When Triumph tooled up to build the Tiger 800, they didn’t just build one model but instead created two. Having the 1050 already in their extensive range highlighted the need for a Tiger with slightly less bite so, in late 2010, the Tiger 800 was born.
Triumph had BMW’s popular F650/800GS models and, like the best selling Bavarians, the two Triumph models shared the same basic ingredients, it’s just their stance that’s different. The Tiger 800XC is physically the bigger of the two. The biggest difference is the 21 inch alloy rimmed spoke front wheel, while the non XC model gets a 19 inch cast item. The XC also gets longer travel suspension, which results in a 35mm higher seat and an added 5kg when compared to the no thrills Tiger. Visually the most obvious difference is the beak, although this can be fitted to the non XC model if desired. The engine is a 799cc three cylinder and it’s good for 94bhp which is more than enough power to stretch the legs of the Tiger.
The Tiger 800 is one of the best sellers in its class. Also it’s a very important machine for the Triumph sales figures. It’s a machine that will appeal to a variety of riders as its versatility means it’s a real Jack of all trades. Today’s Tiger 800 retains much the same look as the early models, but benefit from more gadgets and electronics like rider modes and traction control – spec that was absent from these early examples.
What’s it like to ride?
For a bike with big proportions, it hides its 210 kilos well. This is down to a great real world riding position that gives you a commanding view of the road ahead. The wide bars make for really light steering, another plus from its well designed ergonomics. The chassis is well put together and copes with everything that the stroked Street Triple 675 engine throws at it. The engine is fantastic, unlike some motors that achieve an increased cc thanks to a longer stroke. Where the 675 was a howling beast, the Tiger 800 is a pussycat that’s very laid back for a triple. The added length to the stroke delivers you oodles of torque and even better, it’s exactly where you want it, right in the mid-range. An on board computer allows you to have your mpg and tank range displayed at a touch of your finger. The brakes are more than up to the job and with that comfy riding position, it’s the type of bike where you’d take the long way home at every opportunity.
What to look for when buying one?
We spoke to Vinny Styles, Sales Manager at Wheels Motorcycles in Peterborough for a trade view. He says: “The Tiger 800 is a very good seller on the used market. It’s proof that not every adventure bike rider wants, or needs a litre plus machine. The Tiger 800 is one of those bikes that has nothing nasty up its sleeve. Crash damage is your biggest issue as even a bike that falls of the stand can end up with cosmetic bruises, and for some reason Triumph decided to weld the rear footrest hangers on, rather than use bolt on items. That means that a bike that has a lowside and bends the hangers could technically need a new frame, causing it to become an insurance write off. In terms of extras, there is an accessory centre stand which is well worth investing in, especially if you are going to be fitting a luggage system. Extras are usually very sensible ones, stuff like sat navs and heated grips. Always check that they’ve been installed properly, or if they’ve been removed prior to sale, check the wiring isn’t a mangled mess. Frame paint and the finish on the engine covers can look very tired in a short space of time.”
What goes wrong with them?
We spoke to Chris Tombleson from Grumpy 1260, who services bikes for a living. He added: “It’s a well-built bike with no real issues that we’ve experienced. The only thing to check is that it doesn’t stall on deceleration. If it does, you might have an early bike that’s slipped through the recall net. It affected bikes from 2010 and 2011. There was an ECU change done by Triumph so contact your local dealer if you’re unsure. Doing a full service takes longer than most other bikes, mostly down to removing and refitting bodywork.”