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Old 25th November 2016, 20:49   #1
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Default Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

First Review of the Tiger after a grueling 10,000 kms! Why so long for a review?

Is it complete lack of excitement? Or is it more like the fuzzy warmth that only a lifelong friend can bring and you know for sure that feeling is here to stay?

Like the never ending solo in Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold", it is a long term love affair with the Tiger!

I've heard "Strangehold" a couple of hundred times before I realized that the song is immortal because it is a symphony of many forgetful pieces of guitar & drum solos and loose vocals, which may not be remarkable by themselves but come together to stitch up a masterpiece that one can never get tired of! Phew - don't know how I could come up with this nonsense…what was I smoking?!

Anyways, the Tiger 800 is much like that Ted Nugent gem - not the best in power, torque, handling, braking, looks or sound. But probably the best all-rounder big bike you can buy in India today, that can keep your face grinning for a long long time!

Why the tiger?

After my wild and crazy love affair with the Daytona; I had to rein in the adrenalin that had replaced blood in my system. It just was getting too fast and I needed to do something about it. A break it had to be! I stayed away from motorcycles for roughly a year!! I wasn’t actually sure I would be back on one anytime soon, that explains why I got rid of my Arai lid and other riding gear after she was gone.

But, biker friends are for life and one never gets away from it all. And we'd often catch up at our adda a.k.a Rebel Motors, the Triumph dealer in Hyderabad. I actually believed I would end up buying a Thruxton eventually, which seemed a reasonable and docile steed that augured well for my new found love of peaceful, slow-paced tomfoolery. Strangely enough, I never even looked at the pair of Tigers tucked away at one side of the showroom anytime I was in Rebel motors. Let's face it! I'm vertically challenged with a puny 5'3" frame and what business did I have even looking at a 6" tall bike? I never even bothered to clamber aboard one hoisted on a main stand, let alone ride that building!

I keep telling my friends; you are never ready for something crazy till you start losing sleep over it! That insomniac evening never came…and I remained Bikeless! One bike that looked exciting then was the new Yamaha MT09 (one cannot escape YouTube too!). MT09 seemed to be a very different approach to a Jap super naked and I did write to Yamaha India about this one. Their one liner email directing me to the local commuter showroom evaporated any excitement that I had painfully built up! Bikeless still!

Meanwhile my closest biker buddy was frantically trying out new machines, month on month! Harleys, Triumphs, KTMs and such; the desire to ride alongside him slowly germinated. One fine weekend, he told me that he had arranged a choice of bikes for me and I was excited. There was a street bob, a Thunderbird Storm and a Tiger to choose from. I know the first two, so I went for the third by default! The first few seconds of tippy-toed balancing act signaled the breaking of Ice!! I was free Again! I instantly felt at home on the Tiger XRX and was drunk on emotion! That weekend ride of 200 odd Kms opened up the thought of getting my next ride.

Tiger 800 was obviously a choice; but what did I actually want at this time? Something that sounds great, wasn’t too fast, was comfortable and maintenance friendly! Somehow cost, weight, looks were not part of the criteria.

Why not the explorer 1200? I was damn sure the sight of me riding an explorer would be hilarious! Like the proverbial chameleon on the highway milestone. Not Cool! ( Ironically I have indeed been riding Explorers lately and am genuinely floored by their insane supersports rivaling turn of speed!)

To cut the long story short! I bit the bullet and settled for a well-loved Tiger XR that had a few kms on the odo! Bikeless no more!

Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review-tiger0.jpg

The Tiger Experience

Honestly, the excitement about this new buy was ZERO. I had seen my bike only in pictures and didn’t even bother to go down to the basement for a peek after my friend had dropped it off at home and handed me the keys! Well, must be a very special friend I guess!

Now what's an XR and how is it different from other Tigers?

XR - Plain Jane, bottom of the pack | road-oriented dual sport machine.

