Yeah, but the spread of bikes is much different as I understand it. The US is about 50% sportbikes, 50% cruisers (from my un-scientific observations). Cruisers never really caught on in Britain, so street-oriented dual-sports occupy the place of sit-up, relaxed, torquey bikes. So even though, say, 67% of Britain is sportbikes (once again, highly unscientific findings based on a two-week visit), there's still 33% dual-sports. As opposed to the 1% dual-sports in the US
Triumph is really in close competition with BMW. With money as no option I would have a very difficult time choosing between the two. Triumph is lighter and certainly has the performance motor of choice. But the Beemer is more sophisticated, is better for touring, and that new brake system could someday really save your keester! It's a tough call, what do you guys think?!
They're both excellent bikes technically, so I don't think you can base a decision solely on the bike's statistics (sure, each is slightly better in certain ways, but they're both excellent overall). The real factor, I'd say, is the aura/soul of the bike. Do you like the industrial, Indiana Jones-ish, "I'm off to fight Nazis in North Africa" attitude of the BMW? Or the lighter, "cruising the backroads of Scotland on this jolly good afternoon" feel of the Triumph? Does the sound of a triple or an opposed-twin tug at your soul more? Look at both of them, sit on both of them, test-ride both of them, and go with your gut instinct. I doubt either would disappoint.
And if money is no object...could you wire a few thousand my way??!! College tuition is killing me, but I want to add a SV650 as a stablemate to my Shadow 600... ;-)
According to the mags I read, it's the Europeans that really go nuts for the dirtbike on the road look. Honda Africa twin, Triumph Tiger, Cagiva Canyon, Aprillia Pegasso, Honda Dominator, and the KTM Paris Dakar looking thing etc. Triumph sells a lot of Tigers in Europe. Great bikes on bumpy roads. Will stuff a stiff sportbike in bumps and potholes.
It is a difficult choice indeed, and much has to do with (as mentioned previously) the soul of the bike and the compatibility of the rider. I made this choice about 3 weeks ago, choosing the Tiger. I have long since been a beemer rider, and now very much regret the decision. One thing I really appreciate on the beemer is the attention to detail and engineering of the bike, whereas I attribute these features as the encompassing essence of the bike's soul.
I have found the Tiger to possess nothing special over Japanese models in quality and attention to detail, and in fact have found it quite poor in many areas, making it worse then Japanese bikes, and far inferior to the beemer. The wind screen / fairing combination make for the worse turbulance I have ever experienced on a bike (been riding for 10 years solid). I actually have to bring Asprin with me to work every morning because of the buffeting. The vibration of the bike overall is quite unpleasent (have had to remove and reinstall my mirrors twice since they loosen after high speed highway rides). I have seen / talked to my dealer 3 times about this, and they finally reside to "It's a characteristic of the bike." My hands still buzz 1/2 hour after parking the Tiger.
The seat has about 3/4 inch of play both, vertically and horizontally while in the highest position (in fact it popped out of the front guide while riding last week). This improves only when lowered to mid or lowest position; this I attribute to a rather cheap deisgn of placing the adjustment brackets on the seat rather than mounted on the bike as on BMWs. Even without the uneasy feeling of a seat squimring beneath you while going down the road, the seat proves far too narrow for any long-term comfort.
In all, I find the Triumph Tiger not the bike for me, since power is not my main objective (I'm a touring fanatic). As for the price, consider my recent Tiger add-ons, and determine if you may have to make the same: 1. two different windscreens for the buffeting issue ($130 /piece), 2. center stand ($220.00), 3. Heated grips ($175.00), have seat redesigned for comfort ($550.00), the two Triumph pannier bags ($1000, as opposed to $635 for the BMW equivalent). So, now I tack on about $2200 to the Tiger price over purchase, and still am not pleased, and the BMW was only 3K more. This is not including all the mods I will have to make to the Tiger in the future (i.e. to fix the vibration in the handlebars myself, since apparently Triumph designed the bike to vibrate, according to my dealer).
