Triumph Tiger 800 - Other Bikes Considered
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Since I purchased my Tiger Explorer in October 2012 a new Adventure bikes have appeared so there are 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, 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 it 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.