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First Ride: 2004 Triumph Tiger

Confusingly enough, this new Tiger is actually designated a 2005 model, even though it is already in the shops. Why? Supply and demand - the 2004 Tiger has sold out already! So what's new?




The paint scheme and the decals have been changed, new cast wheels replace the old spoked ones and the swingarm is also new. Plus the suspension is stiffer and the tyres more road biased.

And, while the price has stayed the same at £6999, the new Tiger now comes with heated grips and colour coded panniers included.

The Tiger doesn't feel a hell of a lot different to ride compared to the old model, which isn't that surprising, really. The riding position is unaltered and is a typical big trailie sit-up-with-arms-wide stance, which proved very comfortable - especially when combined with the extremely plush and padded Tiger seat.

Add heated grips to fend off chills and you have a bike that can easily see off its 180-mile-plus tank range in one hit. I did find the tinted front screen created some turbulence which buffeted the top of my lid at motorway speeds, but other riders - both taller and shorter than my 6ft 2in - didn't complain.

The firmer suspension and change in tyres has made the Tiger feel much more secure in corners and although it does still dive under braking, it's nowhere near as bad as the old bike and is more reassuring because of it.

I am never 100% confident in the front end when braking on big trailies - especially in the wet - but this is mainly due to the lack of feeling and grip the on/off road tyres offer. Excellent in the dry, I find they aren't too hard to make skid in the wet if you apply the brakes a bit too enthusiastically. This is an extra worry on the Tiger as the brakes are so good.

Personally, I would much rather have too much braking than not enough, and at speed the Tiger's set-up is excellent with loads of power and feeling, but I found they were a bit snatchy and hard to apply gently at low speed and commuting through traffic.

Engine-wise, the Tiger remains unaltered from the old model, which isn't a bad thing as the triple motor is lovely and smooth, although the gearbox is typically, Triumphly notchy.

Verdict

The added extras have made the Tiger a bargain. It's better than the other trailies in its price bracket but the BMW still rules.

EVOLUTION:

1992: Triumph launch the Tiger 900 using a slightly retuned 885cc triple motor from the Daytona 900 sportsbike

1998: The Tiger gets a complete update as Triumph updates its triple motor. New lights, motor, fuel-injection and a new rounded look

2001: The Tiger gets a massive overhaul and is now called the Tiger 955i. Forks are new 43mm items, new tubular steel frame, wire spoke wheels and an uprated three-cylinder motor from the 955i

RIVALS:

BMW R1200GS: £9275 The best big trailie and the milestone by which they are all judged. The new 1200 is a stunning machine.

Honda Varadero: £7349 Good but very dull and quite possibly the ugliest bike ever built...

Suzuki V-Strom: £6349 ...with the possible exception of the V-Strom. Crap brakes and poor handling let down a good motor

Aprilia Caponord: £6999 Surprisingly good fun to ride, the Capo has weird looks, a lovely Mille-derived motor and handles well. Finish is a bit on the suspect side, mind

SPECS

TYPE - ALL ROUNDER

PRODUCTION DATE - 2004

PRICE NEW - £6999

ENGINE CAPACITY - 955cc

POWER - 104bhp@9500rpm

TORQUE - 67lb.ft@4000rpm

WEIGHT - 215kg

SEAT HEIGHT - N/A

FUEL CAPACITY - 24L

TOP SPEED - 120mph

0-60 - n/a

TANK RANGE - N/A

So what's new? The paint scheme and the decals have been changed, new cast wheels replace the old spoked ones and the swingarm is also new. Plus the suspension is stiffer and the tyres more road biased. And, while the price has stayed the same at £6999, the new Tiger now comes with heated grips and colour coded panniers included.

The Tiger doesn't feel a hell of a lot different to ride compared to the old model, which isn't that surprising, really. The riding position is unaltered and is a typical big trailie sit-up-with-arms-wide stance, which proved very comfortable - especially when combined with the extremely plush and padded Tiger seat.

Add heated grips to fend off chills and you have a bike that can easily see off its 180-mile-plus tank range in one hit. I did find the tinted front screen created some turbulence which buffeted the top of my lid at motorway speeds, but other riders - both taller and shorter than my 6ft 2in - didn't complain.

The firmer suspension and change in tyres has made the Tiger feel much more secure in corners and although it does still dive under braking, it's nowhere near as bad as the old bike and is more reassuring because of it.

I am never 100% confident in the front end when braking on big trailies - especially in the wet - but this is mainly due to the lack of feeling and grip the on/off road tyres offer. Excellent in the dry, I find they aren't too hard to make skid in the wet if you apply the brakes a bit too enthusiastically. This is an extra worry on the Tiger as the brakes are so good.

Personally, I would much rather have too much braking than not enough, and at speed the Tiger's set-up is excellent with loads of power and feeling, but I found they were a bit snatchy and hard to apply gently at low speed and commuting through traffic.

Engine-wise, the Tiger remains unaltered from the old model, which isn't a bad thing as the triple motor is lovely and smooth, although the gearbox is typically, Triumphly notchy.

Verdict

The added extras have made the Tiger a bargain. It's better than the other trailies in its price bracket but the BMW still rules.

EVOLUTION:

1992: Triumph launch the Tiger 900 using a slightly retuned 885cc triple motor from the Daytona 900 sportsbike
1998: The Tiger gets a complete update as Triumph updates its triple motor. New lights, motor, fuel-injection and a new rounded look
2001:  The Tiger gets a massive overhaul and is now called the Tiger 955i. Forks are new 43mm items, new tubular steel frame, wire spoke wheels and an uprated three-cylinder motor from the 955i

RIVALS:

BMW R1200GS: £9275 The best big trailie and the milestone by which they are all judged. The new 1200 is a stunning machine.
Honda Varadero: £7349 Good but very dull and quite possibly the ugliest bike ever built...
Suzuki V-Strom: £6349 ...with the possible exception of the V-Strom. Crap brakes and poor handling let down a good motor
Aprilia Caponord: £6999 Surprisingly good fun to ride, the Capo has weird looks, a lovely Mille-derived motor and handles well. Finish is a bit on the suspect side mind.

2004 Triumph Tiger Specifications

SPECS
TYPE - ALL ROUNDER
PRODUCTION DATE - 2004
PRICE NEW - £6999
ENGINE CAPACITY - 955cc
POWER - 104bhp@9500rpm
TORQUE - 67lb.ft@4000rpm   
WEIGHT - 215kg
SEAT HEIGHT - N/A   
FUEL CAPACITY - 24L
TOP SPEED - 120mph
0-60     - n/a
TANK RANGE - N/A