Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro and GT Pro (2020) | REVIEW

Simon Hargreaves
By Simon Hargreaves
SimonHbikes Simon rides motorbikes, and then writes about them. He also co-presents the Front End Chatter podcast and plays bass guitar rather well.

 

Triumph’s Tiger 900 has a new triple engine that thinks it’s a parallel twin, with a new frame, new suspension and brakes, new electronics and clocks, and new styling. Yes folks, the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new. I don’t know about you, but a proper, nailed-on engineering innovation in modern motorcycling is a rare thing indeed and it makes me excited. Thank you Triumph, for that alone.

But the Tiger 900 is being launched into a mid-class, mid-capacity middleweight adventure bike market stuffed to the gunwales with other new or nearly new models from almost every big manufacturer – and where there’s something for everyone, from luxury to techno to retro to basic, from pure road to off-road biased, and at every price point, how is a prospective buyer to choose?

Fear not, BikeSocial has selflessly agreed to attend the Triumph Tiger 900 press launch in Marrakesh to help guide you through the mid-capacity maze, and work out where the very new Tiger 900 fits in the great scheme of things.

 

The Tiger range – Base model (white bike, alloy wheels) - £9,500, Tiger GT (black bike, alloy wheels) - £11,100, Tiger GT Pro (red bike, alloy wheels) - £12,800, Tiger Rally (black bike, spoked wheels) -£11,700 – Tiger Rally Pro (green bikes, spoked wheels) - £13,100

 

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 price and availability

The 2020 Tiger 900 comes in five versions:

• The base model is the Tiger 900 and starts at £9500. The range then splits into road and off-road models:

• the road-based GT is £11,100

• the higher spec GT Pro is £12,800

• the more off-road biased Rally is £11,700

• the higher-spec Rally Pro is £13,100.

 

All models share the same base engine, swingarm, frame, subframe, brakes, tank, bodywork, lights, seats, mirrors and screen. Electronics, rider aids, general spec levels, suspension spec, wheels, ride heights, seat heights and riding positions vary from model to model.

The GT Pro and Rally Pro are the only models available to ride at the launch. Differences between bikes will be explained where relevant during the review.

 

 

Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro PCP example*

Model

Price otr

Deposit

Credit

36 x

Final Payment

Total

APR

GT Pro

£12,800

£3140.38

£9659.62

£139.00

£6573.00

£14,717.38

7.9%

*based on 4000 miles p/a

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro PCP example*

Model

Price otr

Deposit

Credit

36 x

Final Payment

Total

APR

Rally Pro

£13,100

£3140.38

£9959.62

£145.00

£6709.00

£15,069.38

%

*based on 4000 miles p/a

 

Here’s how the Tigers compare with various rivals, in price order*:

Honda Africa Twin AS

£14,649

Ducati MS 950 S (wire wheels)

£14,291

Ducati MS 950 S (cast wheels)

£13,701

BMW F850 GSA (Tiger Rally Pro spec)

£13,390

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro

£13,100

Honda Africa Twin (base)

£13,049

Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro

£12,800

Triumph Tiger 800 XCa (2019)

£12,700

KTM 790 Adventure R

£12,599

BMW F850 GS (Tiger Rally Pro spec)

£12,385

Triumph Tiger 800 XRt (2019)

£12,300

BMW F900 XR (Tiger GT Pro spec)

£12,155

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally

£11,700

Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT

£11,445

KTM 790 Adventure

£11,299

Triumph Tiger 900 GT

£11,100

Moto Guzzi V85 TT (colours)

£11,099

BMW F850 GSA (base)

£10,895

BMW F850 GS (base)

£10,170

BMW F900 XR (base)

£9825

Triumph Tiger 900 (base)

£9500

Triumph Tiger 800 XR (2019)

£9200

Yamaha Ténéré 700

£9145

*current online OTR prices; can vary significantly depending on spec levels etc

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

Power and torque (claimed)

94bhp @ 8750rpm (Tiger 800 was 94bhp @ 9500rpm)

64 lbft @ 7250rpm (Tiger 800 was 58 lb.ft @ 8050rpm)

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

A frequent criticism of the Tiger 800 – and one that must’ve bored Triumph silly over the years – is that although the inline triple motor is smooth, flexible and has a buttery, linear power delivery – characteristics we appreciate in a road bike – those same qualities count against the 800 off-road. When you’re stuck in mud and need rear wheel traction from irregular, lumpy power pulses to help dig in and dig out, what you get is a flood of wheel-spinning drive that only helps dig a deeper hole. Plus, being an inline triple, the 800 is naturally a fair bit heavier and a bit wider than comparable parallel and V-twins. Off-road, you’d have to say, is not its natural environment.

