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Offline suffolktiger

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My TIGER 900 rally pro review/demo
« on: June 26, 2020, 10:08:48 PM »
Im sure like me, many of you are chomping at the bit to at least demo the new 900s, if not thinking of buying one.  I have seen them in most, if not all the colours now, say on a few and finally ridden one today - I was only interested in the rally models, hence the long wait,  lengthened by recent events.
Had a mixed day with a bit of early rain, then break through sun shine to dry roads and up to 27 degrees - pretty good for testing I guess.
This will be pretty long and unfortunately not be to everybodies liking, it is after all just my opinion and my personal feelings on the new bike as somebody in the above categories.  Please do not use this as a ramp to argue or call me out, Ill try to cover most of what I can recall and if I get a chance, add some pictures side by side with my bike, both a black on and the green one which I demod today. If you can think of a specific question, please ask as Im bound to miss seomthing.
Im being as objective where possible as I can be, but Im pretty clear in my ideas and call a spade a spade.  Press releases and reviews are becoming increasingly unreliable in my experience, the phrase, biting the hand that feeds you come to Mind.

As way of background, I have had a 2018 800 XCA for the last two years, using it to commute and pleasure, including light off road.  Ive been to Wales to the off road centre (they are so much more capable that youd think, especially when its not your bike!). Prior to this I had the 765 street triple RS, but becoming a father changed my direction with biking - for the better on a number of levels!
Im not mad keen on just riding around, I prefer a purpose and using a bike as a tool.  Ill admit now, I think the latest gen 800 is excellent with a just few faults, which I can overlook (more on this later), to the extent I think its the best all round adventure bike around and quite a marked upgrade to previous gens, which I have also ridden.

So the review;
In summary its a really nice bike, which some great features and if you have bought one already, congratulations, good choice.  However, Im a bit disappointed as I really wanted to love it (though my bank account didnt) - I dont, overall at least; Hear me out!
Ill try to split them up, some area Im indifferent (tft) and some are still a bit unknown. 

Pros.
Technology, torque/midrange, heat dissipation, wind protection, brakes, tyres, slim, easier reach to ground, seat, folding foot controls, quick shifter, reach to bars, standing position and slow speed handling/ease. 
Cons.
Cost cutting/build, soft suspension, cornering stability/initiation, under seat storage, small foot pads, rear light, paint work/frame (?), MPG (?), split headlight (?) and least popular opinion, the new engine. 

Engine & transmission:
This has completely confused me.  This idea it got the grunt of a twin but the top end of a triple marketing.  It does have a lot of grunt and feel of a twin, in fact youd evilly be mistaken for thinking it was one of the new style 270 degree parallel twins, but it really doesnt have any triple character. I love a parallel twin, theyre great. I really feel they should have gone the whole hog and stuffed one in it, theyve got a good pedigree! If thats the way they wanted to go. 
They Claimed it adds character but if anything, I think its lost it.  It just a bit vanilla, all be it that really posh vanilla that makes you think, wow this is actually great, but deep down you know mint choc chip is better. 
Its smooth at steady speeds and the reports of vibes at 70/80 didnt bother me at all, the mirrors didnt have a hint of buzz. However, under acceleration, especially partial throttle openings, it rumbles like any modern twin Ive ridden, maybe more so. However, climb up the revs, it doesnt magically become a triple beast, not really that much of a surprise. In essence, it feel like a twin with another cylinder bolted to it, hence why I think it should have just been a twin or stick with a smooth triple.
The low/mid range is impressive, it pulls like a bull and deceptively quick, there is not a doubt there, but above 7k where a triple sings, its a bit more agricultural.  I like the fact I can have an easy going engine low down and a beast up top, a bit of a hybrid of a twin and in-line 4, which is why I think the triple is such a great motorcycle engine. Call me boring but Im in the camp of thinking around 100hp is enough for public roads unless you have the talent of a road racer or just like willy waving down the local.  Doing license loosing speeds in second gear is fun but not practical.
I reset the mpg trip at the start of test and rode home on a lot of roads I ride on my commute to see how it compares.  Bare in mind this engine had 250miles on it and mine has 5000, but it was nearly 10 mpg difference - 52.6 vs 62.3 (900/800).  Not an exact test but told me what I suspected and for me its a biggie as I like a bike to have good fuel economoy.  Im sure this would improve a touch and I imagine would fair well at motorway type riding a lot better, the 800 seems to drop out over 70 afair bit. Interesting, it sits around 4-5k rpm at 70-80, much the same as the 800, so I assume gearing is very similar.
The gear box and  quick shifter was delightful, though I did struggle to get the gear shifter the odd time.  That could just be a position thing, no complaints here. The clutch is very light and quite a large biting range, which would be great in traffic and off-road.  The reach adjustment is a touch strange, and I found I wound it in a fair bit (I wear size large gloves), no biggie.

