Triumph Tiger Trails
The Triumph Tiger proved its mettle off-road by conquering the worst of terrain
Motorcycling in India has for long been all about commuting with a very limited number of people actually turning to two wheels for leisure, that is however changing. When you talk about riding just for fun, most would picture a full-faired sports bike in their minds but there is another category which is not just in high demand in India but also seeing a great prominence the world over, the adventure motorcycle. Looking at the trend, Triumph expanded its Tiger range earlier this decade with its Tiger 800 being sold in India in 4 variants, we sampled the off-road ability of this British bike at the Triumph Tiger Trails at 19 degrees North in Aamby Valley recently.
The day started off with a class room session where ace rallyist Vijay Parmar explained the participants about the importance of riding gear, how to stay safe and one of the most important things while riding for long – water (the lack of it makes you lose focus thereby reducing your attention). The different kinds of riding gear and why off-road needs dedicated enduro gear was also highlighted by him. Post this, we headed to the motorcycles.
There were four different challenges with around 34 participants, split into 4 groups as there were around 9 bikes, ranging from the base XR to the top of the line XCa. Triumph also showcased the recently launched Tiger Explorer XCx which is powered by a bigger 1215cc in-line 3 engine and rivals the Ducati Multistrada 1200. Before we started the first challenge, we set about on foot to gauge the terrain and understand where exactly we were riding. This helped us to clear sharp stones en route our obstacle.
Before we set about, the settings on the bikes had to be changed which meant turning off traction control, getting into rider mode while keeping ABS turned on. The front suspension on the XCx and XCa are adjustable, they are WP units while the XR and XRx use non-adjustable Showas. Triumph’s support team set a lower tyre pressure for an increased contact patch and we set about by first doing a series of cones which would help us get a good hold on the motorcycle.
Off-roading is never about speed, it’s about patience, practise and confidence
Once the cones were passed, there was a downhill obstacle to clear, the trick here was to look where you wanted to go and not look down at all as that would inundate you. One had to throttle hard here to gain good momentum while those who failed to get on the gas had Triumph’s support team push them as they wheel-spinned the motorcycle in glory. One needs to stand when doing such obstacles because gripping the tank gives you better control of the bike, it also results in better centre of gravity and lets you see further ahead.