For years the BMW roundel has graced the tank of the adventure rider’s motorcycle of choice. The Bavarian marque’s commitment to capabilities in both the middleweight and open-class ADV categories — especially in off-road conditions — was oft regarded as second to none; an applaudable benchmark to some, a target to others. With the 2015 Tiger 800 XCx, Triumph not only hits the Bavarians’ mark, it pushes the standard to a whole other level.
The Tiger’s previous model’s missteps landed solely in off-piste conditions. Suspension issues, a high center-of-gravity, added weight and twitchy fueling were the main culprits. To address these lapses, the Hinckley-based builders put their middleweight on a diet — it’s 33 pounds lighter — and turned to technology and an industry leader to tame the Tiger’s wilder side. KTM-owned WP Performance Systems was tapped to sort ride quality and their components (including 43mm front forks and a remote-reservoir mono-shock rear unit, in manually adjustable form) have worked wonders for instilling confidence in rugged terrain. Progressive damping and a high ground clearance (coupled with a 21-inch front tire) turn obstacles into playthings. Throttle inputs are micromanaged by an all-new algorithmic interface complete with programmable rider modes to deliver some of the smoothest right-wrists on the planet. The combination of these two upgrades alone have given the Tiger a true dual-sport identity that all but conquers what physics shouldn’t allow.