Angane
Triumph Tiger 900 Right Side View