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Old 15th November 2020, 22:27   #1
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Default Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look

This is how Triumph describes the motorcycle - Setting a new benchmark to take your riding off-road with total confidence, the Tiger 900 Rally Pro is designed to deliver all you need, for any road or ride, whatever the destination or distance. This incredible bike is packed with range-topping levels of category-leading specification for maximum off-road adventure and complete capability on the road.

Basically, the Rally Pro is the bike to own if you want to go off roading every single day of the week but also want to be able to ride around the country. The Tiger 900 Rally Pro gets the same 888cc triple cylinder engine that puts out 93.9 bhp (70 kW) @ 8,750 rpm and 87 Nm @ 7,250 rpm that is mated to a 6 speed gearbox. In keeping with its off road credentials, it gets a 21 inch wheel up front and a 17 inch wheel at the rear. As for the rest of the specs, here is what the Triumph website highlights
  • Showa adjustable off-road suspension
  • Spoked Tubeless Wheels
  • Optimised cornering ABS and traction control
  • LED DRL and Indicators
  • Cruise Control
  • Heated Grips
  • 7-inch full-colour TFT instruments
  • Handguards
  • Centre Stand
  • Engine Protection Bars
  • Aluminium Sump Guard
  • Triumph Shift Assist
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring
  • My Triumph connectivity system
  • Heated Rider and Pillion Seats
  • LED Fog Lights
  • 6 riding modes

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-11.jpg

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-12.jpg

After having spent a few days and covered several hundred kilometers with the off road biased Rally Pro test ride bike, here is a quick snapshot of the motorcycle.

Likes
+ Engine is super responsive and sporty
+ Supremely comfortable on the move
+ Low center of gravity, easy to ride in the city
+ Strong braking inspires a lot of confidence
+ Cornering king

Dislikes
- Vibey character everywhere in the power range
- Windscreen channels air directly to your helmet
- Build quality is questionable
- Awful screen layout options
- Poorly designed switchgear

Last edited by neil.jericho : 16th November 2020 at 14:02.
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Old 15th November 2020, 22:40   #2
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Default Initial Impressions - 5 top thoughts after first 30 minutes with the Triumph 900 Rally Pro

- Why are there vibes everywhere in the powerband? This test ride bike has vibrations in the low end, mid range and top end. If the vibrations at the mid range and top end on the GT test ride bike were tiring, the end to end vibrations on the Rally Pro test ride bike were comprehensively exhausting. If only the dealership ensured that this bike was in good nick, the time spent riding the Rally Pro would have been so much more fun.

- Where is the mind numbing heat from the twin radiators that ruined my ride experience on the Tiger 900 GT? The Rally Pro test ride bike runs so much cooler than the GT, that it felt like a dream, an extremely vibey dream, but a dream nonetheless!

- Though the Rally Pro is a tall bike (850-870 mm as compared to the 810-830 mm on the GT), there was a sense of familiarity and comfort that greeted me, from the moment I hopped onto the bike. The extra height didnt play a negative factor at any point of time during the few days that I had the bike with me. I even managed to do a few u turns with utmost confidence, though I did prefer to do them slowly.

- The output from the twin headlights is spectacular! I noticed immediately that were not properly set up, in that they were angled way too high and had they been lower, they would not have been an inconvenience to drivers on the other side. But from the rider's seat, I had absolutely no complaints, as the headlights provided quite brilliant illumination, even on pitch dark roads.

- The big windscreen started catching some consistent glare from the massive TFT display once the sun started setting. This was mildly distracting and a tad unexpected.

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-13.jpg

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-14.jpg

Last edited by neil.jericho : 16th November 2020 at 14:05.
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Old 15th November 2020, 23:00   #3
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Default Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Deep Dive

Since we already have a really good look at the Tiger 900 GT, I am focussing only on the noticeable differences here or things that I missed out on the GT.

