In this social distancing times, the back of a motorcycle is probably the best place to be. Recently, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to go on a media ride with Triumph South Africa to experience the two new Tigers – the Tiger 900 GT Pro and the Tiger 900 Rally Pro.
I must confess that, while I do enjoy the dirt a bit, I always thought that my first time on a Triumph would be a Bonneville or Thruxton. But, starting on the Tiger 900 GT Pro was not bad at all, especially on the windy back roads towards Maropeng and then Hartbeespoort. It comes with five driving modes, namely Rain, Road, Sport, Rider and Off-Road, while the Rally Pro has the additional Off-Road Pro. Throttle response, ABS and traction control settings are adjusted for each mode.
Before pulling off from Triumph’s Sandton dealership, we were taken through the full-colour 7” TFT instruments. Being a relatively new rider – it’s been five years – I came to motorcycles at a time when there was a leap in electronics for motorcycles, but I still needed a little time to get my head around the Tigers. There are four different information layout styles and four different colours, with a wealth of information displayed including speed, gear position, riding mode, clock, fuel level and range to empty and ambient temperature.
Shifting between riding modes is seamless with an easy-to-reach nob/mini joystick – I’m sure there’s a proper name for it – with your left thumb and this can be done on the fly, except for Rally mode. You can also control damping ranging from Comfort to Sport giving you even greater control over the riding experience.
On the road, the GT Pro was comfortable and easy to ride. The new Triumph Shift Assist, up and down quick shifter is smooth, especially on the up; I didn’t really use it to down shift, being more comfortable with manually down shifting.
I switched to the Rally Pro for the dirt section of the ride and that was as comfortable as the GT Pro was on the road. I am grateful for the off-road courses I have done over the years, I hit a proper mound of sand in a curve and, while the bike squirmed a bit and I had to get my foot down, at no stage did I feel out-of-sorts or out of control. I suspect the new anti-stall feature available when in Off-Road and Off-Road Pro modes had something to do with it. The Matt Khaki with white trimmings is the one to get. Loved that aesthetic.
The Tiger 900 models come with all-LED lighting, including daytime running lights and fog lights for the GT Pro and Rally Pro. Other features include an integrated My Triumph connectivity system with Google powered turn-by-turn navigation, phone, music and even GoPro control. This, I didn’t get to play with.
I also got to ride the Tiger 800 for comparison and, while I preferred the sound of the exhaust, the Tiger 900 models are definitely more stable, balanced and a step up.
I’m still finding my way around the technical aspects of a motorcycle so for full specifications, check out the Triumph South Africa site HERE. There are also over 60 accessories available including a range of luggage.
In terms of pricing, the Tiger 900 GT Pro is R215,000 and Tiger 900 Rally Pro is R229,000.
Now to throw a leg over a couple of other Triumph models. The list is long.