Triumph Tiger 800 gets officially disappointing

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Take the 675cc triple out of the Daytona and add in long travel suspension and an impressive-looking tubular steel frame. Sounds like a recipe for an awesome adventure tourer right? Well, maybe not so much when you see the specs: 94bhp, 58lb/ft and 210kg/462lbs (wet). That’s 30bhp down on the Daytona and only 5lb/ft up. Factor in bland styling and, well, maybe that 85bhp, 62lb/ft, 207kg/455lbs BMW F800GS doesn’t look so old hat after all. Over-dramatized Triumph Tiger 800 video below.

The Tiger’s problem isn’t so much that it’s not a good product — we’re sure it’s perfectly nice — but more that, after all this hype, they really needed to deliver something outstanding, something extraordinary. But look at the specs and we have a bike that’s positively ordinary, more or less on-par with, if not a little behind the established competition from BMW.

The 799cc three-cyclinder delivers its peak power at 9,300rpm and max torque at 7,850rpm. Fuel capacity is 19 liters/5.0 gallons (slightly ahead of the BMW).

Think of “Star Wars Episode One.” It was a perfectly decent movie, it just didn’t live up to nearly two decades of hype. This Tiger suffers the same problem, it’s more Hayden Christensen than it is Harrison Ford.

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  • pplassm

    What’s it weigh? What’s it weigh?

    • Wes Siler

      We’re waiting on that. Triumph has apparently fired the person tasked with running their press site.

    • incon

      Wet weight
      800 XC 215kg (473lb)
      800 215kg (462lbs)

      • incon

        800 210kg (462lbs)

  • Mark D

    I’d say “Don’t judge a bike by its specs”, but seeing as BMW has been at this game for decades, there’s really not a heck of a lot to make this Trumpet special (other than the exhaust note).

    • Johndo

      Though in that department the BMW sounds lame compared to these triples. To me sound is as important as performance, it’s all part of the experience. Not saying this is brilliant and Beemer is crap, just that for sound, Beemer probably has the most boring sound an engine could produce.

  • markbvt

    Question is, is the stock suspension any better than the F800GS’s? And how much cheaper will it be than the Beemer?

  • incon

    Looks and power almost a 1:1 copy of the F800GS
    Triumph hands down better then the other new adventure bikes coming *cough* Crossruner *cough*

  • Endless Mike

    So where in the RPM range do these numbers arrive?

    • incon
    • Beast Incarnate

      Here’s a comparison from Triumph’s claims.

      Adventure: 94 HP @ 9300 RPM, 58 ft.lbs @ 7850
      Street Triple: 105 @ 11700, 50 ft.lbs @ 9200

  • incon

    Full tank range under 200kms :(

    • markbvt

      It’s got a 19-liter tank. It would have to get truly horrendous gas mileage to only make it 200km on that… or even 200 miles.

  • John

    I think you’re not seeing the big picture on this one. It’s not the power you make, it’s how and where you make it. No one wants a whiney screaming on a dirt trail. And no one expected some sort of massive spec blowout.

    If it is about as good as the BMWs, but with a nice triple, it will sell like hotcakes.

    What’s wrong with building a competent motorcycle that nails its target?

    • Wes Siler

      So the bike they endlessly teased for a full year is a BMW F800GS that will be sold in Triumph showrooms? Sorry, I fail to get excited by that.

      • incon

        I bet you BMW is not excited about it either.
        Love to see what BMW responses with!

        • Beast Incarnate

          Hopefully, a Speed Triple clone with the HP2 Sport Boxer engine.

          I’d settle for a Speed Triple clone with the S1000RR engine, but the Boxer is more “BMW” and thus more appropriate for this exercise.

      • Beast Incarnate

        Big picture: Triumph duplicates a bike, slaps in a triple, calls it a day, and we rejoice. Get in line.

        • Wes Siler

          Damn, I missed that memo.

      • markbvt

        Not quite sure what you expected, but Triumph delivered pretty much exactly what I thought they would with the exception of fully-adjustable suspension (they really should have fitted that at least to the XC). If the price is around $10k as expected, I’ll be buying one and have plenty of money left over to upgrade the suspension before I even get close to the price of an F800GS.

      • John

        And what did you expect? 150hp and 300lbs?

        Your inability to be realistic isn’t anyone’s problem but your own.

        I was excited about the 800GS bikes and equally excited about this. We need more real bikes, fewer cruisers, crotch rockets and overweight poser bikes.

        Sometimes the bike isn’t about the bike, it’s about motorcycling.

