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Old 04-30-2011, 08:00 PM   #1
The Jerk OP
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY
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New '11 Triumph Tiger 800 - Initial Impressions

And so it begins.

In the same vein as the thread I started when I bought my Tiger 1050 back in 2007, I now start this thread to chronicle my impressions of the new Tiger 800 (let's keep this thread for the road version. Another owner should start an XC thread in Beasts) as well as mods, technical info, etc.

My first impressions: this bike rocks! I picked it up this morning at Rockwell Cycles in Fort Montgomery, NY, just down the road from Bear Mountain. A couple weeks ago I went up there to ride their demo 800 and really enjoyed it. I had kind of already made up my mind that if I liked riding it, I was gonna buy it so I put my deposit down on an incoming white 800 with ABS which Rockwell then converted to pre-sold so it would come in sooner.

I actually could have picked it up last weekend but I had other things going on with the W650 and the weather was crappy so I decided to wait.

I got a ride up there this morning and everything was in order. The bike had been PDI'ed, inspected and registered. I signed a few things, got the folder with the spare key and owner's manual and I was good to go. Did a little tour of the park up there and then headed home via the Palisades Parkway back to the city.

My thoughts after riding approx 80 miles both in twisties and on the slab:

- man this thing handles great. It feels a ton lighter than the 1050 even though it's really only about 40 pounds lighter. I don't know if it just carries the weight lower or what but it feels like I can toss it around. But it's very confidence-inspiring in the twisties, more so than the 1050 I would say. The tires, even being new, seem to offer great grip - I think they are Pirelli Scorpion Sync? I forgot to check.

- I hope the front suspension will soften up as it breaks in because it is *stiff.* I'll give it a few hundred miles and see how it goes. On smooth roads of course it's marvelous but on seriously fucked up pavement it can be a bit jarring. I don't know if Triumph set the suspension up for a heavier rider (maybe they've seen all those ADV group photos! ) or what but I'm a pretty light guy. I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with the spring rate but the damping is set pretty hard. Maybe a lighter fork oil or some Race Tech Gold Valves down the road if it doesn't break in and soften up a bit.

- I feel like the bars could come back toward me just a little bit. The height is good. But I'll wait and see - there's always a body adjustment period with a new bike as your muscles adapt to the slightly different riding position so I'll give it some time and miles before I decide to change anything or experiment with bar backs.

- I like the seat in the low position. The high position is about the same seat height as the 1050 stock seat. Low is about an inch lower and I can pretty much flat foot the bike with the seat at that height.

- I noticed that the bike feels much much lighter when backing it up or maneuvering it around by hand. The 1050 has always been difficult for me to back up because of the weight and the seat height and I've always felt less confident in moving it around by hand. Perhaps because it's more top heavy, I don't really know.

- The fueling is good but the bike was delivered with a bit too much throttle freeplay. Like the 1050, the 800 has a bit of a harsh on/off kind of thing right as you go from idle to throttle. The 1050 was worse but the BoosterPlug for the 1050 really smoothed it out. I think the 800 would benefit equally from a BoosterPlug. Hope they have one in development. The problem with the slack in the throttle freeplay is that when cruising along on the slab maintaining a steady speed, you barely have the throttle open. So when you hit a bump your wrist inadvertently rotates the throttle off and then you jerk it back open again - you're right in that on/off zone. Hard to be smooth. So like the 1050 I backed out almost all of the throttle freeplay which really smoothed things out. But I would buy a BoosterPlug for this bike in a heartbeat.

- The brakes are fucking fantastic. Great progressive feel, easy to modulate, and stop the bike RIGHT NOW.

- The headlights seem pretty great, especially by comparison with the 1050. Granted I've so far only ridden in the dark in the city which has street lights, so I still need to see whether I will need to adjust the aim of the lights and I still need to see how they do on a dark country road.

- The instruments light up a cool blue/white color

- The windscreen seems great - spent time around 70 mph on the way home and didn't notice any buffeting.

- The white pearlescent paint is amazing. As is the dark graphite finish on the wheels. The bike looks tits.

- Accessories: this seems to be a sticking point. Triumph seems to be having a hard time getting the accessories out and it's kind of a mixed bag as to who can get what accessories. At the time I put my deposit down I ordered a center stand, the GPS mount, and the service manual. Only the GPS mount came in - the other two items were still backordered as of today. At the Perkins Tower parking lot I happened to run into two guys with Tiger 800s. One guy had the crash bars so I was able to inspect them and they look pretty stout. The other guy had the center stand. One guy had managed to rig a Givi monokey mount to the Triumph rear rack because he got tired of waiting for the Motech stuff. He had one of the Givi Trekker cases, looked pretty good on the 800. May have to get one of those...I've also got the crash bars, heated grips, and aux power socket on order.

- The 800 definitely gets pushed around by the wind a bit more than the 1050 does, perhaps owing to the fact that it's lighter. I found that out for sure on the GW Bridge coming back into the city.

- Engine heat: some people have complained of engine heat in the inner thigh area in traffic. I hit some nasty traffic on the West Side Highway coming back with the ambient temp being about 70 degrees. You definitely feel heat in that area more than you do on the 1050. I don't think that the 1050 makes any less heat and even that will start to turn into a nut roaster on a hot enough day but there's a lot more plastic and other stuff to insulate you from the heat on the 1050. On the 800, more of the engine is exposed and there's less between you and the engine which I think naturally is going to result in you feeling more engine heat. Not much to it but to deal with it - if you want something that's more naked that means it's gonna have less plastic to do air/heat management. That's just the way it is. Also while stuck in traffic I don't recall hearing the fan come on. The fan on the 1050 is pretty loud. Perhaps the 800 just has a quieter fan because the engine didn't come anywhere close to overheating.

In summary, this bike is a winner I think. It may need a couple minor tweaks here and there and Triumph needs to get the accessories out on the market but I can see riding this thing for a long time. Of course that's what I said about the 1050 back in 2007.

Happy customer:

What better place for a break-in ride?

Back to the concrete jungle

2000 Kawasaki W650

The Jerk screwed with this post 10-15-2011 at 02:15 PM
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