Reader Ian Irvine rates his year-old Tri­umph Tiger 800

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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.”

miles 0

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.

miles 50

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.

miles 600

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.

miles 2500

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’

miles 4000

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.

miles 4500

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.

miles 5688

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

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