• 800 cc triple
• 97 BHP & 80 Nm of Torque
• Showa Upside down forks
• Twin front disc brakes with ABS
• Traction Control
• Alloy wheels and Metzeler Tourance dual purpose tyres
• 12V powerport
• 215 kgs

XRX - higher spec'd road-oriented dual sport machine

• Selectable Power modes
• Hand guards
• Adjustable windshields
• Center stand
• Comfort Seats
• Cruise Control
• Additional power port

XCX - off-road oriented dual sport machine

• White Power suspension
• Aluminium Sump guard
• Spoked wheels 21" front with tubed tyres
• Additional front fender at a higher level (Beak)
• Engine protection bars

Explorer 1200 - Fully spec'd Continent crosser

• 1200cc triple
• 135 bhp & 121 Nm torque
• Shaft drive
• Single sided swingarm
• Spoked wheels with tubeless rims and tyres

Extra Bits on my bike

• Barkbuster hand guards
• Aluminum sump guard
• Frame protectors
• Fork protectors
• Radiator guard
• Arrow exhaust
• Spools for a paddock stand
• Beak
• Engine protection bars
• Soft luggage

NOTE : Been trying some options with colors, for a possible makeover soon! Nothing finalised yet!

Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review-image1.jpg

What's the riding experience like?

Let's get this out of the way first! Short riders can be perfectly fine on a Tiger. I know from experience that anyone above 5'3'' can be perfectly at home on the Tiger 800. Though the XCX is a bit taller; it still is manageable for shorties. Please don’t shy away intimidated!

Engine?

The 800cc triple is an insane piece of kit. Torque is amazing on this thing. It does an easy 100 KMPH at its 10K rpm redline in first gear and adds an extra 20 kmph in every subsequent gear; topping off at about 210 kmph. What's significant is that it will just pull in any gear at almost any speed. It can do a remarkable lug from 35 kmph to top speed in 6th with absolutely no jerk or snatch from the engine. The gearbox is super sweet too. What gives the best joy from the engine is to rev the nuts of the engine by treating it like a supersport 600. It's quite rewarding and surprisingly peppy when ridden this way. If you try to ride sedately at say 80 kmph in 6th gear, the engine has a flat drone that can be boring! Sticking with the stock exhaust is a better choice if sedate pace is your thing. Go aftermarket only of u like a supersport like twist of the wrist.

Throttle is crisp and quite sharp; this being a ride-by-wire system. There is a very sharp transition at about the off position that can catch a newbie offguard! can result in either stalling or taking-off while the throttle is at almost closed position. But very predictable after a few twists! This isn't an issue at all, but worth knowing nevertheless.

Something about every Triumph bike in the line-up is that the engines are never boring. The Bonnie twins, the 1700cc parallel twin in the Thunderbird, the triples of the street/speed/daytona and the 2300cc mother of a Rocket3 engine - all have character in spades. You simply cannot be bored by any of these engines!

Almost missed this one! : The fuel tank capacity is just under 19 Liters and can do around 400 kms between refills, roughly 50 kms for each bar of the 8-bar fuel gauge.

Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review-image4.jpg

Ride, Handling, Braking and Suspension:

Ride is planted, compliant and forgiving. Handling is not razor sharp like a Street triple or Daytona, but sharp nevertheless. Contrary to popular assumption, the off-road oriented XCX is also amazing fun on tight twisties. The XR can be ridden like a middleweight sportsbike and corner carving is a lot of fun.

Braking is adequate, but can be better. I feel that front stoppers do a good job, they have a progressive feel and decent bite; ABS works quite well and is predictable. The rear brake feels quite wooden though and doesn’t have much feel.

The superb suspension on the XR/XRX makes everyday riding a breeze. This is one bike you would never think twice about riding out, good weather or bad weather, fresh tarmac or potholed hell, rain or shine. Nothing stops a Tiger on-road.

