Tiger hunt­ing

New 800 tested in plain sight in epic desert race

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Jor­dan Gib­bons SE­NIOR RE­PORTER @MCNNEWS mo­tor­cy­cle­news

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.

Fo­cused ma­chine

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.

We’ve caught the XR out test­ing sev­eral times The Tiger Tra­mon­tana in desert rally ac­tion

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