        • Wes Siler

          I expect motorcycle makers to find new ways to compete in new markets, not merely to divide the existing market segment for adventure tourers into increasingly small portions, differentiated only by branding.

          • John

            The F800 bikes are more dirt bike in their ergos and design. These appear to be more light touring in concept. The engine is also almost certainly more adept at crunching miles.

            Well, I guess you should LOVE the CrossRunner then, as it clearly wasn’t targeting anybody else and has opened up a new market for people that want a Nissan Murano with 2-wheels.

            • Wes Siler

              Yeah, I guess that needs a “not ugly and pointless bikes” disclaimer.

              • John

                You mean, like the Hondigami CB1000 clone of a Z1000?

                • swfcpilot

                  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with similar bikes from the different manufacturers either. Look at the sport tour market with the FJR, Concours 14, ST1300 and others. Talk about variety and selection.

                  Sometimes it boils down to dealer selection. Not everyone is a lucky as I to have a dealer from almost every manufacturer within 20 miles either. Not saying that there are as many Triumph dealers as the Japanese or maybe even BMW but options are options.

  • R.Sallee

    I’ll wait for ride reports, I really don’t care that it’s 10hp down on a Street Trip. Versus the Beemer, I’d want the Tiger to be better on the road, more sporty handling, freer revving motor, lighter. It’s not lighter. The rest is yet to be seen.

    I really oughtta just get a Street Triple. How are those with side bags?

    • Wes Siler

      Street Triples are awesome and should take a set of bags just fine. Go for the R.

      That’s a good example of a unique product defining it’s own position within the marketplace. It’s the only mid-capacity roadster that doesn’t sacrifice quality of performance in pursuit of price.

  • KOTH

    Would HFL please consider putting a space between the numerical value and the units?

    Instead of 5lb/ft why not 5 lb/ft, etc?

    • miles_prower

      Yeah, I can see the point there with the “l” looking like a “1″. Damn typewriter fonts.

      You could use a non-breaking-space tag ( ) <– I hope that didn't get html-ized.

      • miles_prower

        Oh well, it got html-ized. How ’bout this:


  • tropical ice cube

    Lame vid, that’s for sure.

    When you see a fence in a movie with also a bike in it, isn’t the bike supposed to jump the fence? Isn’t that the whole idea about motorcycling, freedom and everything?

    Get back to your classics, Hinckley marketing drones.

  • Sasha Pave

    Both this and the F800gs are high-suspended street bikes with adventure outfits on. This isn’t a bad thing, you just can’t judge them against proper dirt-oriented bikes.

    Just like the big GS and most other adv offerings, you can’t expect to ride aggressively off-road on them without modifications and expense.

    There are only a few models of big bikes that can handle real aggressive riding without much modification: The KTM 950SE, and the 990adv/HP2 to a lesser degree.

    If you look at the development of the big KTMs, they were first designed as competitive Rally bikes, then toned down for touring. The GS and Triumphs were developed in reverse.

    Although the powerband on this Triumph will probably get criticized for being too high-reving, it’s actually a preferable powerband for a Rally bike. The original LC8 engine was designed to deliver most of the power in the mid-to-top range in order to allow more tractability down low. It was a surprisingly high revving twin. Although this provides much better dirt-only traction, it doesn’t make for a good touring bike.

  • Lockheed_Tvr

    Everyone missed the big point here. Episode one was not a “perfectly decent movie.” It was really bad, and not just in comparison to the original three movies. See the criticism below:

    Even if it is only on par with the BMW, adding a competitor is always good. That being said, customers’ response to a hype campaign is always relative and while I am not objectively disappointed in what they came up with, Wes is right about people probably expecting more after all that tease.

  • Johndo

    I wish they had kept the Street’s HP while increasing the torque. After all this is an 800cc. I still don’t get why they make a new, bigger motor and down tune it so performances are under those that could be obtained with a 675cc. Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t get it.

    That said, having 150HP on an adventure bike is non-sens. So around 100hp to me is perfectly fine, If I buy one (XC for sure), an Arrow exhaust will be added, probably losing 12lbs and adding 5HP.

    One thing I agree on (and I hope Triumph and others have learned a lesson here) creating a hype over a product for such a long period is WAY to long…and a dangerous slope. I’m sure this bike will do well and sell well, but part of the negative critics will be the result of being teased for so long and not delivering a bike that blows us all away. Had they launched this in 2 months instead, expectations probably wouldnt have been so high.

    • R.Sallee

      More CC doesn’t directly equate to more HP, but it does almost always mean more torque.

