I Bought A "New" Adventure Motorcycle and I Could Not Be Any Happier
I have the honor and pleasure of riding a lot of different motorcycles, whether it is through friends or assignments as a journalist. I live a pretty blessed life in that respect but none of those bikes are mine. Like a perpetual playboy, I fall in love with each machine for 2 to 3 weeks at a time. I pick apart every nuanced genius that went into making them and every critical flaw that perturbs me, but these machines never grow with me, I never enjoy a true connection.
However, the time and opportunity to invest in myself and my continued career as a versatile motorcyclist have finally come. I was faced with a decision to either buy another car or an ultra-capable motorcycle. With the support of my family and fiancee, I am now the proud owner of a new (relatively new if you want to call 2014, "new") Triumph Tiger 800 XC.
There are few motorcycles that attain the capability to cross genres. It can be argued that the adventure class fits that mold. They are extremely practical machines capable of everyday commuting and long distance touring. They have been referred to as “dirt bikes on steroids” and can handle off-road situations with aplomb with the right set of knobbies. Slap on a solid pair of road tires and you'll be treated with the power and engineering to tackle a twisty canyon or vast interstates without missing a beat. For this reason, I have been drawn to these bikes for the last 6 years since I ventured into the motorcycle industry.
I was introduced to the Tiger 800XC when I worked at Triumph Motorcycles America. We had the special edition black and red bike in the east coast fleet which was open to all to use if the press was not utilizing it for a story. I quickly laid my hands on it and rode it from Atlanta to Asheville and back in a single day. All to visit my friends from Rawhyde, ride a couple off-road trails, and return home. It was a pretty full day of riding. The Tiger never faltered. For a number of months, The Tiger 800 XC SE was my daily rider until we moved it out of the fleet.
Rally Ready Tiger 800 XCThe folks over at ICON put together this Tiger 800 XC a number of years back to take on the gnarliest terrain. I was fortunate enough to ride it briefly at Barber Vintage Fest and it completely ripped!!! This bike will always serve as inspiration for what my Tiger can become.
The power plant in the Tiger 800 is the same found in the wildly popular Triumph Street Triple but with an increase in piston stroke. The result is 125cc more displacement and lower overall horsepower. What the Tiger lacks in top end speed it makes up for with more torque and mid-range power. It's riding geometry is perfectly balanced for my svelte 6'5" frame and its Street Triple soul pulls on my heartstrings at every twist of the wrist.
I am utterly in love with this bike and have no regrets. I did spend the last 5 months researching, negotiating and conversing with a couple trusted colleagues on which bike would best suit my lifestyle. My first choice was a KTM 1090R followed by the Honda Africa Twin but neither were anywhere near my price range. The Africa Twin was too new to buy used and the KTM’s have only become reliable in the past few years. I had to contend with real financial decisions and popular to what most people think, being a motorcycle journalist is a tough racket which yields no livable income. It's a wonderfully fun industry but I needed to make a realistic decision.
I found this Tiger in nearly perfect condition with insanely low miles. It seemed like a match made in heaven. One I could not ignore. One trip out to Santa Clarita for a test ride and I knew instantly that this was destined to be. I have already managed to put on 1300 miles on the Tiger in the past two weeks and it has been blissful. I added a pair of Continental Trail Attack 2's before hitting the road up north, this rubber really makes the Tiger ultra-capable on the tarmac, provides excellent grip and feedback.
The next year will be spent molding this machine into a capable and proper ADV machine capable of surmounting anything in my path but for now, it will remain locked to the pavement and maybe the occasional fire road. I'll also be aiming to hone more of my off-road skills because the machine is only as good as its rider.
I am ready for adventure! Good god am I delighted to have my first---relatively new—adventure motorcycle.
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