2011 Triumph Tiger 800 XC First Ride

Powered by a three-cylinder motor-not exactly what you usually take out into the dirt-the Tiger XC sports nominally off-road tires on laced wheels. It is delivered not only with the 21 inch front wheel, but aggressive dual-sport tires, and is far more dirt-ready than any previous Triumph. The XC version is a genuine dual-purpose bike.

The primary difference between the two middleweights is the powerplant. Triumph’s three-cylinder shares the same compression ratio (12.0:1) as the BMW Twin and the dual overhead cam design uses four valves per cylinder, but that’s where the similarities stop. Bore and stroke is 74mm x 61.9mm and it cranks out a very respectable 81.6 horsepower and 49.7 lb-ft of torque. While it definitely wails more than the BMW, it’s not all top-end like an Inline-Four.

Ten-spoke, cast aluminum wheels shod with 110/80-19 and 150/70-17 tires are fitted to the standard bike; the XC rolls on wire-spoke wheels with semi-knobbed 90/90-21 and 150/70-17 rubber. Nissin supplies the brakes: 308mm dual front discs with radial-mount four-piston calipers and a 255mm disc and single-piston caliper out back. Both bikes can be ordered with ABS that can be deactivated for off-road duty.

Triumph is confident that these bikes will not only meet the competition head on, but generally succeed when it comes to a comparison of engine and chassis performance. After testing both models, we can understand Triumph’s feeling of confidence. We can’t wait to conduct our own comparison tests.