Triumph manufactured a lot of hype for the Tiger 800, so it was a real treat to discover the British mount lived up to expectations. Not just a shrunken version of its big brother Tiger, the 800 was a purpose-built Adventure bike. Triumph even obliged an off-road oriented version, the XC, which features wire-spoked wheels and is easily the most dirt-capable Trumpet produced by the modern Hinkley company.
The middleweight Tiger impressed from our first sampling. Most impressive though, it bested the BMW F800GS in a head-to-head shootout. As in the Best Adventure Motorcycle of 2010 F800GS, as in Motorcycle of the Year 2009 F800GS! In fact, the Tiger 800 XC was so good we didn’t hesitate to run it up against its larger displacement rivals in our 2011 Adventure Touring Shootout. The little Tiger proved it can hang with the bigger AT mounts, and at a way more palatable MSRP.
The Tiger 800 XC satisfied our lofty expectations, and over-performed Triumph’s own estimates too. In fact, the company had to crank out more units than expected based off increased consumer demand. In the end, the total production tally when we visited the Hinkley HQ in July was reckoned at approximately 12,000 units. That’s a full 20% of the British firm’s total output in 2011.
All told the new Tiger makes for a versatile, fun and affordable entry in the AT market. The little Tiger earns our Best Adventure Motorcycle of 2011 honors without reservation, and makes a strong case for Motorcycle of the Year.