The journey motorbike phase has seen vital change in the variety of its product choices in recent times. Whereas displacement one-upmanship continues on the far end of the cc spectrum, roughly 10 years in the past a “middleweight” twin-cylinder category started gaining traction among adventure traveling fanatics.
Within the early 2000’s, aside from the KTM 950, most massive journey bikes have been over 1,000cc. Around 2008, things started to vary as BMW introduced the F800GS, and Triumph launched the Tiger 800 a couple years later in 2010. At the moment, both V-twin or parallel-twin bikes dominate this sector, the Triumph being the outlier with its in-line triple powerplant. With current updates to the Triumph Tiger 800 XCa and the discharge of the all-new BMW F850GS, we determined to take a recent take a look at these long-term rivals. Read on to see how their latest iterations match up.
At First Glance
Aesthetics between these two bikes are left up to the attention of the beholder. Trying to interrupt down design features of each bike in a logical method, the Triumph has extra symmetrical strains, where asymmetry has been constructed into BMW’s design philosophy for years. Svelte body and crashbar bends on the Triumph meld together resulting in the Tiger wanting like something Ducati may need built. The acquainted “raised eyebrow” headlight arrangement on the BMW is echoed by a trapezoidal pipe and header association, related by a considerably voluminous catalytic converter when seen from the correct aspect.
On the floor, both bikes have been similarly outfitted with color-TFT show, ABS, 21″/17″ wire-spoke wheel combo, heated grips, hand guards, sump protection, cruise control, middle stand, and traction management with multiple driving modes, but several key differences exist. And while Cagiva wasn’t involved on this check, there was an elephant within the room: Worth. As examined, the Tiger comes in at $1,400 lower than the F850GS. However that doesn’t mean the Tiger lacks options in comparison with the BMW. Let’s take a better look…
The Tiger 800 XCa model will get a larger windscreen than the BMW which can also be adjustable. Also larger footpegs, one gallon more gasoline (5.0 vs four.0 gallons), aluminum radiator guard, crash bars, heated driver and passenger seats, LED fog lights, and fully-adjustable WP suspension (except entrance preload). Our F850GS was loaded with BMW’s Premium, Comfort, Touring, Dynamic, and ‘Exclusive Style’ packages. Stand out features on the BMW included Keyless Journey (ignition fob), Gear Shift Assist Pro (i.e. quick shifter), Dynamic ESA Electronically adjustable rear shock, a TPMS on tubeless rims, and lean angle sensing for ABS and Traction Control.
While each bikes are stacked to the brim with know-how, the Tiger will get some further off-road and touring gear the F850GS doesn’t. Yet the BMW receives a more-advanced electronics package deal that helps to justify the premium worth.
While the function set in each of the two builds is a obvious contrast based mostly on worth, the expertise behind the bars brings up different nuances. Given the Triumph is unique on this class by advantage of including an additional cylinder to the combination, the familiar grunt of the BMW’s parallel twin is a welcome function whereas on the path. Wanting empirical verification of the driving experience between the two bikes, we rode them over to Rottweiler Performance in Newport Seashore, California, for testing in their state-of-the-art dyno room.
While the BMW has the grunt benefit, the Tiger provides clean, consistent torque that is out there right off idle and doesn’t drop off till after eight,000 rpm. | Dyno check courtesy of Rottweiler Efficiency.
Dyno checks bear out the additional power and torque offered by the higher-displacement motor of the BMW, and distinctly illustrate the perceived smoothness of the Triumph’s triple-cylinder powerplant. While the BMW has an advantage in grunt, the Tiger presents clean, consistent torque that’s out there proper off idle and actually only drops off after eight,000 rpm.
Simply as comparing a single to a twin leads to numerous caveats, evaluating a twin to a triple presents sure challenges as nicely. Both engines produce great energy, but they achieve this very in a different way. Having both sound and feel that appears borrowed from a street race bike, the Tiger produces its greatest power in each gear around 1,000 rpm greater than the GS. That addicting quickness comes at the worth of the acquainted “hit” of a twin. Carrying this practice of thought right down to thumpers, the place the low-end torque may be much more readily obvious, highlights the thought. In slower, extra technical circumstances, the GS powerplant felt more predictable with a bit extra pop the place the Triumph’s soft-hitting, tractable energy was a bit distracting at first.
