Triumph Tiger 800 - Other Bikes Considered
If you want to contact me about anything on this site please email me -
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.