Used Tiger: How many miles is too many?

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by NobeyamaGP, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. NobeyamaGP

    NobeyamaGP Nerdy Adventurer

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    So I'm looking to get my first dual sport bike for a trip I'm planning for next year. Due to my relatively short inseam (29-30") and inexperience with a taller, comparatively heavy bike, (coming off an old KZ440 with a 31" seat height and ~360lbs dry) I've settled on either a used V-Strom of either flavor or a used Triumph Tiger.

    I've found locally a used 2002 Tiger 955i that looks to be a pretty good deal: asking $3700 for a bike with OEM bags, added top box, tank bag, tall windscreen, Corbin seat, center stand, crash bars, and highway pegs. The current owner is the original owner and has had the bike fitted with an upgraded stator and rectifier (the OEM parts being a known weakness of this model as I understand it). My only concern is the bike currently has ~39,500 miles on it. Now I have heard stories of Tigers (and Stroms for that matter) going 100k+ miles with no issues but I'm still a little skittish about a bike with so many miles on it already. From the pics in the ad, the bike looks to be in VERY good shape and says it has always been garage kept and regularly serviced.

    All this together, does this sound like a good deal? I've always heard the old adage about the reliability of Japanese bikes and also about the "quirks" of the old Brit bikes, but recently have been hearing good things about the reliability of newer Triumphs. Also, as a fan of unusual engine configurations the triple has me intrigued. What do you think?
    #1
  2. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    40k miles in itself is not bad IMO. In fact I would worry more about 11 years of age (but that's not such a big worry yet, either).

    The number of previous owners is a figure I'd care to know.. the higher the number, the higher the possibility, that there was an idiot among them. Some people can wreck anything in no time.

    But if the bike has not been neglected, oil changes have been done on time (are those recorded?) then it should still have plenty of miles ahead. Problem is how to be sure of this.
    #2
  3. NobeyamaGP

    NobeyamaGP Nerdy Adventurer

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    Good point about the age, that was part of the reason I was initially leaning more toward the Strom so I could get a newer bike for about the same money. However since my current ride is just over 30 years old, 11 years is practically new in my book! :lol3 I'm also no stranger to wrenching on my own bikes since the 440 was non-running when I got it.

    As for maintenance records, that I don't know about as I haven't yet contacted the seller. Wanted to check here before I wasted my time looking at a bike with an engine that might have been worn enough to leave me stranded far from home. I will say that the owner claims to be the original owner and that from the pics in the ad the bike looks clean and well taken care of, but obviously that's no replacement for checking it out myself.
    #3
  4. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Buying from 1st owner would be a plus in my book, because for one thing, if you were to find some hidden crash damage somewhere after you bought the bike, he cannot possibly say, that he did not know about it.
    #4
  5. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    The 955i was a better bike than the Strom new and probably still better than a DL 1000 now - different sets of problems though.

    The miles aren't a problem, but there may be some niggling problems.

    Problems I know of:
    The relays under the seat. They don't like just sitting, having a spare in a sealed container is a good idea, particularly if you leave it parked a lot.

    Plastic fuel line->tank connector tended to snap off after a few years.

    Suspension, particularly the rear, may need attention soon.

    Pete
    #5
  6. NobeyamaGP

    NobeyamaGP Nerdy Adventurer

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    Thanks for the info Pete!

    It's sounding like, based on what you've said and my own research, that the engine is most likely solid so long as it has been well maintained. The problem with the fuel line connectors I have heard about, but it is my understanding there are brass replacements available?

    The relays I have not heard about. Are there specific relays that go bad? Which relays are located under the seat? It's good to hear about these things now so I can look for them and ask the current owner about them when I go look at the bike.

    #6
  7. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    The 955i triple is an excellent engine that can go for a really long time. I know several people with high-mileage examples (as in, twice the mileage on the bike you're considering), and they all still run great.

    I also have a friend with a Speed Triple 955i who experienced the fuel line connector problem, and yes, I'm pretty sure he had it replaced with a brass one.

    I would say the seller's asking price is a little high. The older Triumph triples don't retain their resale value very well for some reason, so I'd try to get him to knock a few hundred dollars off the price. But other than that, I'd take this bike over a V-Strom 1000 any day.

    --mark
    #7
  8. Skoron

    Skoron Adventurer

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    The other good factors for you with this year/gen is the wire wheels if you plan any offroading and the rear eccentric which can be flipped if needed to further lower the bike (along with lowering front triple clamp). Great support group at TigerTriple if needed.

    Skoron
    #8
  9. ned37

    ned37 Been here awhile

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    my '95 steamer has 38k miles and still runs great. i'd make sure the valves were checked regularly (or recently). if neglected, they can eat a seat. (and you can't beat the sound of a triple!)
    #9
  10. bgt595

    bgt595 Been here awhile

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    I kinda feel into Triumphs almost by mistake, now I know that was good karma paying me back.

