2015 Triumph Tiger 800XCx
Price - £10,200 OTR
The Hinckley crew have come up with a winning formula as they have clued into what riders are looking for. They are looking for options and while finding a bike that is all things to all riders is about as possible as finding the Holy Grail; Triumph have come up with a rather good plan to please as many as possible.
First of all you have to know why the rider wants the bike and then have the design built to that specification. Ask one hundred riders what exactly an adventure bike is and you will get one hundred variations on the same theme.
It has to go off road! Yeah we hear this all the time and we have shown that just about any bike can go ‘off road’. If you really want an off road bike then you want a rally bike, just see the Dakar spec and you have an off road bike sorted. It’s a compromise of performance based on your own ability when looking at what bike to get for... we’ll call it dual sport because you also want something that will tour for miles upon miles in comfort... and that’s not a rally bike.
With this in mind I took the Tiger on just about every surface that I felt it was aimed at. I hit the M6, perhaps the most boring road in the UK with the exception of maybe the M25. I took her down dual carriageway and into town traffic. We pushed out to the countryside for single-track tarmac with 30% gradients both up and down before hitting some simple Byways for gravel, splash and ruts. I had the stock tyres on rather than TKC80/70 for anything of a more serious dirt nature. I wasn’t about to go level 5 on Bridgestone Battle Wings, that’s for damn sure.
No one can argue that an 800cc Triumph is going to be as nimble flashing down a Byway as a Suzuki DRZ400 ridden by the same rider. What I mean by ability is that if you had the same Byway, rutted and a bit snarly in places and put me on a DRZ400 and Marc Coma on the Triumph Tiger 800 then I know who is going to be the waiting at the end of the lane. No one is going to argue that heading over the auto bahn for 600 miles is going to be a barrel of laughs sat on that same DRZ! I know who’s going to be ready for another full day come Berlin. Horses for courses.
So the puzzle that Triumph has tackled is – make us an off roading tourer. Something that I can ride all day on the tarmac and can then handle some gnarly dirt down in South America. Here is the answer that Triumph came up with... and it’s a good one.
I always, always change my bikes to suit me. I know that sounds obvious but you’d be amazed at how many riders will say the position is poor and not understand that they can change that. You get in a car for the first time and you do what? Reach down to adjust the seat slide, move the steering wheel perhaps, adjust the rear view and the wing mirrors. Once this done you may well shift the seat backrest up and down to get the position that works for you – car makers get this and drivers get this. It’s not hard to sit for a second and change the pegs, levers, bars, seat, mirrors on a bike to suit how you like to ride.
How you fit on the bike is of massive importance to anyone as it sets up the feel of the whole bike. I’m 6’2” in my socks and the first thing that I noticed when I hit the open road was that the wind hit me right back, in the chest. I’m used to having to duck on bikes with a standard screen before I get it altered but getting wind blast in the chest was a surprise. That’s going to have a massive impact over longer distances and I was riding in fair weather not through lumpy air. Get the screen changed, Triumph do have a better screen for taller riders but go for a test ride and you will see or rather you will feel what I mean.
The seating dips forward slightly, not by very much but enough to feel some pressure on the palms of your hands as you’re leant forward. I’d have some bar lifts put on and this is not a big job to get done. This is very basic farkle stuff that I would do with any bike that I get anyway. Others will find that position improves control of the bike as your weight is easier to shift. You’re not going to be tank hugging like an R1, it’s just a few degrees but you will feel it if you’ve come off a full sit up and beg machine. This is just one of the many details that Triumph have put into the Tiger 800XCx.
You’re sat at 33.9 inches and this can be adjusted down to 33.1” but there is the option to get a low seat and that will take the seat height down to 32.3” at the base level. As mentioned it does slope forward slightly for the rider. For the pillion you have rather a thin pad in comparison to the VStrom 650 or Varadero 1000 and I had complaints half way around of a sore arse. The pillion pegs are set well for the 5’8” pillion that I had, there was no issue of knees coming up or leg fatigue going on. The grip on the seat for the pillion could be improved as there was a bit of sliding about and a fair amount of ‘back lean’ going on when the Tiger was allowed to get a bit frisky. To be fair it was raining and the pants in question had been waterproofs that did not have the greatest amount of traction to them. Replace the pants with something that had designed grip in the seat area and you’ll remove that little niggle I’d imagine.
Triumph seem to have gone for something in the middle of a tour seat and a rally seat. You can go and get a comfort seat but that’s going to cost you a few hundred quid. You could go for an Airhawk of course but that will cut away at your seat height depending on how tall you are.
Under the pillion seat is a hiding spot for some tools or perhaps cash and documents. It’s a nice hideaway if you’re out without panniers and what to lock something away. The side grips on the pillion seat are well placed and well shaped making gripping easy on the shoulders and easy on the palms of your pillion.
