Triumph's Tiger sheds the big trailie looks, sharpens its claws and goes for a more road-inspired image. Is this the right direction for Hinckley's big cat?
The beautiful planet we all live on is falling apart. Seas are rising, icecaps are melting and pandas are having trouble getting it up. Global warming is to blame: we're burning too much fuel, creating too many pollutants and allowing cows to fart unhindered. All of which is causing Mother Earth to get a bit hot under the collar.
Except as far as I can tell it's all nonsense because from the moment we landed in Spain for the launch of Triumph's new Tiger 1050 the heavens opened and it didn't stop raining until we left.
And that means this is less of a comprehensive first test and more of a first impression.
Sorry, but the weather really was that bad and I wouldn't like to even pretend I pushed things that hard. At all.
So what are those first impressions? For a start the new 1050 motor is simply beautiful. Compared to the old Tiger's 955cc motor the new lump - which is the same as that used in the Speed Triple and Sprint ST, but with a taller top gear and different air box and ECU - is a massive leap forward. It pulls cleanly from as low as 1500rpm and feels much stronger than that old 955i engine. It really suits this style of bike.
Big trailie owners (okay, I know, the Tiger isn't really a big trailie anymore, but bear with me) in the main want motors that deliver smooth power and strong low-down torque, which is ideal for touring on all types of roads, one- or two-up and usually with luggage. Most manufacturers satisfy this need by using a big V-twin motor, but to avoid the twin's inherent lumpiness we're often left with a dull, characterless engine (think Honda Varadero). Triumph's 1050 triple motor manages to provide bags of torque while still retaining loads of character.
And with a claimed 113bhp and 74lb.ft of torque the Tiger should have more than enough power for solo or two-up trips, while the fuel injection is smooth enough to help prevent pillions head-butting riders every time the throttle is opened - that is until the rider changes gear. Unfortunately, you see, the gearbox is also straight from the Speed Triple, which means it's far from super slick, clunks into gear and generally feels agricultural.
Continue the Triunph Tiger 1050 Review 2/2
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