2015 Triumph Tiger XRx Low -2

There are basically two types of sports-touring motorcycles today. Those that are basically street bikes with a fairing and bags on the back – like the Honda ST1300 – and those that look like moto-crossers on steroids, designed to cross the Sahara to have tea with the local bedouin, like the BMW Motorrad R1200GS. With bags on the back.

The hunky, big, moto-cross bikes, today called ‘Adventure’ or ‘Overlander’ motorcycles, are well and good, stirring the imagination of many riders. But the reality of it is, for the majority of big adventure bikes, most of them rarely see anything worse than a plantation road.

A bit of gravel, some sandy patches, and the majority of riding time is spent on highways or country ‘B’ roads. So what do you do? Well, you can get into the seat of a 2015 Triumph Tiger XRx Low, and ride the motorcycle equivalent of a Honda HR-V.

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While dual-purpose sports-tourers are popular, simply because they can be comfortable to ride and munch mileage to boot, certain riders, notably those a little in the inseam department, find the seat height of a dual-purpose a little intimidating.

Recognising that fact, Triumph came out with the XRx Low, targetted towards the shorter rider who wants a dual-purpose, but would feel more confident getting both feet on the ground.

Not simply a standard XRx with forks raised in the yokes and rear spring compressed, the XRx Low comes with re-worked suspension and low seats, bringing the seat height down to between 760 – 780 mm, down 50 mm from the standard XRx’s 810 – 830 mm.

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The suspension is designed to take into account the XRx Low’s lower ride height. The upside-down Showa 43 mm forks have 140 mm of travel, down 40 mm from the standard XRx’s 180 mm. At the back, the Showa monoshock with hydraulically adjustable preload has 151 mm rear wheel travel, down 19 mm from the standard 170 mm.

As used across Triumph’s range of XR and XC dual-purpose bikes, the 800 cc three-cylinder engine is rated at 94 hp at 9,250 rpm and 79 Nm of torque at 7,850 rpm. Coming with ride-by-wire, the Tiger XRx Low has a full suite of electronic riding aids up its sleeve.

These include traction control, three ride modes – road, off-road and custom, as well as switchable ABS. Icing on the cake is cruise control, showing the Tiger XRx Low is intended for long-distance highway cruising in mind.

Modern conveniences have not been forgotten either, with two 12-volt sockets available, and a full trip computer lodged into the instrument panel, displaying all the rider needs to know. The manual height-adjustable screen will suit riders of different heights, and provides a reasonably sized bubble of still air to tuck into when logging the highway miles.

So, what is the Tiger XRx Low like to ride? We didn’t get to spend a huge amount of time with the XRx Low, but Triumph was kind enough to arrange a 1,200 km day ride to Gunung Jerai, Kedah, and back. Thus, this isn’t so much a full review as it is a ride impression.

Getting on shows the big 19-litre fuel tank and associated bodywork, with the windscreen sticking up in front of you. The seat immediately strikes you as being comfortable, and it is, 1,200 km and 14 hours in the saddle proved that. The fuel-injected triple barks to life with a very imperative snarl, somewhat belying its sports-touring intentions.

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Highway cruising showed the Tiger XRx Low to be very capable indeed, the suspension travel soaking up the bumps, and never displaying any hint of being upset, even when heeled over at very high speed. On the approach to Gunung Jerai, some doubt was expressed about the XRx Low’s ground clearance, or lack thereof, and its ability to tackle the very, very tight uphill hairpins on the road up the mountain.

This is where the engine had a chance to shine. Keeping the very smooth gearbox in second, the throttle was given free rein from about 7,000 rpm, letting the Tiger snarl its way up the mountain. Road handling was impeccable at all degrees of lean, with neither the front nor back end showing any signs of breaking away.

As for the concern about lack of ground clearance? Nothing to worry about, as nothing touched down, not even the rider’s toes. The 795 mm wide handlebars gave good control over the steering, and changes of direction were easily made. Chucking the Tiger down into corners, and lifting it up again, was performed without effort.

Braking, taken care of with a pair of 308 mm floating-discs and Nissin two-piston sliding calipers in front, and a single-piston Nissin grabbing a 255 mm disc in the rear, was sportsbike-level. Initial bite was good, and the braking effort very linear. Braking performance like this wouldn’t be out of place on a full-fairing sportsbike, and was liked by our rider.

The roll-on torque of the Tiger’s engine was another point that found favour with us, over-taking on the highway being done and dusted without hesitation, at most only needing a single down-shift. Don’t forget, 20 years ago, the horsepower figure of this 800 cc triple was well up into superbike territory.

Bad points of the Tiger XRx Low? We really couldn’t find many. The rear sub-frame is left uncovered, making the bike look somewhat unfinished. But, don’t forget, the Tiger is supposed to be a sports-tourer, so the lack of bodywork is meant to be covered with a pair of panniers.

There was also a fair amount of heat rising from the engine, especially at stops when the radiator fan kicked in. The slow roast of our rider’s left inside thigh was soon dispersed when the Tiger XRx Low was moving again.

Overall, we came away with a very favourable impression of the Tiger XRx Low, finding it to be a very capable all-rounder. It ate up the highway miles very well indeed, and showed impeccable handling manners, refusing to be upset even when taken round corners at (very) high three-digit speeds.

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The Tiger XRx Low will appeal to many riders across the spectrum, and is tractable enough to be handled by a newbie, irrespective of gender. The 191 kg dry weight is manageable by any rider, and the sure-footed handling inspires confidence.

A good all-round bike for riders of any experience level, especially those wanting a long-distance sports-tourer with all the bells and whistles, the Triumph Tiger XRx Low retails for RM66,900, including GST.