1999 Triumph Tiger Road Test

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1999 Triumph Tiger Road TestHas this Tiger earned its stripes?

First introduced in 1992, the huge machine quickly became a classic, and shot into cult status. Triumph themselves claim that you can carry enough luggage to stock a small shop, Whichbike.net goes out and does some stocktaking just to see.

Triumph’s Tiger is a large, off road styled, machine and, with its 955cc engine providing bags of go, not for the faint hearted. Just getting on a Tiger is no mean feat. The saddle, although adjustable between 840 and 860mm, is lofty and hard to cock a leg over. Once sat in place on the comfy saddle you find yourself switching between legs as the need to raise the side stand and get the bike into gear becomes a job for the leg that was holding the plot upright. These are just small obstacles that get in the way of the superb ride that is to follow and once on the move the big bike becomes considerably less so. The plush suspension doesn’t lead you into off road pretensions but rather it makes for a cushy, not mushy, ride on the hard stuff, making for a serious and long legged touring bike. In typical Triumph style, the twin-disc front brakes are over powering and yet controllable via a well set up, and feeling, front brake lever, although the rear I did find to be just that little bit too much. On such a high machine, and with the possibility of dabbing a foot here and there precluded by this loftiness, I find myself relying upon the rear stopper for low speed control. However the size of the disc, allied to its powerful twin-piston floating-caliper, has the rear wheel locked up in an instant requiring a deft use of the foot pedal at all but the highest of speeds.

1999 Triumph TigerThat minor gripe aside, the Tiger is a lovely machine. Nimble, light on its feet despite weighing in at well over Superbike proportions and, with a stonking engine that willingly pulls around twisty or open roads alike, the ride is never mundane. Having been around since 1992 the Tiger received some major updates for the 1999 model tested here. A completely new steel tube chassis was introduced along with the fuel injection and restyled and more rounded bodywork. There was also the option for a centre stand, which the test bike was fitted with, although it is not the easiest of machines to hoist up onto it mains stand so this doesn’t get used too often. As fuel injected systems go this one is ok but lacks some feel way down low in the rev range when you find yourself having to rev the engine a little higher than you would like just to pull away. The smooth clutch helps out no end in this matter and once on the move the fuelling behaves itself a treat. For a machine of this design you would expect a little in the way of low speed chugging ability but the engine is far happier higher up in the rev range and is more than willing to take you there at the slightest opportunity. In 2001 the Tiger grew longer claws and also developed a louder roar with the fitting of the new 955cc three-cylinder power plant. It is heavier by around 6kgs but with an extra 20bhp on tap the get up and go certainly does.

The chassis is not capable of challenging a sports machine when it comes to handling but, even so, a well-ridden one could easily pull off a few surprises. With 62 ft-lbs of torque on tap, getting on the gas hard mid corner supplies all of the adrenaline rush of a sportier looking bike so there is some serious fun to be had on this machine.

1999 Triumph Tiger Road TestOverall the Tiger is a pleasant and useful machine to live with, easily taking the strains of a pillion, camping gear and luggage for those weekends away or just as happy in stripped down mode for those Sunday morning solo blasts to blow a few cobwebs away. With a huge 25 litres of fuel on board the Tiger boasts a range well over 200 miles between stops suggesting some top notch mile munching is to be had.

1999 Triumph Tiger Specifications;

  • Engine – 885cc liquid-cooled, 3-cylinder, four-stroke
  • Bore & stroke – 76.0 x 65mm
  • Power – 84 bhp @ 8000 rpm
  • Torque – 60.5 ft-lb @ 6000 rpm
  • Transmission – 6-speed final drive
  • Frame – steel tube twin loop cradle
  • Brakes – 310 mm twin disc front 285mm single disc rear
  • Wheels – 110/90×19 150/70×17
  • Fuel capacity – 25 litres
  • Dry weight – 209 kgs

Check out from the same year;

  • Yamaha TDM 850
  • Honda XL1000 Varadero
  • BMW R1100 GS
  • BMW R1150GS

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