This is Triumph’s new middleweight Tiger undergoing testing in Spain last week. The early-stage prototype bike is a very long way from finished, but there’s no mistaking that its origins are rooted in the current Tiger 800 XR model, with cast wheels, that distinctive headlamp unit, tail unit, and inline triple engine.
There are a lot of notable changes over the current bike – not least the revised engine, suspension, and ride height – all of which point to this being an even more road-focused version, aimed at those who want the versatility of an adventure-styled bike, but the road manners of a sports-tourer. The bike is riding lower than the current model, and appears to have a reduced-travel fork, and a new linkage on the rear monoshock.
The reduction in ride height will have created problems with ground clearance and the range of suspension travel available at the front – as the wheel would have smashed the radiator at full travel. But Triumph have clearly addressed both on this test mule by shaving well over an inch off the depth of the sump, and splitting the existing single radiator into two separate units – allowing the front wheel to rise higher towards the headstock without fouling the rad.
The exhaust pipes also look to be of slightly increased diameter, and – combined with the new crankcase/sump and the firm’s recent Street Triple update to 765cc – this leads us to believe the new Tiger will have a larger-capacity version of the current 800cc engine. The likely maximum capacity for the existing engine architecture would be around 900cc, achieved by a minor growth in both bore and stroke – just as the firm did with the 675 triple to achieve its new 765cc capacity.
A capacity hike would also deliver something in the region of 110bhp, which puts it squarely in the ballpark with the newly-launched Ducati Multistrada 950, and other middleweight adventure bikes.
The test mule has some crude modifications to the front of the main frame, and boasts a full adjustable bolt-on headstock, adjustable yokes, and bar risers. The rear hasn’t escaped, either – with an elongated swingarm, new subframe, and revised shock linkage – all allowing the development team a huge array of adjustability as they search for the optimum chassis balance.
There are also some small visual revisions, such as LED daylight running light in the centre of the headlight, there to meet Euro4 requirements. The Tiger already had a light in that position, but this new one appears dramatically whiter and brighter, suggesting that it is LED rather than a conventional bulb – which also improves longevity, and reduces power draw. Also new are the mirrors and, which resemble those of the new Street Triple RS.
The state of this test bike suggests that it’s still a very long way off production, and is unlikely to find its way into your local Triumph dealer before 2019.
The fork appears to share a great deal with the existing model, although the travel on offer looks to be reduced. The fork is clamped in a development headstock, created to offer a large range of adjustments while the bike undergoes testing.
These allow the test riders to change the rider geometry dramatically, and as changes are made to the chassis geometry. One they have identified the best position, the final production hangars will be made to match.
Tank & Radiator
The tank appears the same as the current Tiger 800. That means a 19-litre capacity. The existing radiator has been replaced with two separate ones, to allow the front wheel to rise much higher toward the headstock without it fouling.
The subframe has clearly been modified to be a bolt-on unit (the current one is welded). This could just be for testing, but it might be a production update to allow easy replacement if damaged without the frame being written-off. The pillion peg hangars are also new.
It’s impossible to tell from looking at it whether there has been a capacity change, but there are certainly changes. The sump is dramatically shallower than the current bike, and the crankcases appear new, too. The head, conversely, looks identical to the existing 800. With the Street Triple having just grown for 675cc to 765cc, it’s reasonable to assume that Triumph have affected the same upgrade for the 800, taking it to around 900cc.
Wheels & Tyres
The front wheel appears to be a 19in rim, of a design that mimics the current XR family of Tiger 800s, but with its cast spokes being spaced further apart. The rear appears to be a 17in rim, and neither matches the front’s design, nor anything else currently in the range, and reminds us of three-spoke Brembo wheels from the 1990s. From the rear view, the rim appears to be wider than current, and the tyre also appears wider – suggesting that Triumph are fattening it from a 150 to a 170 or 180-section tyre. The tyres on the test mule are Metzeler Tourance Next.
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