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Triple triple testride (Street Triple R, Tiger 800XC, Tiger 1050)

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Spots, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. So, after 3 years and 50,000km on the Tiger 1050 I've been contemplating whether it's time to shake things up.

    And that means market-research has to be done.

    Baseline: Tiger 1050 with the offroad muffler
    Broader scope: Tiger 800XC
    Narrower scope: Street Triple R

    I managed to get a ~20 minute escorted testride on each of the two new bikes. The 1050 is, of course, my own. :)

    Tiger 800 XC with Battlewing tyres:
    This engine is amazingly smooth. I mean, the 1050's pretty well balanced and smooth, but this is simply electric. You twist the throttle, a whirring sound gets louder and you're whisked forward on a plush carpet of torque which starts off much lower than the Tiger 1050's 3000rpm transition from grumpy to growly. There's basically no vibration at all.

    Out of the box the suspension is pretty firm. Not jarring, not sportsbike-stiff, but... Yeah, about right I think. :)

    6'4" rider; plenty of legroom on the 800XC with the seat in the high position (which takes only 30 seconds to change from low to high after lifting the split rider/pillion seats off). The stock windshield dumps airflow right on my chinbar intake, a few inches higher than the 1050's stock one did. If I were to get the 800XC I think I'd get the taller adjustable touring screen to try and completely kick the air up and over.

    The seating really locks the rider in place - there's kind of just "one" position where you're expected to sit, unlike the 1050 Tiger where you can slide back and forth a good few inches. The fueltank and frame are a lot narrower than the 1050, too.

    The 800XC felt slllllloooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwww to transition from left to right, even with what I thought was a fairly assertive countersteering effort. I suspect that's the 21" front tyre's fault mostly though. Once it's leaning, though, it's sure-footed and secure-feeling. Confidence inspiring.

    One thing I really didn't like, though - On overrun instead of a delicious pop and crackle and burble from the exhaust there's the delicious sound of popcorn from inside the headers. Yes, you read right. That's not an analogy or metaphor, it literally sounds like popcorn. Not really a 'fun' sound. Kinda weird.

    Summary: Silky motor, slow but surefooted steering (compared to a sports-touring bike or sportsbike), good comfort. Love the luggage-securing hooks and racks built in, too.

    Street Triple R:
    Do not buy the Street Triple R unless you have the iron will and incorruptability of Batman. And, perhaps, a consular licence plate just to be sure.

    More vibes than the 800XC, less than the 1050. Stock exhaust note is appealing. The Street Triple R is like a 90rwhp BMX bike and it whispers to the rider nonstop, encouraging them to see if they can break every single law in the book, and maybe invent some new ones that aren't (yet).

    It's a comfortable enough seat, though like the 800XC there's only one place you can sit, no sliding fore/aft for different riding positions. Suspension, as adjusted however they'd set it up, is firm but not crashy or jarring over bumps. Not too stiff, not underdamped. Nice!

    Weighing in at 187 wet and 167 dry (!!) with a low centre of gravity and nice motorcross-style bars, it's pretty agile, though not as squirrely and frantic as I'd imagined it would be. That said, rapid transitions from side to side take a LOT less bravery and commitment compared to the Tiger 1050's greater top-heavy mass.

    The brakes on the R are sharp, with a really aggressive initial bite but easy modulation after that. I loved the transmission feel, too. Light and nicely positive-clicky. Reminded me a lot of my VTR250, except with much better suspension and power. XD

    Between the sporty, tucked-up leg position, the narrow bars, the rev-loving engine and its addictive camtrain whirr and the way the bike simply vanishes beneath you, the Street Triple worms its way into your head and makes you want to do really bad things. I suspect it'd be a bad choice for touring not because of lack of comfort but because you'd be so tempted to see if you can, say, do a wheelie all the way from Sydney to Newcastle.

    Would be a whooooole lot of fun to ride it the way Triumph intended it to be ridden. Possibly too tempting to do that in all the wrong places.

    Summary: Power corrupts, but this bike corrupts absolutely.

    Vs the Tiger 1050?
    Hopping back on my own bike, the Tiger 1050, kinda reminded me of everything I love about the 1050. For all its heavy weight and long wheelbase, the absurdly wide handlebars let it tip in fairly briskly, and the 100-104Nm torque from 3000rpm to redline makes it a powerful brute at low revs. Sure, hustling it through twisties at pace is a bit of a physical workout as you climb over the frame like a monkey on a supertanker, and a rapid flick from left to right takes a lot of faith and commitment. Sure, it's 43kg heavier than the Street Triple R, wet weight to wet weight. But it's also got 40% more power and 55% more torque than the little Street Triple. ;)

    The suspension's underdamped at the rear, but I've found out that that's relatively cheap to fix at a good motorcycle suspension shop. Tempting. Maybe I'll keep my 1050 afterall... It has been, and remains, an amusingly Jekyll and Hyde mix of practical comfort, hooligan grunt and ground clearance.
  2. Why not try the Speed triple? I took a mates one for a spin, his had a set of Arrows on it (I think) and I was utterly impressed. That 1050 engine is an absolute ripper.
  3. Yeah, the 1050 is indeed a very good engine.

    All the same... mostly it's just the cost (the Speed Triple ain't cheap!), and at times wanting a lighter, smaller, narrower bike. Something I've gotta rev and work the gears of. :)
  4. Ha! 90rwhp BMX indeed!!!
    nice write up spots, and although i agree with you, the str is always "encouraging" you, i think its not all out crazy and ott... and for the money, it makes alot of sense next to the speed...
  5. great write up! i've been eyeing off the new 2011 tiger...
    • Like Like x 1
  6. I tested both the tiger 800 and the xc a few weeks ago and the 800 is much quicker steering than the xc, of course the road bike is a fair bit stiffer as well. I found that the xc's suspension was really nice at absorbing the rough road. Apparently the suspension on both bikes takes a while to soften up.
  7. Yeah, I've read that too, on the ADVrider forums. :)