Triumph Tiger 800 XCA Review : Urban Tiger

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Added in: Must Read

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I have not been fortunate enough to witness the majestic tigers in their true habitat, silently making their way through the lush green forests, as they ambush their unsuspecting prey. I did, however, got a chance to lay my hands on a majestic 800cc adventure tourer that can leave its pug marks — or rather tire trail — through the toughest of terrains, the Triumph Tiger 800. The Triumph Tiger 800 is as comfortable off-road as it is on terra firma and is probably the only thing that you would need in your garage for all your motorcycling needs.

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Triumph Tiger series in divided in two sub-categories – Tiger XR and Tiger XC. The XR series is road focused with alloy wheels while the XC series, with its wire-spoke wheels, is made for off-road riding. We tested the top of the line, fully loaded member of the Triumph Tiger’s off-road family, the Tiger XCA which gets 36 spoke 21 x 2.5 in, aluminium rim upfront and 32 spoke 17 x 4.25 in, aluminium rim at the rear.

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So while the Speed Triple zoomed past me, making a melodious pop and crackle exhaust sound, I had one of the most laid-back and effortless rides of my life through the twisting roads of Lavasa astride the Tiger 800 XCA. Here is what we came back with.

Oh, by the way, if you are interested in that melodious Speed Triple, check out the detailed review here.

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With nearly a decade of motorcycling experience, I have seldom had a chance to ride a fully fledged adventure tourer. My daily ride is a humble, compact and ridiculously easy to handle KTM 200 Duke. So as you could imagine, the Tiger 800 XCA to some who rides a small motorcycle, at first glance, would appear to be a mountain. A voice inside me shouted in delirium as I numbly stared at this rugged, yet exceptionally detailed piece of British engineering. The seat height can be adjusted from 840mm to 860mm which is quite tall for an average Indian rider. We’ll talk more about it in the later half.

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The aggressive headlight and the pointy fender make it look like an Angry Bird character. The headlight is not the only path illuminator on the Tiger 800 XCA as the motorcycle also gets a pair of auxiliary or fog lights which would come handy as you ride through trails blanketed in fog and mist. The chiselled 19-litre fuel tank gets a muscular look with fibre extensions which further surround the liquid cooled radiator while holding the front blinkers. The windscreen is neatly designed to push the wind away from the rider and offers comfort on those mile munching rides.

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Right behind the windscreen is a multifunctional semi-digital instrument panel which comprises:

  • Digital speedometer
  • Trip computer
  • Analogue tachometer
  • Gear position indicator
  • Fuel gauge
  • Service indicator
  • Ambient temperature
  • Three ride modes (Road/Offroad/Rider configurable)
  • Clock

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The Tiger series is meant to appear rugged and thus it gets minimal covers with the side and rear panel being non-existent while the knuckle guards and metal engine underbelly shield enhances the visuals. The unclad design proudly exhibits its engine and tubular steel trellis frame. The tall-set muffler gives you confidence to wade through submerged roads. We found ample muddy fields and broken patches of tarmac which wasn’t that difficult to locate on this side of the country and the Tiger rolled over it without any fuss. That was probably the only moment when I saw the Speed Triple in my rear-view mirror, slowly and carefully making its way through the pot-hole ridden roads.

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As aforementioned, the Tiger 800 XCA is the range topping variant and thus the list of standard equipment includes heated rider and passenger seats, heated grips, LED fog lamps, and an uprated 650W alternator complete with 3 auxiliary sockets that can power everything you need from heated clothing to GPS systems.

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Meet the Tiger 800 XCA in detail:

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The Tiger 800 XCA means business and the rugged look complements its character

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The multi-function semi-digital instrument panel displays a plethora of information

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The heated seats and grips would come handy during those winter (or even rain) rides

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The switchgear is well placed and easily accessible. Check out the special buttons for heated seats and fog lamps 

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The headlight provides good illumination while the auxiliary lights would come handy during foggy conditions

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The Nissin brakes have a good bite and provide good feedback

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The tall-set exhaust would make wading through water a piece of cake

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Comfortable ergonomics ensure you cover good distances between breaks

As I said before, the Tiger 800 XCA means business and visually, the British marquee has done a commendable work but what about the mechanical bits?

