Hendri Pelser
3 minute read
16 Feb 2015
5:10 pm

Triumph Tiger a roaring pleasure (gallery)

Hendri Pelser

When you sit in a room and five of the six motoring journalists own a Triumph, you know it is going to be an interesting launch.

Especially, when three of the journos own the previous Tiger 800 model.

So, as we welcomed Triumph’s new Tiger 800 XCx and XRx models to South Africa, three things became apparent quite quickly: It is easy on the eye, easy to ride and fairly easy on the wallet.

It is difficult to make definitive statements after only a few hours on the two models. However, one can easily say that these are great bikes.

The XRx is more suited to road adventures but handles dirt efficiently with its cast aluminium rims. Its XCx brother however, is an absolute pleasure both on tar and on the dirt and will steal the hearts of many local adventure riders in the coming months and years.

In fact, Triumph expects to sell five XCx’s for every XRx locally.

The spoked 21 inch front wheel is much more confortable on the dirt and a slightly higher riding position is more in line with other adventure motorcycles.

Other differences between the XR and XC models include a longer travel on the front suspension on the XC.

The “x” on the two models denotes a more comprehensive technical package with different rider modes and a host of factory fitted “extras”. Triumph will only sell the two x models locally.

Extras include a centre stand, engine bash plate and hand guards, depending on the different models and amount to about R20 000.

The new bikes come with a number of enhancements so it is more than just a cosmetic facelift. The first generation 800 Tiger and XC models were launched in 2010 and the second-generation 800cc “Triple” engine has more than enough power to thrill.

The ride by wire throttle is responsive and delivers power when needed. But, it is really the electronic brain which makes it something special. As you set it on the various different riding options such as dirt or tar, the first quarter turn or so of the throttle delivers different levels of torque according to different pre-set throttle maps.

The feature is noticeable when you hit the dirt and minimises wheel spin quite a bit.

The different settings also affect the traction control and ABS and the custom setting options available gives experienced riders full control.

Other changes include a bigger radiator and reworked air ducts to deflect heat away from the rider’s legs. Without having ridden the older models, it is difficult to say how good the improvements are. However, during a blistering launch day, the heat coming off the engine onto one’s legs was noticeable and at times quite uncomfortable.

According to Triumph, the new generation engine has improved fuel efficiency by 17% and the 19-litre tank should technically give you a 374km range.

Much was made of the comfortable seating during the launch but after only a few hours in the saddle, the seat did not feel much different to me than those of competing models such as the BMW 800 GS Adventure.

Competition in the 800cc adventure and dual-purpose motorcycle segment is heating up and most prospective buyers will compare the XCx to the BMW 800 GS Adventure.

When it comes to pricing, the BMW costs R155 480 while the XCx costs R139 500. The BMW has a 24-litre tank as opposed to the 19 litres the Triumph carries.

The Beamer produces 63kW at 7500 rpm and the Brit 70kW at 9250 rpm while the latter’s weight comes in at 221kg versus the BMW’s 229kg.

So, besides tank size, the bikes compare favourably and the major differentiator is going to be brand loyalty in all likelihood.

Nevertheless, the XCx is a lovely bike and the drooling motoring journalists at the launch event have already put their own money where their mouths are; on the Triumph.

As for myself, the decision is a difficult one, having spent more time on the BMW and owning its bigger brother.

Nevertheless, I could easily imagine owning the Triumph and I guess that this is where the proof lies – if you could see yourself in the saddle every day of the week.

The answer: Easily.