Reader Ian Irvine rates his year-old Triumph Tiger 800
I’d never considered an adventure bike before I rode a Tiger,” admits serial new bike owner Ian Irvine. “To my mind they were everything I didn’t want from a bike: agricultural, illhandling and ungainly. So you can imagine my response when I was offered a Tiger 800 as a courtesy bike after dropping my Speed Triple in for a service with Webbs of Peterborough back in 2011.”
After being told that it was either the Tiger or a taxi, Ian reluctantly took the British-built middleweight and within a few miles had completely changed his view. “Everything about it suited me: the riding position, the handling and the performance. I did a complete U-turn on my anti-adventure bike policy and bought one. I owned that Tiger for five years, which is the longest I’ve ever kept a bike.”
With the lure of more power, Ian then had his head turned by the new-generation Tiger Explorer and chopped in his 800 for the 1200 in 2016, but it wasn’t all plain sailing.
“I had a few issues with that bike which ultimately got sorted out with the factory. In the meantime I got really despondent so looked at other makes. Then I remembered just how much I’d enjoyed my Tiger 800 and so, after Triumph took back my 1200, I opted for a new 800 XRT and we’ve had 5600 brilliant miles together.”
I collected it in March, just in time for the start of the riding season. The XRT comes well specced-up with heated grips and seat, which was good in light of the weather we had in spring. I ran it in by the book and my first 600 miles only took a week. As part of the negotiations when buying it, Webbs threw in the first service for free and I also got a discount on the panniers. They’re the first set of panniers I’ve owned and apparently they help with the resale value.
Laurie Smith, Webbs’ Chief Technician, advised me to fit a numberplate ducktail to prevent muck being sprayed up the sides and into the locks. Apparently the protective covers on the keyholes usually fall off quite quickly, leaving the locks exposed to crud, which is why this numberplate extension is essential.
There’s a charity rideout that I get involved with on the south coast, so that was my first big trip aboard the Tiger. It was then I discovered that the Xrt’s heated gel seat is loads more comfortable than the seat on my old Tiger 800, but that the standard screen still creates a lot of buffeting which is why I’ve fitted this brilliant Puig one.
The fuel consumption is amazing. My 2011 Tiger 800 used to average about 45mpg but this second-generation one does around 52mpg and that’s not pottering around, either. That gives me a range of 239 miles and I regularly ride full-tank stints because the Tiger’s comfort is absolutely spot-on.
‘We’ve had a brilliant 5600 miles together’
In September I went on a trip to Normandy to visit friends. It gave me a chance to exploit the fantastic handling and the excellent Metzeler Tourance tyres. I wore through two sets of footpeg hero blobs because, at 25mm, they’re longer than the 2011 Tiger 800’s which were only 13mm. I put a set of 13mm ones on, but have since fitted off-road pegs which don’t have any, solving the problem.
Scottoilers are brilliant at keeping your chain in good condition, especially when touring. However, Triumph only recommend that you fit the new electronic system rather than the traditional type because they reckon that messing with the bike’s vacuum system could cause running problems. The system uses a small electric pump rather than vacuum from the engine.
It’s the first bike my partner has been on the back of. She always refused to go on the Speed Triple, which is understandable really, but because there’s so much space on the back of the Tiger she finally relented three weeks ago, plus there’s the added bonus of the heated pillion seat, too. Now she’s addicted and is joining me on the annual Trifest get-together in Skegness this weekend.
Ian liked his old Tiger so much that he bought the new one
THE OWNER Ian Irvine, 58, from Peterborough, has had 55 bikes starting with Hondas and Suzukis before switching to Triumph. He has a 2012 Speed Triple, TT600 and this 2017 Tiger 800.
Heated pillion seat has proved popular
Scottoiler looks after the Tiger’s chain
Off-road pegs solved clearance problem