I really wanted another bike, mainly to allow me to work on one bike while riding the other and so that I could ride one bike if I was planning on taking the other on a trip and wanted to reduce miles on one of them. Or whatever....
I was heavily leaning towards a Dual-Sport bike, weeding out the competition to either a Suzuki Vee Strom 650 ABS (Wee Strom) or a Kawasaki KLR 650. I had a bunch of parts and things for the KLR and the KLR is very cheap used, but the Wee Strom is a better bike for most of my uses. So.... I had pretty much decided on the Wee. Then Triumph came out with the Triumph Tiger 800 XC. I had ridden the BMW 800cc Dual Sport and loved it, if only it was not a BMW. I put a refundable deposit on the Tiger, just in case I liked it. When it came in, and I rode it, I bought it. It was that much fun. In reality, I was looking for a bike that was undersprung and under damped so that it would be cushy on the rough roads. The T8 is great on the bumpy roads, but it is NOT cushy. What it is, is an awesome road bike that is also good, if not plush, on the rough roads.
I really liked the way it handled on the curves and it is fine for me on dirt roads and rough roads. Up here, dirt roads are often smoother than the paved roads.
2011-04-15 - Bought the bike.
Pretty little new bike.
2011-05-13 - Brought the bike to the dealer to check on why I could not find the option on the menu to turn the ABS off. Turns out that the software was wrong. In the process of trying to fix the bike, they put the wrong software on the bike, or rather their computer put the wrong software on, and now there is a bright red light telling me that the tire pressures are low. I don't have, nor can I get, the tire pressure monitor on this bike. I have an apointment next week for the dealer to try to fix the bike. I hate computers.
2011-05-15 - Used some plastic that I had hanging around and a blow torch to extend the absurdly short chain guard that was letting chain lube get all over my bike.
2011-05-19 - Stole the Givi mount off my ST1300 and a piece of aluminum that I had hanging around and mounted it. I used 5/16" nuts and 1/4" washers as spacers. The straps going to the grab rails are there for just in case my temporary mount fails. I always have the straps on in case I need to strap something on the back rack, and this is a good way to keep it from flapping around.
2011-05-22 - There is a very slight leak at the front of the engine. Probably nothing, but will check with the dealer.
Update - 2011-05-25 - The oil did not leak at the dealer and what was there was not definite as to where it came from. We decided to wait until the leak showed itself a bit better.
Update - 2017-06 - over 70,000 miles - Still leaking, just enough to keep the area cruddy. But then, I use an oiler to lube the chain, so there is plenty of crud over the rest of the bike.
2011-05-23 - I had an old ScottOiler chain oiler from my old KLR. Chain oilers make a horrible mess, but they allow you to travel long distances without stopping to lube the chain, plus if you are in a lot of sand and crap it will keep the sand washed off the chain. Normal chain lube in a can is great, but it tends to collect crud and sand. This was a quick and dirty temporary mod. There is a vacume tap on the left intake. The oil line was routed loosely down to the swingarm and hot glued it through a bolt hole in the swingarm. It is currently just one sided, but I will eventually make it two sided and bolt it more permanently. It works great, but it is messy.
Update - 2017-06 - over 70,000 miles - Still have not put on a permanent solution. I put in a hose with a small reservoir that allows me to put a tablespoon or less of oil in it, and have it drip over the next few miles. It keep the salt corrosion down, and makes a good mess, but it works.
2011-05-25 - The setup menu on this bike is supposed to have an option for turning off the ABS. This bike had no such option. I took the bike to the dealership last week, and they hooked it up to the computer. After some fiddling, the bike was still the same. Except one thing, now there was a red light and a flashing symbol on the dash telling me my tire pressures were wrong. I don't have, nor can I put on, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System on this bike. The Triumph computer had no other options. Triumph decided to wait and take care of the bike when the experts could be consulted. When I brought the bike back, they swapped instrument clusters with another bike. Both bikes worked normally. They switched them back again and both bikes still worked normally. There was nothing changed, and no reason for the correction. I read the shop manual and there is some verbage about the different black boxes needing to talk to each other properly. I think there was just a glitch that needed a proper hard reset. It is possible that this might have required nothing more than removing the battery for a time period or some other odd juggling. Either way, it is fixed.
2012-01-29 - ODO 16,750 - STALLING ISSUE
-When the Triumph Tiger came out, there was an intermittent stalling problem that some bikes had. Mine never had this problem. Triumph came out with a fix, a re-mapping of the computer program. Easy, 5 minute fix. I wanted to see what happens so I did NOT get the new map. Mine finally had this issue, right after I adjusted the valves. It did not happen right away, and it was somewhat intermittent. I tried resetting the variables in the computer program. This seemed to work, then it failed the next day. Lasted all day long. Then, one time the bike stalled as I was pulling into a parking area. I did nothing. I waited until the bike went through it's reset cycle (does this normally) then I turned the bike off, then on. It worked fine for maybe 4,000 miles. It happened once around 16,000 miles, then again at 16,750. I left the bike un-fixed as an experiment.