In fact we made that criticism ourselves, as you can hear, here in our adventure bike group test in 2018. But, according to Triumph, they got the same feedback from real people as well, so it’s not just whinging journalists making the point.

So when the performance targets of the next generation mid-capacity Tigers were being established four years ago, one of the tasks put to Triumph’s engineering team was to design an inline triple that also behaves like a twin at low and midrange rpm. According to Steve Sargent, Triumph’s Chief Product Officer, lots of options were on the table including actually building a twin or giving the triple some kind of big-bang configuration. All were dismissed.

Then someone came up with a really neat idea – taking a cue from Yamaha’s crossplane crank R1, what would re-arranging the crankpins on the triple’s crank to mimic three quarters of a crossplane inline four feel like?

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

On the Tiger 800’s crank, the crankpins are arranged in a regular 120° spacing – at 0°, 120° and 240°. It’s an inverted Y shape – like a pair of Y-fronts. That’s why the 800’s power pulses are so smooth and regular – the pistons fire with evenly spaced intervals (every 240°) in 3/4 waltz time – 1-2-3-1-2-3 etc (note that’s not the firing order! Just the timing. The actual firing order – as opposed to the interval – isn’t pertinent. So if a review credits firing order, not firing interval, for the new Tiger’s feel, read with caution!). The 800 triple layout is also in perfect primary and secondary balance, only generating a strong lateral vibration along the crank which isn’t particularly troublesome – at least for the rider.

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

On the new Tiger’s crank, the crankpins are at 0°, 90° and 180° – in the shape of a sideways T. Yes, Triumph call it a T-plane crank. It means the firing interval is unevenly spaced (0°, 180°, 450°) – and in terms of time signature, it’s more like 1-2... 3... 1-2... 3... etc. If you’re a fan of lo-fi hip hop and the drumming of Dilla or Questlove, you’ll get it. If not, drink a bottle of Tequila and hit some saucepans.

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

Run the new 900 engine at 100rpm and it’ll feel as if it has a limp. But run it at low engine speed and suddenly you have an inline triple with a distinct, unbalanced pulsing sensation. And that’s exactly the feel Triumph wanted at the bottom end of the revs. And, because it’s still got three cylinders, the power and torque delivery – and feel – are still also unmistakably a Triumph triple.

It’s vanishingly rare to come up with a genuinely innovative engine design – almost everything has been tried by someone somewhere at some point in automotive history. And while an engineer has doubtless prototyped or modelled what Triumph have built, no-one’s ever put it into production. Which meant Triumph had to work out how to balance the new vibration generated without referencing previous designs, and durability testing was new territory as well (it turns the two outside pistons at 0° and 180° are balanced; the odd-man-out middle piston, at 90°, is a loose second-order cannon requiring a reconfiguration of the Tiger’s existing counterweight balancer).

The new crank is not the only re-think of the Tiger’s engine. Increased capacity comes from 4mm extra bore width, taking the engine out to 888cc. This is partly to help the motor get through Euro5 – it’s why we’re seeing so many bike engines get bigger. A bigger motor making the same power as previously gives engineers the headroom to play with valve timing and ignition to reduce valve overlap and keep revs down, giving a more complete burn and reducing emissions.

Thus the Tiger 900 motor makes the same 94bhp peak power as the 800 unit, but makes it 750rpm lower, at 8750rpm, and there’s more available all through the bottom end and midrange. Because the engine is larger, it makes more torque – no substitute for cubes – and is up from 56 lbft to 64 lbft, again at a lower peak of 7250rpm, and again with more available all through the revs. Curiously, Triumph list the 900 as Euro5-spec producing 119g/km CO2, while the Euro4 800 is listed as producing 107g/km CO2. I didn’t notice it in the technical briefing so didn’t ask; so it sounds as if the new motor is dirtier than the previous one, but still clean enough.