The marvels of British engineering encompass the world. Godfrey Hounsfield, an electrical engineer from England, developed the diagnostic technique of X-ray computed tomography. Richard Trevithick, a person who is credited with building the first full-scale working railway steam locomotive was British. The Industrial Revolution, which changed the face of the world, began in Great Britain.

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The Tiger 800 XCA’s engine is no less of a marvel in itself. The 800cc liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder delivers 95 PS of power at 9250 rpm and 79 Nm of torque at 7,850 rpm. What’s remarkable is the way that in-line 3-cylinder delivers torque through the rev-band. The motorcycle can roll at speeds of upto 13-14 kmph in first gear at idle rpm. You can literally let go off the throttle in any gear and the motorcycle would keep its pace with absolutely no engine knocking.

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Whip that throttle and the Tiger gains pace faster than you anticipate, with power delivery stepping up right from 3000 rpm. But real fun starts after 5000 rpm all the way to the redline as the digital speedometer sprints into higher digits. The ride-by-wire throttle gives precise response to even slightest of inputs. It won’t take you to interstellar speeds but that’s not what it is supposed to do. That being said, you can hit a ton mark in second gear without much stress on the engine. Hell, you can keep the motorcycle in second gear throughout your ride in the city and the Tiger would not complain. You can give your wrist some relief and engage the cruise control too for an even more relaxed ride experience.

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The engine comes with pre-defined maps – Road, Offroad and Rider configurable. Wet days can be tackled in the Rain mode while your speed cravings can be satisfied with the Sport mode. The Tiger 800 XCA also gets switchable traction control and ABS which can be tailored to rider’s needs.

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The Tiger 800 XCA weighs well over 200 kgs and something with that kind of mass, moving at three digit speeds, needs some potent braking setup and the task is taken care of by Nissin’s twin 308 mm floating discs with 2 piston sliding calipers upfront and single 255 mm disc with single piston sliding calliper at the rear. NVH levels were limited too and seldom did we face any uncomfortable disturbances as we rode the Tiger 800 XCA throughout the day. But what about the comfort levels during those long highway hauls?

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At 5’9”, I’m not particularly vertically challenged but the Tiger 800 XCA’s a seat height of 840mm to 860mm did make me put a conscious effort every time I put my feet down. But that was only for the first few miles. Pushing it around the corners or moving through city traffic was remarkably easy. You see, the Tiger 800 XCA may look like a motorcycle that requires substantial muscle power to ride but it’s the exactly opposite. Its plain ridiculous the ease with which you can ride this motorcycle. You can push it around the canyons or make your way through moderate traffic with very little effort. Once on the move, it feels like a toy, lightweight and utterly easy to ride – easier than most other middleweights, and I am not kidding as I say this.

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Once in motion, the over 200 kg of weight seems to disappear as the motorcycle carries the load effortlessly. Even with a healthy pillion on board, the Tiger did not break a sweat as it continued to munch miles, easily gaining momentum at the slightest twist of the throttle, and the same should be the case even after loading it with luggage as you measure the length and width of the country on its two wheels. The windscreen comes real handy as you cruise at three digit speeds, adding to your comfort. You would invariably clock more miles between stops while the upright seating position gives you a relaxed ride experience.

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The 43 mm upside down forks upfront from WP are adjustable for rebound and compression damping and have a 220 mm travel. The WP monoshock at the rear comes with a remote oil reservoir and features hydraulically adjustable preload and rebound and delivers 215mm of wheel travel. Push the Tiger through the most challenging surfaces and the suspension will soak up all the undulations without any trouble. The default setting of the suspension was slightly on the softer side which delivered a plush ride quality but the settings can be tailored to rider’s preference. But even with that relatively softer setting, the Tiger XCA sliced through the winding roads of Lavasa like a hot knife through butter.

