Tiger Tales - Dialling in the 800XC for the dirt

Discussion in 'British Beasts: Triumph Tigers' started by Burren Rider, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. Yellow Pig

    Yellow Pig Allergic to Asphalt!

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    7,706
    Location:
    Kalifornia
    Hows the Tiger's suspension in the rough stuff?
    #21
  2. Rob Dirt

    Rob Dirt More or less in line

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,568
    Location:
    Mobile
    I'm surprised you did not install a 15th front sprocket. It makes a big difference at slow speed, & I only lost 4mph on the interstate. I love your pics, especially the one in the muddy rut.
    #22
  3. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    306
    Location:
    Iowa
    Great thread!

    Danny, since you've obviously been beating on your XC a fair amount already, would be interested in your take on any clunking/clacking your XC makes in the rough stuff. I've been chasing what sounds like a sharp metal-on-metal clack on mine when hammering holes, whoops, and rocks. I thought it was the centerstand, but after some testing last night, I'm thinking it's good old chain slap now. The slider on the XC is a fairly complex piece compared to standard dirt bike stuff. Seems like they've went overboard to potentially quiet chain noise only to not accomplish it.

    Just did about a 1000 miles of gravel, sand, and dirt and your observations are spot on with what I've been seeing. The fork is a really nice set up. The shock isn't bad, but with panniers, I'm wishing I could dial in more compression.

    Was washing the bike last night and was scratching my head trying to figure out how all that mud got on the bottom of the triple... I think I'll go the extension route and try that.
    #23
  4. Guyver

    Guyver Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Central Coast California
    Every man can do as he wants with his own toys; so I'm not criticizing....but, I'm trying to figure out why someone would want to spend 12 or 13 grand on a brand new high performance riding machine and then take it out to thrash it?

    I mean, for 2500 bucks you could get something like this that's actually better for that job, and then you (or at least I wouldn't) mind if it got stuck, dropped, scratched, thrashed, or broken.

    [​IMG]
    #24
  5. CA Stu

    CA Stu Steer with your face! Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Oddometer:
    48,329
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Anyone can ride a light dirt bike in the dirt.

    I don't see using the Tiger XC off-road as "thrashing", it's ostensibly designed for that purpose.

    I'd be more apt to criticize someone for buying an 800XC and riding it exclusively on the street. :dunno

    Thanks
    CA Stu
    #25
  6. Guyver

    Guyver Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Central Coast California
    I said I wasn't criticizing.. Read above? I said I was trying to understand why? Your saying it's because it's more challenging riding a heavy bike in the dirt?

    OK.
    #26
  7. fbj913

    fbj913 On the Beemer Kool-Aid

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,456
    Location:
    KC MO

    Because as a human you can make your own decisions. Riding is riding. Have you ever ridden a big ADV Bike? and like you said, not arguing...
    #27
  8. CA Stu

    CA Stu Steer with your face! Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Oddometer:
    48,329
    Location:
    Riverside, CA

    No, I'm saying it's because that is the intended purpose of the 800 XC.

    I'm still on the fence about buying one, myself.
    My 1050 Tiger absolutely rules on the street, my KLR is a good compromise for the street and trail, and my TE 610 is an awesome trail bike.

    It would be nice to have a bike that can handle moderate trails and still be comfortable at 80mph on the journey home, I guess. It's a long, slow ride home from Moab / Colorado / Baja on a KLR.

    And it does take more technical ability to ride a big, heavy, powerful machine on challenging terrain.
    I couldn't ride it on a 950 Adv., so I sold it.
    #28
  9. Guyver

    Guyver Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Central Coast California
    I've ridden an 04 1150 GSA, a KTM 5??exc, an XR650L, XR600R, 1200GS, and of course a DL650, which some would not necessarily consider a big adventure bike.