Whereas using the delicate buzz of a triple takes some getting used to on the paths, the training curve on the tarmac is far shorter. With virtually no perceptible kinks in the torque curve, the Triumph presents up no matter power is desired, in whatever gear, at no matter velocity. These more oriented to off-road driving simply need to get used to listening to the scream of a 3 cylinder motor shifting them alongside.
In depth street miles in pre-dawn freezing temperatures proved the Triumph to be the clear winner in the touring class. While both bikes have been outfitted with heated grips, Triumph’s inclusion of heated seats and a larger, adjustable windscreen have been key features to improve the driving expertise in less-than-desirable weather. The uniquely simple adjustment mechanism for the Tiger’s giant windscreen is probably going the simplest to work with while driving of any bike on this class. Once moved to the desired detent, helmet buffeting was minimal.
Off-road, the cockpit arrangement of both bikes inspired confidence. Bar and peg arrangement of both machine agreed with my 5’ 11” body. The Tiger’s bigger footpegs, and fully-adjustable WP suspension resulted in noticeably better handling when the desert roads turned to whooped out, rocky trails. Wheel journey between the 2 bikes could be very close in the rear, with the Tiger having about 2/3” extra suspension up entrance (8.7″ vs eight.0″).
One of the first things observed on tight, rocky trails the place muscling the bike via was required, was the larger quantity of leverage and more strong boot contact offered by the Tiger’s comparatively larger footpegs. Merely having a much bigger and extra grippy platform to work from allowed the WP suspension to shine. Aside from on a pair high-speed boosts over steep sections of dust street, we didn’t discover either the entrance or rear backside out once throughout the complete journey. Even absolutely loaded with tenting gear, each the entrance and rear suspension on the Triumph maintained a strong progressive feel. Damping tuned for rough desert circumstances allowed the Tiger to stroll up and down steep, rocky obstacles like a large three cylinder mountain goat.
Almost two inches longer than the Tiger, the BMW’s 62.7 inch wheelbase gave the bike a more secure really feel in many conditions. The longer chassis had a extra open cockpit really feel as properly, which helped to compensate for the F850’s unusually tiny footpegs. Comparatively smooth forks compromised that stability as circumstances turned tougher, and the entrance finish could possibly be felt diving and wandering into sandy whoops as speeds increased. The torquey parallel twin helped overcome a number of the front-end vagueness by offering up corrective blips of energy when wanted, even at lower rpms.
At 504 kilos moist, the F850GS’s claimed weight is roughly 10 pounds heavier than the Tiger 800 XCa absolutely fueled. On paper, this might tip the scales in favor of the Triumph being the extra nimble machine. Behind the bars, nevertheless, the BMW uniquely carries this weight in a means that provides a unusually lighter really feel in many conditions. General, preliminary impressions of the F850GS’s dealing with, both on-road an off, is preferable to the older F800GS. Despite this newest iteration of the mannequin line carrying 25 pounds of further weight over its predecessor, the 850 tracks higher off-road, and has a more balanced really feel on twisty pavement.
Like so many issues, trendy motorcycles have adopted points of the “device” era. Provided that fact, menus develop into an integral element of the driving experience. Whereas very troublesome to determine a greatest follow in the arrangement of those numerous means for number of desired features, the thought can maybe be distilled right down to various required steps. In this regard, each the Triumph and BMW came out ahead, and each behind.
