Triumph Tiger 800 - Other Bikes Considered
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I wrote this in July 2015 when upgrading my Tiger Explorer, several new Adventure bikes have appeared so there were a good number of
options available. I had already decided that my main reason for changing was to buy a lighter, more manageable Adventure bike. I still
enjoyed riding my Explorer and there was no point in trading it in for a similar bike like the KTM1190, GS1200 or the Caponord.
The new KTM1050 is another contender, a low level entry Adventure bike for £10,900. It could be
a good buy however the 1050 is still a big bike, it has street orientated suspension, wheels and
tyres but it can be ridden off road. The 1050 KTM only offers the same power as an 800 Tiger and
weighs more. It comes will a 24L tank but no Cruise control, I don't think it has Traction control. A
good looking bike and very tempting, my main issue is my friends on KTM990s use 50% more fuel
than my Tiger Explorer and I suspect the larger tank is a nod to poor economy.
A good bike but £10,900 is a lot to pay for a detuned 1190 with all the electronic toys removed.
Also the single dipped headlight beam is poor.
The Ducati Multistrada is another, supposedly lighter Adventure bike. There were several of
these in the Alps and they all seem to be mint and ridden by riders want to look good, who don't do
rain or ride off road or use the edge of their tyres. The 1200 engine produces 160 BHP and the
Multistrada weighs 232Kgs wet. Big power seems to lurk above 6,000 revs so on the road it needs
to be revved to produce the goods. I might get to ride one, I doubt I will own one. Nice and exotic
but not a realistic option for me, very expensive and high mileage example will lose too much value.
( Now the VVT version is out Road Testers are coming clean on the old version - "The Multi excelled
at high-speed, high-mileage travel, it was often out of its element during more casual riding—the
last-generation Multistrada simply didn’t like to go slow. Even in retuned-for-road-riding form, the
race-bred Testastretta V-twin engine could be stubborn and surly at low revs, responding to small
throttle openings with shuddering acceleration totally out-of-character for a touring bike.")
Hmmmm! Thanks for not mentioning this in the road tests at the time.
The main contender was the new Yamaha MT-09 Tracer, it is low, light and the obvious choice for
a shorter rider. A friend of mine came with me and we took the Tracer and Tiger 800 XCx out for a
test ride. The Tracer is light and it has a lower centre of gravity. It has a fabulous engine, imagine
the Tiger 1050 engine in a super light, low frame. It has a good sports bike feel. However when we
rode down some poorly surfaced, uneven roads and the Tracer just crashed and banged because
the suspension is awfully cheap. On the same road the XCx felt awesome, like a magic carpet ride,
so composed. The Tracer has a hard seat which combined with the harsh suspension would limit
touring potential. Riding both bikes the Tracer is only slightly quicker, the Tiger has plenty of
torque and the Yamaha has to be revved hard to stay with the Tiger. The Tracer was showing rust
in places where Triumphs never rust e.g Rear shock, exhaust and other fittings. The Tracer is
great value at £8,200, weighs 210 kg fully fuelled and has 113BHP. However it is built to match the
price and it is not a long distance tourer. I would have had to improve the suspension, replace the
seat and do without Cruise and Traction. Real clincher for me was when we rode both bikes down a
road that had just been top dressed with fresh chippings. The Tiger XCx was a revelation, I was
able to cruise at 60mph on lose gravel feeling totally secure. Here the slim, 21 inch front wheel and
light weight really helped. The Tracer struggled (and my Explorer would have struggled due to
weight on front).
The Kawasaki Versys 650 has always been an affordable bike but the older version had such an
ugly headlight. The new 2015 version looks much improved, the front fairing is similar to the Tiger
1050 but the screen is not as well styled. I think the Versys is a great alternative to the Honda
Transalp, being lighter and cheaper. I do not want to drop down to a 650, the Twin engine has
vibes and must be worked hard at the speeds I cruise at. Checking the weights the Versys is only
10kgs lighter than my XCx and well down on power. For riders on a budget the Versys is worth a
serious look. Definitely a go anywhere bike in the right hands
The new MV Agusta Turismo Veloce. A rival 3 cylinder 800cc bike, 9Kgs lighter and 20 BHP
more than the Tiger 800 XCx. I love MV's and the Veloce is gorgeous, so many clever design
features. It comes will all the electronics I like and ticks every box, it also costs £11,900. If I were
wealthy I would buy one for weekend fun and I would own an XCx for touring. Similar to the
Multistrada but to my mind more desirable and in every way.