Staff bikes: Triumph Tiger 800 - Tiger’s stripes well earned

By Ped Baker -

First rides & tests

 23 December 2011 11:00

Riding a motorcycle from Peterborough to Brussels and back in a day in November is no picnic. The 600 miles aren’t the issue, but being cold is. Even with good riding kit, draughts start to creep in and on a long trip, once you’re cold, you’re cold for a long time.

To prepare the Tiger I wired in a connector for my Gerbing Heated waistcoat and fitted some Tucano Urbano bar muffs. The muffs needed slight modification as they’re intended for bikes with bigger bar end weights, but fitted fine. Setting off at a dark and rainy 3am is made a hell of a lot easier when you know you’re going to stay warm all day, and I was.

After a whopping 10 hours and fifty-three minutes of riding I pulled back into my drive at 9.15pm. Knees, arms, back and neck were all fine due to the Tiger’s excellent and spacious riding position, even for 6ft 5in me. The seat foam had compressed which made the final stretch from Calais a bit of a fidget but no real complaints. Vibes through the bars I’d noticed on my summer trip to Spain have also disappeared. It could be because the engine has now run in or the fact I was wearing thick winter gloves, probably a bit of both.

The fog earlier in the day had highlighted something I’d not noticed before and that’s how the wind catches the top edge of the screen, directing a jet of air across the visor, clearing off mist, fog and rain. As I’m tall I have to duck forward slightly for the full benefit but it should be the ideal height for most people.

The Brussels trip was the Tiger’s last as it’s now been returned to Triumph HQ. Before I’d lived with the Tiger I’d drawn a false conclusion that you need a litre bike for serious two-up touring. The 800 has blown that theory into the weeds and does genuinely offer all benefits of a bigger bike, such as comfort and long leggedness without the drawbacks of weight. The only slight black mark against what is a phenomenally accomplished all-rounder is the poor fuel economy.

THE FACTS
Triumph Tiger 800 ABS, £7749
Mileage: 6547
Power (claimed): 94bhp
Torque (claimed): 58ftlb
Weight: 210kg
Info: www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk

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