The road, 19inch-wheeled, lower, lighter 800, is inevitably the sharper, slightly easier of the two new Tiger 800s through the twisties – but the XC isn’t far behind.
The differing dimensions and geometry of the off-road version means it needs to be levered and then tipped into corners a tad more deliberately, the rider feels a touch more remote from the front end and there’s slightly more dive and settling from the longer travel forks, but it’s absolutely no problem and you only notice when switching from one to the other.
The suspension set-up is such that, overall, on road, both are more than capable of mixing it with sports bikes and are a real blast to ride, while at the same time being decently stable, comfortable, distance machines.
Triumph’s middleweight triple was already a gem, both in 675 and Street Triple guise.
But with the stroke lengthened to take it up to 799cc, primarily to fatten-up the low and middle stretches of the 10,000rpm rev band albeit at the expense of some top end, turns the Tiger 800XC’s powerplant into an easy, seamless, idiot-proof jewel.
And that, combined with the light clutch, perfectly slick gearbox and impeccable throttle response, makes the Tiger 800XC a doddle to ride.
Too early to say on the reliability front, but neat touches abound, such as a little switch to lower the headlamp for pillion use, the clever seat height adjusters, plenty of bungee hooks and decent underseat storage.
The quality seems good, especially with the clocks, paint etc and, with a claimed 250-mile potential range and raft of accessories is immensely versatile.
You pays your money, you takes your choice… the cheaper 800 version of the two Tigers ticks virtually every box and is probably, unless you specifically NEED some off-road ability, the more logical choice.
But for many, the full-sized XC looks better, due to its size and stature, and, with genuine off-road ability, has more strings to its bow. Both are decent value.
The Triumph Tiger 800XC’s modern switchgear, thorough clocks, tapered bars, mirrors and screen are all a level above the offerings of its BMW rival.
While a plethora of accessories (see p?), such as tall screen, sat nav holder, posh levers, are available to take things further still (although the heated grips are a little bulky and clunky compared to the seamlessly integrated BMW versions).