Suspension & handling:
Its very very plush, beautifully motion and damping.  Its also pretty soft, how much of it can be tuned I dont know. Despite the longer travel and claimed higher ground clearance, the bike definitely sits lower to the ground when youre on it.
I weigh around 85k.  I added around 5 clicks of R/C damping from stock  whilst out, which helped the front end a lot. As standard, its pretty woolly on the road and not as stable as my WP sprung bike.  It is, very comfortable though and I imagine very capable with tuning, I just wonder if the springs are a touch soft?
Its higher at the front end when seated with wider bars, and I think the fork has a bit more rake. It doesnt lock into a corner as tightly and a bit lazier turning in.  This does mean you can ride it a crawl easier than anything Ive ever been on. Im not convinced the modest lower centre of mass has really had much to do with this.
The foot pegs feel a touch further back and the control a touch closer, you feel a bit more on top of the bike, mostly because the tank doesnt rise up in front of you like the 80O.
The standing position is excellent and comfortable, with the bars being noticeably higher. The foot pegs are quite a bit smaller and I much prefer the off road variety that comes on the xc, possibly additional extra or retro fit. I like the touch of folding controls, though they look a bit poor quality if Im honest, not really a biggie.

Brakes:
Im no strange to theses style of monohloc callipers coming from a765, though these are the latest version. However, rather than the adjustable ratio and span mastercyclinder seen on other models, it has a more basic radial
Mc.  I assume to dial down the brakes as they are a bit overkill, especially for a 90 section front tyre and a bit more modulation off road would be handy. They are a little wooden on initial bite, but pull them on and the bike stops quick! This causes a huge dive in the front suspension and tbh is all a little out of balance. Im a big fan of good brakes on a motorcycle, an area the 800 could be improved, even with the newer Brembo sliding callipers on the gen 3.
The rear brake is the most powerful Ive used, if not a little sharp - Im sure youd get used to it.
Technology:
My last two bikes have had tft, so Im pretty used to that. The new one is bigger and the anti glare Matt appaeatance thingy helps. If youre the sort of person who holds a menu at arms length, rejoice, the display is chuffing massive. It doesnt really show more more info but its all big.  I didnt particularly like the new display styles and prefer the old display over all.  It also jammed up after one start up, hopefully not early model glitches. Rider modes are IMO great, having used the off road mode before, its bloody witch craft! 
Theyve made this tiny phone holder under the rear seat, thats about your lot!
full IMU and lean sensitive abs have got to be a good addition, I would like that on my 800.  May never need it, but if you do, could be the difference between crashing or not.
Wheels/tyres:
Bridgestone a41 - great tyre and set up tubeless with TPMS, cant complain there.
The rims a the funky cross laced type, I do wonder how vulnerable that metal lip and spoke heads are to rock damage off road - BMW have been using this for some time?
Massive front brembo rotors with wide braking surface - awesome.

Other stuff:
I have a few gripes with the newer build quality,  Undoubtedly costs are a factor.
The rear grab handles I think are plastic, standard rad guards (X2) plastic, no rear shock cover, hand guards are even worse, front fender is a bit naff. The rear light unit is as bad as it looks in the pictures, not really sure what the thinking is with that.
The frame welds looks a bit rough and not sure on paint work, but that would just be because it alloy? Detachable pillion pegs are welcome, not sure if the detachable subframe is so necessary, Im no expert though.
Aesthetics, I just dont think it looks as good, its all a bit squashed together.  The green paint work is nice, white frame and gold forks, Im on the fence.  The white and black versions are a bit more subdued and prehaps have better long term appeal?
The cable routing by the shifter etc isnt as neat, I assume due to new routing as the cat is now on the left side. 
Noise, it sounds pretty good on start up, othwerise its horses for courses for me.  I dont think the tiger is best sounding triple out there, say compared to the racey triple engines (765 is a delight), which are probably the best sound in motorcycling.  There is a bit more drone with the new engine but on a stock set up, not really a problem.
The heat dissipation is better, my right knee didnt get the heat which it does on my 800, that is a big improvement on a 27c day with high humidity.  Those overseas in hotter climates, it could be a deal breaker, well done triumph.
LED indicators, tail light, DLR and headlight (euro/uk spec) excellent as they are on my xca. The headlight is split dip/fully Im not ahuge fan of this, bit hardly worth loosing sleep over.
The front indicators are in a better location up high and not likely to be easily broken off in the standard drop. The front aux lights can be moved to upper engine bars, if added at a cost. 
The engine crash bars are small but neat and appear sturdy. The bashplate/sump guard appears a bit feeble. 
The windscreen is pretty slim but effective, Id say a bit better than my bike at normal speeds.  I think a lot of that is helped by the higher front end to rider position.
You can get it up onto the centrestand without a run up and all your weight, probably due to longer travel suspension.