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

And that’s still not everything: Siamese-casting the cylinder liners as a single piece has allowed engine width to be reduced – in total, the motor is 2.5kg lighter than the 800. And an uprated oil feed system means Triumph have reduced oil capacity and shaved valuable depth off the sump – so the motor can be repositioned 20mm lower in the frame – while a split, twin radiator system also makes room to cant the motor forward 40mm. This optimises the Tiger’s centre of gravity, theoretically improving handling dynamic, agility and low speed balance, and without sacrificing ground clearance – and it probably also makes room above the motor for a bigger fuel tank (up one litre to 20 litres, which the Tiger 900 needs because Triumph say fuel consumption has got worse, from the 800’s 60.6mpg to 55.4mpg – so, really, it needed two more litres. Hey ho.).

Finally, a new slipper clutch gives less weight at the lever, and is repackaged to further help reduce the motor’s width. So the Tiger 900 motor really is all-new – cases, crank, rods, pistons, valves, valvetrain, cylinders, oil feed, sump, balancer shaft.

It’s to Triumph’s credit they’ve been so adventurous with the Tiger 900 motor – it would’ve been easy to simply bore it out, make it Euro5 compliant, make a few incremental changes, thanks boys, we’ll milk that for another 10 years. That’s playing it safe and it’s what many other manufacturers would have settled for, eh Suzuki? But Triumph have done something new – it’s not quite brain-out radical, but anything out-of-the-box today is definitely brave. Kudos.

So, having said all that, does it actually work?

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

Yes. The new triple sounds and feels distinct and different, but strangely familiar at the same time. The previous motor was smooth, perfectly balanced, quick-revving and vibe-free with a distinctive primary gear whine; very much a classic Hinckley triple experience. The new bike throws a mid-tone tickover throb into the mix (and loses the whine) – the beat isn’t as pronounced as a twin; if a parallel twin is lumpy and an inline four is buzzy, then the 900 triple’s vibe is more... granular. And it’s certainly not unpleasant, for me; it’s a characteristic in the same way the old motor’s absence of vibration and churning creaminess is a characteristic. But the new motor adds a rapid, purposeful, organic pulsing that contributes, rather than detracts, to the three-cylinder experience – at least at low and medium speeds.

The first few miles on the road showcase Triumph’s now expected masterful throttle control and low rpm fuelling – the ride-by-wire throttle is natural and never snatchy or too direct. The motor responds exactly as you wish, and responds well – open the taps from barely above 1600rpm in a high gear and the new engine picks up and thrusts forward with a chunky willing and a surprisingly deep throated raspiness. It sounds a lot louder listening to someone else’s Tiger 900 having its nuts crushed than it does onboard.

One of Triumph’s aims was to resist low speed stalling; now, as the clutch lever is fed out and engine revs rise a few hundred rpm to dove-tail with drive pick-up, the extra sensation of crankiness makes it easier to judge where the stall point is and keep the motor spinning (a few times I stall the motor off road when I lock the back brake up and leave the clutch out as the bike skids down from speed; I’m sure I’ve done it on other bikes off-road without stalling, so maybe the motor is less prone to stall when you’re pulling away, but still more likely to stall than a twin coming down the rev range – it’s a minor point).

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

As pace builds, the Tiger 900 lump has still got that surging inline triple pull, but between 5000 and 7000rpm it develops a harder edge as the motor comes on cam and its torque curve starts to bulge. Swapping back and forth on Triumph’s excellent up and down quickshifter fitted to the Pro-spec Rally and GT highlights just how much punch the engine delivers – there’s no compromise in terms of performance with the new crank or capacity, although it is slightly lower-revving and less peaky than the Tiger 800. You might miss that old bike’s thrashability; you might not.

In fact Triumph claim the Tiger 900 is nine tenths quicker than the 800 over 0-60mph and it feels entirely likely. They also claim it’s over two seconds quicker in top gear roll-ons, but haven’t annotated the graph so it could be two seconds quicker between 20 and 120mph, or 75.1 to 76.2mph; we’ll never know. They also include two rivals on the graphs, which is even more meaningless because Triumph wouldn’t say who – so we can definitely say the new Tiger is faster than some bikes, at some point. How delightfully unenlightening.