It is not exactly a scientific experiment, as I have not been able to cause a stalling issue, but when it was stalling I came up with my current opinion. I don't know exactly what causes it, although three of times it happened right after starting a bike that had been sitting for a while but not long enough to fully cool down. The "fix" when it is happening, seems to be to pull over to the side of the road, let the bike stall. Turn off the kill switch, then the key (not sure if these are critical steps). Let the bike go through it's reset cycle. Then turn it on. It seems that if the bike stalls, and you start it, it will not work. If you let it cycle through, it will fix itself. At least one time, I listened to the reset cycle. This normally sounds a little like a fax coming in. This one time it sounded like it was struggling to get it done properly. The bike did not run properly after that. I tried it again, and it sounded normal. After this, the bike worked perfectly, and stayed that way. My thinking is that there is an intermittent problem either with the program, sensor or idle valve or something. Then, once you give it a proper chance to reset, everything works fine. I will continue this experiment until I get tired of it and I will get the new map put in.
2012-01-29 - ABS Control
-ABS is a wonderful thing to have on a motorcycle. The only problem is that there are times when one really wants to turn it off. This is usually in icy conditions or when on loose gravel going downhill. The Tiger has a way of turning it off, but if you find yourself in this situation it is usually as a surprise and you really want to turn it of right away. To turn it off on the tiger requires a number of steps which includes finding neutral and hitting lots of buttons on the menu. There is a few times on bikes with ABS I have gotten in this situation both this bike and others. I find it was a pain in the neck to not be able to turn off the ABS right away.
With the tiger, if you can disconnect power to the ABS for a few seconds it will go into a fault mode, turning off the ABS and will stay that way until the bike is turned off. There are two fuses, #1 and #2 that work the ABS. If #1 is pulled it takes a few seconds for the ABS to turn off. If #2 is pulled, it turns off instantly.
2012-05 - UPDATE
Just an update. I currently have 22,000 miles on the bike. For the most part the bike has been flawless.
Chain Oiler - I took off the chain oiler at about 20,000 miles. I was tired of having lots of oil and mess on the bike. I found myself spending more time cleaning off the oil and crud, and fiddling with the thing than I would have if I had just lubed my chain properly. At one point, I fiddled too much, taking apart the oiler, then it no longer worked well. It was either way too much oil, or nowhere near enough. In my opinion, a chain oiler should be there for convenience more than anything else. If I was capable of just settig it and forgetting it, then maybe it would have been OK, but I have never been good at that.
Chain & Sprockets - Part of being a little bit anal mechanically is that I often change parts before necessary. I had been watching the chain and sprockets carefully for some time. The front sprocket was severely worn. The teeth were just starting to become hooked, but they were very thin. The rear sprocket was pretty good, with little real wear. I measured the chain against the specifications and found that it was within the specs, but just barely. I suspect that I could have just replaced the front sprocket and gone another 5 or 10 k miles. But...... I replaced the set anyway. When you look at the amount of damage that a broken chain can cause, it just does not seem to make sense to compromise. I replaced the components with original Triumph parts. There are better chains available that would allow me to get more miles out of a set, but I like the fact that the triumph chain is continuous and does not require a master link or a riveter. One interesting note, for many years the general rule of thumb was that if you pull the chain away from the rear sprocket and you can see light or more than half a tooth, depending on who you talk to, then the chain needs to be replaced. Using this test, I would have said that the chain was almost ready to be replaced, but could have gone farther if I wanted it to. I always like it when an old rule of thumb fits with analy retentive measurements. Maybe by the time the next chain is due I will allow myself to push the chain farther into it's life.
STALLING - Update
The internet is a great resource for both information and mis-information. Mostly what you get are complaints. If you actually listened to the voices on the internet, you would never buy anything, not even go out of the house. One of the problems talked about was this stalling issue, talked about above. Yes, this can be a problem, but it is not really a big one.