Twin lamps give out more than an ample amount of light for night riding and the dash illumination was clear and easy on the eye. There are few things worse than a dash that has brighter lighting than your headlights! The high beam is a simple switch matter and I found it easy to flick this off and on quickly without having to look at my hand. Very important when on the back lanes giving it a bit of stick and you don’t want to blind the driver coming around the bend as you fumble your thumb around looking for the dip switch.
Easy Change High Beam
Changing the front lamps is a very simple affair. The back covers are easy to get to with plenty of space to get my whole hand in there for the twist and not shave off a few mill of knuckle skin in the process.
The rear light is LED, of course. Most modern bikes are LED due to the power drain being less, the lumens being more for your volts and... they look nice. The Tiger’s is positioned well and the person behind is left in no doubt that you just applied the brakes. No problem either with kit on the back of the bike’s rear plate over hangs the light to stop anything drooping down over the rear light.
I’m not a massive fan of LED I have to say, the reason being is that they are a unit. I was on an Iron Butt Ride of 1000 miles in under 24 hours with a mate on a Harley! I was on an old style Varadero and at 2am on the M25 his rear light failed. Now, if it was me (I carry spare bulbs) I would have pulled in unscrewed the rear guard and replaced the bulb to be on my way. Taff (I don’t recall where he was from) had LED rear and we had to sit in an Esso station until the sun came up so we could get to a dealer to change the unit.
Your options are to carry a spare LED rear light unit, have a Givi topbox with built in brake lights or wait for the sun to come up. I prefer to carry a Philips screwdriver and have a £1.25 bulb if I’m honest but such is the way of the future.
A very welcome addition to the XCx is the WP suspension on both the front forks and the monoshock rear. The front forks will give you 8.7” of play for rebound damping and the monoshock will travel 8.5” with adjustment for hydraulic preload. So you’re not going to have much issue with the bumps and lumps of even the most used of Byways that you want to play on. On the road there is a feeling of controlled power, because that is just what you’re getting and confidence swells when pulling out from a bend with a little G force that sticks you to the road like a Silverback’s grip on the last banana.
Both the front forks and the rear monoshock is protected by heavy duty plastics. This is a quality addition to look after your kit. The amount of crap that is thrown up at the rear shock is ... shocking. It's another detail that shows that Triumph has thought about every aspect of the ride and the conditions you may use your bike in.
Here the Tiger XCx shines with a host of electronic options to make the ride easier and more enjoyable for the rider. You get a trip computer that tells you just about everything you ever wanted to know from a ride and that includes fuel consumption, self cancelling turn signals (I never got around to testing this, too much thumb muscle memory) and you’ll get not only the miles you’ve done but also the time you’ve been on the road/gravel. There is also the options of rider modes and there are three of them! You can select ROAD, OFF ROAD and RIDER modes. The first two modes kick into play the likes of the ABS and TTC (Triumph Traction Control) while the RIDER mode opens up another world of options again! You can set the levels of the ABS from on, off and off road. Throttle maps come in four options, Road, Rain, Sport and Off-Road changing the sensitivity as you select your mode.
I had a good play with this on the Byway and single tracks to see just what effect it would have. Obviously you can tell the change between something being on and something being off! It was fun playing with the mid settings and mapping as I came to a cattle grip and opened up to see what would happen. The rear will of course lose traction on the damp round metal bars as I vibrated over. The little light came on and the power dipped briefly until hitting tarmac again. It’s a brilliant idea to have the ABS settings simple to access from the dash, you just pull over as you come to the Byway and make the setting change. A word of warning that I noticed, if you come to rely on the bike making power adjustments for you, if you pull over and switch the bike off she will revert to standard settings when you start her back up again. At least mine did after pulling over to take some snaps.
I would have preferred the cruise control button to be well away from the starter button. That said it was fanatstic to see an 800cc bike with this kind of thought to riding.
The XCx model has a package deal that comes with it and you get crash bars hugging the front of the bike, you’ll get an aluminium skid plate if you go for seriously lumpy play, hand guards for those nasty blackberry bushes on the Byway and you’ll get a centre stand for cleaning and maintaining your Tiger.
What you get on this is a first in class and something that I’ve not seen before to be honest... cruise control. I shit you not, an 800cc dual sport dirt hungry bike with cruise control. This was just the cherry on top of a well thought out layer cake of a bike. I did have a play with this one on the M6 and sat chuckling as the Tiger pulled me up slight hills towards Cumbria without me having to do anything, I did think that trying to flip the lid and have a smoke would of being taking it a tad too far. I’d of preferred the little button not to be over the starter button as I felt a little awkward keeping the speed and hooking a thumb up and over. It wasn’t a massive deal but anything that makes me stop looking at the road tends to get a bit of moan from me, even if it is a very thoughtful bit of kit. As is the radiator guard that comes with the XC range, a great deal of thought has gone into the making of this bike.