In normal configuration, the Tiger comes with six driving modes: ‘Road’, ‘Off-road’, ‘Rain’, ‘Sport’, ‘Rider-Programmable’, and ‘Off-Road Pro’. Although the GS solely comes with two normal driving modes, ‘Rain’ or ‘Road’, the out there choice of “Ride Modes Pro” provides two extra, ‘Dynamic’ and ‘Enduro’, in addition to a third, ‘Enduro Pro’, which is accessible when an non-compulsory dongle is installed underneath the seat. The F850GS also has a lean angle sensor which works in live performance with adjustable dynamic traction management, and a cornering-optimized “ABS Pro” function.
Triumph requires much less button pushing from the rider to enter the “Off Road Pro” mode (most popular mode for the character of the driving in this comparison check), the place BMW requires extra “clicks” to realize the similar settings within the non-compulsory Experience Modes Professional package deal. BMW, nevertheless, features the power to retailer one’s settings indefinitely when the non-compulsory Enduro Professional dongle is installed. Being able to simply hearth up the bike and roll away without navigating via menus to enter the desired journey mode, nevertheless temporary, leads to a big distinction to the general experience through the course of a multi-day journey experience. Although BMW’s elective dongle overrides the F850GS’s slightly more complicated menu arrangement and mode choice course of, Triumph’s pc is more direct in that “Off Road Pro” not only adjusts the facility delivery, but in addition disengages each ABS and traction management in a single fell swoop. Which system wins out is completely a matter of rider choice.
Unique to the BMW, the Electronic Suspension Adjustment, or “ESA”, was fun to work with, but only applies to the rear shock. Non-adjustable entrance suspension meant most tweaks to the rear shock have been inherently out of stability general. For simple rear preload adjustments to compensate for baggage or passenger, BMW’s ESA system is rather more handy than typical guide adjustment strategies. At a standstill, one’s left thumb simply has to push a button and the rear finish may be felt raising or decreasing itself as preload will increase or decreases. While rolling, the identical thumb change can have an effect on shock damping on-the-fly.
With fork settings remaining unchanged via ESA alternatives, frequent adjustments to the rear shock seem meant for city settings where payload modifications could be more likely to happen a number of occasions a day. Off-road, suspension is usually set for what the terrain requires, or based mostly on the payload weight concerned in a multi-day journey journey. While the Triumph requires instruments for the traditional adjustment of the WP forks and shock, it becomes a “set it and forget it” train usually.
Though in the identical class, these two machines are totally different enough that choosing a “winner” can rely upon most popular function set and driving fashion. Aspect-by-side, each has a mix of features which appear to steer both bikes extra in the direction of the off-road world, and more in the direction of the on-road world, at the similar time.
Regardless of its larger weight, the bigger BMW chassis and torquey parallel twin initially really feel extra at house on clean gravel roads than the Triumph. A smallish, non-adjustable windscreen additional lends itself to the GS having an “enduro” really feel. But its tiny footpegs and a relatively smooth entrance end undermine the off-road characteristics of the GS when the going gets rough, giving the advantage to the Tiger in harder terrain. Advanced features akin to Gear Shift Help Pro, lean angle sensors,and digital suspension converse to the BMW being a extra street-oriented machine.
Features akin to a high-revving triple energy plant, giant adjustable windscreen, and heated seats on the Triumph all sound like specs of a sport-touring bike. Nevertheless, barely taller and adjustable WP suspension, followed by an extended listing of trail-friendly equipment sometimes reserved for the aftermarket realm, pushes the Tiger firmly again over to the off-road aspect of things.
By the numbers, the Tiger offers probably the most bang for the buck with its inclusion of many options normally seen as optionally available in this bike class. Triumph’s listing of ordinary equipment covers a wide range of parts, meeting the wants of each on-road and off-road performance. BMW’s numerous electronics package deal options convey a trick futuristic component to the combination, and probably make the GS a more road-friendly machine, especially for a more moderen rider. Numbers and build sheet roster apart, these two machines have totally different sufficient characters that aesthetics, driving fashion, and easily “which one turns your key” will doubtless turn into outstanding deciding elements. Until, in fact, one chooses Keyless Journey. In that case “which one pockets your fob” might be stated, however that sounds bizarre.
* Estimated wet weight; ** Worth as tested
Photographs by Jon Beck