Last month, I started looking at the new Triumph Tiger 800XC as a possible ride for my cross-country trip which is just around the corner in July. This bike has gotten incredible reviews in the trade and by new owners. I first spotted the Triumph at the International Motorcycle Show in February in Chicago and loved the way it looked. Once I sat on it, it seemed like the perfect fit for me. I talked to the dealer at the show and as soon as they got a demo, I was going to come out and take it for a ride.
Last week, I finally got to the dealer and took the Tiger for a 45 minute ride. I wanted to make sure that I could ride on the highway for hours on end without feeling like I was riding on an off road bike. The instruments on the bike was familiar since I've been riding Triumphs for several years now. The engine started with barely a whisper and as I rode out of the parking lot, I already felt comfortable on the bike, as if I'd ridden it many times before. Then as I shifted to second and then third, I realized that this inline triple engine was very different than anything I'd ever ridden before. It was in fact, the smoothest engine I've ever ridden on, even more effortless than the BMW r1150r boxer engine. It didn't matter whether I was on 2nd, 3rd or 4th gear, the engine ran so smoothly, I didn't feel like I was pushing it at all. I kept looking at the indicator on the dash which identified what gear I was in. It was then that I realized that I missed the torque and feel of my V-twin Ducati and Moto Guzzi engines. After getting over the slight disappointment of the torque, I got on the highway and there, the Triumph Tiger really came to life for me. I loved the smooth triple engine and I was able to ride through the highway traffic with no effort and really appreciated the lightness of the bike.
I returned from the ride and wished that the Triumph Tiger 800xc had a little bit more power. If I wasn't looking for a cross country ride, I think I would have considered this Tiger more seriously. As I parked the bike, I looked over and saw the Ducati Multistrada 1200 that I test rode last fall staring at me.