Of commuting and long distance rides
Ever since I whacked the Tiger from Sirish, strange things have happened. I find myself waking up at odd hours in the morning (usually between 3 and 4am) and going on short rides. It’s something I haven’t done in a long time (the last was when I first bought my own motorcycle back in 2007). The re-emergence of this old habit has surprised me. I haven’t done this with any other bike in between so I guess I like the Tiger. Scratch that, it has gotten me excited.
The Triumph Tiger 800 XCA has been my commuter. I use it to go to the ATM, to go to the dry cleaners, when I go for a haircut, when I need to send out a courier and of course the office run. I love that the 800 pulls complaint free from 40kmph even in fifth gear. I can’t think of many big engines that have that kind of flexibility. I love its linear, smooth power delivery and I love the snarl the triple makes as it winds up. I also love walking up to it in a parking lot full of real commuters because standing next to Splendour minuses and whatever else, it looks like a thoroughbred standing tall in a herd of goats.
I will not lie though – massive deforestation has taken place on the inside of my legs. The Tiger’s cooling fans blow hot air right onto them and that can get quite uncomfortable but other than that, I find it a really easy motorcycle to ride despite its size.
It is a big, tall motorcycle and for me, as is the case with Sirish, my toes prop the bike up at traffic lights. But, as with any motorcycle, once you’ve ridden it a bit, handling it becomes muscle memory. It took me about five days to get used to managing its weight at slow speeds but I am now fully confident of slicing through traffic, making U-turns and parking it.
I’ve gone four clicks harder on the suspension because I didn’t like the amount of dive it had under braking and I’ve set the programmable ‘Rider’ mode to the engine’s most aggressive Sport power delivery option and ‘off-road’ mode for the traction control and ABS. This way, the traction control lets the rear slide out a bit more and doesn’t aggressively chop power when it senses wheel slip.
I was dying to take it on a long distance trip and that chance came up over Easter weekend. I rode down to Goa and that’s when I really fell in love with the Tiger’s sport tourer abilities. That broad seat is supremely comfortable, that suspension is so pliant and with an engine that’s always in its powerband, you munch miles without really realising it. How does six hours from Arpora, Goa to Koregaon Park, Pune sound? And no, I wasn’t riding like a moron.
I think the mile-munching is down to the fact that I didn’t have to stop much and because the engine is so effortless, the average speeds remain high. Less stretching stops, less fatigue, more saddle time and you’re home before you know it.
I did occasionally wish sixth gear was a bit taller. 100kmph equates to a rather high 4500rpm so, while the engine is in its powerband and you can overtake without a downshift, cruising can be a bit frenzied. There’s just one last test for the Tiger – offroad. I have booked myself in for the Tiger Training Academy as well. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
Date Acquired: March 2015
Duration of test: 2 months
Total mileage: 4,495km
Mileage this month: 1,544km
Overall kmpl: 18.2kmpl
Costs this month: Nil