Bikes & Customs: Interview

Charley Boorman reviews the Tiger 800

New Tiger 800 XCA review: Charley Boorman

Verdict: “This bike packs a real punch”

The new Tiger 800 has returned to Morocco, the scene of its PanAfrica Rally-conquering prototype’s proudest moment. This time, it was Triumph’s Adventure ambassador Charley Boorman throwing the off-road Tiger XCA around through mud, gravel and even snow in the foothills of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.

Charley Boorman reviews Tiger 800

It might not have been as extreme an experience as Felipe Lopez’s successful ride on the Tramontana, the Tiger 800 prototype, but, speaking from a sleeping bag in his tent in freezing north Africa, the round-the-world adventurer has great things to say about the new more advanced Tiger 800 XCA.

My first impressions

“First things first, this is a bike for every rider and every terrain, but there are three things that really jump out at you very quickly.

  1. This is a bike that packs a massive punch. It’s more nimble and much more versatile and gives you far more low-down grunt than anything I’ve ever ridden before. Today we were heading up a very muddy and steep bank and I was able to take my time and chug up it quite slowly, which meant I didn’t ever loose control of the bike… a massive plus when you’re ploughing through pools of mud.
  2. The size of the front wheel, new rider ergos’ and off-road pro riding mode means it turns much quicker, especially off-road, and that means it handles much better off-road, especially when fitted with the new handbook approved Pirelli Scorpion Rally ‘nobblies’.
  3. The more responsive throttle, shorter ratio first gear and incredibly smooth fuelling to me makes it an unparalleled choice, which gives an incredible experience. There’s no jerky jumps in power, it’s just a totally smooth surge of that triple torque.”

The ride

“In a couple of words, ‘incredibly comfortable’. The heated seat, cruise control, fairing and new simple adjustable screen meant that even the sub-zero temperatures weren’t too much of a drag, even if I did have an almost constant layer of snow across my visor as we headed into the mountains.

The bar position gave a really commanding and balanced riding position, which is important when you’re ploughing through rivers, potholed tracks and gravel.”

Charley Boorman reviews Tiger 800

Less is more

“It is when you really want to get down to the nitty-gritty of off-road riding. The XCA has a mode called Off Road Pro, which takes the bike back to its raw state with no riding aids whatsoever. Fantastic.

Charley Boorman Tiger 800 review
Charley: Getting sideways…

Alternatively, you can go full off-road and just give it a little bit of traction control, which allows the bike to step out a little.

I had an almost constant layer of snow across my visor as we headed into the mountains...

Charley Boorman

"The XCA has a mode called Off Road Pro, which takes the bike back to its raw state with no riding aids whatsoever. Fantastic."

When the details matter

Motorcycle configurator:

Design your Tiger 800

Find out more

“I know it’s only a small thing but I love the five-position screen and full-colour TFT instrument panel. They both make life a bit easier when there’s other stuff like the track ahead – and snow – to be thinking about.

The backlit buttons on the bar-mounted switchcubes, LED lighting and updated cruise control mean everything is designed for the rider to be able to focus on the adventure up front. I also like the fact that I could get my feet on the ground quite easily, which helps with manoeuvrability and would make this a bike that would be equally at home in an urban environment.

Luckily I got to ride both the 800 XCA and XRT, which are both great. There are very distinct differences between them, but when you’re on a distance ride the XC, which is the more off-road focused model with its longer travel suspension means you can cope with anything from wet roads, mud, snow, goats and people… and that heated seat was a godsend even though I knew it would be freezing this time of year.”

It’s an incredibly intuitive bike, one you can virtually make bespoke for whatever mood, terrain or conditions you’re riding in. It’s got everything you need, with the new technology, more responsive engine and high spec suspension set up to make it a great ride. Add to that the three stand out features I mentioned earlier, and that growling triple soundtrack, and you have got the tool for every job.”

Disclaimer: Featured motorcycle (Tiger 800) were part of a global reveal and their availability will vary from market to market. For more information please visit your country specific website.