The MCN Test: Tiger hunting

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Of all the adventure bike sub-classes – and there are many – the middleweight sector is perhaps the most important.

With machines ranging in capacity from 700 to 900cc and prices starting at under £10k, and A2 licence restriction possible on most models, these mid-sized all-rounders appeal to a huge pool of potential buyers – from new riders and experienced hands, to those on a budget, or people stepping down from large-capacity ownership.

There’s a lot at stake for manufacturers, particularly in a segment that can cement brand loyalty, so it’s little surprise to learn that competition is fierce.

Suzuki’s V-Strom 800RE is the category’s latest challenger. Already a hit in dual-purpose DE form, the
RE is the Strom’s road-focused variant.

Powered by the same GSX-8S-derived 776cc parallel twin as the DE but running a 19in front wheel rather than a 21, Dunlop D614 tyres, and tweaked ergonomics to enhance long-distance comfort and control, the RE is also £1000 cheaper than its more off-road styled stablemate.

At £9699 the Strom’s the same price as another relative newcomer to the class. Honda’s XL750 Transalp
impressed last year with its easy nature, sweet handling, longdistance capability, and eyecatching
styling that’s an unmistakable nod and a wink to the original 1980s XL600 Transalp.

Pick of the class up to now has been Triumph’s Tiger 850 Sport…