What we can say is, according to the tacho, in top gear at 70mph the new 900 spins at 4400rpm; at 80mph it’s at 5100rpm; 90mph is 5800rpm and 100mph is 6450rpm. So that’s a fairly important 2000rpm band of potential cruising-speed engine revs...

...and it’s where there’s a potentially, maybe, possibly, perhaps a tiny-weeny little drawback to the new Tiger’s funky firing crank interval.

I’m talking about vibration – that low-down lumpiness Triumph have introduced courtesy of the new T-plane crank, and which absolutely adds a noticeable and welcome off-beat pulse to the power delivery. At low to mid revs, its frequency is low enough to do exactly what Triumph say it should – the Rally Pro feels more like an off-road bike should, especially, er, off-road. Over loose surfaces, slippery rocks, fist-sized stones and shingle the new 900 triple has more of a dig-in grunt at the rear tyre than the 800 – it also feels lighter, better balanced with a lower centre of gravity, more agile and even, to me, narrower at the knees. Even if it’s partly psychosomatic, it’s good stuff off-road.

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

On road, as revs rise and the frequency of the vibration does too (although the amplitude feels consistent), to my mind it starts to stray towards the boundary that separates good vibes from bad vibes. Good vibes add character and don’t detract from the riding experience; usually they’re big and lumpy-sized, and balanced out enough not to make teeth chatter and eyeballs blur as the revs increase. Bad vibes very much impinge on the riding experience; for example those nasty, tingling, inline four secondary vibrations caused by non-sinusoidal piston motion (an idiosyncrasy of engine geometry means pistons move faster in the top half of their stroke than the bottom half. True fact).

The 900 doesn’t feel lumpy like a twin at cruising speed, and it doesn’t feel buzzy like an inline four – the vibration is somewhere in between, and feels like it’s simply the low-down twin-esque vibes, sped up from low-down drumming to a mid-revs patter and into a high revving cadence.

We tend to have a subjective response to vibration. One rider might not notice a vibration another finds anywhere between trivial and infuriating. For example, BMW’s S1000XR felt fine to me even though I noticed the vibes; they didn’t bother me even over long distance. But some people disliked its secondary vibration strongly enough to ask for their money back. So I have to mention vibration on the Tiger 900 because I noticed it. You’ll need a test ride to find out for yourself. As a colleague on the launch pointed out, “Some engines vibrate more than others.”

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

Handling: frame, suspension, brakes, tyres and weight

With a new engine comes a new frame, suspension, brakes, wheels and weight figures. Although outwardly similar to the previous Tiger’s steel tube lattice, a new frame has to hold the shorter 900 engine lower and canted forward slightly – Triumph have taken the opportunity to trim a few grams off and add a detachable aluminium subframe, further lowering weight. Steering geometry is also revised with less rake, more trail and longer wheelbase than the 800 – a new swingarm is the same length between pivot and axle; the extra wheelbase comes from extending the frame between the swingarm pivot to headstock to accommodate the extra length of the now canted-forward engine.

 

 

Tiger 900

Marzocchi

GT

Marzocchi

GT Pro

Marzocchi

Rally

Showa

Rally Pro

Showa

Front

45mm usd, non-adjustable

180mm travel

45mm usd, adjustable compression & rebound

180mm travel

45mm usd, adjustable compression & rebound

180mm travel

45mm usd, adjustable preload, compression & rebound

240mm travel

45mm usd, adjustable preload, compression & rebound

240mm travel

Rear

monoshock, preload only

170mm travel

monoshock, adjustable preload & rebound

170mm travel

monoshock, electronically adjustable preload & rebound

170mm travel

monoshock, adjustable preload & rebound

230mm travel

monoshock, adjustable preload & rebound

230mm travel

 

Suspension spec varies from model (see table) – the base and road GTs get Marzocchis, the GT Pro rear shock is electrically adjustable, and the off-road Rallies get long-travel Showas. There’s no semi-active option.

The GT Pro’s electrically adjustable shock has nine damping settings that automatically adjust according to the selected rider mode, or can be manually adjusted to suit via switchgear and clocks. Preload is separately configured via dedicated menu through the usual four settings of rider, + luggage, + pillion, + fully loaded. None of the models come with panniers as standard.