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There were a couple of things that bothered me, especially during off-roading. The factory installed Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A40 tires weren’t all that great on muddy surfaces. Don’t take me wrong here, the tyres do a great job on tarmac but when it comes to off-roading, I would prefer a more knobby set of rubber that would offer better traction. If I do make enough money to buy a Tiger 800 XCA, I would probably strap it with Metzeler Karoo 3 tires.

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The other negative was the weight of the motorcycle. Tipping the scale at 203 kg (dry), the Tiger 800 XCA is on the heavier side. Add to that a 19-litre fuel tank and other liquids and the weight can easily go north of 220 kgs and we are just getting started. The luggage would make it even heavier which would make riding it quite a difficult task off the tarmac and that’s not what I want to have at my hands while negotiating conditions where there is a high probability of a fall. If you are exceptionally sturdily built and can live with that, there is probably nothing in the country that comes close to the off-tar capabilities of the Tiger 800 XCA right now.

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To be honest, I am one of the most introverted persons you would meet in a social gathering and unless I’m on high spirits, you’d probably find me busy with my cell phone or exiting the venue even before others get into groove. Thus, for a person like me, the Tiger 800 XCA is a perfect getaway tool. It’s technologically laden, comes with a rugged design and has a marvellous motor. It’s a ticket to escape from busy city lives and explore the road less travelled. Well, the ticket does come for a price, and this one costs  INR 14,02,500 (ex-showroom Delhi). But until the Tiger’s ace rivals, the BMW F 800 GS and the new KTM 800 Adventure, come to India, this British motorcycle will serve as the unrivalled go-to tool for all your adventure needs.

Riding Gear Used:

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Check out what else they offer and buy your own safety gear at Rynox’s official website

Check out more helmets from SOL

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Check out the complete specifications of the Triumph Tiger 800 XCA followed by a detailed image gallery. Do let us know your views about the motorcycle and the review through the comments section below:

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
TypeLiquidcooled, 12 valve, DOHC, inline 3cylinder
Capacity800cc
Bore Stroke74.1 mm / 61.9 mm
Compression11.3:1
Max Power EC95 PS/94 BHP (70KW) @ 9.250 rpm
Max Torque EC79 Nm@ 7,850 rpm
Fuel injection SystemMultipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
ExhaustStainless steel 3 into 1, high level stainless steel silencer
Final driveO ring chain
ClutchWet, multiplate
Gearbox6 speed
CHASSIS
FrameTubular steel trellis frame
SwingarmTwinsided, cast aluminium alloy
Front Wheels36spoke 21 x 2.5 in, aluminium rim
Rear Wheels32spoke 17 x 4.25 in, aluminium rim
Front Tyres90/9021
Rear Tyres150/70 R17
Front SuspensionWP 43 mm upside down forks, adjustable rebound and compression damping, 220 mm travel
Rear SuspensionWP monoshock with remote oil reservoir, hydraulically adjustable preload, rebound
Brakes FrontTwin 308 mm floating discs, Nissin 2piston

sliding calipers, Switchable ABS

Brakes RearSingle 255 mm disc, Nissin single piston sliding caliper, Switchable ABS
Instrument Display and FunctionsLCD multifunctional instrument pack with digital speedometer, trip computer, analogue tachometer, gear position

indicator, fuel gauge, service indicator, ambient temperature, three rider modes (Road/Offroad/Rider configurable) and

clock

DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHTS
Width Handlebars845 mm
Height Without Mirror1390 mm
Seat Height840 860 mm
Wheelbase1545 mm
Rake24.3 º
Trail95.3 mm
Dry Weight203 Kg
Tank Capacity19 Litre
Price (ex-showroom Delhi)INR 14,02,500
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