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302517-large.jpg
The only way to see the total distance covered is when you start the bike up

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302521-large.jpg
2 additional off road based rider modes

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302522-large.jpg
Though confusingly, the navigation gives you two different ways to access it

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302526-large.jpg
Daddy long legs

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302527-large.jpg
Showa suspension up front

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302529-large.jpg
90 / 90 - 21 Bridgestone Battlax Adventure up front

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302539-large.jpg
150 / 70 - 17 Bridgestone Battlax Adventure at the rear

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302547-large.jpg
Heated seats, did not try out this feature for obvious reasons

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302550-large.jpg
Notice some of the distortion through the large windscreen

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302552-large.jpg
Scooped out seat appears to be more prominent with the taller of the two Tiger 900 models

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302554-large.jpg
Narrow seat and wide tank results in a comfortable perch for the rider

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302561-large.jpg
Bike is really wide when viewed from the front!

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-pa302592-large.jpg
Annoying fuel warning takes away half the screen real estate

Last edited by neil.jericho : 16th November 2020 at 23:56.
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Old 15th November 2020, 23:03   #4
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Default Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - Breaking it down (Part 1)

Since we already did a deep dive on the Tiger 900 GT, let me focus only on the different thoughts and feedback that I felt with the offroad based Rally Pro, over a couple of hundred kilometeres of riding it in different conditions. As I mentioned earlier, some of these points might be limited to the test ride bike here at the Cochin showroom and your mileage may vary (YMMV).

- Design
With the larger 21 inch front wheel and taller seat height, the Tiger 900 Rally Pro feels a little bigger than the GT, when viewed from close quarters. If you thought the GT drew attention, be prepared for what the Rally Pro can do, with its increased real estate.

- Engine
I rode this bike in 2 modes only - Road and Sport. Initially, I didnt change any settings and just kept riding the bike as is, and the linear, friendly power delivery made me realize immediately that the bike was set in Road mode. For city usage, Road mode is perfectly calibrated to your every need.

If you are heading out on the highways and are an experienced hand, Sport mode should be the default setting. I did head out on an early Sunday morning ride and attempted a few MotoGP-esque acceleration runs when the lights went green. The brutal manner in which the bike gets you from zero to legal highway speeds in Sport mode, will have you grinning silly from ear to ear. This is an adventure tourer with a sports bike heart! As I kept riding the Rally Pro, I just fell more and more in love with the strong power delivery from the 888 cc engine.

It was not, however, just a bed of roses, because this test ride bike was not well maintained despite having only 6,000 kms on the odometer and there were prominent vibrations just about every time I twisted the throttle. After long rides, even with a comfortable pace, I was positively knackered. So the best way for me to ride this bike was again, to shift early and enjoy the world going by at a steady 80 kmph.

- Clutch and gearbox
The clutch felt a lot heavier than the GT test ride bike and the shifts, especially to first, were accompanied with loud, solid thuds and they were definitely not the slick shifts that you might have expected. Again, another clear sign that the test ride bike was not well maintained.

- Ride quality
Since you do sit higher as compared to the GT and the bike's dynamics are slightly different than its road based variant with the altered wheel setup, the Rally Pro does feel a tad wafty on the highways. It is not unnerving in the least, the bike is still stable but the GT clearly feels a lot more planted as compared to the Rally Pro. It is a small difference but it is noticeable if you ride them back to back on open roads. Over bad and broken roads, the ride quality was simply sublime.

- Handling
Keeping in mind that I just wrote regarding the height and dynamics, one would expect that the Rally Pro would handle like a fishing boat in the twisties, but the confidence that you get in the corners is quite frankly, astounding! I took the Rally Pro to Athirapally, which is perfect for some hard cornering and the manner in which the Rally Pro dealt everything that I attempted, left me amazed. I kept pushing the bike, step by step, as I found that it just loved to tip in from side to side and the Rally Pro was a perfect partner, readily keeping up with my every move and egging me on for more. I kept asking myself - How is a big, brawny bike that weighs around 220 kgs, this agile?

