Don’t fancy taking your adventure bike off-road? No problem, here’s five reasons why you should be checking out the ‘XR’ prefix in the new Triumph Tiger 800 range.
If you caught sight of the last issue of ABR then you’ll be aware of the four new members of the Triumph Tiger 800 family. Plus, you’ll also be familiar with a review of the off-road friendly XCx version.
If you didn’t buy the last issue, here’s our highly considered and deeply pondered summary…we loved it.
Over the past couple of years, ‘Adventure’ has grown from being a descriptive word for a niche sector in the motorcycle industry into an umbrella term which now describes a whole range of machines – Adventure Sports; Dual Purpose; Adventure Touring.
Spotting this trend, Triumph obviously felt it important to expand the Tiger’s appeal into the fast-growing Adventure Sports category. They’ve done this by offering more road-friendly XR and XRx versions of the Tiger 800.
Essentially the XR prefix is aimed at the rider who has little or no intention of taking his new machine off-road but wants all the comfort and rider-friendly touring features that come as standard on an adventure bike.
Put another way, if you prefer the thought of dealing with gravel drives on a wine touring expedition in France than tracking through muddy river banks on a crocodile skinning trip in Africa then the XR or XRx could be for you.
The XR rider has no need for 21-inch spoked wheels, robust bash plates, high ground clearance etc. but absolutely demands the rider-friendly adventure bike ergonomics coupled with excellent manners on the tarmac.
Anyway, enough of the semantics, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty on why you might want to choose an XR rather than an XC.
The XC range comes with additional features that’ll boost your Indiana Jones image but also put a dent in your wallet. If you’re into off-road riding then the added protection of a robust bash plate, radiator guard and spoked wheels are essential but they come at a cost. The road going XR and XRx versions cost £500 less than their XC counterparts. That’s enough cash to fund your first venture into France, a couple of bottles of plonk and a replica Indie hat and whip.
The Tiger XR comes with a 19in front-wheel whereas the XC features a 21in at the fore. Both come with 17in at the rear. Whilst it would be hard for me to say I noticed a big difference between the two bikes on the launch, the XR offers the additional on-road agility you’d expect from a smaller front tyre.
The XR is 5kg lighter than the XC, it’s also 12mm narrower, 40mm lower and features a 15mm shorter wheelbase. And if that’s important, all well and good, but the most appealing aspect is that the standard seat height is a good 30mm lower than the XC plus there is a low seat option with a further 20mm reduction. This will no doubt appeal to a lot of adventure bike riders currently struggling around on tiptoes.
The XR suspension differs from the XC in a number of areas. First off it comes with Showa as opposed to the (excellent) WP found on the XC. Secondly, there is less travel in the front (40mm) and the rear (45mm) and all in all it makes for a stiffer ride more suited to on-road riding especially so when the red mist mood settles over you on the twisties.
The XR looks very similar to the XC but there are two very obvious visual differences. As mentioned above the XC sports spoked wheels as opposed to the cast aluminium found on the XR. However, the second major spot the difference tick could be the deciding factor for someone way or the other.
Take a look just below the screen on the XR and you’ll notice a stub. Check out the same point on the XC and you’ll find a protruding beak. I can’t think of any mechanical or practical reason for pointing this out but some adventure riders display very beak aware tendencies.