Off-road? Well, here things get a little complicated. In stock settings the XR will kill the engine as the rear wheel begins to slip off-road as the Traction Control kicks in. One can turn the TC off and continue; a slight inconvenience. But on an XRX this is a breeze, select the driving mode for the terrain and off you go. But both XR and XRX have Showa suspension up front that has pretty bad damping which becomes evident when a jump is attempted; the kind you have when u blast through ruts on a public road. The suspension tends to bounce rather than dampen the descend as both wheels hit the ground. So I believe the XRs can do a reasonable amount of off-roading - actually Trail riding is what these bikes are good for off-road.

The XCX is a different beast altogether. 21" spoked wheels and Whitepower suspension is well damped and good enough to tear through tough terrain. But again, for a serious off-road pounding session once has to be a little more taller than people like me; I believe if one can flatfoot an XCX on pavement, then he or she is good to go off-road.

Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review-image2.jpg

Tour Friendliness:

Tiger is an amazing touring machine. Can take plenty of luggage and cruise all day. Wind protection is adequate in stock form. There is hardly any vibration at the handle or pegs and seats are comfy. When touring without pillion, a surprisingly large amount of luggage can be bungied onto the space behind the rider's seat made up of pillion seat and the stock luggage rack. For more serious long rides, there are several pannier and top box options available. The Triumph hard luggage is a great but expensive option at around a Lakh of rupees. I chose the excellent SHAD semi hard luggage that can carry 48 liters each in them. I got a simple luggage frame custom fabricated for the SHADs using stainless steel square tubes locally. They fit well and haven't given me any problems yet.

Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review-image3.jpg

Reliability and Maintenance:

I haven't had a single issue in the first 10,000 Kms. The only part that needed replacement for the 10k service were the rear disc pads.

Now, many Tiger owners have had to change their rear brake pads in as little as 3000 kms. I believe this has got to do with the owners using the rear brake for slowing down. Rear brakes are actually to be used only for stabilizing the bike at very low speeds and for coming to a complete halt. The fronts have to do all the slowing down work. Triumphs have built a reputation for being very reliable over the years and my experience has been no different.


Closing Thoughts:

Very few big bike riders in India actually keep their "upgrade" bikes for long. Many fall into the upgrade hype and end up spending very less time with their rides. I have been on this trip myself and have changed several bikes in the process. I "upgraded" from my H-D Sportster to a Dyna seemingly for ABS; which I later repented. The Daytona R was a supersports wet dream that was getting too silly; primarily due to the flawless nature of the bike that makes the owner be super confident doing insane stuff. The Roadking was a brief and unending lust that beckons a re-entry. I get asked often: What next? Honestly, I can't see a replacement for a Tiger among the bikes available in India today. What does one do after experiencing street bikes, cruisers, tourers, supersports and adventure bikes? Stick to the practical option? In fact that's where i am at the moment. I love the Tiger for its subtle nature, much like my best friend and that Ted Nugent single. Never boring and easy to live with. Ciao!


************
Links:

For a brief view of my big bike journey, here are some links on tBHP.

H-D Superlow - My first affair
: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/superb...ce-bobber.html (Building a Poor Man's Harley Performance Bobber!)

H-D RoadKing that i used very briefly: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/superb...-roadking.html (Living with a Harley Davidson RoadKing)

Triumph Daytona R that was the ultimate wet dream! : http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/superb...superbike.html (Triumph Daytona 675R. A true everyday Superbike!)

H-D Street Bob : Didn't find it exciting enough to review though i rode it for 5000 Kms. Pics and a brief review below:

Name:  streetbob_rear.jpg
Views: 17652
Size:  51.0 KB

Image : Bada$$
Engine : Stonking Torque and brutal acceleration
Noise : Just the best Vtwin heavy metal music - courtesy Rinehart 2-1 exhaust
Suspension : Nil
Brakes : Wooden
Handling : Scary as Hell

Last edited by josepeter : 25th November 2016 at 22:53. Reason: Assembly Line edits
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Old 26th November 2016, 09:28   #2
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Motorcycle Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 26th November 2016, 09:36   #3
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

Welcome back to the forum Jose! And, let me be the first to congratulate you for the Tiger 800

I must have to confess that I admire your appetite to always be on the road and ride whenever you get the time.

