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Tiger has been a name associated with Triumph Motorcycles for a long time now. In fact, the first one can be traced back to the 30s! So a name that has been around for 80+ years brandishes a lot of pedigree and heritage. And the one in discussion here is a worthy candidate for that name- the Triumph Tiger 800 XRx.
Text: Shahnawaz Karim
Photos: Sunil Gupta
Without diving too much into the history of the Tiger (which is a lot!), we’ll just like to mention that the initial Tiger models were ‘standard motorcycles’ and the first one that set the stage for the modern day Tiger was perhaps the Tiger Trail that came out in 1981. That was perhaps the model that introduced the Tiger as a dual-sport model.
It was followed by Tiger 900 and Tiger 1050 that further solidified the Adv-Touring image of the range. The 900 and 1050 were succeeded by the 800 range and the Explorer or 1200 range. And for 2020, Triumph has introduced the new Tiger 900 which is set to replace the 800. But before we bid adieu to the 800, we took one out for a… farewell ride of sorts.
Despite being a middleweight which can be intimidating for newer riders, the Triumph Tiger 800 XRx is the proverbial good kid. A sweet engine, comfortable ergonomics, road bias with a hint of off-roading rowdiness, and the rugged looks- it is a machine you fall in love with instantly. The dual characteristics really grow on you and evoke that ‘Explorer’ in you.
Talking about the engine first, it is an 800cc, liquid-cooled, triple-cylinder engine good for 95 bhp and 79 Nm of torque. Talking about what that feels like out on the road, it is buttery smooth, torquey from the get-go and sounds like a symphony.
When you are on the road, it pulls effortlessly and the power seems adequate for a leisurely pace and to some extent, some spirited riding. Take it off the road and the engine feels just as good there. Just a tad more grunt at the bottom could have made it stellar, but it is still just as good. Just look for some loose surface and let those power slides guide you.
The handling department is also very well sorted. The 19” front and 17” rear combination along with the long wheelbase assure you of a steady and planted ride even at triple digit speeds. Off the road, the size of the wheels and the kinda dual-purpose tyres ensure that tackling the trails is a joy. But since it is a road-biased model, do not expect to go MX-ing on it.
The brakes are stellar both on and off the road but you have to take it easy when riding it like a sportsbike on the road. And that’s saying something because despite the obvious difference, it can still be ridden like one. While the lack of stiffness in the suspension comes into play only when you attack corners like you are not supposed to on this kind of a machine, it also makes for a very comfortable ride… and it’s all day comfort even on bad roads.
All the praises that we can shower on the Tiger 800 XRx fade in comparison to the facts. After all, there is a reason why it is one of the bestselling Adv-Tourers in India. There are a few reasons for that, in addition to the ones we have already pointed out.
The first and the most prominent one is that it is not as intimidating as the Tiger 1200 and yet, it has enough to ensure that you do not outgrow it in a year or two i.e. it is very approachable. The second one is the balance it strikes between its on-road and off-road characteristics. It is one of those motorcycles that will take you almost anywhere you’d hope to go and that too, with a lot of comfort and relatively less demands.
The Tiger 800 XRx is also a very modular motorcycle, thanks to the multitude of optional add-ons available from Triumph. Get the stock motorcycle and you are ready to not only tour, but have fun like a sportsbike. Get some add-ons and you will be more than ready for some light off-roading and chasing some trails. And then we have the generous seat-height which is one of the most prominent dissuading factors when it comes to Adv motorcycles in India. And let us not forget the ~19L fuel capacity.
The Tiger 800 XRx is not technologically challenged either. With the multifunctional TFT which has: with digital speedometer, trip computer, digital tachometer, gear position indicator, fuel gage, service indicator, ambient temperature, clock, and the 4 riding modes- Road, Offroad, Sport, and Track, you have all that you could ask for in a modern Tiger. It goes as far as to let you go deeper and tinker around with the settings if the preset modes don’t do it for you.
The new Tiger 900 is already out and it seems like a heck of a motorcycle and it was bound to be since a manufacturer like Triumph Motorcycles with so much of history associated with it will always work to make good things better.
The 900 may be better, but the 800 XRx is a fantastic motorcycle in its own right. And then there’s the nostalgia. And we are sure that it will have a lot of respect in the pre-owned market because its glory will forever live vicariously through the rider who appreciated its beauty along with its versatility and power.
Ulka Gear Hakkit Forever
Hakkit Forever from Ulka Gear is one of the latest motorcycle riding jackets in India. The USP of this recently launched jacket is the multipurpose usage that it offers. It can be worn as a protective jacket when you are on your motorcycle and can be used as a backpack when you are off it.
People who buy proper motorcycle riding gear understand the importance of keeping it safe. And they are at their most vulnerable when you take a break from the ride. That very need of safeguarding your gear is taken care of by the Hakkit Forever jacket which can be easily converted into a backpack for carrying your helmet, gloves, goggles etc which protects them from prying eyes and unwanted falls.
The Jacket is priced at INR 10,999/- and is available for purchase from www.ulkagear.com along with other designs of the Hakkit.
Ulka Gear was conceptualized by Shahnawaz Karim who is a certified adventure riding trainer and a national champion in circuit racing. The company has been granted many patents to safeguard its conversion process across the globe.