Back in 2008 Zach and I were at the Triumph international dealer meeting when we were told they would introduce 12 completely new motorcycles by 2012. They boasted of new categories, revamped currents and things we wouldn’t even dream of. Naturally we were hungover skeptical, but Triumph has been delivering on their promise.
We’ve seen the Street Triple, Street Triple R, fuel injected modern classics, Rocket III Touring, Thunderbird, Thunderbird Storm, significant updates to the America, Speedmaster, Speed Triple and Sprint, but honestly the biggest game changer is the new Tiger 800. About a month ago, my brother and I test drove this new bike in the desert of Arizona and 2 weeks ago one of our “geniuses” (aka: technicians), Jared Morris, went out to look under its skirt. We have all since become addicted to dirt. Lots of people think it’s a Tiger 1050 frame a bit lighter with a bored out Daytona 675 engine in it… not even close! This is the all new / mac-daddy of adventure bikes, built all on its own. The engine is 85% new components, and increase in displacement is achieved by stroke not bore. With this process of increasing it’s CCs it makes the engine more “undersquare,” meaning it has more torque. This helped when Zach and I were smoothly throttling through thick sand on our test drive in Arizona. Another big change to what we’ve seen inside of Triumphs before is the shift assembly. The gear selector mechanism contacts the shift drum on 2 spots to shift it. Think of it as slowly driving a car with no power steering, it’s like driving with two hands rather than one, just works easier. With high torque, amazing throttle response and smooth shifting, I would feel comfortable performing brain surgery with it. The list of cool things this engine can do is endless, so if you want to hear my rant call me 504 595 6776 ext 3, but for now let’s move on.
It’s no secret, there was a king of this class before, their name starts with a “B” and ends with a “W,” but their F800GS has now been outdone. The Tiger 800 has 10% more power, almost an entire extra gallon of gas (giving the bike a 170 to 180 mile range), adjustable seat, better looking, $500 less for the non ABS, over $1000 less for the ABS and the ability to flawlessly transition between on and off road. Best part, all you BMW guys with your heated gear, this bike has a 645 watt alternator compared to the GS's 400 watt, meaning it can easily power every bit of heated accoutrements for the rider and passenger, and STILL enough power to charge up your GS battery when it dies. With all this said, I look forward to seeing each and every one of you when I get back from my world tour on my new Tiger 800. AND YES, I will be riding it across the ocean. Maxwell Materne