Triumph Tiger 955i
Triumph Motorcycles Private Limited has over hundred years of motorcycle manufacturing legacy. Its first major success was the 885 cc triple engine Tiger launched in 1992 which went on to enjoy a cult following in the subsequent years.
In 2001, Triumph decided to upgrade the 885 cc Tiger with its 955cc power plant which had served the Daytona 955i well. This bike received even greater patronage as the bike had more power and torque. But it was not just about the increase of power. Even Japanese and Italian bikes provide loads of top end power. Triumph succeeded in distributing the power beautifully throughout the entire revving range, most importantly in the low down and middle ranges where most real world motorcyclists require it. The suspension was also firmed up without making it harsh on the body of the rider.
A tiger 955i still commands a lot of respect from riders of yester years as well as present day riders as the ultimate expression of British engineering on two wheels. Although it is more popular with riders h vast experience, young riders also find it very attractive due to its upright seating position, enormous power, monstrous trail, great road visibility and touring capabilities. One major complaint with the bike has been its seat position. It is almost 840mm high with +/- 20mm adjustability allowed. Even tall riders can barely reach the ground beneath with both feet, once seated on the saddle. It is also heavier than its segment competitors. So, trudging it around at low speed seems to put a lot of weight on your wrists and shoulders. If the engine is switched off and you are trying to pull it into the parking spot, it takes a humongous effort to do so.
Engine specs and performance
The Tiger 955i engine, as the name suggests, displaces 955 cc of volume. Triumph has liquid cooled, four stroke, transverse 3 engine with DOHC, 12 valves and a bore/stroke ratio of 79×65mm. It uses a six-speed constant mesh, close ratio gearbox with chain drive.
The power builds up smoothly in each gear and just when you think it would go on, it subtly requests an up shift. The transitions are smooth and you don’t require precise understanding of throttle and gearbox maneuver as in a V4 engine. The multipoint sequential computerized fuel injection is top notch. The compression ratio of 11.6:1 testifies its high fuel efficiency and considerable power. The digital ignition via electronic advance is also commendably sophisticated. The spark in the internal combustion chamber is instantaneous and works perfectly in conjunction with the accurate fuel injection technology.
It produces a max power of 104 bhp @ 9500 rpm and a max torque of 67 ft-lb @ 4400rpm. The power delivery curve has a very smooth gradient. There are no unexpected breaks. There is no sudden loss or resurgence of power either. You would love its reliability each time you hit the road. The torque flows commensurately throughout the range. Acceleration is never a problem with this bike, even though it is not exactly a wailing banshee.
Frame, suspensions and brakes
The windscreen attached to the fairing is also quite tall and improves aerodynamic proportions of the bike. There is a subtle hint of sinuous curves in the fairing to give it a dynamic, no-nonsense look. It also has a range of expressive yet sober colors which suits the character of the bike perfectly. The stripes add an extra oomph.
The Tiger 955i has a 43mm hydraulic fork in the front with triple rate springs. It is however, not adjustable. There is also a double sided aluminum swing arm providing improved suspension. At very high speeds, you might feel that the suspension is a bit soft. That is why the bike loses a bit of a character. But it has an 87.9 mm trail which provides immaculate handling.
There is a double 310mm disc with 2-piston calipers acting as front brakes and a single 258mm disc with 2-piston calipers to provide rearward braking. Braking in this bike is one of the safest. Sometimes, you might experience a slight weave effect but it is not too evident. You need to be careful while downshifting in order to negotiate a turn.
Handling and comfort
It is a very good bike for tall riders because of the relaxed sitting position and visibility. Once on the saddle and you have boomed past 5000 odd rpm, it can give you the best riding experience on a motorway. It will hold steady and if you push it, it can also overtake with ease.
Its instrument panel doesn’t have a trip meter and some other essential information regarding engine performance is also missing. But its 22 liter fuel tank and 178 miles tank range means you can go on a long cruise or cross-country tour without a worry. Its load bearing capacity is also well known and riding two-up is an enjoyable experience on this motorcycle.
If you are looking for a motorcycle which is good at commuting, occasional fun excursions on off-roads and better than best in touring, you can’t ignore this option. It is also relatively easy to maintain apart from a few tattered wires after 50000 miles or so on the clock. The insurance premium is also pretty less and has a high resale value. Just get one from your local dealer and hop onto the saddle for one of the finest travel experiences you have ever had.