New 800 tested in plain sight in epic desert race
When Triumph opened their new visitor centre, they regaled us with stories of legendary victories at the TT and on the saltflats but there was a distinct gap. While they’ve had off-road bikes in their range for decades, they’ve never competed in rallies. That is until now. They recently sent two of their test riders to the Panafrica Rally. Now a spyshot has emerged of a brand new Tiger 800, we think they’ve got something special up their sleeves.
We’ve known there’s a new Tiger 800 coming for a little while and saw a series of spy shots earlier this year. The bike in the first pictures was clearly a road-focused Tiger 800XR, with cast wheels, short-travel suspension, split radiators and a smaller sump. But that bike was in the early stages of testing, so it was difficult to tell what would make the finished bike. Now a picture has emerged of an 800XR out testing with the new 1200 and while it confirms very few technical changes, it does confirm there’s a new bike out there.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Triumph sent two test riders – David and Felipe Lopez – to the Panafrica rally on a heavily customised Tiger called the Tramontana. Why would Triumph do that, unless the Tramontana is actually the new 800 hidden in plain sight? Well we think that’s exactly what they’ve done. And it wasn’t a bit of fun for their test riders – it was a hardcore test of the capabilities of the new Tiger.
Developed from an 800XC, the Tramontana has had a full rally navigation tower with new lights and screen, custom Arrow exhaust, new subframe, bigger sump guard, completely modified plastics and rally saddle, plus new suspension. It’s obvious these changes aren’t coming to the new bike but there is one thing that is: the engine.
Tigers for all
At the time of the first spy shots we believed the engine would grow in size to match similar growth from rivals such as the BMW F850GS. However, little has changed externally, so we think that is not the case. A growth to 900cc would have seen the new Tiger deliver around 110bhp but sticking at 800cc, with the full conversion to Euro4, we expect that figure to be around 95bhp. It’s possible that Triumph may have aimed for exactly 94bhp, which would make the bike eligible to be restricted to 47bhp for A2 licence holders.
The Tramontana not only finished but took four stage victories in its class, so it’s a strong suggestion that the new bike will continue the bulletproof legacy set by the outgoing model. Whether it will act as a springboard for a hardcore production bike, akin to the BMW GS Rallye or Ducati Multistrada Enduro Pro, remains to be seen but we’re expecting Triumph to unveil the new 800s at EICMA in November.