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Triumph Tiger 800 XC 2013 Reviews

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  • Retail Price ~$11999.00 Shop Now
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Bryan Bosch

  • 4
  

I bought this bike used with less than a thousand miles on the clock. It was essentially as new, 100% stock. Just how I like them. This is my first adventure bike, so my only point of comparison are various single cylinder MX and off-road dirt bikes.

 

Power & Gearing

A little soft down low, but the triple engine rips from the mid range all the way to its 10k red-line. I think that this motor is fun to spin up. It's super smooth and the triple sounds mean, even with the stock exhaust. The only thing that I don't like is at or near idle, the engine has a "whirl" sound to it. Not a huge deal, but not a pleasing sound to me. Off-road, the softer low end power can be a good thing. It's helps with traction, as the stock Pirelli Trail tires are 95% street biased. It's geared a little high, so if you spend a lot of time off-road, going down a tooth in the front would likely be a benefit for more technical terrain. My understanding is that the speedo picks up off the ABS sensor, so gearing change won't monkey with your speedo accuracy. Shifting is positive and accurate. I'd like to see a hydraulic clutch lever, but the adjustable throw cable lever works just fine.

 

Brakes

Love the ABS on the street. Anchor the binders and you stop quickly, straight and true, wet or dry. Very confidence inspiring. You can switch off the ABS for off-road use, but it's needlessly difficult (a number of steps using the gauge cluster) and as soon as you turn the key off, you get to start over. Triumph fixed this for 2015. For the conditions that I ride, I just leave the ABS on and I can't say that it's gotten in my way. If I rode a lot of hilly, tighter terrain where brake sliding becomes more important, I'm sure that I'd switch the ABS off more often. Overall, I'm please with the binders on the Tiger.

 

Handing

On the street, the Tiger feels like a bigger supermoto machine. It willingly drops into turns, dare I say flickable? I don't have the kahoonies to surpass the bike's street capabilities, so when I'm riding spiritedly, it's doing nothing goofy, confidence inspiring, and just a lot of fun. Off-road, it's no dirt bike. But, I shouldn't expect it to be. It's 473lbs. ready to ride and there is not getting around physics. But, that's not to say that it sucks off-road and isn't fun. It's just a different riding experience. In central Florida, we have packed sandy soil and sugar sand. I ride both on the stock tires and honestly, it's not all that bad. On the pegs, weight on the back of the bike, moderate handlebar inputs and lots of gas (momentum). I find 94hp a hoot off-road! Roll the power on and drift through the corners, steering the bike with the ass end. If you have the off-road experience, the Tiger is plenty capable for flowing terrain. I'm sure you could do tighter stuff, but that's too much work for me! If wanted to ride that a lot, I'll buy another dirt bike.

 

Suspension

On the road, no complaints. Smooth and seems to handle transitions from acceleration to braking without excessive dive. On rough pavement, it's firm, but not rough or jarring. It's feels sporty. Off-road, the rear shock shows some weakness on hardpack, potholed & washboard roads as the speed picks up. It can sound a bit clanky on bigger, faster hits and the valving feels a bit overwhelmed. Only the rear shock has any adjustments (preload and rebound), so there is only so much tuning that you can do. It's by no means bad, it just reminds you that it's not a high speed, trail trash burning machine. I'll likely look to see what Race Tech Gold valves might offer, but I don't see myself dropping thousands on new forks and shocks. It's just not that limiting for the conditions that I ride. As a package, I'm pretty happy with the stock suspension the vast majority of the time.

 

Reliability

So far, starts and goes without issue. Time will tell.

 

Comfort

Longest day that I've done in the saddle was about 7 hours. I think that the stock seat is just fine. I never found myself standing because of a sore ass, nothing like the seat on my KTM 450 dual sport (tapered brick)! I've installed Rox Speed FX handlebar risers (2", stock control cables), so the standing position is now nicely suited to on the pegs riding and I also installed Fastway ADV foot pegs for a better connection to the bike. I think that the stock pegs suck, especially when running the rubber isolators. Just a way too vague feeling for me. I need to feel more connected to the machine. Of course, the larger pegs offer more footing positions and grip off-road. The stock windscreen offers some wind protection, but on the freeway, there is noticeable buffeting on your helmet and shoulders (I'm 5' 10"). It's ok for shorter runs, but if you're a real iron butt rider, a more effective windscreen will be on your list. For me,  at least for now, it's good enough.I do like that it doesn't get in my way off-road, getting forward on the bike.

 

Standout Features

I love that the pillion pad that can be removed by simply inserting the ignition key into a cylinder just below the tail light. Below the pad I can store a decent tool roll, disc lock,  and a few other small do-dads. And, with the pillion pad removed, you can pull the seat off in seconds, giving you quick access to the seat height adjustment & battery. Quick and tool-less. I also like that outside of a painted tank and duck bill, all the stuff that is typically subjected to trail abuse is either textured black plastic or powercoated steel. Triumph even made the radiator shrouds easy to replace and not too expensive. Also, there are no rear body panels to get scratched up or damaged.

 

Hated Things

  • Almost impossible to fill the tank without gas spitting out.
  • The front fender is too short in the back, so when riding sand, it kicks up into your face.
  • Whirling sound from engine at/near idle.
  • Exhaust can is a little oversized.

Bottom-line

I like the Triumph Tiger 800XC. It's fun, good looking, reliable, and gets me where I want to go without any real fuss. It's not the best street bike nor is it the best dirt bike. But, it does both good enough for me and I'm the only one it needs to please. And, at least for now, it's somewhat "different".

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