The Tiger was dropped off at my house and I took my time walking around it before wheeling it into the garage. It was delivered a day earlier than expected so it had to wait for its first ride until the next day. I circled the bike, looking at all of the details. It was almost a stand off to see if we like each other.
I was pleased to note the colour was red. Having checked it out online I decided that red was the best looking one and now it was in my garage, albeit for a week only. In fact, not just the colour, I quite like the way it looks. Not too big and shouty, it doesn’t look like a bully as some adventure bikes do, and it didn’t fill me with fear that it’ll kick me off when I start to ride it.
I was worried it might be too tall for me but even with the seat at its normal position, I could reach the ground comfortably. Despite this, I have moved the seat to its lower position and that means that at 5”4’, I can almost put both feet flat on the (even) ground. Given my preference for B roads and goat tracks it is safer to have more leg length and be able to stop even where the ground isn’t smooth tarmac.
Top marks for its super smooth gearbox and quickshifter. One of the best I’ve ridden so far. The brakes are sharp, too! And the cruise control is easy to work out but do watch out when you touch the brakes. It slows down rapidly and I got a bit of a shock the first time. I didn’t expect it to slow down quite as fast and ended up with my face a bit too close to the screen for comfort.
Speaking of comfort, this is a good time to mention the heated grips which are excellent and, not forgetting the heated seat. The heated seat has separate controls for the pillion on the side of the pillion seat, and for the rider, on the handlebars. I can’t say there was any benefit to having the seat heated at 15 degrees Celsius and I would like to be able to test this in colder weather before I can decide if it is a worthwhile option. The heated grips, on the other hand, are an absolute must for me. The temperature varied from 10 to 15, occasionally 17 degrees Celsius when the sun was out, but the wind chill was persistent. I was still riding in my summer gloves and the grips were on the whole time. I much prefer this option for as long as I can, before I put on my winter gloves for the season.
One issue I didn’t quite crack is the position of the indicator switch just above a very similar switch that is the OK button for confirming the menu choices. They are close together and feel very similar with gloves on. A couple of times I wasn’t actually indicating but merely pushing the OK button left or right which upset a couple of road users behind me. Speaking to other Tiger owners they mentioned the same and said that once they have gotten used to it, it wasn’t a problem anymore.
I do have a preference for something a bit sportier looking and riding a sports tourer myself, I didn’t really appreciate why one would go for an adventure style bike. After riding the Tiger for a week, and taking it on a real tour for a few days, I now understand. I had to get used to how certain speed feels on this bike which meant I was going faster than intended for a while. With so much wind protection I felt I was going slower where I was actually much faster than anticipated. Oops.
The seating position is so relaxed and comfortable that even after a few days of constant riding I never felt tired quite as much as I normally do. It almost felt wrong. Like a workout when you didn’t try hard enough and you have no muscle ache afterwards. But this was also really, really good. I didn’t need a zimmer frame to get out of bed in the morning or do any elaborate yoga stretches just to feel my toes again.
The surprising bit was the cornering. The Tiger just leans in and carries you around that corner without you having to do much. No fighting with the bike and no convincing it that you really want to go around that bend safely. The Tiger is agile, light and so very smooth.
Then there was the riding on my favourite roads. The less known, little B roads that are inevitably littered with gravel, potholes and livestock. Despite the rugged road surface, the bike shaking was minimal, the suspension doing a fantastic job and I didn’t even need to stand on the footpegs for comfort although I did try it anyway just because I could.
I really appreciated the higher sitting position for the views. Being able to see over the stone walls and into the valley opened up the view and allowed me to take in the sights I would have otherwise missed. It also means you spot the oncoming traffic much sooner and can position the bike accordingly.
The trip away was for two nights only and my luggage was minimal therefore I had no need for the panniers or the topbox. Everything was packed into a rollbag that was attached to the pillion seat. I had to practice a couple of times on how to mount and dismount the bike in the most elegant way but I cracked it and never once kicked the rollbag when dismounting.
Overall I was surprisingly impressed with everything about the bike, how easy and smooth it is to ride and how well we got on. I am not ready to trade in my sports tourer yet but I am leaning towards maybe having a proper adventure bike as a winter one in my garage.
Reviewed for Superbike News