Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Checking out the competition - 2015 Triumph Tiger 800 XC

The grass is always greener... The long winter months usually result in me contemplating changing bikes. Usually the reasoning is less than solid. While I'm still very committed to the 690 I find it entertaining to explore what else is out there. 

Today I took the 2015 Triumph 800 XC for a test ride. The XC has intrigued me ever since it came out, but I never took the time to actually ride it until now. The following is in no shape or form a proper bike review just a quick comparison between the 690 Enduro and the 800 XC based on a short test ride. 

I tested the Street Triple years ago when the model was new and I remember the engine making an impression. The XC  was nothing short of amazing as far as the engine goes. It is simultaneously smooth without being dull or lacking character. It has plenty of power and the sound of it makes you smile instantly. There is something about the sound of the 3-cylinder engines that just works for me. I have no idea what the numbers are for horsepower, but it sure felt ample enough.

Again, I don't have any real specs, but the riding position felt a bit more leaned forward than on the 690 and my legs felt a bit more bent than on the Enduro. Riding standing up was ok, but even for me I would have liked to raise the bars a bit. The Enduro R wins here too.

Highway speeds
I expected supreme comfort compared to the 690, but got "just ok" and some nasty buffeting. Not nearly as bad as on my Tenere, but uncomfortable still. The engine sounds a lot more relaxed at 100 km/h+ than the 690, but that's not really news.

I did not sit on the bike long enough to form a rock solid opinion, but I think it's safe to assume that the Tiger has the 690 beat as far as comfort. Less vibes, comfier seat and so on. No a big surprise here either.

The tires were very roady so I felt instantly uncomfortable when going on gravel. Got right back on tarmac. These are not the tires I would have on this type of bike.

The bike steered very nicely and felt balanced all around. If I didn't know, I would not have guessed it had a 21" front as it was just a pleasure to ride into corners.

In general
I don't know if I'm supposed to be a diehard KTM guy, but I do prefer this bike over the KTM 1190 Adventure I rode last year. It's cheaper, mostly very similar but has an absolutely wonderful engine. Would I trade my 690 Enduro for the 800 XC? No. The 690 is still sublimely light in comparison and has a simplified utilitarian charm to it that is hard to beat.

1 comment:

  1. I've had one of the first 800 but after a trip in the French i've sold it (6 months old). Engine is fantastic. In my opinion this is a tarmac bike,not an allroad.
    Waiting what KTM will bring in the 800-900cc class...