Triumph Tiger 800 XCX

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James Oxley bonds with his Triumph Tiger 800 XCX over long distances

Here at ABR, we recently took delivery of a new BMW R 1250 GS as a long-term review bike. The arrival of the GS created a lot of excitement in the office, but magazine hierarchy dictates the editor gets first dibs, so I didn’t get a look in. To be honest, the disappointment only lasted as long as it took me to swing my leg over my Triumph Tiger 800 XCX.

You see, the Tiger and I have spent a lot of quality time together recently and I’ve grown incredibly fond of it. I’ve covered around 3,000 miles, the majority of which have been spent at motorway speeds on my weekly commute home to Cornwall. Riding the same stretch of the M5 and A30 each Friday night can prove a mind-numbing experience, but since I’ve had the Tiger, I find myself looking forward to the ride.

I’ve got to know the bike intimately during those long journeys and I’ve been hugely impressed at what a competent long-distance mile muncher it is. The experience has left me in no doubt it will make a superb touring bike this summer. The Tiger 800 XCX cruises effortlessly at 70mph and beyond, its engine purring contentedly at high speeds. The WP suspension at the front and rear is superb, soaking up lumps and bumps on the road with ease. And the adjustable screen is one of the best I’ve ever used on a motorbike.

All of this makes covering big miles a breeze. When I do need to up the excitement levels, there is plenty of power available from the 93bhp engine throughout the rev range, whether I’m accelerating from slow speeds to join the motorway, or I need a burst of pace at higher revs to overtake in the fast lane. When it comes to fuel range, I’ve been getting between 170 – 180 miles from the 19l tank. I’ve pushed this to over 200 miles by riding more conservatively.

When I first rode the Tiger 800 XCX, I did struggle with the seating position. It forced me to lean further forward than I usually like to in order to reach the handlebars. I also experienced a sore backside after an hour in the saddle on those early rides.

These issues were solved simply by adjusting the seat height to its lowest position. This minor tweak sat me a little more upright which immediately felt more comfortable. The slight redistribution of my body weight also means I can now ride for hours without a whisper of complaint from my arse.

The XCX model’s long-distance credentials are further bolstered by the inclusion of cruise control and heated grips, which have been godsends. My Tiger was also supplied with Triumph’s excellent hard luggage which is easy to clip on and off the bike and provides plenty of storage space. The Tiger 800 XCx’s competence on the road makes it easy to forget that this is also an adventure bike ready to hit the trails.

It comes equipped with 21-inch front and 17-inch rear spoked wheels, a bash plate, engine guards, and of course, that sublime WP suspension. If you don’t ride in the dirt, you may be tempted by one of the more road-focused Tiger 800 XR models. These feature 19-inch and 17-inch cast wheels front and rear, a 30mm lower seat height, slightly narrower handlebars and a weight saving of around 5kg depending on the model you go for.

The XR models use Showa suspension instead of WP. You’ll save a few hundred pounds opting for one of the more road-focused XR model Tigers, but if it was my money, I’d pay the extra for that WP suspension which is a joy on the road. I can’t wait to test it out on the trails, but that’s a story for next time.

Specs at a glance:

Price: £11,250
Engine: 800cc liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC in-line 3-cylinder
Power: 93bhp @ 9,500rpm
Torque: 79Nm @ 8,050rpm
Brakes: Front; Twin Brembo 305mm ABS, Rear; Single Nissin 255mm ABS
Gearbox: 6-speed
Seat Height: 840-860mm
Weight: 208kg
Tank Capacity: 19L
Fuel Consumption: 60.6mpg (claimed)