We've ridden the all-new 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 series around the Atlas Mountains in Morocco over two days. First day was spent riding both the top-spec variants, the Triumph Tiger 800 XRt and the Triumph Tiger 800 XCa on the winding roads around the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, both with road tyres. On the second day, we rode around a hard-packed desert on the foothills, and we rode the top-spec Triumph Tiger 800 XCa with Triumph-approved Pirelli Scorpion Rally off-road tyres. The new Tiger 800 is expected to be launched in India sometime in April 2018, and with a slight price increase over the existing models.The Tiger 800 has always been a great adventure bike, and for 2018, with some important changes, both on the skin and under it, the Tiger gets significant improvements for 2018.
Also Read: 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 First Ride Review
1. Changes in the engine
The most important changes in the new 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 is in the engine and gearbox. No, the engine isn't all new, it's the same 800 cc, in-line three cylinder motor of the current generation Tiger 800, and the output is near identical as well - 94 bhp at 9,500 rpm and 79 Nm of peak torque at 8,000 rpm. But the first gear is now shorter, and offers enhanced off-road traction, and better low-speed response and acceleration.
The gears in the primary drive and counterbalancer have been changed as well, as is the clutch. In all, the bike feels more responsive and feels like it does have better acceleration than the outgoing model. The most apparent change is a much reduced signature "whistling sound" that the Triumph triples were known for. The new Tiger 800 has much less of that whistling sound that earlier models had, thanks to the change in the primary drive gears and the removal of backlash gears.
2. New Exhaust
The sound of the 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 is also further enhanced by a more compact and shorter exhaust. The new exhaust is lighter, freer flowing and is smaller than the previous generation Tiger. The result is a meatier sound across the rev range. If current owners have switched to aftermarket end cans like an Arrow for a throatier sound, the new Tiger 800 really doesn't really make you need an aftermarket exhaust. Yes, it's that much meatier and sounds a whole lot better. Of course, for those looking for some more bass, there's always the Arrow or other aftermarket exhausts, but in our experience, the stock exhaust on the new Tiger 800 sounds good enough.
3. New TFT instrument panel
The 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 gets an all-new, full-colour, TFT instrument panel on the mid and top-spec variants. (The base XR trim still gets an LCD panel). The TFT instrument panel is adjustable for the viewing angle, for optimum visibility to riders of different heights, and you can also change the angle when you are standing up on the pegs and riding off-road. There are high and auto contrast options for optimum visibility in all conditions. So, if you go through a tunnel, the TFT screen will adjust its visibility accordingly. The mid-spec variants (XCx and XRx) feature a single theme with three different styles, while the top-spec variants (XRt and XCa) feature six different styles across two themes.
4. New styling and ergonomics
The 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 retains the same overall silhouette and dimensions but there are obvious changes in the bike's styling and design. The new Tiger 800 variants, both in the road-oriented XR series as well as the off-road oriented XC series, now come in new colours, with high quality painted finishes on the tank and beak, new silver side panels, new graphics and new badges. There are several new colours too, including a Matt Cobalt Blue shade on the top-spec XRT variant, and a Korosi Red and Marine shades on the XCA variant.
The ergonomics have been slightly changed with the handlebar geometry revised for a more comfortable and commanding riding position. The handlebar has been moved back 10 mm, and is said to result in better low speed manoeuvrability, enhanced long distance comfort, and improved reach for riders of different size and stature. The mid and top-spec variants also get an easily adjustable windshield (which, by the way, can be adjusted with one hand on the go), and all variants get wind deflectors, which direct air flow away from the rider and pillion. The seat is adjustable too in two positions - 810 mm to 830 mm on the XR variants, and from 840 mm to 860 mm on the XC variants.
5. Riding Modes
The top-spec variants of the Tiger 800 now get two additional riding modes over the outgoing model. The base XR model only gets a Road mode, while the mid-spec variants get four different riding modes. The XRt variant gets five modes - Road, Rain, Off-Road, Sport and a programmable Rider mode, while the XCx variant also gets five modes - Road, Rain, Sport, Off-Road and an Off-Road Pro mode. The top-spec XCa variant gets six modes in all - Road, Rain, Sport, Off-Road, Off-Road Pro and a fully customisable Rider mode.
Off-Road mode allows some traction control to allow a safety net for riders new to off-road riding, while Off-Road Pro mode allows both ABS and traction control to be switched off, or just have the traction control switched off and have less intrusive ABS on the front wheel. Of course, there's the Rider mode for experienced riders who can also throw in a "Sport" throttle map, while switching off both ABS and traction control, or choose to keep ABS on the front wheel.
6. Other features
The new Tiger 800 models get all-LED headlights with LED daytime running lights for better visibility in all conditions. The base XR model doesn't get LED lighting or DRLs, but the mid- and top-spec variants get the LED DRLs with the top-spec variants (XCa and XRt) also getting full-LED headlights. The top-spec variants also get back-lit illuminated switches, as well as updated cruise control. The mid and top spec variants also feature new switchgear with an intuitive five-way joystick control. It's not only easier to use, but very intuitive to scroll through the menus quickly and customise throttle maps, ABS and traction control settings. There's also a 5V USB power socket under the seat for charging personal equipment as well as a 12V power socket which are standard on all variants. The top-spec variants also feature heated grips and heated seats.
7. Any more changes?
Yes, the ride-by-wire throttle has been optimised, so the throttle on the new Tiger 800 feels more responsive and weighted. In fact, compared to the outgoing model, throttle response has definitely improved quite a bit, offering more grunt more punch. The 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 range now comes with Brembo brakes on mid and top spec variants (XRx, XCx, XRt and XCa) offering brilliant bite and feedback on the front lever. The top-spec XRt also gets new adjustable Showa front suspension, while the XC models continue to feature WP suspension like the outgoing XC range.