When you look at the bike and then see the specifications on paper, you really wont believe what this bike can do with an enthusiastic rider and a good set of twisty tarmac. And if this is how the Rally Pro is able to swallow corners with consummate ease, I cant even imagine how the GT will gobble them up day in and day out. The chassis engineers at Triumph have really an outstanding job with the Tiger 900.

Last edited by neil.jericho : 17th November 2020 at 00:02.
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Old 15th November 2020, 23:08   #5
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Default Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - Breaking it down (Part 2)

- Build quality
There were no squeaks at all but when I tried walking the bike in and out of the parking slot a couple of times, there was a loud mechanical groan from the front end of the bike, reminiscent of an old gate being opened after 2 weeks of disuse. I dont know which exact part of the bike this sound emanated from, but it was massively disconcerting nonetheless! Also, the windscreen that I will get to in a moment, was not able to hold its position over a few mild bumps. For a bike that costs Rs 15.5 L ex showroom, that is not par for course.

- Windscreen
I rode the bike for quite some time with the windscreen level unchanged and realized that the large screen was funneling air straight to my helmet. Now to avoid this, I would crouch a bit by adding a bit of lean to my posture and this moved my helmet forward, which resulted in comfortable mile munching. But, whenever I tried riding sitting upright, the wind started hitting my helmet all the time and this is not something that I could manage on an all day ride. For reference, my height is 5'11" and if I had to guess, I would say that the average Indian rider wont face too many issues with wind management.

I lifted the screen to it's highest setting and this didnt really improve matter much. In fact, with the visibility out the windscreen not being as good as I would have liked it to be, I actually didnt like riding with the screen lifted up at all. And as I mentioned in the build quality section, I rode through some mild bumps and the windscreen just shook itself loose and slid down to the lowest position. I would not want to be the sales guy at the receiving end of the inevitable call from a furious customer after this happens on a ride for the first time.

- Heat
As I mentioned earlier, the deal breaking and jeans melting heat from the GT test ride bike was nowhere to be found. Yes, the Rally Pro test ride bike did get warm but I could actually enjoy the bike when I wasnt worried about the 900 cc hair dryer trying to singe the hair off my thighs! If I had to guess, I would say that the Tiger 800 engine runs cooler than the new one on the Tiger 900.

- Screen
The Rally Pro comes with two additional off road based riding modes. Besides that, the screen layout and navigation appeared to have been the same as the GT.

One thing that I noticed was that the distance to empty (DTE) reading was terribly inaccurate and very slow to refresh. After adding a few litres of fuel, the bike's indicated DTE took so long to update that I really wondered if the staff at the pump had put in fuel or not! And then as I kept riding, the DTE started increasing steadily, but beyond a point the ECU realized that it had miscalculated drastically in the wrong direction and then started reducing the number at an astonishing pace. Long story short - it is best to just ignore the DTE reading on the Tiger 900.

Mileage
The mileage displayed on the dash was around 18.1 kmpl with mixed conditions, say 25% city - 75% highway riding. I felt this was quite low considering that it is positioned as an adventure tourer. Since I didnt know when I had to return the test ride bike, I kept filling for between Rs 300 - 500 a few times at the same petrol bunk and the attendants there were certainly surprised to see me returning every day!

Also, while returning to the city, the low fuel warning came up and I thought it best to fill at one of my trusted petrol pumps. I noticed that the low fuel screen doesnt go away easily and you have to circumnavigate your way out of it rather than just easily return to the screen that you were on earlier. I get that Triumph wants riders to take notice of the low fuel warning but surely there must be an easier way to achieve this, than what they have implemented.

Pillion Comfort
The home minister was keen to get a feel of the Tiger 900 Rally Pro and see what all the fuss was about. For context, she loved the pillion comfort of the Tiger 800, when we test rode it several years ago. With an hour's riding in and around town, she absolutely loved the seating comfort of the Tiger 900.

