A glance suggests that not much has changed with the chassis – the main section is still a tubular steel trellis, but the rear subframe is now removeable and made of aluminium. A crash damaged subframe will no longer write off the bike.
The new frame and new fuel tank have also allowed the bike a narrower waist and added an extra litre to the fuel capacity. On the GT, the two position seat offers 810 or 830mm seat heights, but because it's narrower at the front, the standover stance is improved to make life easier for shorter riders. And if you really need it there is a low seat option too (760-780mm).
Despite the changes the riding position feels very similar to the old XR models; you sit into the bike, but the bars are now slightly closer to the rider. The new screen has five-position adjustability with a 50mm height range using a simple push and lift arrangement. It works really effectively and it's easy to imagine doing long days on the bike.
The really clever part of the chassis is more to do with weight distribution. Customer demands for more ground clearance, greater stability and more agility seem impossible to square, but splitting the radiators allows them to be moved higher, allowing the engine – itself re-packaged with a smaller sump and reduced oil capacity – to be moved forward.
So, although the engine’s mass is lower in the frame to drop the centre of gravity, ground clearance is better too, thanks to that smaller sump.
The result of all this smart packaging is that the 900 GT is utterly stable at speed, but has better low speed agility than the 800. It’s a neat trick, and it means that the GT can switch from speeding down smooth A roads to scratching along a badly surfaced and twisting B without drama.
But that’s also helped by the electronically adjustable shock absorber fitted to the GT Pro. On a pot holed Moroccan route or on the equally lumpy North Circular, you just tweak the ride from the comfort of your saddle and without slowing down.
Triumph's claimed overall weight of 198kg is dry, so the bike will be a chunk heavier than this fully-fuelled and ready to go.
The really clever part of the new engine is the crankshaft. Every previous Triumph triple, right back to the pre-Hinckley Trident in 1968, has featured a 120° crank layout. The new Tiger has a 90°-90°-180° arrangement of the crankpins that Triumph are calling a T plane crank. This allows a firing order that feels and delivers power more like a twin.
Cylinders one and three fire close together, then a pause then the second cylinder, then a pause, then repeat. The theory is that this makes the engine more tractable at low speed, improving agility. It sounds different too.
When combined with an increase in capacity of 100cc, it means that the new engine delivers more torque and better response at lower rpm, with more power across the rev range. On the road the 900 feels more characterful than previous Tigers, there’s a more visceral feel throughout the range, but impressive mid-range performance (and Triumph quote a 10% increase in torque across the rev range compared the old 800).
Throttle action is smooth, even from a closed throttle and there’s decent mid-range shove, so you don’t need to rattle the gear lever to make progress, though that’s no hardship with the excellent quickshifter that’s fitted as standard to the Pro models. The whole powertrain is 2.5 kilos lighter than the previous model, and further clever engineering means that it is more compact too.
Overall build quality looks convincing, but there are some flimsy looking bits of plastic on the bike, like the covers on the accessory kit fog lights. Triumph reliability and build quality are usually strong. Oil capacity is reduced because of the smaller sump, but that shouldn’t affect reliability.
The air filter can now be accessed without removing the tank, which now doesn’t need to be removed until the big 12,000 mile service, saving a lot of servicing time.
The mid-capacity adventure sector is crowded but the well-equipped Tigers look like decent value against the BMW F850GS (prices starting at £10,170) and KTM 790 Adventure (£11,299). Yamaha’s Ténéré 700 is cheaper, but doesn’t have bells, whistles and power of the Tiger.
All but the budget 900 come with a high level of equipment and electronics; the dash screen is an easy to read seven-inch TFT instrument with a range of display styles and heated grips, cruise control and mobile phone charging are standard as is the reassuring cornering ABS and traction control. The GT also has four riding modes.
In addition the GT Pro gets that electronically adjustable shock absorber, quickshifter, LED fog lights, centre stand, tyre pressure monitoring and heated rider and pillion seats. It’s a seriously well-equipped motorcycle, and that’s before you start ticking boxes in the fat accessory catalogue. Trekker and Expedition kits are available according to your choice of hard luggage options.