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Triumph Tiger 800XC off-road review

How does the Tiger 800XC perform off-road?

HERE'S A QUICK video from my test review of the Triumph Tiger 800XC at the world launch in Barcelona.

We took to some light trails on the XC. I kept to the standard Bridgestone Battlewing tyres while the other guys opted for the more off-road biased Metzeler Karoo, which are a recommended option from Triumph.

Why did I stick to the standard tyres? Well because I feel that most Tiger 800XC owners will stick to this type of tyre and venture off-road when the opportunity presents itself, rather than buying a Tiger 800XC as a dedicated off-road machine and therefore fitting off-road tyres from the word go.

The Tiger 800XC felt at home on the type of trails we were doing. The video shows a fairly fast and open section where I touched 70mph, but we also took on some tighter, rockier and more technical terrain where 15mph was the maximum - the Tiger 800XC coped with it all.

I have limited off-road experience. Unlike some of the other journalists, I'm no schoolboy champion. I feel that most potential buyers of the Tiger 800XC will be in the same category. However, despite my limited experience, the 800XC felt better than I thought it would be and it performed better than the spec sheet suggested it ought to.

Planted if a little weighty, you could really notice that extra weight on the standard tyres over something like a dedicated off-roader but only when you came to scrub off speed. I felt like I was asking a lot of the front on more than one occasion, but the trouble is, with that engine, it's seriously easy to build up speed and get ahead of yourself.

However once you get it wound up on an open stretch, the weight doesn't really get in the way. The Tiger 800XC rides smoothly over bumps stones and tree roots, with only a few slight headshakes, which were probably down to my technique rather than the bike being dynamically lacking. The front suspension - although not adjustable - did a great job of soaking up the terrain and I think you'd find it hard to argue for fully adjustable specification as standard.

Two things stood out for me while taking the Tiger 800XC off-road. Firstly the clutch is light. Through the technical sections where you need to finesse the clutch and be confident you can rely on it for added control, if the clutch had been heavy it would make any serious efforts at going off-road redundant.

Secondly, I spent a lot of time in 1st and 2nd gear, it was a fairly hot day, there was a lot of waiting around for others to catch up and photographers to get the shots we needed. And throughout all of this, the Tiger 80XC never got to more than two-thirds the way up its temperature gauge. The fans never kicked in once. On my GSX-R600 K9, the fans are on pretty much from the first set of lights to the lock-up on my 9-mile daily commute. I was impressed with the Tiger 800XC's manners.

I'd be more than happy taking the Tiger 800XC for a bit of trail riding, but it certainly wouldn't be my first choice. If you're after a do-it-all bike that'll tackle the rough stuff when you fancy a change of scenery, than I can't fault it for that. Just don't expect to tackle a desert, although you'd be forgiven for thinking you could.

Click here for my Triumph Tiger 800XC road review. Click here for my Triumph Tiger 800 road review.

Click here for Triumph Tiger 800 specifications and Triumph Tiger 800XC specifications.

Click here for the official list of Triumph Tiger 800 accessories

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