Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro road test review: Leaner, meaner adventurer
Triumph Motorcycles India introduced the new Tiger 900 range in the country earlier this year. The new Tiger 900 line comes out as a replacement to the 10-year running Tiger 800 series. With the new 900 line, the English bike maker gave the Tiger a new and larger engine, upgraded suspension, and ride enhancing technology, while aiming for a more purpose-oriented geometry by trimming down the overall weight and girth. So how has the overall transition worked out for the new Tiger? Read on to know.
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A new DNA:
Triumph wanted to raise the game notch higher and hence began work from scratch. Nothing much has been carried forward on the new Tiger except for the switchgear. Also, the new bike is simply classified as GT or the Rally, while the 'Pro' suffix on either model suggests that it is a fully kitted up version.
Triumph was kind enough to lend us the top-spec Rally Pro trim which gets additional features and equipment including fully adjustable and long-travel suspension, higher ground clearance, bigger front wheel, engine protection bars, an up/down quickshifter, skid plate, a centerstand, LED fog lights, phone/motorcycle connectivity, and heated seats. Also, not to forget, the Rally now comes with tubeless wire-spoke rims which were sorely missed in the previously sold Tiger 800 XC range.
On the outside, the Tiger 900 looks fresh and a whole new model altogether. Its pair of LED headlamps featuring an integrated LED unibrow make the front look fairly aggressive and modern. Above the face sits a new taller windscreen which is easy-to-adjust. A prominent beak complements the overall front fascia and looks fairly unique among the pond of adventure tourers. The Rally Pro specific matte-green shade with its white frame looks quite spectacular as it highlights its cuts and crevices. Over the rear, there is a new horizontal LED tail lamp which comes housed inside a plastic extension lending it a minimal appeal. As far as exteriors go, the Tiger 900 indeed manages to carve out a unique identity that sets it apart from everything else claiming to be a litre-class ADV.
The new Tiger also gets a new 7.0-inch TFT instrument cluster which offers a very crisp and feature-rich display. It boasts four styles to choose from and also gets Bluetooth connectivity and Turn-by-turn navigation, these come as standard bits on the 'Pro' trims.
A new heart:
The new 900cc engine is the star of the show which gets a unique 1-3-2 firing order. The company has used the uneven order to help find traction off-road, with a short gap in the 1-3 sequence, and longer gaps in 3-2 and 2-1. This powertrain delivers its peak torque (87 Nm) around 7250 rpm which is 800 rpm sooner than the model it replaces, also it is about 10% more all along that range. While a triple is traditionally considered unfavorable for off-road applications, Triumph has definitely made it work in this case.
The stronger low- and mid-range grunt is more than noticeable and oh boy does it sound good? The exhaust note is deep, angry and menacing. And the rev-happy nature of this powertrain keeps the fun intact irrespective of the way you ride it. The Rally Pro also comes fitted with an assist-and-slipper clutch which makes quite a big difference when it comes to smooth sailing and arm pump. Also, not to forget, the Rally Pro also comes with a quickshifter which (until now) was thought to be a superbike weapon. But think about holding the bar firmly around a dirt trail and having the ability to shift up or down without the use of the clutch. Handy right?
The new Tiger gets a clever suit of electronics including its power modes - Road, Rain, Sport, Off-road, Off-Road Pro and Rider (custom). As if you are unaware of it, these modes alter the level of traction control and ABS intervention. The Rally Pro’s dedicated Off-Road Pro mode disables the ABS and TC to make off-roading more fun and adventurous.
Leaner and meaner:
It is easy to slap on a more powerful engine but to really make things work, companies spend tons on engineering resources to shed the overall weight. And Tiger 900 has indeed managed to turn lighter by 6.8 kg at 201 kg. Triumph has managed to cut away 2.5 kg from the engine itself. If that wasn't enough, the new Tiger also has a narrower midsection for a more comfortable and confidence-inspiring position. The icing on the cake, its seat can be used in two heights—850/870 mm, which makes it easy for different riders to step up and adjust the position accordingly.
On the road or off it, the new Tiger 900 is leaps ahead of its predecessor when it comes to handling and control. Even though it stands in the 'Adventure Touring' category, it is perfectly planted and balanced around corners. While the typical tall centre of gravity does come into play when quickly changing directions but it still surprisingly fun around winding sections, much more than what the previous 800 used to be. It comes kitted with Showa 45mm upside-down front forks sporting 240 mm travel which delivers a perfect combination of supple performance on city speeds and keeps the chassis steady on triple digits velocities. Also, what's important to note here is that all the suspension adjustments are manual.
In terms of braking performance, it gets new Brembo Stylema callipers which are considerably better than the 800’s thanks to the stronger bite feel and feedback.
The final words:
The Tiger 900 Rally Pro offers an adventure touring experience that's more promising and clearly above what the 800 was known for. It is more than a worthy successor to the last Tiger as it improves upon every bit of detail that was left wanting in the previous bike. With its long list of electronics aids, lighter and more convenient geometry, and improved on-road performance, the Tiger 900 creates a clear distinction from everything else in the segment and represents Triumph's one of the finest works.