You’ll also notice for the green lane / off road minded that you now have spokes in your wheels and that the front wheel is 21”. You see, they do listen if you keep yelling. This little lot is not the only updates and add ons... I told you there was a lot! Triumph have updated the gear box and it was a smooth foot flicking pleasure to go up and down the gears. First gear does like a little tickle action to get the ball rolling in standard setting and coming straight off a VStrom 650 on the Tiger 800 I promptly stalled it in the middle of the road! A quick cough, restart and a tickle of gas and she was away as smooth as a babies bum. You’ll also find a couple of very handy 12v outlets for your bits and pieces. Triumph have also put in a throttle-by-wire as we spoke about in the settings. This is said to aid full consumption and of course, the Tiger comes with a digital block fuel gauge. I don’t really trust motorbike fuel gauges and nor should anyone, they are a rough guide as the tank moves around so much you just get a basic idea on the straight of when to get some more go go juice. Bringing us on nicely to...
The Engine and performance
Sat whizzing away is the liquid cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, 800cc inline-triple and that knocks out a reported 95PS and 79Nm of torque. The Tiger XCx’s engine sings a very different song, a higher pitch than a growl or grunt as it gives the feeling that there is a coiled spring in there just busting to be set free. I slipped the odd gear on the inclines of the single track at 30% to see how forgiving the engine would be for a new rider making a hash of an uphill corner on the fell road. She pulled out of the curve with some protest that I was obviously in the wrong gear but she went up and around without fear of stall in 3rd gear and the revs in the basement. Finding some single track with flat open views over Wrynose allowed for a tickle play on the throttle and the Tiger responds even with a pillion. There is plenty of pull through all the gears and rev levels. After 5k revs you get a little bonus play that will have you chuckling like a teenage boy who’s teacher just accidentally said ‘cock’ rather than cork in front of the chemistry class. It’s childish with the feeling of wonderfully self-indulgent amusement mixed in that you should never deny yourself.
The beating heart of Triumph has long been the engine that stands out from the crowd, no bike makes the same sound as a triple at play and it’s a song I’m happy to put on repeat mode. Now with the much improved 6 speed gear box running like silk it’s a combination that had me looking for more roads just for the hell of it. Town riding was blissful; being able to flick up and down the box with the traffic pace changing made the ride a real pleasure.
The power was fed down to the final drive, being a chain drive O ring to a 17” rear wheel, responsive and smooth and I was looking for bends to put that smooth power to good use.
Of great importance to overlanders is combining the performance with the MPG for tank range. If you venture off to the great unknown (to you) then it’s nice to have an idea how far you’re going to get before having to fill up in some wooden hut village... or when you have to go to Sainsburys 24 hour station. The figures from Triumph are an improvement of 17% from the ride by wire throttle. Triumph reports a boost from 55mpg to 65mph based on the world motorcycle test cycle for mixed riding giving a range of 272 miles. It’s going to be damn rare that you do that and you should err on the side of caution when dealing with figures of fuel consumption. I hit around 220 before she was blinking at me to fill up. I was playing on the motorway and fell roads to be fair and not just puttering around an EU track. However, with a 19ltr tank you’re not going to have any issues in the UK and Europe!
What you have is a great deal of thought put into practical measure for long distance touring that will allow you to go off tarmac and come out the other side with all of your spinal discs in the same working order that they went in. The Triumph Tiger 800 XCx is a head-turning bit of kit that has the performance to back it up. Is it the ultimate bike for all things? No, there is no such bike as we all want different things in different amounts. If you are looking for a bike that has a host of kit and will be as happy taking you and a pillion over the Alps as it would be taking you down some muddy green lane dodging abuse from ramblers then the XCx fits the bill.
Keep in mind also that in the UK the Tiger 800XCx also meets the restriction requirements for weight to power ratio on the A2 licence.
HORSEPOWER - 95PS / 94bhp / 70kW @ 9250rpm
TORQUE - 79Nm / 58ft.lbs @ 7850rpm
ENGINE TYPE - Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder
ENGINE SIZE - 800cc
SEAT HEIGHT - 840mm-860mm (820-840mm with Low Seat)
FRONT SUSPENSION - WP 43mm upside down forks with adjustable rebound and compression damping, 220mm travel
REAR SUSPENSION - WP monoshock with remote oil reservoir, hydraulically adjustable preload, rebound
FRONT BRAKES - Twin 308mm floating discs, Nissin 2-piston floating calipers, switchable ABS
REAR BRAKES - Single 255mm disc, Nissin single piston floating caliper, switchable ABS
TANK CAPACITY - 19l
WET WEIGHT - 221kg
COLOURS Crystal White, Phantom Black, Caspian Blue
WARRANTY - 2 Years unlimited mileage
SERVICE - 6000 mile intervals @ £260 including VAT - Philip Youles Motorcycle Manchester Triumph Dealership- 0161 708 2620
Engine protection bars
Advanced trip computer
Road and off-road riding modes
Three configurable Rider riding mode
Aluminium sump guard
Additional auxiliary 12 v power socket
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