THE NEW TRIUMPH TIGER 900
A QUANTUM LEAP FORWARD IN ADVENTURE MOTORCYCLE CAPABILITY
There’s a saying that goes “The only constant thing in life is change”, and it seems Triumph Motorcycles took this phrase to heart with the introduction of a new model in their adventure bike middleweight segment, the Triumph Tiger 900 .
“The Triumph Tiger has an incredibly rich history, with a bloodline of dedicated off-road models spanning the last 80+ years. Starting in 1936 with the first Tiger competition models, the Tiger name has played a significant role in establishing the adventure category – from racing, to rallies, and to the birth and boom in adventure travel.
Launched in 2010, the Tiger 800 established a leading position in the middleweight adventure segment with its neutral and precise handling, torque rich triple engine, and accessibility to all riders. And in January 2018, during the development programme for the new model, the ‘Tiger Tramontana’ gave viewers of the gruelling Pan-Africa rally a very early hint of the aggressive new styling and poise of the new Tiger 900″.
Triumph Motorcycles decided to give a ground up redesign of their leading adventure bike. The Tiger 900 comes with an impressive styling update, closely matched with it’s 1200 sibling. It seems Triumph has been paying close attention to pleas of it’s current Tiger 800 customers on what they would love to see changed on the brand’s upcoming models. What Triumph customers requested was a model upgrade which was going to possess great agility, yet retain stability, improvement in performance, yet retain good on and off-road handling. More comfort, reduced servicing costs with a wider variety of accessories. Yup, that’s customers and their often hard to match demands? Nonetheless, it seems Triumph listened. They went back to their team of engineers and gave them the brief, inclusive of free reign to come up with a design that would put a smile on their customers faces.
What the engineers came up with, is “a new category benchmark for maximum adventure in every ride, Triumph’s new Tiger 900 is completely transformed with an all-new more responsive 900cc triple engine, an incredible standard of specification, new state-of-the-art ride-enhancing technology, and an aggressive new Tiger style and attitude. On top of that, the new Tiger 900 range is now significantly lighter than previous Tiger models, making these the most capable, agile and dynamic middleweight adventure bikes available”.
The increase in capacity of 100cc , means that the new engine delivers more torque and better response at lower rpm, with more power across the rev range. The new engine also introduces a revolutionary piston firing order courtesy of a T plane crank. This is not marketing hype, the new unique 1,3,2 firing order (previously 1,2,3 on the 800) has resulted in 10% more torque than the Tiger 800 model, peaking at 87Nm at 7,250rpm. The T plane crank with it’s new firing order, gives off a guttural growl, similar to a V-Twin engine.
Besides the most unique firing order of the Tiger 900, one of the most innovative transformations to this new model lies in it’s weight distribution. Customers made requests for the new model to have good ground clearance. Triumph responded by splitting the Tiger 900 radiators, allowing them to be moved slightly higher, resulting with more weight and size being shaved off on the oil sump at the bottom.
“An all-new twin radiator set up is mass optimized with a reduced coolant volume. This improves cooling performance, and reduces the ambient heat felt by the rider. The new radiator style enhances the new models’ more striking adventure bike stance and poise. Its shape and position enable a further forward engine position, resulting in a more optimized center of gravity (40mm forward and 20mm lower). This improves weight distribution for better handling and low speed balance, whilst other improvements to the sump and cooling system ensure it has no impact on ground clearance”.
Tiger 900 Rally Pro is an outright adventure bike, ready to take on all types of dirt road you can throw at it. It boasts all the bells and whistles needed for a blissful off-road riding experience. The front suspension comes in 45mm USD cartridge forks. A manual adjustment of preload, rebound & compression damping and 240mm wheel travel. The rear suspension comes in gas pressurised RSU, adjustable for preload & rebound damping with 230mm wheel travel. The Rally Pro version also comes with a wider variety of electronic options, something we will get into later.
Tiger 900 GT Pro is tailored for urban adventure and long distance travel. It offers a great balance between daily commuting and off-road performance. Ladies who’ve often found themselves having to lower their adventure bikes just so that have theirs toes touching the ground whenever the bikes are in a stationary position, might not find the need to do so on the Tiger 900 GT as the suspension is much lower than that of the Tiger 900 Rally. The Tiger 900 GT is also available in a dedicated Low Ride Height variant, this is achieved by a dedicated suspension set-up and a lower seat. This variant also features the built-in additional seat height adjustment of 20mm, giving a seat height of 760 – 780mm. The Tiger 900 GT Pro front suspension comes in 45mm USD cartridge forks. A manual adjustment of compression & rebound damping and 180mm wheel travel. The rear comes in gas pressurised RSU. Has a manual preload adjustment & rebound damping adjustment with 170mm wheel travel.
“There is a very high specification of suspension across the new 900 range with premium Marzocchi or Showa components tailored to deliver the ultimate capability for the benchmark-setting new middleweight adventure bikes. For maximum rider convenience and comfort, the GT Pro model features segment-leading electronically adjustable rear suspension, allowing the rider to adjust the rear preload and damping settings via a dedicated menu in the TFT instruments. Riders can select from nine levels of damping control, ranging from Comfort (softest) to Sport (firmest), and four preload set-ups”.
Some changes on the chassis are almost unnoticeable, but the lightweight modular frame now comes with bolt-on rear sub-frame and pillion hangers. The rear sub-frame is now removable and made of aluminium. A crash damaged sub-frame will no longer write off the bike.
All Tiger 900 models come with immense braking power. They’re fitted with class leading Brembo Stylema brakes cable of stopping a superbike. Perfect for urban roads, but could become a bit tricky when riding off-road, especially for novice riders. But I guess this is something that will take some getting used to. The new optimized cornering ABS and optimized cornering traction control comes as standard on the mid and top spec new Tiger 900s
Long distance riders will appreciate the new larger 20 litre fuel tank, bars that are now slightly closer to the rider, new screen that has five-position adjustability with a 50mm height range using a simple push and lift arrangement, a dedicated and unique footrest position to suit the expected style of riding, and lastly heated grips including heated rider and pillion seats to take on those cold winter days. The Shift Assist, up and down, is one of the smoothest I have ever experienced on any adventure bike.
And on the tech side, the Tiger 900 comes with a secure compartment under the seat houses a handy 5V USB power socket. The Rally Pro comes in 6 riding modes – Rain, Road, Sport, Off-Road, Rider-configurable & Off-Road Pro. A 7″ TFT monitor presents rider information in four different styles with complete clarity. With TFT instrument styles designed specifically for connectivity, the integrated My Triumph connectivity system and app seamlessly enable phone call and music operation, turn-by-turn navigation, and GoPro control.
The pricing for the 2 models is:
- Tiger 900 GT Pro (R215,000)
- Tiger 900 Rally Pro (R229,000)
For more info, please visit: https://www.triumph-motorcycles.co.za