    Compared to my 07 YZ450f, that 02 426 I put in the picture is a big heavy bike. That's not my point. My point is that personally, if I just dropped over 12 thousand dollars on a T800; I wouldn't ride it like my 426. Sure, I'd take it off road; but if I dropped it or scratched it, or in some other way screwed it up....I'd be bummed out. So if I had a Tiger 800; which I'm seriously thinking about....I would be careful with it off-road. Maybe that's just me.
    #29
  10. tedesco886

    tedesco886 Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    East Bay area
    I agree that a lighter skinnier single is MUCH better suited for off-road duty at a MUCH lower cost. For a better answer to your question Guyver , (rather than a "have you blah blah" answer.) This is a bike that can be ridden hundreds of miles a day very comfortably on the road, and then is also capable off-road when it appeals to the rider. This part of the thread is particulary focused on making that off-road experience with the tiger more capable and more fun.
    #30
  11. CA Stu

    CA Stu Steer with your face! Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Oddometer:
    48,329
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    I totally understand your point. I one had a 1999 Sprint ST, bought it brand new, with all the luggage and bells and whistles and I almost dropped it while parking it at a restaurant once.
    It was almost on the ground and all I could think about was how much I paid for it and how pretty it was.... I got a shot of adrenalin from that thought and saved it about 3 inches from disaster.:lol3

    I'm stoked to see someone putting an 800 XC through its paces off-road.
    Would I be as aggressive? Probably not, but it's not my bike so have at it!
    #31
  12. Guyver

    Guyver Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Central Coast California
    OK. Well that sounds reasonable. Like I said, I was just asking. If money were no object to me...I'd have a bunch more bikes than I do, and probably wouldn't mind thrashing them as much.
    #32
  13. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,823
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    Yeah, but riding that $2500 beater single 1000 miles on pavement to get to the remote dirt roads/trails you want to ride is a lot less fun than riding the XC on those trails.

    If I want to play in the dirt locally, yeah, I'll take my XR650L. If I want to go ride the Trans-Lab or the Trans-Taiga or something, the XC is going to be the bike for the job.

    --mark
    #33
  14. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    7,699
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    Because it's fun to go for a ride, with no intentions and see where the road leads. This is why big trailies are so popular. You can ride it 400 miles of twisties, then decide to go off the beaten path if you choose to.
    #34
  15. Burren Rider

    Burren Rider Aussie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,819
    Location:
    Northern NSW
    G'Day Trev,

    I have been fortunate to spend time on a few big dirt bikes in the past and I used to own a DR / DRZ combo at one time so hopefully I can help. My interest primarily lies in the dirt and after dabbling with a used road bike years ago (a Katana restoration project), I decided that any road orientated bike of mine needed to run dirt tyres to actually get used. So, after a string of singles (I racked up over 200,000km's on various DR's) I decided to try something different and buy a DL1000. I liked that bike and as a road orientated adventure bike it was very good but I found myself getting lured back towards the dirt.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Getting nostalgic, I figured that a DR650 had been a very capable dirt tourer for many years in the past so why not just return to the fold. I set one up for the long haul and figured that it would be my adventure bike and the DRZ my dirt bike.

    [​IMG]

    At about that time we had an addition in the household and all of a sudden I didn't feel as inclined to dissappear on the really big trips.

    [​IMG]

    While I really liked the DR (and think it is probably still the best choice for overland travel) I ended up selling it as the two Suzuki's were so versatile that they ended up crossing over a bit for my purposes.

    Going back to one bike freed up some funds and I was fortunate to take a couple of extended trips on BMW hire bikes. The first was a trip from Darwin to Perth on a 1200GS and while it handled everything we threw at it, the front end just felt vague and I never really bonded with it in the dirt.

    [​IMG]

    The next excursion was a trip to NZ on an 800GS. While it was a great ride through some amazing countryside, once again I walked away from the BM feeling less than enthused. I don't really know why, it just didn't do anything for me.

    [​IMG]

    I bought a DL650 and really bonded with the bike. While not nearly as capable as a DR in the bush, it combined well with the DRZ and was so much fun on a winding dirt road. Whereas the DL1000 (and to a lesser extent the 800GS) would be really quick to flick sideways on loose gravel, the power delivery on the 650 V-Strom was just right and allowed you to steer with the throttle and do awesome controlled power slides (to be honest this is one of the major attractions of big dirt bikes for me :evil).

    [​IMG]

    I appreciate this is all a bit long winded but I figure it helps to put the Tiger into context. What I was really looking for in the Tiger was a capable, dirt orientated adventure bike. Something that is competent in the bush, fun to ride and still comfortable on the road. A DR will tick these boxes but having enjoyed the thrill of multi-cylindered dirt bikes on a winding dirt road in the past, I think I may have been corrupted. Likewise the DL is a very comfortable, surprisingly capable on easy dirt and really good value. Having said that, there are places where I turned around on the V-Strom and I really wanted something that gave me option to continue on without damaging the bike (or myself). Not asking much really, just after a smooth, fast bike that can handle the dirt and pull a good slide with a gumby like me on board.

