Triumph’s all-new Tiger 900 GT goes claws out in the very competitive mid-weight adventure bike segment in Singapore as a strong, but affordable offering
This is Triumph’s new Tiger 900, and if you’ve never looked at the Tiger before, or don’t know what it is, this might be the best time to change your perspective because the Tiger has changed much more than its stripes.
Like the preponderance of SUVs in Singapore, adventure bikes have dominated motorcycle sales in recent years. As a result, you can get off-road styled bikes of every shape and size – even a scooter.
While the Japanese 2A ‘light’ adventure offerings, such as the Honda CB400X, are the equivalent of an everyman’s Honda HR-V, the European mid-weight adventure bike segment is for those who want a bit more of everything, without going full-on safari around town.
The brief here is for a bike that’s lithe enough for that intra-city commute through murderous traffic (yes, the jams are back), comfy and tough enough for long distance trips (when it’s finally “safe” to ride northwards), and with enough oomph to beat other commuters in the traffic light-to-light dash and more.
This Tiger 900 is totally new, despite the familiar styling cues. Its predecessor, the Tiger 800, was a solid and sometimes stolid choice, first debuting in 2010 and updated twice in its life-cycle (2014, 2018), but it was clear Triumph needed something totally clean-sheet to, well, triumph.
The new bike is made in Thailand, and like some Ducatis, as well as cars from the Land of Smiles (and more protests), that’s not a problem – in fact it’s the opposite.
The build quality of the Tiger 900 is visibly up two notches over the Tiger 800. For example the silver segments on the fairing are painted-on, not stickers, encased in a generous thick layer of clear coat. Sporting an all-new chassis, subframe and suspension, smaller headlight (LED lighting with daytime running lights, complete with removable headlight protector) and revised fairing.
As usual with the Tiger models, there’s a dizzying array of versions to choose from. In Singapore the lineup consists of the entry-level Tiger 850 Sport, then the 900 models: GT Low, GT Pro, and Rally Pro. The GT models being road-centred, and the Rally models being more ‘proper’ adventure and off-road ready. The model ridden here is the GT Low, which is almost 50mm lower than the standard model thanks to the seat and unique suspension layout.
Compare that to the 800mm-plus seat height of other adventure bikes, and the Tiger makes a much easier time of it with no tiptoeing, and pushing it is relatively easy too thanks to its 194kg wet weight, and 5kg lighter than the Tiger 800.
While we don’t usually need to opt for shorter seats, being 1.8-metres tall, we can see how the GT Low would be a boon for riders of a smaller stature. The seat has two height settings – 760mm and 780mm – and we chose to set the seat in the “high” position, and this meant full sole contact on the ground and bent knees.
Unexpectedly, we found the sitting position to be ergonomic, with no complaints from the knees, the 10mm narrower handlebars (complete with handlebar guards) positioned just right, resulting in a neutral, neither sit-in nor sit-on position. The riding position allowed for easy steering, so easy in fact, the bike responded really well to successive left-right-left flicks. So quick and so composed, the Tiger 900 felt much like the Street Triple – and that’s saying a lot!