One last thing I implore you to do: Try to search for an aftermarket part that is specific to make and model for the Tiger. What you will find is a very small amount out there, and the ones out there are over seas. So, this means one of two things, if you can't find an aftermarket: you have to buy it from Triumph (high price, and long wait: been 3 weeks on the panniers, and expect 2 more), or wait for them to make it, which they probably won't... they've received thousands of complaints about the buffeting issue alone, with little to no windscreen mods.
I realize this response is very negative towards the Triumph, however, you can read MO's review to get to know the good things about it (except you will get the buffeting around 45-50 MPH and above rather than the 80 they listed, and the higher windscreen merely re-routes the turbulance, and shoots it around the fairing; go for the sport screen and take the wind head on). Definately ride both bikes, and get on the freeway if possible. Think about what you're really going to do on the bike, and take the Tiger for what it is: a lower-powered sportbike, that has the look and feel of an off-road. The beamer lends itself to touring moreso than the sportbike arena (80 HP vs the new Tiger's 104HP). Good luck!
i'm a big fan of m.o. check in at least once a day.
but this review was way below par.
more of an exercise in "clever" writing than anything.
a few paragraphs about us vs. them. most of which is inaccurate. for example, the vast majority of brits prefer their road bikes to be sport bikes, not "to look like dirt bikes." also, they're not particularly fond of being grouped in the "euro" category.
as for the meat of the review - slim pickings. a few superficial comments about the engine, hard bags, etc. brochure material at best.
and a bit about "getting the back end out." wow, aren't we studs.
guys, read the article. then ask yourselves if this would be of any real value to you.
i really like this site. but you need to be harder on yourselves if you want respect from your readers.
I have to agree with David. I think this article was very superficial. They didn't even go as far as taking their own pictures of the bike in action. They got them from the Triumph website. I have waited forever to read about this bike, and this is the best they could do? Did they even really ride the thing, or did they just talk to the reps? I have been forced to endure how many articles on the R1 and the R6, and one article on a different bike comes out, and it's like they didn't even go to work. Just went out for fish & chips or something...jeez!!! I am one of those contrarian, dual-sport-adventure-tourer nuts, and I love the look of both the Tiger and the Beemer. I would definitely own the Beemer if money were no object, and I have a Tiger on order. The Beemer has a great feel. Sat on one at Sturgis last year. The Tiger is two months behind schedule right now for showing up. We don't know why, except a possible case of brake & throttle disease may be holding it up in customs. I plan to ride the bike myself to at least find out what I like/don't like as no one seems to agree on it. One thing they do agree on in Europe is the buffeting from the wind is intolerable, and Triumph has not done much to work on this. Call Craig Vetter or something, boys! They also never responded to me as to why for the last two years they have dissed the dealer and not shown up for the Sturgis Rally. Every other manufacturer in the business came last year, along with ca. 700K bikes and about double the people. Their response to one of my buddies was "they didn't want to cater to that type of biker." Huh? At any rate, I think this style of bike is far underrated. For me, the dirtbike seating position is much more comfortable than the cruiser or sportbike styles, and I want a bike that can pretty much do anything/go anywhere I wanna go. The dealer here tries very hard, (unlike many dealers I have shopped at), but the BMW guys are very friendly and successful too. If it comes down to a lack of information, and if the bike doesn't show up for another month, I may just have to finance a little and go for the ugly duckling instead of the big green highlighter.
Well, I've got about $300 to my name right now (yes, that's three hundred, not three thousand). So, unless you're selling _real_ cheap... ;-) I hope that after a year of working, I'll be able to have one for next summer. Thanks for the offer, though.
I've never really understood what these kind of bikes are supposed to do for you. I've seen people up in the mountains here in Georgia riding them thar BMW GSwhatever they're called, but I don't get the point. Like the article said, a motorcross bike with lights would be better for off-road stuff. Yes, I know to each his own and all that crap, but I just look at these bikes like I look at SUVs, people want to pretend they're adventureous even though they're on pavement 99.9% of the time. Maybe if I had a ten mile long gravel driveway..........