So if you are planning on touring with your better half, it is quite likely that your partner will love the wide seat and well laid out foot pegs of the Tiger 900 and give you the thumbs up. Then dont start telling her that the vibes are not to your liking and that you want a sportier Triumph and so on!

Last edited by neil.jericho : 17th November 2020 at 00:05.
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Old 15th November 2020, 23:14   #6
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Default A walk around look at the Tiger 900 Rally Pro

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Old 15th November 2020, 23:32   #7
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Default Thoughts from a Tiger 800 owner hopping onto the Tiger 900

The aforementioned ride to Athirapally was with a good friend who owns a Tiger 800 XRX, which was the premium road going model in the Tiger 800 series. We swapped bikes for some time as we were returning to the city, but in less than 5 - 10 minutes, he pulled over and said that he didnt enjoy the Tiger 900 and wanted to ride his own bike. Just as I was getting used to enjoying the comfortable Tiger 800 experience! For the short duration that I rode his bike, it felt like I was riding what a Tiger was supposed to be - a comfortable and refined mile muncher (with pliant switchgear that worked !!!) that just gave me so much peace of mind from the moment I switched it on.

Before getting back to our original bikes, my friend mentioned why he was not comfortable with the Tiger 900 and everything that he explained, broadly echoed what I have already written on the GT and Rally Pro. Now this is of course anecdotal evidence but after having ridden both Tiger 900 bikes in varied conditions, Im not surprised by my friend's reaction.

When I first saw the Tiger 900 in the showroom, I was confident that a lot of Tiger 800 owners would want to upgrade to it. Now Im not so sure, as many of you have correctly summarized, the current Tiger 900 platform is a few steps forward but is also a few critical steps backwards for Triumph.

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-whatsapp-image-20201101-20.36.21.jpeg

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-whatsapp-image-20201101-20.36.23.jpeg

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Old 16th November 2020, 14:44   #8
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Default Final Thoughts

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!"

The Tiger 900 GT and Rally Pro, were not motorcycles that were on my radar, as far as upgrades from my Triumph Street Triple 675 were concerned. The new BS6 Triumph Street Triple RS 765 was number 1 on my list, but that test ride bike has been lying in the SVC for a couple of months now due to an insurance claim and I havent heard back from the dealership sales team on that pending test ride till today.

So, when the dealership rather kindly offered me the keys to both Tiger 900s, I said why not? It was something quite different and though I wasnt intrigued by the Tiger 900, it certainly was a change of scene from my usual sports bike oriented mindset.

As I mentioned in my earlier summary, Triumph has strayed from the tried, tested and quite frankly beloved, Tiger 800 formula. I think Triumph has erred in the variant distribution and premium pricing of the GT and Rally Pro, at least for India. Triumph should have had an entry level road based Tiger 900 without adjustable suspension and that ridiculous TFT screen, to keep things wallet friendly. That is where the new Tiger 850 comes in, and I wont be surprised if it becomes their best selling variant in India. I dont see any reason for our road riders and tourers to pick the more expensive 900 GT variant once the Tiger 850 arrives. The hardcore offroaders will continue to stick to the Rally Pro which will sell in low numbers, given its price tag and competition.

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-20201030_113234.jpg

Would I buy one? The simple answer is - no. I would much rather buy a low run Tiger 800 instead and pick up a new silver Interceptor 650 with the leftover money.

Last edited by neil.jericho : 17th November 2020 at 00:08.
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Old 18th November 2020, 08:05   #9
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Big Bikes Section. Thanks for sharing! Going to our homepage today .
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Old 18th November 2020, 11:11   #10
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look

Hello Neil, excellent write up.

Any idea why GT runs hotter as compared to Rally Pro? Is there any difference between radiator/ fan set up or particular bike had problems. Power figures seem same for both bikes.
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Old 18th November 2020, 13:07   #11
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look

Quote:
Originally Posted by ast.ggn View Post
Hello Neil, excellent write up.

