Ever heard of a friendly a Tiger? Well, allow us to introduce you to the 2018 Tiger 800 XRx…
The monsoon is here, and while it does bring temporary respite from the heat, it also brings with it conditions that are far from ideal to ride a motorcycle. The rain causes potholes the size of graves and, in a city like Mumbai, even water logged and flooded roads. And if you happen to own a litre-class sports bike, you would want to ask yourself this – how often could I take it out, bearing in mind that the stiff suspension and low ground clearance won’t go well with the horrible state of our roads, especially in monsoon?
It’s no wonder then that a lot of superbike owners tuck their steeds away and choose to ride on more than two wheels. But not if they happen to own a Triumph Tiger, for this kitty loves to play – come hell or high water. And this is precisely the reason that it’s gained tremendous popularity over the years. Since its launch in 2010, Triumph has sold more than 68,000 examples of the Tiger globally. With each update, the Tiger has only become better in some sense or the other. So, it’s no surprise that the 2018 iteration is the best of them all.
Triumph claims that they’ve made more than 200 changes to the 2018 Tiger range. A lot of these changes are in the technology that it comes fitted with. We got our hands on the road-focused XRx variant, and although it’s not the top-spec model, it does have a long list of features. The most talked about of the lot is the full colour, 5-inch TFT screen for the instrument cluster. It’s the same unit as on the Street Triple RS and the Tiger 1200. The light-sensitive display is crisp and paired with a 5-way joystick to toggle through the menu. In terms of safety, the Tiger 800 XRx comes with switchable ABS and traction control. Other features include cruise control, heated grips and a 5-way adjustable windscreen.
Closer to the heart
Triumph hasn’t only focused on adding more tech to the Tiger 800, they’ve also worked hard to improve the engine – and it shows. Before we dig deeper, let’s get the numbers out of the way. The 800cc, three-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor continues to produce 94bhp and 79Nm, like the model it replaces. The 6-speed gearbox too has been carried forward from the previous model. The numbers may be identical, but Triumph has put in a lot of effort to make the 3-pot motor smoother and more tractable. The first gear ratio has been shortened to make the Tiger 800 more responsive in the lower rev range, and that’s really apparent when riding both on and off road. It also allows the Tiger to make 70Nm of its torque from as low as 2,500rpm. But that doesn’t mean that the new Tiger is a slouch on the highway. The engine is free revving and gains speed with tremendous ease. Whack the throttle open, and this 200kg motorcycle will cross the 100km/h mark before you know it. In fact, the Tiger maintains high speeds with such phenomenal ease that you’d be munching miles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The tall 5-way adjustable windscreen does well to deflect the wind and add to the overall riding experience. Taller riders may, however, experience some amount of buffeting.
Tiger on the prowl
The Tiger has always been an extremely easy motorcycle to ride, and this one makes riding quite elementary. In fact, I was positively surprised at how effortlessly it attacked corners. Yes, the front-end still feels a bit too light for my liking, but that aside, there’s really nothing to complain about. Triumph has employed a lot of weight saving measures – the lighter crank shaft and exhaust play their part, and quite well too, in making it quite easy to manage. The ergonomics have improved too – the handle bar is now 10mm closer to the rider, and at 810 – 830mm, the seat isn’t unduly high either. For those who still find it uncomfortably high, Triumph offers a low-height seat version of the motorcycle. The XRx is a road-biased version, and with that in mind, the 180mm and 170mm of travel up front and at the back, respectively, are sufficient to tackle bad roads. If truth be told, riding off road wasn’t much of an issue as well. Speaking of off-roading, the Tiger XCx comes with four riding modes – Road, Rain, Sport and Off-road. The rider can switch between these modes on the fly to take on whatever the road, or the lack of it, throws at them. These modes essentially alter the throttle maps, ABS and the traction control to suit the nature of the terrain you’re riding on. Thanks to the revised first gear ratios and the different riding modes, the Tiger 800 feels a lot more confident while off-roading. The two-piston Brembo brakes up front and the single piston Nissin setup at the back provide good stopping power to the motorcycle. Even under hard braking, the Tiger doesn’t dive in or feel nervous.
Sharper and leaner
Although the 2018 Tiger 800 has the same silhouette as the previous model, it does incorporate a few changes in terms of its design. Up front, the headlights have been slightly remoulded. While the higher spec versions get LED DRLs that split the headlights, the one we tested had the standard fitment. The windscreen too has been redesigned. From the back though, the new Tiger XRx looks more or less identical to the model it replaces. Moreover, the large Tiger stickers on the tank add a sense of freshness to the design.
Undoubtedly, the older Tiger had begun to show its age, which necessitated an updated version. But what’s commendable is that, on the new model, Triumph has changed things that matter the most. Riding on or off the road, the Tiger 800 feels at home even while tackling difficult terrain. In fact, it makes the ride experience so effortless that while testing it I began to overestimate my off-roading skill despite being an off-road noob. The reworked engine, additional features and all other minor changes come together perfectly to make the Tiger rider friendly, which is indeed a huge win for an adventure tourer. Overall, the 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 is a product that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
- 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 XRx
Engine: 800cc / inline three-cylinder / liquid-cooled / 12-valve
Power: 94bhp @ 9,500rpm
Torque: 79Nm @ 8,050rpm
Price: ₹13.26 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)
X-Factor: The Tiger is lighter, more tech laden and more refined – so even better than before then!