Roar power! 2020 Triumph Tiger 900 has punchier mid-range, lower weight and a raft of modern kit
Triumph’s new Tiger 900 has come out fighting - claws and all - thanks to a bigger engine, more torque, meatier mid-range and a lot less mass to lug around, too.
Base-spec versions will be available from £9,500, but the top versions will hit dealers first, expected around March 2020. We'll update you with more specific pricing information as it becomes available. For now, read on for everything MCN knows about the 2020 Tiger, and why it matters...
Mastering the middleweight market
The middleweight (sub-1000cc) sector is exploding in popularity and with a raft of new machines like the Yamaha Ténéré 700, KTM 790 Adventure and BMW F850GS hitting the market since the previous Tiger, Triumph were (literally) getting left behind.
This growth in the sector has been made possible as buyers increasingly realise they don’t need a big-engined £18k adventure bike on-road, and certainly not off it.
- Related: How to ride your motorbike off road
Triumph’s Tiger 800 was launched in 2010, and has sold over 76,000 units globally to date – and this completely redesigned 900 version (actually 888cc) sees torque increased to 64ftlb from 58ftlb and although power remains the same at 94bhp it is delivered much lower in the rev range giving much more meaningful mid-range punch.
There’s also a new firing order which adds character and a more distinctive soundtrack and makes it feel a bit more like a twin at low revs. This is also claimed to aid traction both on and off-road.
2020 Triumph Tiger 900: choose from GT or Rally, and then normal or Pro
The new modular frame and bolt-on rear subframe is significantly lighter than the previous model with a total weight-saving of up to 5kg, depending on the specific model. There are five to choose from in two families: the road-bias GT, and the off-road bias Rally, pictured below.
The most versatile are the two Rally models; the 900 Rally and 900 Rally GT which wear spoked rims, while the road-orientated versions are the base 900, plus a GT and GT Pro, which all come on cast wheels. All versions benefit from a bigger 20-litre tank (up from 19), and the latest Brembo Stylema calipers. The base version is also available as an A2-friendly version.
The new Tiger 900 should feel more accessible, too, with a narrower seat and handlebars 10mm closer to the rider, giving a more upright riding position for long days in the saddle. Each model also has two seat height positions; 810mm-830mm on the stocker, GT and GT Pro and 850mm-870mm on the Rally and Rally Pro.
All models (other than the base option) get a new 7in TFT dash with connectivity capability on the Pro models, and a boosted IMU-controlled electronics package that boasts cornering ABS and cornering traction control. There are all-new LED lights all round, complete with bar-style DRL, and reshaped bodywork throughout.
Suspension specs for 2020 Tiger
The 2020 Tiger also gets upgraded suspension. The standard machine, GT and GT Pro get Marzocchi hardware front and rear with 180mm travel at the front and 170mm at the back with varying levels of adjustment; from almost nothing (just manual preload at the back) for the base bike while the enhanced options are adjustable at both ends for compression and rebound and pre-load. The GT Pro’s shock is electronically adjustable.
The Rally and Rally Pro get adjustable Showa suspension with a rock-hopping 240mm travel at the front and 230mm at the back.
There’s also a whole host of riding modes with the stock machine getting Rain and Road and the other models getting up to six different power and traction maps to choose from, depending on the model. The Pro models also get shift assist, tyre pressure monitoring, heated grips, rider and pillion seats, and TFT dash connectivity.
Triumph Tiger 900: "a better motorcycle in every way"
"The development for this bike actually started with the Tramontana rally bike in 2017, which was built to compete in the Pan African Rally, where it came second in class," says Triumph’s Miles Perkins.
"This bike was built with the aim of dominating the class, which is a big shift in intent. It’s been built to be a much better road bike, as well as better off-road bike in terms of being fit for purpose. Much of this comes from the new engine, to transform its performance and responsiveness. It’s a completely new engine development to compliment the more agile chassis and heavily revised electronics package."
"It’s not just a new engine, it’s an innovative new triple configuration, designed to give that triple character, but with even more low-down grunt. It has a new firing order for greater character and torque. This means more power and torque low down, but also more power across the rev range, and a more aggressive soundtrack.
Chief Engineer, Stuart Wood, continues: "While it’s a new engine with the bore increased to 78mm, we’ve kept it within the same package size – in fact it’s actually slightly smaller externally. We’ve got an improvement in torque, in response, in character and feel. We’ve used a new technology for creating the liners to allow us to Siamese the bores together to keep the package as small as possible and also allowing us to reduce mass.
