That New Bike Feeling

Exactly one year ago I purchased my 2014 Triumph Tiger 800. I wrote a blog entry on what I was looking for in my next bike and what led me to purchase a Triumph Tiger. What I didn’t discuss was how that bike was my ‘gap bike’. Now some of you are thinking what exactly does that term mean? Well, here’s the answer; when I decided to move on from my Kawasaki KLR, I knew that I wanted my next bike to have certain features but I really didn’t know what I wanted for a bike. Part of this was how the mid-sized segment kind of exploded in the last two years for adventure bikes which lead to so many different options. Eventually, I decided to settle on going the used route with a 2014 Triumph Tiger 800 due to cost and their reputation as a solid mid-sized adventure bike.

The Tiger 800 on the Wambaw Trails…probably a place where a roadie Tiger shouldn’t go

Over the last year I owned the Tiger 800, I rode it all over South Carolina and spent a lot more time off road then I expected. As the year wound down, I started to realize that I was kind of at a cross roads of what I wanted to do. Part of me wanted to make the bike more off road oriented with an upgraded suspension and converting to a spoked 19-inch/17-inch wheel set up. While this would have been expensive yet easy to do there were still some things that I wish my 800 had such as selectable riding modes, adjustable suspension, and a removable sub frame. The other part of me wanted to look at a brand-new bike and with so many options in the mid-sized segment the choices were almost endless. Since I was riding off road a lot more, I started to look closer at the Yamaha Tenere T7, KTM 890, and the Triumph Tiger 900. These bikes have had fantastic reviews from many motorcycle journalists and it seemed like I really couldn’t make a bad choice.

Over the course of the year I put 6,000 miles on my old 800 with a significant amount off road

In reality it wasn’t a hard decision and I feel like it was actually an easy one. My next bike had to be able to ride long distances comfortably on the highway and then be able to take some pretty heavy off-road riding. For me everything pointed at the Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro. After test riding a Triumph Tiger 900 GT, I fell in love with the new 900 platform and at that point I was sold. The Tiger 900 GT is an amazing bike but since I’m riding off road a lot more, the 900 Rally Pro was the obvious choice. While doing my research on the new 900 platform I talked to quite a few people who have had a lot of experiences on them such as Steve Kamrad, Brett Fox, and Maya Fox. All three of these riders own a Tiger 900 and after hearing them rave about them and following their exploits on them over the last year it was comforting to know how great the new Tiger 900’s were.  Another great source of information was from Revzilla’s Common Thread residential adventure bike enthusiast, Spurgeon Dunbar.  Spurgeon wrote a great article on the new Tiger 900 after attending Triumph’s press launch for the new bikes in Morocco.

Steve Kamrad giving a Tiger 900 Rally Pro an off road work out, photo by Spurgeon Dunbar

With a solid test ride of a Tiger 900 GT under my belt and some great feed back from those with a large amount of experience with the 900 platform I decided to start searching for a new Tiger 900 Rally Pro. Fortunately, Charleston has an amazing Triumph dealer and the owners Craig and Andy Zendt are great to work with. These guys helped me when I purchased the 2014 Tiger 800 and could always get me any accessory or maintenance part from Triumph’s OEM catalog and they offered pretty good pricing on services as well. When I told them I was interested in a new Tiger 900 they showed me a pair of Rally Pro’s and a GT. Both of the Rally Pro’s were beautiful however their was a white one that caught my eye. Craig and Andy showcased this bikes off road capabilities by installing a light weight Arrow exhaust and a set of Continental TKC 80 tires. Without any hesitation they let me take this bike on a nice little test ride and it further cemented my choice. Since these guys sold me my 2014 Tiger 800 and knew a ton about it Craig gave me a great trade in offer and offered me a very fair price on the new Tiger 900.

Out with the old and in with the new

In the short amount of time that I’ve owned my new 2020 Tiger 900 Rally Pro I’ve already taken it on a few short rides into the ACE River Basin. This area has great off-road riding just outside of Charleston and I’ve been able to play around with the different riding modes as well as the adjustable suspension. So far this bike has exceeded my expectations and I’m pretty glad that I decided to stay with Triumph. I feel that as a brand Triumph has done many great things ranging from the type of bikes that they manufacture to how they sell them. I’m looking forward to the future that my new Tiger and I will have together and I’m planning some epic adventures, so stay tuned because things are going to get pretty interesting.

Out riding along the Edisto River in the ACE River Basin

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