Triumph are among the few manufacturers who insist on quoting dry weight and don’t give a kerb weight. It’s a hangover from the days when manufacturers were paranoid about admitting their sportsbikes were getting heavier every year from extra emissions gubbins – by switching to dry weights they tried to mask increases. Most have now gone back to wet weight, which makes much more sense – Triumph sticking with dry weight figures is slightly patronising and I wish they’d stop it. But for what it’s worth – debateable – Triumph say the new 900 weights are as follows:

 

• Tiger 900 – 192kg (-7kg from Tiger 800XR)

• Tiger GT – 194kg (-6kg from Tiger 800XRx)

• Tiger GT Pro – 198kg (-4kg from Tiger 800XRt)

• Tiger Rally – 196kg (-9kg from Tiger 800XCx)

• Tiger Rally Pro – 201kg (-7kg from Tiger 800XCa)

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

To be fair, the Rally Pro and GT Pro certainly feel lighter. The Rally Pro in particular feels much better balanced off-road than the old bike – when the 800 XCa took to the dirt it never really felt as if it belonged there; a bit of an imposter, pretending at trail riding but out of its depth when the going got tougher. A bit like me, to be honest.

Which is exactly why I need a bike to help me ride off road, to give me confidence. And the new Tiger does that alright – it feels perfectly natural to stand on the pegs (with the wider bars tweaked upright a little), gripping the narrow tank, and having the engine slung lower in the frame encourages steering by weighting the (rather lovely aluminium) pegs instead of pushing the bars. It’s all good and I’d happily chase a KTM 790 Adventure off-road on the Tiger 900 Rally Pro. Whether I’d catch it or not is a different matter. But I’d be a lot more likely to than on a Tiger 800.

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

On the road, the GT Pro feels a lot closer to the Tiger 800 – the lower suspension height and lower seat height sit the rider deeper behind the tank, and a 19in front instead of the Rally Pro’s 21in steers with a classically Triumph neutrality and stability. Ground clearance is limited (pegs go down easily) but ride quality over shonky Moroccan tarmac is excellent – which means it should just about cope with the UK’s failing road network. Perhaps the Rally and Rally Pro might fare better – on the road the Rally Pro’s gangly suspension gives it a looser, less obviously road-biased feeling, but it’s still perfectly capable of laying down some hardcore cornering without drama.

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

Brakes are uprated on the Tiger 900, with Brembo Stylema radial four-pots replacing the 800s dated two-pot sliding Brembos. Disc diameters are an unusually large 320mm – usually, middleweight adventure bikes hover around the 305-310mm mark because dinner plates up front can easily overpower skinny front tyres. It’s fair to say the Tiger 900 is capable of extreme braking performance – they’re not grabby and the suspension deals admirably with over-enthusiastic appliance without diving for the bottom... but there’s a lot of stopping power available.

The base Tiger 900, the GT and GT Pro all get cast wheels; the Rally and Rally Pro are on spokes. All tyres are tubeless – the GT Pros on the launch were on Metzeler Tourance Nexts and the Rally Pros were fitted with Pirelli Scorpion Rallys.

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

The Tiger 900 range comes with a long list of equipment and spec extras, with the Rally Pro and GT Pro at the top of the tree. Let’s dive in...

The GT, GT Pro, Rally and Rally Pro all get a new 7in TFT anti-glare dash. It’s huge. There are four main designs to choose from, with a further choice of four colours and inverted white or black backing – or an auto switch according to light levels. The GT Pro and Rally Pro have Bluetooth/smartphone integration for phone call and music control with a headset, or turn-by-turn navigation. They’re also GoPro enabled to allow camera control on the move.

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

Menu control is via Triumph’s mini joystick, which looks larger than I remember but is still a bit fiddly to use and easy to bash when you’re fumbling for the indicators. But otherwise menu maneuvering is fairly straightforward. All buttons are through-lit, so you can see what they do in the dark.

