The higher-revving Tiger takes on the torquey BMW
THE Tiger, Triumph’s first foray into adventure bikes, took little time to reach No.2 in the segment. The closest rival in style, size and ability is the BMW F800 GS in fourth with 172 sales. I own a GS, so after several months of nursing wounds sustained on the Tiger’s launch, it was time to compare the two combatants.
The Tiger wins the price war starting at $16,290, the GS at $17,490. ABS adds $1000 and $1265 respectively.
But the BMW comes standard with a smarter onboard computer with a convenient toggle button on the left handlebar, handgrip warmers, centre stand and selfcancelling indicators.
The Tiger has standard plastic handguards but most adventure riders will probably opt for sturdier guards.
BMW’S GS Trophy edition, for an extra $500, comes with blue and white livery, black and grey seat, engine guard and solid hand protection bars.
The Tiger’s triple pumps out 70kw but it needs 9300rpm to reach that but the German’s parallel twin peaks at 63kw at 7500rpm. Low-revs grunt is more important for an offroader and the BMW wins with 83Nm at 5700rpm against the Triumph’s 79Nm at 7850rpm.
On paper and on the road the Triumph is more potent at higher revs. A little thirstier, it has a similar effective range.
Practical outweighs pretty. The Triumph has a slightly cleaner look; the BMW has a more bulbous nose with one big headlight and one small.
Stopping power is excellent on both with big twin front discs. Triumph uses Nissin calipers, the BMW has Brembos with braided lines and about 8kg less weight, giving it the edge.
This Tiger’s triple makes more of a whizzing sound, promoting rapid progress when you feed it plenty of revs, the BMW’S delivery is lazier and lumpier so the Tiger — with with a softer seat, wider footpegs and less buffeting from the windscreen — is a good proposition on the road. Off-road or dirt-road rides require too much fancy footwork to keep the revs high and the BMW’S big torque is easier to manage in the dirt and it has the better roll-on power for passing.
The Tiger is triumphant on the road but the BMW takes the spoils in the bush.
Beasts of varying stripes: The GS goes the long way around and the Triumph breaks new ground