TRIUMPH recently sent a fully kitted out Tiger 800XCX to the Saharan desert to compete in the Panafrica rally.
But suggestions have been made that it wasn’t just any Tiger, instead the 2018 model hidden in plain sight.
The Triumph Tiger Tramontana, as this rally beast has been named, was designed by Spanish brothers David and Felipe Lopez, both of whom are engineers and test riders, over six months, with help from Triumph’s own engineering team. It’s not the first Tramontana they’ve built – they were behind the Tramontana custom scrambler build a couple of years ago. The name is that of north wind that blows across the Pyrenees.
This time the pair purportedly stripped back a standard XCX, adapted the subframe, shortened the chassis to improve mass centralisation and fitted longer travel suspension, before adding a host of extreme off-road equipment including new bashplate, body panels, seat and rear mudguard.
Up front the Tiger Tramontana has a distinct Dakar look with a bespoke screen, smaller lights and a roadbook, ICO and GPS beacon, which helped the rider to find his way in the 2,000km rally.
Speaking about the model before the rally, David Lopez said ‘This is a racing bike and it’s going to be raced in the most extreme terrain and conditions over distance, so the primary focus has always been function over form.
‘The things that have changed have changed for a reason, either to improve performance, to optimise weight distribution or for more appropriate functionality in racing conditions.’
The official results from the Panafrica rally showed Felipe Lopez Cordoba of TDS Racing team to have finished in 51st place of 74 riders, and second in the Maxitrail category.
While the Tiger Tramontana took all the attention, spy shots emerged of a completed-looking Tiger 800XR testing with the new Tiger Explorer 1200, which suggests that there is in fact a new Tiger 800 in the pipeline.
And if it’s in the final stages of testing, what’s to say the Panafrica rally wasn’t the ultimate proving ground for the new 800 powertrain?
One thing’s for certain, the Tiger Tramontana looks absolutely awesome, and completely at home in rugged, desert terrain.
Now, how can we get our hands on one?