First, I'm registered as FrankS1, but the text editor calls me "Anonymous Squid". The cookie your server planted knows who I am (no neither a "biscuit" nor a "scone", the cookie here is made of 1's and 0's). It says "Welcome MO user FrankS1" rith on top of this very screen. Get your resident computer nerd to instruct the comment text editor to speak to the main part of the server.
Now for motorcycle comments.
We've had well-phrased comments from a reader who liked BMW, got a Triumph, and doesn't like it that well. Now for a reader who likes Triumphs, has a BMW and wondered if he made a mistake.
Well, first, MO, I have no idea whether I'd like riding the new Tiger or not. "One lane gravel roads." conveys no data. From the crest on Ortega Highway, one gravel road leads to Silverado, the other to Rancho California. Did you turn off on either one? Any side roads off the main crest roads? Well, you at least did make it abundantly clear I'd need a new wind screen.
Just for a few pluses and minuses of my big R1100GS for comparison: The major plus is handling on rough and potholed paved roads. I have overtaken young and fearless riders when their plastic wrapped Big 4 sports bikes were bouncing out on curves (they accelerate away on the straights, of course). The next major plus is touring comfort, with electrical heat of the garments, lots of room in the hard case luggage, indifference to crosswinds and rain, and oh yes, don't let any hotshot sport bike rider tell you he can do a better braking job than the ABS when there's water running across the road. (Get him to buy a life insurance policy naming you as beneficiary, then wait for a rain storm.) While the OEM windshield is no prize, the aftermarket windshields are readily available.
But.. The BMW is awful big and tall and heavy. I've lost it on loose sand, and getting it back up is no treat at all. Even with the seat in low position and my 33" inseam pants, it can get awkward to maneuver. The Germans "know what is best for you" in the suspension department, and it is NOT repeat NOT best for me. Too soft in front, and too much rebound damping in back - it squats on washboard. The front has an Ohlins, and the one of these days the rear will also. That adds a lot to the cost of a very expensive machine.
But to save the worst for last. There isn't any way to get a stump puller low gear. My home is at 8000 feet elevation, and the interesting rough roads are higher. The fuel injection doesn't bog, but there is only 2/3 of sea level air up here, and torque goes down proportionately. That's an immutable law of physics, which BMW acts like they don't know about. So I get into the situation where I'd like to pick over the boulders at 10 mph, but I have to go 25 mph - or grossly abuse the clutch. With a chain drive bike, I'd slap on a new sprocket before heading to the boonies, but you can't do that with a BMW!
So, OK, mister MO reviewer: What's the situation with the chains and sprockets on the Triumph? Don't tell us the rear sprocket is welded on. It isn't, is it?
Buy a cheapy dirt bike and Supermotard it yourself with Baja Designs kits and parts. I just got an XR 650 L, and I'm getting a second set of wheels and tires for the street. More fun than you can believe under 100 mph.
Borrow or rent one and you'll see. You can have all kinds of fun on them without worrying about tankslappers, high-sides... Go excellent on rough roads, dirt roads, and some go good on the dirt too. You can smoke a hyper sports bike on bad roads too. No wrist ache, back ache...
Sure, some people ride GS's to look and feel like Indiana Jones. But is that any different than people who ride like to ride CBGSXZXRRRRs to look like racers, even though they've never been on a track? Or people who like cruisers, so they look like Captain America or Billy even though they work in a cubicle? Every genre has pose factor.
The big GSs are really good for the street, though: lots of torque, good ground clearance, and a practical seating position.
It probably has a lot to do with where you live. Arizona is mostly public land that is criss-crossed by, literally, tens of thousands of miles of gravel roads, dirt roads, forrest roads, and jeep trails which are great for 'adventure touring.' Sure there's also a lot of hiking, horse and single-track trails that these bikes are too big for, but that's okay. It's not really 'off-road riding'; it's more 'crappy-road riding.'
These bikes (I've got a KLR650) are great for being able to handle the interstate/blacktop to a national forrest, and then being able to go farther into the interior, as long as there's some semblance of a road. It's a very fun and rewarding type of motorcycling.
I suspect many of the other western states are similar.
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