When we first rode the Tiger 800 in Spain, we were convinced that this bike would be one of the best bikes of 2015 – and we were right! While it doesn’t grab the number-one spot, it’s in the top-three and one of the winners of our Best of 2015 awards for two-wheelers. The Tiger is the perfect adventure motorcycle, and its build quality is second to none. Plus, its engine is engineered to perfection. It also uses the latest technology, and has some of the best features found on any motorcycle today. The overall design is totally functional. It’s big and tough, and will certainly perform in the intended manner. We have enough experience on these bikes on some of the toughest terrain in the country to attest to this fact.
At the heart of the machine is the legendary liquid-cooled, in-line three-cylinder 800cc engine that has been re-engineered to be more refined and efficient. The engine has had some new adjustments made to it – including some technology and components borrowed from the Daytona. The engine is simply remarkable, and without a doubt it’s one of the smoothest mid-capacity bikes we’ve ever ridden. It doesn’t rev very high, but thanks to the ride-by-wire technology it doesn’t need to be revved hard at all if you want power.
And because of its phenomenal chassis, the weight distribution is perfect and makes the bike feel incredibly nimble around smooth flowing corners and tight bends alike. Sarath had a blast taking the Tiger around the track, and surprisingly the Tiger lapped the BIC just as fast as the Mini Cooper. You can lean the bike close to the ground when tackling curves at high speeds, and you can quickly, and smoothly, roll your body to the other side when you want to change direction. It handles just as well as some super-sport mid-capacity bikes we’ve ridden in the past. The suspension is also brilliant, and the XCX variant we had gets the WP suspension – which is more oriented towards off-road riding, but we enjoyed it just as much on tarmac.
There are different riding modes that the rider can choose from. When in Off-road mode, the throttle is less responsive and hence doesn’t react very quickly. But when On-road mode, or Rider Mode (Sport Mode), is engaged, the throttle response is immediate. The different modes also adjust the ABS and Traction control, so if you choose to be in Off-road mode the ABS in the rear wheel is deactivated. You can also choose to have both traction control and ABS disengaged when off-road. Basically, you have complete control of how you want the bike to behave.
It was a very close call for third place, but the Tiger rightly deserves it. The Tiger 800 is available in many different variants, depending on the needs of the customer. It also gets plenty of accessories and optional equipment. It has a distinct and unique character that will appeal to a wide range of riders. Our most memorable rides at autoX have been on the Tiger in the remote Himalayan regions of Bhutan and the North-Eastern states – which just goes to show that the Tiger really can do just about anything, and go wherever the rider wants. It’s bullet proof, and one of the best adventure bikes available in the world today!