Any idea why GT runs hotter as compared to Rally Pro? Is there any difference between radiator/ fan set up or particular bike had problems. Power figures seem same for both bikes.
Thanks ast.ggn. I really have no clue about why the two bikes behaved so differently. On the face of it, everything is the same, just as you mentioned. Thinking that there might be some under the skin differences, I discussed this behaviour with different people in the dealership but none of them had ever noticed it before.

Then again, this is the same dealership that could / would not identify the heat management issue that they introduced on my own bike, so maybe it isnt surprising that when it comes to heating, their test ride bikes run so differently.
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Old 18th November 2020, 18:20   #12
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look

Excellent review Neil. The heating issue for GT actually gave me a scare since I was considering the Tiger seriously but this one is a solace. Have booked for a longish test drive this weekend. Let’s hope it pans out good. Home Minister would indeed be a bigger influencer in this decision making process and your comments on that front would also help. Thanks once again

Last edited by Jaggu : 18th November 2020 at 18:38.
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Old 18th November 2020, 18:42   #13
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look

Great review Neil. I still haven't gotten to do the test ride, one the pricing really killed the idea for me and then the vibey engine! But anyways I think I should take a test ride one day. But I don't want to do the short around the block ride, so will have to go on a weekday and see if they can give it for half an hour or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmbhatia1108 View Post
Excellent review Neil. The heating issue for GT actually gave me a scare since I was considering the Tiger seriously but this one is a solace.
Was that bike under 1000 km odo reading, if so it is the first service that may have made the difference. These engines do behave better once the running in is over and moved to synthetic oil.
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Old 18th November 2020, 21:17   #14
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Was that bike under 1000 km odo reading, if so it is the first service that may have made the difference. These engines do behave better once the running in is over and moved to synthetic oil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post

It was not, however, just a bed of roses, because this test ride bike was not well maintained despite having only 6,000 kms on the odometer and there were prominent vibrations just about every time I twisted the throttle.
.
It has covered a good amount of distance for the engine to get well settled. Of course please do not ask me if the Cochin dealer would have taken due care in changing the engine oil after 1000 kms
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Old 18th November 2020, 22:26   #15
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Default Re: Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look

I was in the market for a motorcycle last year and I had a soft corner for the Tiger since a long time, since I saw it in 2014/15 in the Triumph showroom, it was kind of a dream motorcycle for me. I went for a test ride and fell in love with it.
I took test rides of the BMW twins as well but somehow I wasn't convinced.
Im one of those guys who dont look at the spec sheet, I take test rides and if the bike speaks to me I consider it, if not I drop it.
Now, the same week I got to know about the Tiger 900. Some spyshots were released and I did not like the looks one bit as compared to the 2018 Tiger 800.
Imo it lost the character in the looks, it just did not feel like a Tiger anymore. It looked malnourished to say the least. Looked much smaller, narrower mainly because of the headlight.
I did not give it much thought and bought the XRX 800.
Ive been in love with the 800 ever since.

As soon as the 900 was launched, I got a chance to test ride the bike. I went for the GT as I was using the XRX, which is equivalent to the current GT.
I was disappointed with the over all experience and did not enjoy it one but. I was kind of relieved that I did not wait for the 900.
Looks are subjective, they might grow on you but the performance, the ride quality, and overall experience of the ride can not.
The New Tiger 900 had vibes throughout the rev range starting from 4500RPM and they were pronounced.
It also lost the triple sound Triumphs are famous for, the whistle.
The radiator is now split in to two parts and the exhaust vents are pointed towards the knees of the rider. These are the major points I remember.

If I was in the market right now, it would have been a really difficult choice.
Im glad I got the 800 when I did.
Here are a couple of shots, just cant help it.
Attached Thumbnails
Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-3302168e43894050acc46132ca6e0ec2.jpeg  

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-b8846613be8547419da6a82a02ce23a7.jpeg  

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - A Close Look-4247fcfc18d24831b5dddbf04f578723.jpeg  

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