Btw, Do you ride each day of the week?

Let's ride together one of these days along with your other tiger brother (Raj)

Till then keep sharing your experiences and ride pictures

Enjoy !!!

Last edited by mobike008 : 26th November 2016 at 09:37.
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Old 26th November 2016, 14:43   #4
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

I believe that's the first review of the XR on Team-Bhp. Everyone else seem to be going for the XRx, which does have some good electronics to justify the price difference.

I was looking specifically for reviews on the XR just yesterday morning, since Triumph had a pretty good deal running on the XR. Sure had me tempted, a lot, only to realize later (post some calculations) that it's not going to work out for me even then.

My short test drives with all bikes in the price band from different genres made me feel that mild Adventure bikes are the best in the Indian context, given the off road'ish nature of our roads.
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Old 26th November 2016, 22:41   #5
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

What a coincidence. I took a test ride of the XR today and was almost sold on it and then made the mistake of riding the street tripple. Now i'm really confused But reading your review gives me some more insights. Many more happy miles on your beauty
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Old 28th December 2016, 17:56   #6
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Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review-imageuploadedbyteambhp1482927034.102663.jpgTriumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review-imageuploadedbyteambhp1482927088.936930.jpg

Just back in Hyderabad after a 2500 km solo ride to Kochi. I've been spoiled sick by the tiger. Long distance commute on this machine is a breeze. The engine hums effortlessly all day, the stock saddle is comfy for all day riding, the suspension provides for a very comfy ride but is sufficiently sporty, brakes are good and overall it's a stress free experience.

The onward ride to kochi was a day ride with a 6AM start from Hyderabad, reaching Kochi at 10 PM with two longish breaks for Brunch and high tea. This was the usual Bangalore-Coimbatore route.

Hats off to all riders in Kerala. One wonders what's the point in riding a fast bike in the state! The good bits with medians have traffic lights every 5 kms or so and the bad bits are torturous. I took the Wayanad Mysore route on the way back and this one was pure work. Riding the Kochi Mysore route will test anyone's patience and endurance, it's a single lane for almost the entire stretch with quite heavy traffic. Kerala is one never ending urban stretch with hardly any empty bits in between. The tiger made this ride enjoyable with its fuss free performance and relaxed and comforting manners. Can't wait to hit the road again. Ciao.
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Old 28th December 2016, 22:42   #7
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by josepeter View Post
The tiger made this ride enjoyable with its fuss free performance and relaxed and comforting manners. Can't wait to hit the road again. Ciao.
Thats pretty long ride and by the looks of it, the Tiger would not have broken a sweat. Keep munching away the miles. 1000 kms a day should be a breeze.

A couple of questions if you dont mind answering.

1. I believe this runs on normal 91 octane fuel. So any good quality bunk should suffice. Did you take any extra precautions?

2. What sort of speeds you did on this trip (not the top speeds, but the avg speeds)

3. Kitna Deti Hai
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Old 29th December 2016, 06:00   #8
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

Mod Note : Please do NOT reply to posts using bold text within a quoted post, as it leads to visual discomfort for readers. Additionally, it's inconvenient to quote & reply to such a post.

For the correct way to quote, please see this thread (How to MULTI-QUOTE (when replying to a thread) on Team-BHP).

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Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
Thats pretty long ride and by the looks of it, the Tiger would not have broken a sweat. Keep munching away the miles. 1000 kms a day should be a breeze.
No ride is a Breeze. Long distance riding is mind game actually! Even a 100 kms ride can be fatigue ridden if not psyched up properly.

