Adventure bikes are all about conquering terrains rather comfortably. Indian roads being what they are, these motorcycles make a strong case here, which is one of the reasons we’ve been looking forward to getting astride the Tiger 800XC, British bike maker Triumph’s smaller capacity adventure motorcycle. The 800XC’s elder sibling is the Tiger Explorer XC, at 1215cc.
The 800XC is tall; looks rugged and capable from the word go. It comes with a subtle, stubby front beak, extending outwards, with a functional fender sitting just over the front tyre. Twin headlights illuminate the road brightly at night, while a transparent windshield does a good job of deflecting wind away from the rider. The instruments are clearly legible on the go, displaying an analogue tachometer along with a digital display, including a speedometer, odometer, trip meters, fuel-gauge, distance to empty and average fuel consumption displays, among others.
The 800XC comes with fine quality switchgear, reach adjustable clutch and braked levers, as well as nice plush feeling palm grips, on a flattish, wide handlebar. Both rear view mirrors are positioned to offer excellent visibility. The 19 litre fuel-tank is large and feels meaty, with big plastic shrouds partially covering the motorcycle radiator. Well textured, dual colour split seats on the Tiger 800XC, feel nicely padded. There’s also a set of sturdy and well placed grab rails for your pillion, along with a pannier carrier at rear. Sitting behind is an LED tail-light. The 800XC comes with a massive exhaust canister, neatly placed besides the pillion seat. Overall quality, build and fit-finish is impressive, imparting a built to last feel as expected on such a premium motorcycle.
The Triumph Tiger 800XC is powered by a four-stroke, 800cc, liquid-cooled engine with Triumph typical three cylinders set in an in-line configuration. Peak power output is 93.7bhp at 9,300rpm, while maximum torque of 8.1kgm is produced at 7,850rpm. Clutch feel is progressive on the 800XC, while the big bike’s 6-speed gearbox shifts with a weighty, but precise feel, in a one-down, five-up pattern. This is a refined, vibe free engine, that does enough to allow its rider to pull out of corners with strong grunt and quick throttle response. Speeds of up to 120kph are very easily achieved by the Tiger, with exhilarating acceleration on offer.
This Triumph uses a robust, tubular steel frame, with an alloy swingarm provided at rear. Suspension is upside down telescopic forks in front, and an adjustable monoshock at the rear. As expected, the Tiger 800XC comes with a pretty high riding position, with a commanding view provided of the road ahead. Shorter riders will have difficulty coming to terms with this motorcycle, and will do well to steer clear. The riding saddle feels wide enough, and proved comfy even when riding the Tiger over longer distances. The 800XC comes with well placed footrests, and although this is a bike with a largely upright riding position, even taller riders sit with a slight lean forward into the handlebars, which makes the XC feel more like a streetbike, rather than multi-purpose adventure bike.
Ride quality felt a touch too firm on the heavy feeling Triumph, that said generous suspension travel does allow the bike to cover rough roads well, as commonly experienced across India. The Tiger 800XC makes a confident touring motorcycle for Indian highways, but fails to inspire enough confidence off-road when hitting trails, with only iffy capability in these conditions. Cornering manners are decent on the road, the steering however feeling heavier than we’d have liked, again proving to be a hindrance when trying to make quick corrections in off-road conditions.
The Tiger 800XC comes with spoked wheels, a 21 inch wheel used in the front, and 17 inch at the rear. The Pirelli tyres offer good grip on the road, but fail to inspire much confidence when riding off-road. The Tiger 800XC relies on a set of 308mm front discs, with a 255mm single disc at rear, both working together to provide ample stopping power, with a nice progressive feel and efficient working, and switchable ABS system in place.
At Rs 12.40 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai), the Tiger 800XC could have been priced better for us as it arrives in India looking to cream its competition in a slowly expanding adventure bike segment. The big Triumph does however have its fair share of failings, for feeling more an able touring motorcycle, rather than the proper adventure bike it should have been. Good off-road ability is sorely lacking here.
Read more about the Tiger 800XC in our detailed ride impression, coming soon.