A full suite of the usual engine modes are on tap, depending on model choice – Sport, Road, Rain and Off-Road are on all but the base Tiger 900, while the GT Pro adds a customizable Rider mode and the Rally Pro adds Off-Road Pro. It’s not possible to select Off-Road (reduced traction control and ABS) or Off-Road Pro (traction control and ABS off) while moving, which is a pain if you suddenly come across a loose surface while riding. It’s not a legal requirement because you can access them while moving on Honda’s Africa Twin, so this is Triumph being all nanny state on us. What do they think we are; snowflakes?

Traction control and cornering ABS is managed by a Continental 5-axis IMU – how 2019! – that modulates both according to selected rider mode. Other GT Pro and Rally Pro extras include an excellent up and down shifter – the gearbox is an absolute joy – which also comes as an accessory on the lower-spec models. And all bikes bar the base model get cruise control, and all models come with heated grips. The Pro bikes also get heated rider and pillion seats with individual controls, and a phone compartment under the seat with a USB port. All bikes have 12v sockets.

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

Styling, ergonomics and comfort

The Tiger 900 has all-new bodywork but is clearly a Tiger – there’s less plastic mass around the cockpit area, the front hugger looks better finished, the tank is somehow slimmer and larger, the seat is wide and firm the tail unit well proportioned and flat. Finishing quality is Triumph’s now expected level of stunning – the Rally Pro in particular, with a white frame, is very pretty. It’s a shame the colours of the other models are uniformly uninspiring – white, red or black. For a thrilling range of new and innovative bikes, Triumph’s crayon department must really not have been feeling it that day – and this from a company who gave us fluorescent pink and green Speed Triples. I think orange, red and white would look awesome.

Comfort is exceptional. The riding position is roughly similar to before – the Rally and Rally Pro have wider bars than the GT and GT Pro, but aluminium pegs are in the same place – with removable rubber inserts over serrated edges. The GT Pro sits much lower on its springs than the Rally Pro and feels a bit like the 800 – you sit deep in the bike, behind the tank and slumping a bit on your spine. But the ground is within easy reach, sharing the 810-830mm seat height of the previous Tiger 800 XR, XRx and XRt. The Rally and Rally Pro sit a fair bit higher at 850-870mm, 10mm taller than the old 800 XCx and XCa. It’s a more commanding and active position on the road – still very comfy – and it feels ideal off-road... the seat extends further forward into the tank than before and you can really get your nuts over the Rally Pro’s headstock. But it’s tip-toes at the traffic lights on an incline and if you’re under 5ft 10in you’ll need a quick think before pulling up over a pothole.

The screen is slightly taller than the 800’s but has the same spring-loaded push-to-slide mechanism. It’s an excellent item, highlighting again (along with the V-Strom 1050 and Ducati Multistrada Enduro) it’s actually possible to make an adventure bike screen that doesn’t treat your head like a windsock.

Because the riding position is higher, the bars are higher and the mirrors are higher too – and bigger. Triumph claim the bars are actually closer to the rider then the 800, but when you overlay pics of the two bikes, the new 900 bars look further away from the seat’s lowest point, not closer. And it feels roomier to ride too – the bike’s riding space just seems better organised than before.

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Economy

As mentioned, the 900’s tank has gone up a litre to 20 litres, while fuel consumption is said to be down to 55.4mpg from 60.6mpg. That would give a theoretical to-empty range of around 240 miles; on the launch, from a brimmed tank in the morning we covered 188 miles and then refilled with 37 miles remaining on the range at a trip average of 52.3mpg.

I pointed out to Triumph that the new, low engine position might leave scope for a 25-litre adventure version of the Rally at some point in the not too distant – but don’t hold your breath; if there’s one thing Triumph product planners don’t do, it’s give us the bikes we were expecting (like, a modern retro take on the original Speed Triple, or a half-faired Street Triple etc).

 

the 2020 Tiger 900 is nothing if not new, new and genuinely, innovatively, definitively, never-been-seen-before new.

 

2020 TRIUMPH TIGER 900 GT PRO AND RALLY PRO: VERDICT

To make things easier, I’ve drawn up my top five list of mid-capacity adventure bikes I’d choose below. This is based on riding all of them a lot, and some of them very much a lot. I think, without wishing to brag, I’ve put more miles on the collective current middleweight adventure bike market than any other human. Howzat!