The problem, as shown above, is that sometimes the bike refuses to start and idle normally, and when it does this it continues until the next time the bike is shut off. For my bike, it was only when started sorta warm such as if I stopped for coffee. The problem slowly but surely got worse. It still only happened rarely, but it did happen. I finally brought the bike in for the recall on the engine mapping. I did not expect this to help and it did not. I should have fiddled with the bike more myself, but instead brought the bike to the dealer. It turned out that the Idle Stepper Motor, which controls idle speed, was heavily clogged with crud. This should never happen, but it is a somewhat common occurrence on this bike. It is not in a great location as some dirt can get to it and any bike washing is likely to drive water and possibly dirt into it. Some people have had these replaced and had no more problems with it and that is what I thought was going to happen to my bike. Since it was just dirty, and they claimed they would have cleaned it during the last service if I had brought it to them, I had to pay them $130. That is fair in my opinion. It is not easy to get at the proper way. For cleaning, you could get to it from the side of the bike without removing anything, but it would be tricky. It has now been about 2,500 miles with no issues so I think it is fixed. Other than that, this bike has been flawless. I absolutely love this bike.
Way back when I installed Jesse saddlebags (panniers) - www.jesseluggage.com from www.xplorermoto.com. These are aluminum boxes with lids on hinges. They have brackets on the bike that allow the bags to come off fairly easily. These are supposed to be some of the best ones out there. Best is, of course, subjective. I will say these are very well designed and manufactured. They are BIG, 105 Liters (Combined) 10"Dx18"Hx20"L. I went camping one time and fit everything I needed for the weekend in the bags. INCLUDING the tent and sleeping bag. This was a 3 day camping trip, filled bags with 27.5 pounds, not including tool bag There are a few problems with these, and pretty much ALL metal panniers. First, they are WIDE, Measured width, 37.25 not including hinges - left side 1.24"" wider. They do not sit extremely close to the bike because they would interfere with some of the bike parts. They are expensive. They are HARD, so if you hit them on something, like another vehicle or your legs, they tend to cause damage. They are HEAVY. The Brackets weigh 10#, the bags 27## for a combined weight of 37# total – For comparison, the very heavy Muffler weighs 12.5# and the saddle bags on my Honda ST1300 weigh 16.5 pounds together. Riding solo, I would seldom take as much gear as these bags weigh. But they are so handy, it is hard to fault them, and I do like them. Oh, and they take a few MPG off the bike.
If I were to do it again, I think I would take my old aluminum saddlebags that I had on my KLR 650, cut them up some and make brackets that would allow me to mount them fairly close to the bike. I think I could cut the weight at least in half, probably more, and still have plenty or room and a narrower bike. OR, I would just go for soft bags.
SW-MOTECH - Aluminum engine guard/skidplate – This is very well made. The original one is a well made hard plastic one which I think would protect the bottom of the bike well, but it does not some vulnerable areas such as the oil filter. The SW-Motech one works very well.
SW-MOTECH- Handlebar risers – Excellent quality and function, really helps with comfort.
SW-MOTECH - Crashbars/Engine Guards – This is a very well made product. The only drawback on the design is that it adds and extra 12 pounds to the bike. I put them on and took them off a number of times. I did this to be sure what I was feeling. There was a vibration at certain engine speeds. It turned out to be the crash bars. They seemed to set up a resonance at certain speeds. This was not bad, but the bike was SO smooth when they were off, that even the slight increase in vibes bothered me. If they had been on the bike when I bought it, I never would have noticed the vibes and would have liked them. I took them off permanently. I will take the risk of damage. Maybe I will put them back on if I decide to start doing some real off road riding.
TRIUMPH Center stand – To me, it is criminal to make a bike with a chain that does not have a center stand. Frankly, I think ALL bikes should have them. I like this one, although it is seriously difficult to put on the stand if the bike is even slightly loaded. I have been thinking about adding something like a folding foot peg high on the frame to use as a handle to lift the bike up. My Honda has something like this and it is a godsend when the Honda is loaded.
BEADRIDER.com – Beaded seat cover. I used one on the Honda, and found it did an amazing job of making the seat more comfortable. It does the same for this bike. The Triumph seat is not bad, but this makes it very good. In cold weather I will use a sheepskin either on top of the beadrider or by itself.
WINDSHIELD – The stock windshield does a pretty good job of keeping the wind force off of you. That is about it. It creates a lot of wind noise at the helmet. With earplugs it is OK, but an all day highway ride gets a bit tiring. I have been looking for something else. I currently have narrowed it down to two different ones. The Madstad, made in Florida, is highly adjustable, and very ugly. It also seems to work the best. The biggest downside, besides the look, is that you have to adjust it with an allen wrench, which means stopping and fiddling. Givi makes a screen that can be adjusted on the fly, and it is not as ugly, but it does not have as large of a range of adjustment. Both of them mount to the instrument cluster, just as the original windshield does, but the original is so much smaller that I am worried that the larger windshield might break something.
RKA TANK BAG – This is the same model I have been using for years. Very large, but not really in the way. I was using my old one, and keeping my new one on the Honda, but the old one finally started failing from UV damage and wear. I am now using the new one on both bikes.
2015-12-23 - 59,000 Miles - UPDATE
Just an update. I currently have 59,000 miles on the bike. For the most part the bike has been flawless.