      HP is determined by a lot more intricate fiddling, camshafts, valve timing, and other stuff I don’t understand. With something like an S1000RR, peak power is the ultimate goal so they make huge power with just 1,000 CCs–but going for ultimate HP dictates the power curve. Power delivery at low RPM is flat, the engine needs to be revved out and hustled to make that power.

      Outright power is not the goal of a wannabe-traillie. Plenty of torque across the rev range and a power curve that doesn’t demand you rev the snot out of it just to go forward. If you tune an engine for low- and mid-range, you give up high-RPM power.

      Add to that the fact that the Tiger engine runs into redline some 2,000 RPM sooner than a Street Triple motor (partly to fit the attitude of the bike, partly because a longer 800 CC stroke demands it) and you get less horsepower from a bigger engine.

      • Johndo

        Most of that makes sens. And I realize that bigger engine doesn’t always mean more power. Just that for 125cc more you get 5lb/ft torque more and 30HP less…I mean take the 675cc, if you can afford to lose 30HP, you could certainly increase torque by more then 5lb/ft on that engine, so I just don’t see why they had to build a new engine for that, my thought it, it’s more a marketing thing then anything else, to go head to head with the Beemer. A 675cc on paper would have looked weak even if performance was the same as the 800cc. And I agree you don’t want violent torque at 1500rpm on these bikes, but imagine you have a passenger with panniers fully loaded and a full tank of gas, extra torque is always appreciated for safe takeovers and what not.

        • R.Sallee

          You’re only looking at peak numbers. They’re only part of the story.

          Compare these Dyno charts.

          Triumph Daytona 675

          BMW 800GS

          At 5,000 rpm, the BMW is making roughly 50 hp. The Daytona doesn’t make 50 hp until roughly 6,500 rpm.

          It’s about tailoring a power curve to a bike. Peak numbers are just one component of engine tuning. The Tiger 800 has ONLY 5 lb/ft more peak. But if you lay the torque curves over the top of each other, I’m sure the Tiger’s making more torque earlier in the revs, and that it’s a more even delivery.

          • Johndo

            Still think the curves and numbers could have been reached on a 675cc with the extra 30HP it has to start with. That 30HP you can sacrifice gives you quite some options to tweak power curve and torque. And I’m also convinced that going for the 800cc was mostly for marketing reasons. Imagine a Tiger 675 against a F800GS, just doesn’t look good on paper.

            • Wes Siler

              You are 100 percent correct. However, it’s Triumph asking us to base our analysis on these numbers by releasing peak figures rather than complete power charts.

              Yes, a fuller curve is better than a peakier one, but, when you only have peak numbers to work off of, what do you use?

              The fundamental message here is that Triumph may have an advantage in certain specs in certain conditions, but the product that THEY hyped as extraordinary, is distinctly ordinary. That’s not me being whiny or cynical, that’s an objective analysis of the numbers.

              • R.Sallee

                I guess. I never put stock into hype coming from a manufacturer. That’s like complaining about Obama ’cause he didn’t bring enough Hope and Change I Can Believe In (c).

                Also, I’ve read enough bike comparos to know the difference between bikes with identical spec sheets can indeed be extraordinary. The Street Trip compares evenly to bikes like a Hornet, Divvy or Z750 on specs, but it’s the experience that sells it–sport bike motor character and still a meaty torque curve, nimble chassis, hooligan inspiration. Those things don’t translate to spec sheets.

                Not that I expect the Tiger to be a revolution. I just can’t believe anyone’s ready to write off a GS competitor because it has only ten more horsepower. It’s not a CBR. As a moto that aspires to off-road riding, the bike’s weight’s a bigger concern to me.

  • stickfigure

    Hey let’s not forget one potential major feature: What’s the price difference between the Triumph and the BMW?

  • pplassm

    Wow, you guys are sure arguing about nits. I’m mostly a dirt bike guy, and I just have to wait an see how the thing actually performs. Numbers are often deceptive.

    It’s a 500 lb., 100 hp dirt bike. Jeebus, that’s awesome.

  • KeC

    Wes, perhaps instead of being disappointed with the bike you/we should be disappointed with the marketing Triumph chose to use.

    I liked that, in the past, Triumph didn’t make much fuss about it. They produced a great bike; put it on the market and let the bike and its attributes (which were usually way above average) do the promotion. And according to sales records this strategy worked. I hope they won’t use the Tiger 800 marketing on their future bikes.

    • Johndo

      +1 to that. I’m still interested in the Tiger 800XC (the road version is ugly to my taste at least). But truly hope they go back to marketing strategies they were using a while ago, it didnt piss people off and the bike sold itself once in the showroom and once critics had taken them for a ride. When you are so confident and build up such an event, you better have a revolutionary bike to present.