Phew, youve made it. As you can see, my feelings are that it is a great bike, but in my view more of a new bike rather than an upgrade on the old one.
Aside the at least 5k it would cost me to change, I do not think I prefer it to my current bike. I like bits here and there but overall, as a package, I prefer my 800 xca. If I was in the market for a twin, maybe, but Id also look hard at the competition as the differences are really deminishing.  It lacks a bit of Je ne sais quoi and I would struggle to live with its foibles.  Where as on my 800, I overlook its downfalls because over all, it make me smile and just works. 
It seems a strange bike as on one hand its more off-road focus, like the suspension and ease of handling yet in other hands theyve tamed it down assuming (correctly) most never take them off road. 

Offline Q

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Re: My TIGER 900 rally pro review/demo
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2020, 07:12:31 AM »
tks for taking the time to share your thoughts - well received and even if it is a bit of confirmation bias on my part, your views confirm my own that there is not enough in the 900 to tempt me to change my dirt devil for it :-)

When you talk, you only repeat what you already know - when you listen, you learn something new

Online PapaTom

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Re: My TIGER 900 rally pro review/demo
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2020, 08:20:56 AM »
Thanks for the write up.
Personal opinions are always helpful, and if someone is fancying one, they will go and try it out themselves.
Hope you had a good cup of tea, or something stronger, after that.

 :031:
« Last Edit: June 27, 2020, 09:19:00 AM by PapaTom »

Offline mcinlb

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Re: My TIGER 900 rally pro review/demo
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2020, 08:37:26 AM »
Great write up, and I've seen the GT up close but not the Rally. personally, I don't fancy an "off road" style if using it for the road only , too limited a tyre choice.
But you pays your ...... etc..
Enjoy your new Tiger....

Online tauzero

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Re: My TIGER 900 rally pro review/demo
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2020, 11:46:23 AM »
How does the seat compare?
Tiger 800 XRx, Bonneville T120 Black, SpeedTona, Speed Dent
Gone but not forgotten: Scrambler 900, Tiger 1050, Bonneville SE, Sprint ST 955i, Trophy 4, Sprint 900, Daytona 900, Tiger 900, Trident 900

Offline Djairouks

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Re: My TIGER 900 rally pro review/demo
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2020, 02:55:17 PM »
Very detailed review  :493:

You're right rake is more "sporty" on the 800, not by a lot but different.
Compared to my Honda, it's definitely more sportive, if you want to push it, which is nice.

My guess on the choppy throttle, is that it's not necessarily from the new T crank architecture, but from those sh*t Euro5 norms.

I thought the same as you, coming from an Africa twin to the Tiger, I want a bike that does not tire me more on long travels and twins with the on/off feeling, are not the best in this case, I'm living in harmony with my 800  :047:.
It's enough, if I go crazy like the other day in Alp passes, there's barely any people that keep up my rear, usually some KTM 1290 or Multistrada 1200, I don't need 160hp it's overkill !
« Last Edit: June 27, 2020, 02:59:53 PM by Djairouks »

Offline suffolktiger

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Re: My TIGER 900 rally pro review/demo
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2020, 03:19:00 PM »
*Originally Posted by tauzero [+]
How does the seat compare?



When I first sat on it, Id say a bit nicer but its got a squarer profile, which after an hour started to dig in.  So just different, pillion looks more plush. 
Its worth noting the saddle is more fiddly to remove and reposition, it looks in at the front by the tank too. Two positions adjusting with the bars underneath like the 800.
Front is two step heated via  switch cube.  Rear two step also by a switch under the pillion seat. Guess it gives them control but not sure what was wrong having both controlled off the switch cube, in fact.  The rear was left on for my demo and I couldnt fumble with gloves to the switch, and its a rocker type so have to get it central to turn off, rather than a push.

There is an accessories plug by the pillion switch as well as the one up front behind the headlight and usd under seat. I guess that would be useful for those with heath clothing. 

Re seats;
Its odd, Im a keen cyclist and sit on what most would consider a torture devise (less is more), but nothing gets me wriggling around more than a motorcycle.

Offline fac191

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Re: My TIGER 900 rally pro review/demo
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2020, 03:48:31 PM »
Refering to the engine i pretty sure they went with the new configuration to improve hook up off road. So they may well have made it better in that department. Anyway if you can flash it improvements can be made.

Offline Djairouks

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Re: My TIGER 900 rally pro review/demo
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2020, 03:53:45 PM »
*Originally Posted by fac191 [+]
Refering to the engine i pretty sure they went with the new configuration to improve hook up off road. So they may well have made it better in that department. Anyway if you can flash it improvements can be made.

I find this questionnable, because you could also flash the 800 to boost it and still retain a better MPG, cheaper buy, against needing to tone down the 900 response.

Offline fac191

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Re: My TIGER 900 rally pro review/demo
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2020, 04:30:28 PM »
I cant see how they would ruin the mpg on a new bike. The last gen 800 was a great improvement on the 2012 i had. I would reflash and bike as they always run and go better.

 


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