My technique to manage a long riding day is to alter the start and end points of a ride! May sound crazy!

It's like; for a Sunday breakfast ride of 100 kms one-way; the mental ride starts at the meeting point with your buddies, maybe 5 kms from home and the end point is the last common junction, say 5 kms from home. The 5 kms each at either ends are like effortless and not counted as distance.

Using the same approach, for a 1200 km ride, say Hyderabad to Kochi, the ride starts at an imaginary meeting point say Kurnool which is 200 kms into the ride. The end point being say Palghat that's like 150 kms before the end. This way, either ends of the ride feel like warm-up and cool-down jogs for a long distance runner and your mental fatigue is dramatically reduced.

On any return ride, the last stretch is a home stretch; Bangalore- Hyderabad will be a home stretch even though its 600 kms. So the return ride for the Kochi-Hyderabad ride starts at say Coimbatore and ends at Bangalore..the rest are a breeze

So this way the mental fatigue can be managed irrespective of the ride distance. May sound stupid..but it works!

Quote:
A couple of questions if you dont mind answering.

1. I believe this runs on normal 91 octane fuel. So any good quality bunk should suffice. Did you take any extra precautions?
No special care actually!

Quote:
2. What sort of speeds you did on this trip (not the top speeds, but the avg speeds)
Some stretches like the Hyderabad - Bangalore stretch can manage a 100 kmph average. A general average on Kerala roads for any vehicle is about 50 kmph. And all other roads something in between.

For the Hyderabad-Kochi ride the average should be just over 80kmph

Quote:
3. Kitna Deti Hai
At full-on mode it's around 17.5 kmpl. Empty roads with a yogi throttle, its upwards of 25 kmph. So....

Last edited by Jaggu : 4th January 2017 at 16:35. Reason: INCORRECT QUOTING - USING BOLD TEXT IN EXISTING QUOTES
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Old 4th January 2017, 14:50   #9
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

Very nice thread Jose.

I recently got a Himalayan and I'm amazed by the bikes in this ADV category. I have my eyes on Tiger XCx, the upcoming Honda AT and KTM 790/800 adventure. Someday soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by josepeter View Post
But again, for a serious off-road pounding session once has to be a little more taller than people like me; I believe if one can flatfoot an XCX on pavement, then he or she is good to go off-road.
Not true actually. Shorter riders can and in the past have been exceptional riders/off-roaders. Cue Belgin racer Gaston Rahier. He's a two time Paris-Dakar rally winner, and his feet didn't touch the ground.
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Old 4th January 2017, 15:13   #10
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

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Not true actually. Shorter riders can and in the past have been exceptional riders/off-roaders. Cue Belgin racer Gaston Rahier. He's a two time Paris-Dakar rally winner, and his feet didn't touch the ground.
Well, It is actually true.

Folks like Gaston might be gifted and have special skills to ride and win competitions despite short height but, for normal people who ride ADV bikes like the GS, Tiger, Africa Twin and Versys, at least 5ft 8 or 9 inches is recommended and anyone below that height will struggle in slow speed and stop & go riding conditions (many such situations found in India) and at standstill it will be the most difficult to manage the motorcycle

Btw, what Gastion seems to be riding is much lower in height. Current crop of production ADV bikes are giants and a reasonable height is important to enjoy the motorcycle to its full potential
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Old 7th January 2017, 08:06   #11
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

Quote:
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Well, It is actually true.

Folks like Gaston might be gifted and have special skills to ride and win competitions despite short height but, for normal people who ride ADV bikes like the GS, Tiger, Africa Twin and Versys, at least 5ft 8 or 9 inches is recommended and anyone below that height will struggle in slow speed and stop & go riding conditions (many such situations found in India) and at standstill it will be the most difficult to manage the motorcycle
Beg to differ here; particularly about "slow speed and stop & go riding". Both these conditions do not require the rider to "wade"; in fact wading is a very wrong technique for these conditions. The right technique is to use the rear brake and balance it with gentle throttle inputs even if one is a 7 footer. Wading in traffic will only result in zig-zag movements and the possibility of your feet being run in by bikes nearby. One feet on the ground is actually sufficient in stop & go traffic; not disputing that two feet is better.

