First Ride: 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 Review
Since its inception in 2010, the Tiger 800 has continually been changing the face of the middle-weight class. ADVMoto spent a few months on the 2011 gen-one models. There was a lot to like about the Tiger even in its first go-round. With more than 68,000 units sold to date, it’s gathered quite a following in the seven years it’s been on the market. For 2018 the model received a host of improvements, making the riding experience even better. Triumph claims their bikes have more character and charm than most brands, and after spending a few days playing around the Atlas Mountains of Morocco with the beloved triple, it’s easy to see why the little Tiger is so addicting!
Power and Performance
A big effort went into mass optimization of the engine and, in the process, backlash gears have been removed to create an overall more free-flowing engine with fewer moving parts. With 94 horsepower on tap and max torque of 58 ft.-lb. being produced at just 2,000 rpm, this creates an incredibly linear power band all the way to redline. Most ADV bikes have a tall first gear, which for some riders makes navigating technical off-road trails challenging. Triumph made first gear shorter by 10 percent, which makes riding slower, technical off-road terrain much easier.
The engineers continued on the less-is-more track. They took a good look at an area most manufacturers overlook—the exhaust. Over the last 10 years, motorcycle exhausts have become humongous because of strict emission laws. Triumph wanted to drop some additional weight so the engineers did a total redesign of the exhaust system, creating a more free-flowing, better sounding, and visually smaller system that sounds incredible right off the showroom floor.
Suspension, Braking and Handling
WP suspension front and rear on the XC line really make the new Tiger shine no matter what terrain you find yourself on. Fully adjustable rebound and compression on the front allow for quick fine tuning adjustments based on the conditions at hand.
The XR line uses Showa suspension front and rear. While riding the XRT the front end felt a little unsettled at first, but after a few adjustments on the clickers the front end settled down and was super plush on road.
Rear suspension also has fully adjustable rebound and compression, with the added ability to adjust spring preload for riding with passengers and/or luggage. The suspension handled everything I put it through with no hiccups or strange behavior.
Full ABS front and rear is nothing new in terms of technology. But, being able to choose how it engages with the Off-Road and Off-Road Pro modes is a nice touch. You can also customize your own settings in the Rider mode for the specific settings you want for certain conditions.
Dual-piston 305mm Brembos out front with Nissin single piston round out the rear. Braking was predictable, and the Off-Road ABS mode is just amazing, in that you can grab a whole bunch of front brake in the soft dirt and the system keeps everything upright.
Handling is surprisingly nimble even with the 21/17 combo on the XCA mounted with Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires, while the XRT runs 19/17 fitted with Metzeler Tourance rubber. Due to inclement weather we didn’t get to drag knees on the road day. But, like most Triumphs I’ve ridden you become one with the bike and it does what you want it to do.
The off-road day offered some opportunities to really put the WP suspension to the test. We came across a small jump with a mud puddle in between the takeoff and landing. As an off-road guy, I figured I would try and clear it to see how the bike felt in the air. While hitting the take-off I realized I wasn't carrying enough speed to clear the gap.
The little Tiger felt confident in the air, but I wasn't sure how the landing was going to play out. Coming up short, I hit the face of the landing. The WP suspension soaked up everything. There was no clanking of the suspension bottoming-out, and I was able to keep on cruising. The compliant chassis and excellent suspension did very well to keep the 470 lbs. bike with a 200 lbs. rider in control.
Comfort and Ergonomics
Triumph uses a new 3D Net Foam technology for added comfort while riding long stints in the saddle. I can tell you it works nicely since we were in the saddle for the better part of five-plus hours. Seat height is adjustable in two positions by moving a bar up or down on the front of the seat to either the low (33") or the standard position (33.8").
For 2018 Triumph decided to move the bars back 10mm which makes for a more comfortable riding position. Being 5’8", I found the bar height acceptable for my size. Taller riders may benefit from a small riser if you plan to ride mostly off road.
A redesigned windscreen has five positions of adjustability and is so easy to use you can make adjustments on the fly. You simply pull back on the screen to raise and lower it with little effort. Additional right and left side deflectors also help create a pleasant riding environment at any speed.
Features and Controls
Brand new for 2018 is the five-inch TFT display with a choice of two themes with both high and low contrast options, and a total of six different screen configurations (XCA and XRT only). Permanently on display are the speedometer, rpm, riding mode, gear position, fuel level, clock, and ambient temperature. You can customize the display with additional information like fuel consumption, trips, service information and coolant temperature. It also has an auto mode that switches between night and day modes for perfect viewing in all light conditions.
Controls are thoughtfully laid out for ease of navigation while in motion. The left-hand switch cube (back-lit on the top-spec XCA and XRT) controls the TFT display via a five-position joystick allowing you to scroll left, right, up and down through all six riding modes: Road, Sport, Off-Road, Off-Road Pro, Rain and Custom. Once the desired mode is found, simply roll off the throttle and push the mode button to select and that’s it. The Off-Road and Off Road Pro modes can only be selected when the bike is completely stopped. An updated electronic cruise control is easily accessed via the right-hand switch cube which features a home button for accessing and exiting the main menu.
The heated grips and seat (standard on all but the base XR) controls are located on the left handlebar with a simple push button scrolling from low to high settings and are easy to use no matter how thick your gloves are. I found with these two features you really don’t know how much you’re missing until you ride with them. During the press junket, the riding was cold and wet and without heaters the ride would have been miserable, to say the least. These features are offered on the top-level models, and in my opinion are worth the extra money, especially if you ride year-round.
New for 2018, LED lighting is standard on the top-spec XRT and XCA models while DRL (daytime running lights) are on all spec levels except for the base XR.
Engine Type: 800cc liquid-cooled, 12 valves, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder
Max Power EC: 95 PS/94 bhp (70 kW) @ 9,500 rpm
Max Torque EC: 58 ft.-lbs. (79Nm) @ 8,050 rpm
Gearbox: 6 speed
Front Wheels: (XC) 21 x 2.15 in.; (XR) Cast 19 in.
Rear Wheels: (XC) 17 x 4.25 in.; (XR) Cast 17 in.
Front Tires: (XC) 90/90¬-21; (XR) 100/90-19
Rear Tires: (XC) 150/70-17; (XR) 150/70-17
Front Suspension: WP 43 mm upside-down forks, with adjustable rebound and compression damping, 220 mm travel
Rear Suspension: WP monoshock with remote oil reservoir, hydraulically adjustable preload, 215 mm rear wheel travel
Brakes Front: Twin 12 in. (305 mm) floating discs, Brembo 2-¬piston sliding calipers, switchable ABS
Seat Height: (XC) 33-34 in.; (XR) 32-33 in.; (LRH) 30-31
Dry Weight: 205 kg (452 lb.)
Tank Capacity: 19 liters (5 gallons)
Price: XR Line: $12,000-$15,350
XC Line: $14,450 - $15,850
For more information, visit TriumphMotorcycles.com!
To read ADVMoto's First Ride Review of the 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200, CLICK HERE!