"All three liners are cast as a single unit, rather than having three separate liners" adds Steve Sargent. "This is quite a difficult technology, and something new for Triumph."
"We’ve made the sump smaller, so we can position the engine further forward (hence the split dual radiators to allow for front wheel clearance – Ed), we’ve reduced the size of the alternator, too. Everything on this bike is about mass reduction and making it a better motorcycle in every way."
"We’ve also developed a completely unique firing order for the new Tiger 900. We’ve always had a 120-degree crank with equal firing order in the past, which works very well firing at 240-degrees consistently. But we’ve changed that completely for the new 900, so that the new crank is at 0, 90, and 180-degrees, and the firing intervals are now at 180-degrees, 270-degrees and 270-degrees for a completely different feel, with a wider spacing between firing pulses, for improved tractability off road – and it sounds so different, more like a twin and nothing like a triple."
"Everything we’ve learned with the 800 is in this bike, it’s levels above."
Less experienced riders can still sample the highs (and lows) of the new Tiger 900. The GT, GT Pro, Rally and Rally Pro can have an A2 licence fitted at a dealer, taking it down to a perfectly legal 47bhp.
There is also a Low Ride Height version available on the GT version which takes the perch down to a more accessible 760mm-780mm.
As well as more than 65 official accessories for the Tiger 900, there are also two Inspiration Kits; a Trekker, which comes with all the touring bells and whistles, and the Expedition which is aimed at global distance destroyers; think super-tough panniers, headlight guards and so on.
Keep an eye on MCN for the in-depth Triumph Tiger 900 review coming as soon as the new bikes are available to ride.
Triumph tease new range of Tiger 900 models
First published: 14 October 2019 by Ben Clarke
A short video clip gives away very little but is accompanied by text reading, "The new Tiger 900 Rally & GT range. Adventure, transformed. 7pm (GMT) on Tuesday 3rd December."
The bike shown in the video has a pair of spotlights and a mono-brow DRL that looks to sit above new twin headlights. You can also see a glimpse of a gold fork stantion, suggesting the Showa units we saw being tested in August have made it to the final bike.
A longer video has also been released on the Triumph website (above) and shows fleeting glimpses of the new bikes being ridden across various terrain.
Keep an eye on MCN for more details as we get them and a full Triumph Tiger 900 bike review once we’ve ridden the new models.
Spotted: new Triumph Tiger in testing
First published: 06/08/19
Triumph are working on a refreshed Tiger 800 that looks poised to take the fight to its middleweight rivals.
The current 800 has a peppy triple engine but the triple configuration means it lacks the low end drive of some rivals, so it’s highly likely its crept up in capacity.
Conveniently if you take the existing Tiger 800’s bottom end and bolted on the bigger bore top end from a 765 Street Triple you’d get an 887cc.
A new 887cc triple would likely make as much bottom end as its big twin rivals but with a lot more going on up top, with power figures likely creeping north of 100bhp. This would require a separate A2 version if they opted to keep a compliant model in the range.
Mated to this is likely to be a whole new suite of electronics, as the current models ABS and traction control are lacking compared to the IMU based systems on KTMs 790 Adventure and BMW’s F850GS. The chassis and suspension have been reworked too.
The current Tiger copped a bit of flack for its frame, which was one-piece steel front to back without removable pillion pegs. That meant a bad drop off-road could easy bend the lot and result in a write off.
The new frame however has been completely redesigned to prevent this. So, the main frame now has a different loop around the back of the gearbox, where the subframe and pillion pegs simply bolt on.
The suspension now comes from Showa, rather than WP, and it appears to be longer travel, perhaps as much as 250mm at both ends. To counteract the seat height issues, it appears Triumph have slimmed the bike down although it will still be on the taller side.
This, together with the new swingarm, should make it better off-road, but Triumph appear to have kept some road sensibilities including a 17” rear wheel. The rest of the accessories, including seat, footpegs and handlebars scream adventure trail bike.
Take me anywhere
Stylistically the front end of the bike has had a considerable makeover, with real similarities to the Tramontana rally bike Triumph built two years ago. The rally look has become incredibly popular lately, most recently with Yamaha’s Ténéré 700 and it seems Triumph want to get a piece of the action.
Interestingly it seems they’ve also produced a third generation TFT dash, which appears to be much larger than the current model. It’s highly likely that Triumph will unveil a full range of new models, with this bike likely forming the pinnacle of the XC family.
Despite how finished this model appears, Triumph's current 800 range was only released two years ago, so it's possible we won't see this model for a while yet.
Triumph declined to comment on the bike in the photos.