A QUANTUM LEAP FORWARD?
There are tons of reviews out there about Triumph’s latest addition to their adventure range, the Tiger 900 Rally Pro, launched in early 2020. Almost all the reviews rave about a bike that offers the latest electronics and handles very well in general, both on and off road. But…
How is the bike holding up in real life? How comfortable is it when riding for hours and hours, day in and day out? How capable is the Tiger in challenging conditions, ranging from the relentless weather of Iceland to the unforgiving, sandy roads of Namibia? And, more importantly, how does the bike handle when ridden by regular, everyday riders? This is my report on an almost 20,000-mile test journey from Switzerland to South Africa. This review focuses solely on first-hand experiences during six months on the road, and how the Triumph performed.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
In February 2020, a time when airports were still busy, I boarded a plane that took me from cold and snowy Zurich, Switzerland to far more comfortable temperatures in Marrakesh, Morocco. Triumph had invited the international press for the launch of their all-new Tiger 900. Bold claims were made, such as “a quantum leap forward in adventure motorcycle capability.”
The Tiger 900 is not just a revamped Tiger 800 which is, by itself, a very capable machine. The new challenger is a totally new bike, where not a single bolt from the previous model was recycled. Per Triumph, it’s “the most capable, agile and dynamic middleweight adventure bike available.” After two days of Moroccan sun, it was hard not to like the new Tiger. What especially impressed me was seeing some professional motocross and rally riders give this machine a proper run for its money. At the same time, I could not stop thinking of my own adventure, planned for the second half of 2020, when I would be riding straight through Africa, all the way to Cape Town. Initially I had wanted to settle on some old-school Honda Africa Twins or something similar, bikes that have a proven track record. But I was starting to believe that, instead, this new Tiger 900 might be the perfect bike for such an epic trip.
Fast forward to June 2020. We rode out of the dealership on two brand-new Tigers. My wife did not even test ride hers, as hearing me rave about it convinced her the Tiger 900 Rally Pro was the right machine for our journey. It certainly was very risky, taking a new machine loaded with electronics to a place where there are only two official Triumph dealerships on the entire continent. No risk, no fun. With less than a month to go before departure, we quickly racked up 3,000 miles to get a feel for the bikes.
Even when caught out in a snowstorm, the Tigers kept us going.
The only kind of washing the Tigers got in six months.
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