The examples that you have encountered may be attributed to poor riding technique i feel.

But when off-roading, there are instances where the feet may have to do some work and being tall will help.
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Old 7th January 2017, 09:42   #12
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

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Beg to differ here; particularly about "slow speed and stop & go riding". Both these conditions do not require the rider to "wade"; in fact wading is a very wrong technique for these conditions. The right technique is to use the rear brake and balance it with gentle throttle inputs even if one is a 7 footer. Wading in traffic will only result in zig-zag movements and the possibility of your feet being run in by bikes nearby. One feet on the ground is actually sufficient in stop & go traffic; not disputing that two feet is better..
Completely agree that "wading" will result and excessive right/left movement of the handle and also high possibility of your feet getting crushed by some moron who is too close to the bike

The trick you mentioned is good if the traffic is continuously moving wherein you can just balance the bike and I think every rider with bare minimum skills will apply this method.

But, in conditions where the traffic moves a few feet and then stops and resumes again, in these conditions having both feet on the ground will certainly help ( For short riders, keeping one feet down is easier but, that's a compromise/style I reckon they adopt whereas, tall riders can comfortably place both feet on ground and rest properly before the traffic resumes again)
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Old 11th January 2017, 15:41   #13
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by josepeter View Post
Attachment 1589200Attachment 1589201

Hats off to all riders in Kerala. One wonders what's the point in riding a fast bike in the state! The good bits with medians have traffic lights every 5 kms or so and the bad bits are torturous. I took the Wayanad Mysore route on the way back and this one was pure work. Riding the Kochi Mysore route will test anyone's patience and endurance, it's a single lane for almost the entire stretch with quite heavy traffic. Kerala is one never ending urban stretch with hardly any empty bits in between. The tiger made this ride enjoyable with its fuss free performance and relaxed and comforting manners. Can't wait to hit the road again. Ciao.
Congratulations!, josepeter, on your bike.
It looks like you are making good use of the bike and clocking up the miles, unlike a lot of other bikers. You've got a great bike there. Triumphs are known to make great riders bikes each one of them with oodles of character and reliable, smooth efficiency.
I own a Harley Iron at present (got that after a whacker of a test drive on a Bonnie ) and I know for sure that I am eventually going to end up with an adventure-tourer. That is the kind of bike suited for our roads and for longer journeys.
About the Kerala roads, I can totally understand. I ride a Harley AND on Kerala roads, now that is a double whammy. The traffic density, narrow roads, the private buses and mad taxis. It truly sucks out the will to ride from even the most seasoned riders.
Keep riding and posting your experiences with the Tiger.
Cheerio!
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Old 12th January 2017, 12:02   #14
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

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Originally Posted by josepeter View Post
First Review of the Tiger after a grueling 10,000 kms! Why so long for a review?
Polichu! Congrats ! I missed this thread but heard about this from friends.

You need special riding skills for Kerala roads. MVD is not helping us with that
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Old 12th January 2017, 12:15   #15
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 800 XR - 10,000 km Review

First of all, many many congratulations josepeter on acquiring the Tiger 800.

Yours has always been a very tasteful garage and this one is no exception. Like you have already mentioned, its very difficult to find a replacement for the versatile nature of the Tiger 800. The Tiger is a keeper and an incredible mile-muncher.

Could you please highlight the service costs so far. I am more keen to know the 3rd service cost as I have heard that typically the 1st & 2nd service costs hover around 7-8 K mark but the 3rd service is on the expensive side for almost all Triumph motorcycles. I have a feeling that your Tiger won't have gone past the 2nd servicing yet, in that case I will await your feedback after the 3rd service is done.
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