With the honeymoon period over, Ollie Rooke finds some niggles creeping in while riding his long-term Tiger 900 Rally Pro
I tend to hit a stage in any fledgling relationship when, after a few months, the rose-tinted spectacles start to slip and I begin to notice little irritations that had previously escaped my attention.
I usually have similar experiences with motorcycles, and recently, I found myself slipping past the honeymoon phase with my long-term Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro. Up until the past few weeks, it could do no wrong as I basked in the joy of riding the bike. However, after living with it for six months, I’ve found the slight niggles that I was all too happy to overlook to begin with have morphed into annoyances.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to indulge in a little motorcycle relationship counselling and discuss three things I like about the Tiger, and three things I could certainly live without.
The seat is a delight to spend time on for extended periods. The backside, hands, feet triangle fits my 6’ frame like a glove, and the screen and fairing do a brilliant job of deflecting air away from my head and body without creating buffeting or turbulence.
The Tiger’s quick shifter has to be one of the smoothest I’ve ever used. Whether I’m riding around town, off-road, or in the twisties, I can pull away in first gear and neglect using the clutch lever until I pull in at the end of a long day on the road.
The heated grips and heated seat keep me toasty in the saddle and every piece of switchgear is backlit, a handy feature at night that some other manufacturers neglect. The spotlights also do a magnificent job of illuminating the road ahead without blinding oncoming drivers. In fact, they almost act as cornering lights, which don’t feature on the Rally Pro.
On paper the Tiger’s vast 7” TFT display should be class leading. However, all four of the available layouts are cluttered and in need of a redesign. The warning light system also needs some refinement. Watching a warning alert, accompanied by a separate fuel light, ping on when I still have a quarter of a tank remaining is excessive.
Another gripe I have with the Tiger is the fact that many of the settings need to be turned back on after switching the ignition off. Even after stopping for fuel or a quick photo, I need to turn back on the heated seat, heated grips, spotlights, and should I be riding on a green lane, the off-road riding modes.
Despite the fact I enjoy the bike’s backlit controls, Triumph has crammed the Tiger’s left switch gear with nearly all of the buttons needed to operate extras like the spotlights and heated grips, along with the joystick used to scroll through the menus on the TFT display. This leads to my hand often being overstretched as I fumble to reach for the correct button to press.
It would also be more intuitive if the positions of the indicator switch and joystick were swapped over. In their current locations, I sometimes mix up the two and find myself inadvertently scrolling through my texts, fuel range, and phone book as I try to indicate for a corner.