So the other day I read that Triumph has confirmed that it will be selling bikes here starting in 2012. The list of models available included the Speed Triple, Street Triple, Daytona 675, a few cruisers, and the all-new Tiger 800XC.
I had been all set to buy a Bandit 1250 here in a few months. I was going to strip it down to the bare essentials and turn it into a streetfighter. I had already lined up a seller for the Pirelli tires I wanted, and had contacted Holeshot Performance in the states to confirm that they could put together a one-off streetfighter version of their slip-on exhaust systems for me. I had put together a list of other parts I needed, and found suppliers for most of them.
I live in Bhubaneswar, where the traffic is still pretty chaotic, and the roads are not very well graded/designed. There's a lot of sand/gravel in the corners, and many side streets are not even paved yet (at least outside the center of the city). I felt that a streetfighter was going to be the best solution to a high-performance machine that would still be suitable to the environment. The only other machine that would give me the performance I wanted, be able to survive the occasional low-side, and handle the wide range of surfaces I face is the BMW 1200GS. The problem is that bike costs upwards of 20lakh, which is outside my budget. Plus the BMW looks a little weird.
The official arrival of the Triumph Tiger has changed all of that. The new Tiger is light-years beyond the old model. The old one was basically a street bike with longer suspension travel. The new one, especially the XC version that will be coming here, is far more capable. Even better, Triumph will be bringing their bikes in as CKD and assembling them here, so the price will be reasonable. The Tiger already sells for the same price as the Bandit out there in the real world, so the price might even be a little lower here. It does everything I need it to, plus it has a version of the fabulous Triumph Triple motor. I would still be able to do the longer rides, plus I wouldn't have to worry about the occasional low-side as much, since the Tiger is pretty much designed with that in mind. I'll also be in better shape during monsoon season, since the Bandit is heavy and not really all that great on questionable pavement. Also, as has been shown time after time, a well-ridden dual-sport will walk away from pretty much every superbike out there everywhere but on a track.
So, in short, here's the pros and cons:
Can buy as soon as my finances are ready
There's a dealer here in town
Already have the parts lined up for my conversion
Big-ass motor/nothing like winding out a big inline-four, especially with a performance muffler
Huge support community world-wide
To get the bike I want, I have to do some frame cutting and buy some expensive parts
Will probably lose the passenger seat during the conversion
Dubious performance on muddy/dirt/gravel roads (heavy)
Low-siders are risky, as the bike is more likely to be damaged, and is heavy to pick up afterwards
Much better suited to the multi-surface roads here
Still good at long tours
Can keep the passenger seat
Will be better in wet weather
Price might be lower
That triple-piston sound
Have to wait for it to be available
Not likely to have a dealer in BBSR
So, what does xBHP think? Which should I go for? The purchase budget should be about the same, so that's not really the consideration. The Bandit will cost a little more in aftermarket parts, but will have correspondingly more performance. The Tiger will work better on the roads here "out of the box", but I'll have to wait to get one, and might have to go to one of the big cities to buy it.
Edited to add also: The actual price of the Tiger is announced at 11.34lakh, far above the 6-7lakh price I anticipated, so that's a big "Con" there.