    The first Triumph was a low mileage 98 Triumph Tiger that I bought on consignment in Cali in 2004 with just about 11K.
    [​IMG]
    With the Trophy rear wheel.
    [​IMG]
    All bags getting ready for a road trip.
    [​IMG]
    The sad day when I sold it with 86K trouble free miles in 2011

    The Steamer was an amazing machine. Tons of tractable power and stone cold reliability.

    At the same time of the Steamer ownership I wanted to scrap with my "sportbike" friends so I picked up my dream bike......
    The 98 Triumph T595.... With a very usable 955 fuel injected engine.... Not the best bike for commuting due to the propensity for running hot in traffic, but as a back road bike it's amazing.
    [​IMG]
    A great introduction to the 955 fuel injected engine.
    I rode this bike for just about 25K miles in 4 years of owning it....... Like a pit bill, it snorted and spit fire on deceleration and was a terror on the throttle.... Just what I needed at the time..... That lead to this ......

    [​IMG]
    My 40th birthday gift to myself.... 2005 Tiger with the last version of the 955 engine with the easily accessible sprag clutch and the same easily maintained fuel injection..... Purchased with 10K miles in Feb 2011 and ridden at this point with completely trouble free 47zk miles...... I do carry a spare relay under the seat and change the oil religiously every 5k miles..... But as a daily driver (even in the pacific NW) the battery and charging system is not normally under a load of stress or excess heat with the assistance of a battery tender and the colder climate..... Heat destroys electrics.....

    This bike is great for commuting cause you can see over the cars and they can see you.

    Great for road trips cause you can crunch many miles in a sit due to the huge fuel tank and that I get normally 50+ mpg

    Great for camping trips cause you can take almost any unpaved road (depending on bravery).

    A lightly used example can always be found, if you look hard enough....... These things are bullet proof and reliable and surpringly inexpensive to maintain........


    Obviously I'm in love with Triumphs.



    Good luck :freaky
    #10
  11. keystiger

    keystiger rat on a roll

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    I'm on my third Triumph as well. 98 Sprint, 30,000 miles 3 times over. Excellent bike.
    2000 Speed Triple amazing machine
    '05 Tiger 955i I am at almost 30,000 myself. I know of Tigers with 100,000 miles. These things are VERY VERY good. I have been riding 33 years and have owned 28 different bikes. THis one will be with me a loooooong time.
    The few "issues" are easily (and rather affordably) fixable with little mechanical ability. Message me I would be happy to help. Get the Tiger you WILL NOT regret it.:clap
    They are the best value in motorcycling. Simply put you aren't gonna get more bike for that money anywhere.
    #11
  12. lvscrvs

    lvscrvs Been here awhile

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    Not sure what you can do with the 02 since they changed some things along the way, but my 06 was lowered 1" by putting a Hagon shock on the back and raising the forks 1". Suspends great, handles great and I can almost flat foot it - I have a 32" inseam. My buddy has the stock suspension on his 06 and it's a bit too tall and top heavy for my liking.

    Best bike yet.... see below.... :D
    #12
  13. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

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    I had a Daytona 955 that had 60,000 hard miles on it when my brother got it, ahem, impounded.

    Trouble free miles, too.

    But, that being said, there are a load of bikes out there with 5000-10000 miles on them. Personally, I buy used bikes, and with so many bikes with extremely low miles on them, and people having a hard time selling motorcycles these days, I see no reason to buy anything with a lot of miles on it. 39,000 is not a lot, but I'd rather put those miles on a bike than someone I don't know.Unless it's a screaming deal. With that many miles on it, it had better be at the low end of Blue Book.
    #13
  14. NobeyamaGP

    NobeyamaGP Nerdy Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the info, everyone! I think I'll contact the seller and see if i can set something up. Now i'm armed with a few details to ask about and check over for myself if i get a chance to go look at the bike (as well as bargaining chips to negotiate with). If nothing else it'll give me a chance to try out the bike and see if it's something I really do want to look for in the future if I decide to pass up this one. I still would rather find a bike with fewer miles if possible, but I'm not going to let the mileage stand in my way if the bike looks to be in good shape. Considering the relatively few used Stroms and Tigers I've seen for sale in my area in the last 6 months, I don't want to let this one pass me by even if it's just a chance to try it on for size.
    #14
  15. JTT

    JTT Long timer

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    By the way, don't sweat the fuel line quick connectors (plastic ones that can fail). They are easily and cheaply replaced. If you pull the seat and look at the left side of the tank you will see the fuel lines. Where they enter the tank the elbows will likely be anodized, but look at the female portion of the connector on the tank side...are they metal or white plastic? These plastic fittings are what "can" fail. Mine held fine for nearly 50,000 kms, but have since been replaced.

    Good luck in your hunt! You won't be disappointed with a Girlie :freaky
    #15
  16. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

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    My recent Triumph Tiger 955 purchasing experience shows your potential example as a fair deal. I paid $3300 for my '01, and it was stripped and neglected with 17,000 miles on it...and it was the only bike within 200 miles that I could actually get my hands on in my budget.

    Just used it on a 3300+ mile/2 week round trip. It has it's issues, but is a stout/dependable/straight forward bike that you can certainly depend on...and the exhaust note and power are intoxicating:wink:
    #16