Triumph Tiger 900


Make Model

Triumph Tiger 900


1993 - 94


Four stroke, transverse three cylinder, DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder.


885 cc / 54 cu in
Bore x Stroke 76 x 65 mm
Compression Ratio 10.6:1
Cooling System Liquid cooled




3 x 36 mm Flat side CV carburetors



Max Power

62 kW / 85 hp @ 8000 rpm

Max Torque

82 Nm / 8.36 kgf-m / 60.5 lb-ft @ 6000 rpm


6 Speed

Final Drive


Front Suspension

43 mm Kayaba telescopic fork, adjustable for compression and rebound damping

Front Wheel Travel

235 mm / 9.3 in

Rear Suspension

Kayaba monoshock, adjustable preload

Rear Wheel travel

200 mm / 7.9 in

Front Brakes

2x 276 mm Discs, 2 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 255 mm disc, 2 piston caliper

Front Tyre


Rear Tyre

Rake 27o
Seat Height 850 mm / 33.1 in

Dry Weight

209 kg / 461 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

24 Litres / 6.3 US gal / 5.3 Imp gal

Consumption Average

6.2 L/100 km / 16.2 km/l / 38.1 US mpg / 45.8 Imp mpg

Braking 60 km/h - 0

14.0 m / 45.9 ft

Braking 100 km/h - 0

42.95 m / 140.9 ft

Standing ¼ Mile  

12.3 sec / 171.8 km/h / 107 mph

Top Speed

201.2 km/h / 125 mph

FOR HOT NEWS, this beats 'Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster'. For an engineering accomplishment by a wet-behind the-ears manufacturer it nails even the 147bhp, 1200cc, 160mph Triumph Daytona. And for a hustle and bustle destroyer of nadgy country lanes, a monster capable of kicking dust into the eyes of all that follow, the Tiger pretty much beats, squashes, and annihilates everything. Maybe even you.

Nine hundred cee-cees of gargly triple; 130mph, scary wheelies, and a seat as tall as your average five-year-old does not an off-roader make. Not a deliberate one anyway. But it does add up to a Very Big Trailie pose and power machine that's so OTT it's either a shambles away from the boulevards, or, with a little bit of luck, an absolutely brilliant motorcycle.

The long-awaited Tiger 900 is no shambles. Conceived over two years ago before even the very first Triumphs hit the road, it was always likely to be something special. And it is.

Triumph has done its homework. The idea for a Super Trail bike was an early one. The decision to go taken only following requests by Triumph's German and French importers where the market for this type of bike is potentially huge. And the gestation/development period that followed was long and deliberate.

It had to be. Alongside Triumph's modular, some might say samey, road threes and fours (all, by necessity, with as many common components as possible), the Tiger is its most radical departure yet. What's more, Triumph, for perhaps the first time, is competing head-on -conceptually, design and specification-wise — with the best of the rest.

Where Tridents and Daytonas are sold as something apart, with no clear-cut competition, the Tiger enters a stomping ground the BMW GS, Cagiva Elefant (a few are again available), Africa Twin and Super Tenere all jealously call their own.

Triumph bought in and evaluated all of those bikes during development to make sure it got the Tiger right. But it was always certain that Triumph's delicious 900 triple was going to be at its heart.

Reworked to boost mid and bottom-end oomph, the 885cc mill is quite different from those propelling Triumph's 900 Tridents, Trophys and Daytonas. On the out side, norralot's changed: wanky colour-matched engine-covers (the Germans wanted them apparently); the same airbox, but now with an intake blanked off under the tank; an all-new, stainless, 3:2 exhaust made in conjunction with Motad that exits, with more than a nod and a wink in the direction of the Honda Dominator, through two fruity I mufflers under the seat.

On the inside: new, softer-profiled cams for more duration but less lift, and a rev-limiter cut-out that's 1000 rpm more miserly than before, interupting play just after the 8500rpm redline.

In short: more oomph and less eeek! — but not that much less. Peak power is reduced from the other triples' 99bhp at 9500rpm to 84 at 8500, but in this softer, taller chassis you barely notice it and it's still good for a boggling 130mph when the likes of the GS, Super Ten and Africa Twin are coughing their lungs up at around a ton-ten. And, believe me, 130mph on a trail bike is flipping outrageous. But perhaps more pertinent is that the Tiger's a darned easy cruiser around 85, with a fair bit more in hand. And that's where Triumph beats the rest.

More noticeable is the boosted mid and bottom-end urge. Triumph claims a 25 per cent torque hike at 3000rpm up to 551b.ft, and from there there's a very impressive, flat progression up to the 60.51b.ft max at six thou. Compared to the Trident and Trophy versions, which are all about glorious midrange between 5500 and 7500rpm, the Tiger does its bustling in the lower reaches. Out of slow corners or winding it on out of roundabouts, the sheer drive is fab. And if you don't know the road or arejust plain lazy with the slightly sticky (but neat) gearbox, that's where the Tiger wins. At 4000rpm this bike leaps at the merest provocation, threatening to loft the front wheel purely on the throttle, or throw you over the back — yee-harrr — if you stir in a bit of fun with the slightly heavy but precise hydraulic clutch. The suspension squats, the tyre kicks up dust and you realise: this Tiger's got claws.

