Road test: Triumph Tiger 800 XCx

The sort of bike you could easily use to do a lap of Australia.

Any vehicle that claims to be all things to all people and all roads is on a hiding to compromise, but the upgraded Triumph Tiger 800 XCx comes pretty close to satisfying on all counts.

The road-touring models are the XRx ($18,550), and XRt ($20,700), while the all-road adventurers are the XCx ($19,650) and XCa ($21,300). Prices do not include on-road costs.

On the XCx, hardware includes bash plate, engine guards, USB charging socket, rear rack and handguards - stuff you pay extra for on most adventure tourers.

However, it is the standard tech that has me gob-smacked. For a start, there are six rider modes, each of which can be customised to suit your personal riding style.

There is also traction control and ABS for both road and off-road use, or you can switch it off. I tried emergency stops in all the variations on both tar and ball-bearing gravel and was amazed at the results. I could not beat any of the ABS settings, especially on gravel. The dual Brembo front discs seem overkill on the gravel, but they work well albeit with a fair bit of fork dive.

Traction control is also a must as the 800cc triple brings on the power with a bit of a snap which can make it fishtail wildly on the dirt with traction switched off.

This is the sort of bike you could easily use to do a lap of Australia.

Pillions will enjoy the wide and flat perch, long reach to the pegs and generous grab handles on each side.

What I didn’t enjoy is the heat coming up over my knees from the engine.

The mirrors are stylish and are set high and wide for plenty of rearward vision. However, at highway speeds, the right mirror vibrates and blurs the vision.

I think that’s because the gearing is set too low, making the grips tingle a little at highway speed where it runs at 4500rpm in sixth. That’s about 500 revs too much, yet it still returns 3.5 litres/100km at that speed and a commendable 4.2 overall.

Despite all the tech and extras, the biggest attraction for me is the ride and handling.

Thanks to WP forks and shock, the Tiger seems perfectly balanced in all situations from highway cruising to twisting tar and corrugated dirt roads.

By Mark Hinchliffe