I put in a messy home made oiler, which drips oil onto the top of the chain. I manually put oil into a reservoir which slowly drips on the chain. So far it works well enough, but does make a mess, as any oiler would. I really want to refine this, but I tend to only fix things up after they break. I want to use an oiler to keep the chain from getting rusty in the winter. My last chain only lasted 14,000 miles. I pulled it apart and it looked like every other link was rusty inside. No pics at the moment.
STALLING - Update
The bike still stalls, or at least it did. It was getting anoying. Before, if it started screwing up, I could spray some WD-40 or whatever in the area and it would be OK for a bit. But, over time, rust and crud just made it impossible to clean enough to keep working.
I bought a Daytona Race Manual Idle Adjust Kit. Installation required removal of the throttle bodies, but it works really slick. This is just a flexible cable attached to a screw that goes where the throttle stop adjustment would normally be. Worth every penny (it was cheap) and the time to install. The bike works so slick now. Slow speed work is smoother. I can up the idle for freezing cold weather. I don't have to worry every time I start the bike whether I can just take off or whether I will have to screw with the throttle.
The Manual for the manual adjuster.
The adjuster sits near the clutch cable.
This shows the routing up past the clutch cable, under the Cam Chain Adjuster, between a hose and a connector. The threaded end has a spring over it to keep it from unscrewing.
The Ignition Key on this bike sits where most do, behind the handlebars. When riding on dirt (or sanded roads) a fair amount of crud gets thrown up in this area. The ignition switch is shaped such that sand and crud ends up sitting there, eventually getting into the lock. If you lube it, the oil combines with the sand making a very abrasive sludge. If you lube it with a dry lube, you just have dry sand with some graphite lube. If the bike is parked, rain collects on it and gets into the lock. By 50,000 miles the ignition gets pretty sticky.
This shows that this is a perfect catch basin for sand and crud.
This is the 5-minute fix. The foam stays on the key, keeps crud out.
If left out in the weather, this paint spray can cap can keep the rain out. Not sure if this will be a big advantage, but worth a try.
Well, all this did work, but it is a pain in the ass, the foam falls off, gets lost and gets in the way. I will look for a way to do it that is not a pain in the ass.
2017-07 - UPDATE
Just an update. I currently have over 70,000 miles on the bike. For the most part the bike has been flawless, except for hot starting. It always seemed to strain a bit to start when the bike was hot. More and more as time went on, until I finally replaced the stock size battery with one with more amperage. Finally, it recently refused to start anytime I stopped for gas. That was an issue. There is an article about this on my page. I hope this is a permanent fix.
I was considering this bike for my world tour. Other than the starter issue it has been pretty reliable. The question is, do I want to start a tour with a bike with over 70,000 miles on it?
I also had to replace the left side tank cover, a piece of plastic that supposedly protects the tank in a crash. Right. I was moving the bike in the garage, and a piece of cardboard on the floor had moved the sidestand up, so that when I leaned the bike over, it felt like it was fine, then it fell over. It would have been fine if the bike had fallen on the floor, but there was a 5 gallon bucket in just the right place to break the cover. Cheap enough.
When I was disassembling everything for the starter fix, I saw so much rust that I am wondering if riding in the winter is worth it....... Sure it is. Still, I think that if I was not retiring soon, I would buy a cheap bike just for the winter. let the salt eat it. There are plenty of other cheap bikes available.
2017-07 - Bad Sprocket @ 72,700 miles
The current chain on this bike is the fourth one that has been on the bike including the original. The first two were replaced at just over 20,000 miles. For the first one, I used a Scottoiler for most of it's life. The second one I used spray on lube. Both of those chains could have gone much longer, but the front sprockets were completely gone so I replaced the set. You would think I would have learned and started changing the front sprocket at around 10,000 miles, but no.
The third chain only barely lasted 14,000 miles, although it was two winters. I used spray lube for all but the last few thousand miles. When I took the chain apart, every other link was dry and rusty. It looked like they forgot to add lube when it was assembled. After that, I decided to use a manual drip oiler, at least for the winter riding. I don't know if it would have helped that chain, but it could not have hurt.
The current chain has 16,375 miles so far. It looks good, as does the rear sprocket. I oiled the crap out of it all winter. The front sprocket, well, it looks like crap. Below are two pics, one showing a sprocket from some previous set next to a new one, and the other showing the sprocket I just took off. It looks like absolute crap. I don't know how it was working. I changed it, but am keeping the chain and rear sprocket to see how much life I can get out of them.
This is a photo of a BAD sprocket next to a good one. I think this was from the second chain.
This is a photo of a sprocket so bad that it should have failed and taken my crankcase out. I am glad that did not happen