The Rally Pro version of the Tiger 900 is easiest to rank. If you accept Yamaha’s Ténéré 700 as an entry-level adventure bike – which it is – at one end, and Honda’s fully-loaded Africa Twin Adventure Sports with semi-active at the other, then in terms of off-road chops the Tiger 900 Rally Pro sits just behind the Ténéré (lighter, easier to manage) and alongside KTM’s 790 Adventure R (lighter, and it’s got better off-road DNA, but it’s a close call). The Triumph is ahead of Honda’s base Africa Twin, which is softer and more road-focussed, and BMW’s slightly tepid F850 GS.

But that’s just off-road. As a road/off-road package, the Rally Pro is hard to beat; if I had to ride across France to the Pyrenees and then do a spot of trail riding, the Ténéré would be a bit of a struggle on the Autoroute after a day – which really leaves KTM’s 790 Adventure R as the Tiger 900’s main rival; the Tiger looks and feels higher quality and comes with more gizmos than the KTM – but the KTM has a longer tank range and is £500 cheaper. Hard to choose.

On road, the GT Pro is a harder sell – it’s a better pure road bike than the Rally Pro, and it’s well-equipped and cheaper than the Africa Twin AS, but doesn’t have its aristocratic style and can’t touch it on tank range. And it’s clearly not as road-orientated as the Multistrada 950 S. With cast wheels, I’m not really sure what it’s competing against; there are better pure road bikes and better dual-purpose bikes. So I’d buy one of those instead – like, say, the Tiger 900 Rally Pro.

 

If I’m riding to the Peak District and going off-road, I’d take:

1) Yamaha Ténéré 700

2) KTM 790 Adventure R

3) Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro

4) KTM 790 Adventure

5) Honda Africa Twin (base)

 

If I’m riding to the Pyrenees and then off-road I’d take:

1) Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro

2) KTM 790 Adventure R

3) Honda Africa Twin AS

4) KTM 790 Adventure

5) BMW F850 GS Adventure

 

If I’m riding exclusively on road but want wire wheels and style, I’d take:

1) Ducati Multistrada 950 S (wire rim option)

2) Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT

3) Honda Africa Twin AS

4) Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro

5) Moto Guzzi V85 TT

 

If I’m riding exclusively on road and don’t care about wheels and paint, I’d take:

1) Ducati Multistrada 950 S

2) Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro

3) Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT

4) Honda Africa Twin AS

5) KTM 790 Adventure

 

Five things I love about Triumph’s Tiger 900 GT Pro and Rally Pro

• spec levels – all that and heated seats? Done.

• build quality – very pleasing to the eye

• comfort – I defy you to find fault

• clocks – they look great

• engine – yup, very clever. Bangs a bit, too

 

Five things I don’t...

• can’t go into off-road mode on the move – daft

• vibes at cruising speed – no, it’s really not a problem, is it?

• colour choice – any you like as long as it’s drab

• joystick – just a bit fiddly. I’m nit-picking here

• kerb weight – please

 

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro and Rally Pro Spec

Capacity

888cc

Bore x Stroke

78.0mm x 61.9mm

Engine layout

inline triple

Engine details

12v, dohc, l/c

Power

94bhp @ 8750rpm

Torque

64 lbft @ 7250rpm

Top speed

135mph (est, ish)

Average fuel consumption

52.3mpg

Tank size

20 litres

Max range to empty

230 miles

Rider aids

traction control, engine modes, cornering ABS, cruise control

Frame

aluminium lattice

Front suspension

45mm Marzocchi or Showa usd forks

Front suspension adjustment

fully adjustable (no preload on GT Pro)

Rear suspension

Marzocchi or Showa monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

adj. preload and rebound damping (electrical preload and rebound on GT Pro)

Front brake

320mm disc, four-pot radial caliper, cornering ABS

Rear brake

255mm disc, one-pot caliper, cornering ABS

Front tyre

100/80-19 (90/90-21 on Rally Pro)

Rear tyre

150/70-17

Rake/Trail

24.6°/133.3mm (24.4°/145.8mm on Rally Pro)

Wheelbase

1556mm (1551mm on Rally Pro)

Seat height

810-830mm (850-870mm on Rally Pro)

Warranty

unlimited miles/2 years

Website

triumphmotorcycles.co.uk

 

Looking for bike insurance? Get a quote for this motorcycle with Bennetts motorbike insurance

 

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