There is a new king of the jungle
"A Tiger does not shout its tigritude, it acts" - Wole soyinka
"Now I'm the king of the swingers, the jungle V.I.P I reached the top and had to stop and that's not bothering me" is a famous song from the Jungle Book. This movie came to mind when taking the 2014 Triumph Tiger for a spin. It is testament that there is no terrain too tough for the XC 800. The XC is a tougher version of the already sturdy Tiger 800, but just suited better for off-road riding.
The upright seating position is rather comfy as well as the widening of the handlebars allows for more maneuverability and an added adjustable windshield for a smoother ride. Triumph have paid attention to the passenger configuration too, as the seated position leaves enough gap for comfort and well positioned grab handles as foot pegs for optimum long distance travel.
This 799cc liquid cooled 12 valve in-line three-cylinder engine boasts a 95BHP @ 9300rpm and weighing in at 214.5kg. It is the ideal off-road companion. The added XC is for the level of off-road capability through the assistance of the 45mm Showa suspension and ABS (can be switched off). The newer models have a little more electronics such as riding modes and traction control. The spoked wheels allow for cushioning on rougher terrains which keep the ride smooth.
There is a well rounded sum of torque distributed across the rev range. This is specially designed for minimal transmission abuse. It is a Triumph after all, there is a lot more than just horsepower. The Tiger XC is aggressive just like Shere Khan from the famous Disney animation yet passive like Baloo the Bear. The reliability factor is not your common Merry Olde, but of exceptional standard.
Living in South Africa, crime is a factor that we deal with fairly frequently. Thus, the Tiger XC is the ideal middleweight ADV for South Africa. Just in case you attract the wrong kind of attention, the bike is fitted with a high tech security system. It detects a small microchip in the key's body and if it is not present the ignition system is disabled and the bike will not start. Thieves are looking pretty stupid now!
In the case of the middleweight ADV's, bigger is not necessarily always better. The weight reduction allows for an easier ride on the dirt with more confidence and control. Their road performance is by no means hindered by their size. Their performance is almost on par with their larger siblings, as adventure bikes are not ridden by speed freaks therefore the average cruising speed is well maintained by the 800cc class. The biggest positive is the price cut, especially if you have a President like we do (His surname rhymes with Puma). The South African Rand is exceptionally volatile but don't let that scare you off, the Tiger XC will surely dethrone that King of the Swingers.
Triumph have gained some serious ground on its Austrian and German competitors with its Tiger range. I'm going to try not mention the War but in my eyes the Merry Olde has created a winner.