    I think I may have found it though.

    [​IMG]

    While it is early days it seems to be what I am after. The suspension is really good, it rolls over most trail obstacles without hesitation and tracks like an arrow. There was early speculation based on the dimensions that it would be fidgity but that has not been my experience. The overwhelming impression of the bike on decent trails is one of stability and precision. I don't know how much of this is down to tyres but it is so much more confidence inspiring than the DL in the soft stuff it's hard to compare them. While you learnt to trust the DL, it still rolled around in anything loose and certainly made you concentrate on the task at hand. The 800XC steers with purpose in this stuff and feels planted. Ground clearance is good (although not brilliant by dirt bike standards) and with a decent bashplate I don't see it as being overly exposed. The motor is a real positive for dirt work too. It almost feels docile down low when you first ride it and this really aids traction in the soft stuff. Looking for more challenges earlier in the week, I found myself on a rocky hill climb. While pretty sedate by dirt bike standards it would be enough (for me at least) to turn around many of the bigger adventure bikes and yet the Tiger just idled up it like it wasn't even there. Later in the day, it tip toed through a soft sand beach entry before letting rip with an almighty power slide when it hit the tidal area. It is an incredibly flexible motor that is also as smooth as silk on the highway.

    There is work to be done to refine the package and that is largely the purpose of this thread. You can see little area's where it could be improved on for adventure / dirt use but I guess this is true of most bikes you buy these days. My first ride highlighted a few of these and it was only when I did another run in more technical terrain that I went 'yep, this is going to be worth the effort'. It is definately not a technical single track bike but I think that most forestry roads and trails could be tackled without too many drama's. I haven't had a crack at prolonged periods of deep sand yet but it handled some sloppy mud with a steady hand so I think it will be Ok?

    Now, the big qualifier is that the bike is only new. It's been a while since I have ridden something completely different and liked it, so the possibility exists that this is the honeymoon period and in twelve months things may change. I hope this isn't the case though, I really like the bike and I think it may well be what I have been after all these years. The boys seem to like it too :thumb

    [​IMG]

    With a faithful DRZ in the shed for the tricky dirt, I think this bike will cover the rest of the spectrum I am likely to ride.

    Hope all of this helps and if you are still sitting on the fence, maybe we could have a chat about it on the TK Memorial ride in August (if you are heading up for it).

    Cheers,

    Danny
    #35
  16. Burren Rider

    Burren Rider Aussie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,819
    Location:
    Northern NSW
    G'Day Mark,

    How do you find the bars now when sitting? I find it a bit of reach sometimes and this puts weight on my wrists which I am not fussed on. Did the the risers bring them back much, or were you able to roll the bars back a little with the risers? Risers would be an easy fix and I was going to go that way but was concerned the bars were just too straight to be comfortable?

    Cheers,

    Danny
    #36
  17. Burren Rider

    Burren Rider Aussie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,819
    Location:
    Northern NSW
    That is good to hear. I thought they might be a good solution but I am looking to add a damper somewhere down the track and worried they might conflict with the mounting (depending on how it is done)? I have been talking to Ralle-Moto here in Oz and they are working on a damper kit so with a bit of luck I will know in a month or two.
    #37
  18. Burren Rider

    Burren Rider Aussie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,819
    Location:
    Northern NSW
    Only a couple more sleeps to go hey. Good luck with the new bike.
    #38
  19. Aussie Trev

    Aussie Trev aka DRTrev

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,111
    Location:
    Gawler, South Australia
    Gee Danny,

    thanks for going to the trouble of spelling it all out for me like that - great effort mate, thanks again.

    You certainly put the bike into some perspective for me and I appreciate that. I am seriously fence sitting at the moment and will wait until I get a ride on a Tenere weekend after next (famous SA 24 trial this weekend) to see how I feel on a heavy dirt bike, and yes, I'll be at Blinman for the TK ride so I can thank you personally with a cold local brew (well maybe a mexican one - I'm partial to Corona's).

    I'll keep reading as you prgress with it.

    cheers

    Trev
    #39
  20. av_mech

    av_mech Risk Taker

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,144
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    because i can!
    #40