Crouching Tiger, hidden engine

Published: 11 October 2017

There’s a new Triumph Tiger 800 on the way and it’s got a big set of claws

When Triumph opened their new visitors centre, they regaled us with stories of legendary victories at the TT and on the saltflats but there was a distinct gap. While they’ve had off-road bikes in their range for decades, and sent various intrepid adventurers off around the world, they’ve never competed in rallies. That is until very recently when they rather suddenly sent two of their test riders to the Panafrica Rally. Now a spyshot has emerged of a brand new and completely finished Tiger 800, we think they’ve got something very special up their sleeves.

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Focused machine

We’ve known that there’s a new Tiger 800 coming for a little while, after we saw a series of spy shots earlier this year. The bike in the first pictures was clearly a road focused Tiger 800XR, with cast wheels, short travel suspension, split radiators and a smaller sump. However that bike was in the very early stages of testing, so it was difficult to tell what would make the finished bike. Now a picture has emerged of an 800XR out testing with the new 1200 and while it confirms very few technical changes, it does confirm there’s a new bike out there.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Triumph sent two of their test riders to compete in the Panafrica rally on a heavily customised Tiger called the Tramontana. Why would Triumph do that, unless the Tramontana is actually the new 800 hidden in plain sight? Well we think that’s exactly what they’ve done but it wasn’t a bit of fun for their test riders – it was a hardcore test of the capabilities of the new Tiger.

The Tiger Tramontana is the second bike bearing the Tramontana name, after the Scrambler the Lopez brothers created a few years ago. Much like that bike, the Tiger has been completely rebuilt to handle the rigours of extreme off-roading. Developed from an 800XC, the Tramontana has had a full rally navigation tower with new lights and screen, custom Arrow exhaust, new subframe, bigger sump guard, completely modified plastics, rally saddle plus new suspension. It’s obvious these changes aren’t coming to the new bike but there is one thing that is: the engine.

Tigers for all

At the time of the first spy shots we believed the engine would grow in size to match similar growth from rivals such as the BMW F850GS, however little has changed externally, so we think that is not the case. With a growth to 900cc, we expected the new Tiger to deliver around 110bhp but sticking at 800cc, and with the full conversion to Euro4, we expect the bike is more likely to be around 95bhp. It’s possible that Triumph may have aimed for exactly 94bhp, which would make the bike eligible to be restricted to 47bhp for A2 licence holders.

No doubt to Triumph’s relief, the Tramontana not only finished but took four stage victories in its class, so it’s a strong suggestion that the new bike will continue the bullet-proof legacy set by the outgoing model. Whether it will act as a springboard for a hardcore production bike, akin to the BMW GS Rallye or Ducati Multistrada Enduro Pro remains to be seen, but we’re expecting Triumph to unveil the new 800 range at the EICMA show in November.

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