Cape Town – Triumph has made so many improvements on its 2015 Tiger 800 models that it has inadvertently created a problem for the South African distributors.
While Hinkley insists that the XCx we were shown at the Cape Town launch last week and its sister model the XRx are upgrades of the original Tiger 800 XC we reviewed back in February, Natis says it’s a whole new model and needs to be homologated as such - which is why the launch bikes weren’t even officially in the country yet and we’re going to have to wait a few weeks to ride one.
So what makes the new Tiger 800 so different? Other than a revised valvetrain to make it run quieter, shift mechanism borrowed from the iconic 675 supersports machine for sweeter gearshifts, standard-issue ABS across the range and a new radiator shroud that channels hot air away from the rider (this after some Belgian riders had apparently complained about “getting their eggs fried”).
One big thing: A ride-by-wire throttle. As on the bigger Tiger 1200 Explorer, there’s no direct connection between twistgrip and throttle body; you decide how much roar you want from your Tiger, and the bike’s ECU decides how best to deliver it.
Slightly big-brotherish though that may sound, it allows the ECU to run the bike at its most efficient settings all the time, no matter how ham-fisted the rider, and reduces fuel-consumption by a claimed 17 percent, so that Hinckley can boast of a extending the new Tiger’s tank range by about 80km without the cost and weight penalty of fitting a bigger fuel-tank.
It’s still 19 litres, a bit small by the standards of the class, but Triumph says a gentle rider can get more than 400km between fuel stops. We’ll reserve judgment until we’ve ridden one that far.
OPENING THE BOX
And that opens a veritable Pandora’s Box of gizmotronics, none of it feasible with a cable-operated twistgrip, starting with four different throttle maps. The Road map is the standard default setting, the Rain map reduces throttle response to suit wet and slippery conditions, the Sport map converts the standard twistgrip into a quick-action throttle for hair-trigger response, and the Off-Road map offers predictably linear response for dirt roads and unpaved terrain.
Then there’s traction control, which backs off the engine’s torque when it senses rear-wheel spin – but you can switch it off for serious off-road hooning.
Next is cruise control – a first for a mid-sized adventure tourer, says Triumph – which not only makes long-distance cruising that much easier, but also optimises fuel consumption.
All of this comes together in three riding modes: the ROAD setting automatically sets the ABS, traction control, and throttle map to Road settings, the OFF ROAD setting disables the ABS on the rear wheel and dials in a little slideability on the front wheel as well, and sets the throttle map accordingly, while the programmable RIDER mode allows you to select your own settings for the ABS, traction control and throttle map – and memorise them.
AND NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS
Unlike the vast majority of such systems, which default to their baseline settings as soon as you switch the ignition off, the new Tiger 800 will switch back on with exactly the same settings as it was in when you switched it off.
Only the top two of the four 2015 Tiger 800 variants are being released in South Africa; the more road-orientated XRx, at R127 500, runs 19-inch front and 17-inch rear cast-alloy rims, non-adjustable 43mm Showa upside-downies and a rear monoshock from the same source with remote hydraulic preload adjustment.
The seriously boondocking XCx, however, comes with 21-inch front and 17-inch rear spoked wheels with aluminium rims, modulated by fully adjustable WP suspension at both ends, as well as engine guards and an aluminium bashplate as standard issue, for R139 500.
Standard kit on both models includes a centre-stand and a height-adjustable seat, as full-sized handguards borrowed from the Explorer, self-cancelling indicators, a trip computer and an additional 12V auxiliary power socket.
Triumph Tiger 800 XRx (XCx)
Engine: 800cc liquid-cooled transverse three.
Bore x stroke: 74.05 x 61.94mm.
Valvegear: DOHC with four overhead valves per cylinder.
Power: 70kW at 9250rpm.
Torque: 79Nm at 7850rpm.
Induction: Multipoint electronic fuel-injection with three throttle bodies.
Ignition: Digital electronic.
Clutch: Cable-operated multiplate wet clutch.
Transmission: Six-speed constant-mesh gearbox with final drive by chain.
Front Suspension: 43mm Showa inverted cartridge forks (43mm WP inverted cartridge forks adjustable for compression and rebound damping).
Rear Suspension: Showa monoshock with hydraulically adjustable preload (WP monoshock with remote oil reservoir, hydraulically adjustable preload, rebound damping adjustment).
Front brakes: Dual 308mm discs with Nissin dual-piston floating callipers and switchable ABS.
Rear brake: 255mm disc with Nissin single-piston floating calliper and switchable ABS.
Front tyre: 100/90 - 19 (90/90 - 21) tubeless.
Rear tyre: 150/70 - 17 tubeless.
Seat height: 810 – 830 mm /790 – 810 mm with Accessory Low Seat. (840 – 860 mm/820 – 840 mm with Accessory Low Seat)
Kerb weight: 216kg (221kg).
Fuel tank: 19 litres.
Fuel consumption (claimed): 4.37 litres per 100km.