Which makes mastering it a tricky matter. All the fundementals, the riding position, the suspension, the sheer size of it and getting round those damned corner thin-geys, are all different and all Very Big Trailie. Only the details, the switchgear, the instruments etc, remind, at first, that you're riding a Triumph. That and the unmistakeable music its twin pipes produce.

Perhaps surprisingly, Triumph has managed to retain its across-the-range spine frame — despite how radically altered the Tiger appears in many other ways. Even the head angle's unchanged at 27 degrees. But what Triumph has done is whop in all-new, long-travel suspension, a bigger wire wheel at the front and conjured up a typical straight-backed, wide-barred riding position that all takes some courage, patience and muscle to get used to.

That wheel (ally rimmed and hubbed and Japanese), the 235mm travel from the Kayaba forks plus the 200mm at the rear combine to leave the seat a lofty 33.5in from terra firma. Bad news for jockey-sized jocks, maybe, but still usefully shorter than either the Super Ten or new Africa Twin. What's more it's wider, softer and more endurable than both.

In front, the controversial plastic tank is handily narrow before rising, splaying smoothly out around the headstock and then blending neatly into the twin beam fairing. The console inside is Daytona-derived, but black-faced and, obviously, recalibrated. The MX-style bars are wide, relatively straight and provide immense leverage.

Not that you need it. Although the forks are much longer, the trailing axle means trail is actually shorter than other Triumphs. Steering is quick and sharp, but even more so than other Triumphs, top-heavy. Fast corners are lined up, snapped and then balanced with the throttle and body-weight. Cross-town traffic, once you're confident with its balance and poise, is easily wiggle-in-and-out-able. The bars give you the dexterity; the engine the low revs control; the soft front forks create Floatex of I every pot-hole, cats-eye or speed bump.

At speed things get a bit more hectic, of course. Your arms move, your heart pumps. But it's excitement rather than terror, and the whole plot remains much more together than expected given its weight, power and suspension. Things are soft, need time to settle, yet can still, quite easily, be crazy-fast. Forks dive violently; the twin discs are good but need a handful and a fair wodge of back brake to boot, and the more-road-than-trail, narrow-section Mich T66 tyres (though Pirellis are an option) work hard for their money.

But for what it is -it's pretty damned good. What the squashy forks lack in adjustment, the rear Kayaba shock makes up for: preload, compression and rebound -it's all there, even if the remote resevoir is positioned extremely remotely, on the left, down by the rad. The brakes lack a little bite but, in panic mode, are enough to squeal the front. And, ultimately, with the sheer drive of that engine and that quick point-and-squirt maneuovrability, there's very, very little that'll keep with a Tiger on your average precarious country blast. But off-road? No, I don't think so, and

Triumph don't expect you to try. I may be mad, but those three guys planning the Paris-Dakar on Tigers next year must be raving bonkers.

Each and every new Trumpet that's wheeled out of Hinckley seems to be better finished and equipped than the last. If the hoo-haa about the tank had primed you for slap-dash crap -forget it. It may be placky but its certainly not tacky. It is beautifully made. So much so that, now it's legal, all future Triumph tanks are likely to be plastic too. The only other real suprise about the tank was that, despite appearances, at 25 Litres, or around 150 miles before the fuel light and 170 before reserve, it's actually no bigger than Triumph's steel affairs.

If the switchgear remains the old-fashioned, square stuff of before, it's sufficient. If the bash-plate and engine-bars look like something from fourth form metalwork, that's up to you. But elsewhere the impressive bits by far outweight the minor gripes. The bar-mounted mirrors need a crank of your head, but stay clear. Instrumentation, complete with useful LCD clock, is good. The fairing may, in red anyway, have more than a hint of Ducati Paso, but does enough to knock the edge off motorway-speed wind. The seat, though never as comfortable as a Trident, is good for an hour-plus. And, no, the levers might not be span-adjustable, there might not be a mainstand and the slight lack of steering lock (as with all Triumphs) might annoy. But, to my mind, the superb finish, the decent rack complete with lots of bungee hooks, the best Triumph headlamp yet, looks that definitely grew on me and a myriad of quality touches such as the grease nipples on the suspension linkage and the protection bars on the foot pedals, outweighed them all.

At £6299 the Tiger's possibly the best value Triumph yet and a far more durable, more practical and, for me, more fun proposition than its Japanese competition. When it comes to the Europeans, intangibles like 'character' and all that blarney come into play.

But, personally, I'd stick with a Tiger. BIKE will be doing a full comparison test and I'll reserve judgement a little till then. But for now, yes, I'll take it, in sandstone bronze rather than the proliferate and garish red and blue... and super-motarded with Daytona wheels, rubber and brakes and, maybe, the full-horse Trident motor. Now wouldn't that be fun?

Source Bike Magazine of 1993