Triumph invited a select number of dealers to test the new Tiger XC on a 90 mile, on/off road adventure through the dessert in Arizona during our annual Dealer Conference at the end of January.  Being that I had never spent anytime off-road before I was a little nervous, but I jumped at the opportunity. 

 

Our group met early in the morning in the parking lot of the resort.  During our pre-ride brief they asked for a show of hands of how many people had dirt experience.  To my surprise only half of the group had ever been on dirt.  To the novices there only advice was: don’t use your front brake, maintain speed, and keep the weight on the front of the bike.

In my 9 years of riding I have never put more than 1000 miles on any one bike.  So when I get a new machine there is always a little bit of a learning curve.  The Tiger 800XC had no learning curve.   Immediately after leaving the parking lot we hit the sandy, rocky dirt alongside the highway.  This experience was both terrifying and one of the best feelings I have ever had on a motorcycle.  After allowing the rear slide a few times I became a pro. 

We headed onto the highway pointed at the foothills ahead.  At highway speeds the bike was a dream.  The torque on this machine is absolutely amazing.   I tested this by slowing to 20mph in sixth gear, then accelerating.  It felt better than any Japanese four-cylinder pulling out of first gear.

Prior to riding, my impressions of the XC were that it was a typical adventure bike with a slow turning, tall, soft front end.  The XC is anything but!  Once we reached the twisties in the foothills the Tiger handled like a Street Triple around corners, and the incredible torque required nearly no shifting at all. 

The ride ended with 10 miles of desert, off-road, riding.  The bike handled like a champ!  The surface was sand and loose rocks of all sizes, and once I got the hang of how it handled I would aim for any loose ground. 

All in all the Tiger 800XC is the real thing.  Great highway tour package, urban assault vehicle, and it will have your looking for a dirt or gravel road everywhere you go.  More than anything it made me a dirt rider.

- Zachary Materne