ADV Pulse

Get ADV Pulse delivered by email
Sign up for ADV Pulse Weekly


Get ADV Pulse delivered by email
Sign up for ADV Pulse Weekly

Connect With Us

Follow On Facebook:

ADV BikesTriumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro First Ride Review

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro First Ride Review

The middleweight Tiger gets overhauled for 2020 with no bolt left untouched.

Published on 02.23.2020

It took Triumph nine long years to update the Tiger 800. Sure it went through three different (small) frame updates, two different suspension manufacturers, three engine management updates, three different dashboards even, but at the end of 2019 the Tiger was still a little long in the tooth (pun intended). Here we are now with an all-new Tiger ‘900’ for 2020. A bump in displacement is only the beginning though. When Triumph said “all-new” they meant it. 

Newly dubbed the Tiger 900 Rally (off-road focus) and GT (street focus), each can be had in either Standard or Pro variants. We got a chance to test the hell out of the Pro versions cause well, at a press launch everyone should be a Pro. And everyone was eager to pounce on the test fleet in Morocco to see if the new Tiger would hold up its end of the Pro title.

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally and GT
The new Tiger 900 comes in two different lines: the dirt-focused Rally with Showa suspension and tubeless spoked wheels (left), and the road-focused GT with Marzochi suspension and cast wheel (right).

First, let me say that I have been a long-time fan of the Tiger 800. I actually used it as my race bike competing in the NASA Rally, SandBlast Rally, Rally Saguney, Black River Stages, Raceway Park Sprint Rally, and the Dacre Challenge (twice). My old Tiger took a beating and still carried me to more places around the North American continent than I can count. So ever since the new 900 Rally was announced, I’ve been itching to see how it measures up.

So let’s get the big question on everyone’s mind out of the way: Is it better than the old one? Yes, the new Tiger (900) Rally Pro is better than the former Tiger (800) XCa. That’s really where the comparison should end (it won’t), but I’ll explain why. It’s not an upgrade. It’s a massive leap forward. This isn’t a refresh or just a bump in displacement with new brakes and suspension, either. It’s all-new baby! There also isn’t one thing on the outgoing 800 that is better than the incoming Rally Pro 900, except the tachometer.

New 900cc Powerplant

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally engine
The new larger capacity 900cc triple engine is tilted further forward in the frame and positioned lower for improved weight distribution. It is also 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg) lighter.


How do you define character? When thinking about the “old Tiger’s” engine, it was very distinctive but lacked personality. The old triple had a 180-Degree firing order with a secondary counterbalancer that would mimic the “missing” other cylinders of an inline-six. See, inline-six engines are naturally balanced and extremely smooth with 180 degrees between each piston’s fire order. It’s what gives Triumph’s their distinctive “triple whirl” sound. The problemo with that is an evenly spaced 1-2-3, firing order doesn’t exactly have a lot of character. Character comes from being odd, unique, or having a particular bias in one direction or the other. 

With the new Tiger 900, they’ve managed to build in a little ‘oomph’ without losing any of the company’s triple heritage. Specifically, a “270-degree-style” firing order has been developed by Triumph called the T-Plain Triple Crank Firing Order. MotoGP bikes used this style of “Big Bang” engine firing order on four-cylinder bikes, calling it a crossplain firing order. This allows the engine to produce maximum power, but it also gives a small amount of time between the firing order for the rear tire to regain traction. If this sounds like marketing hype, I can tell you firstly MotoGP engineers don’t do things for marketing hype. 

Engine updates include new camshafts for increased torque and acceleration, new NIKASIL aluminum liners allowing increased capacity and torque, a new T-Plane triple crankshaft for improved engine character, and more.

If you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time on an old Tiger 800 Triple, you’d feel the difference in character, tractability, and traction immediately. It’s like someone took the down-low grunt of a V-twin but added another cylinder in there somewhere. This allows the engine to be incredibly smooth down low and pull from as low as 2000 RPM, rather than wait for the power to kick in. The distinctive “triple whirl” can still be heard but it also has a mix of 270-degree parallel-twin soundtrack mixed in there. The new T-plane engine also wants to be ridden differently than the outgoing 800. It can be launched from a standstill without the high revs of the outgoing 800 and generally wants to be lower in the rev range at all times.

12% more horsepower in the mid-range and more power across the entire rev range up to peak power.
10% more peak torque plus torque is improved across the entire rev range.

To go with the new engine, Triumph added a revised secondary counterbalancer to help quell the unbalanced engine vibrations. Some media outlets have reported the new engine is not as smooth as the old one or that there is excessive engine vibration, but that only becomes noticeable at around 7500 RPM when you are doing well over 90 mph.The new 900cc powerplant is a significant improvement and it’s the sum of the parts to go with the bump in bore size that makes it so unique. New camshaft profiles improve torque, while NIKASIL coated aluminum piston sleeves receive new pistons and rings, carried by new connection rods for an optimized ability to catch every last horsepower during those uneven power strokes. To describe it in my own words, it feels like a parallel twin down low and goes like a trophy truck when you’ve got the Tiger 900 spun up past 7000 RPM.

An interesting update is the new oil sump casting. It’s more shallow than the old one, which decreases oil capacity slightly for an increase in the Tiger’s ground clearance and some weight savings (maintenance interval has not been affected at every 6,000 miles). It also reroutes the exhaust to the other side of the bottom of the engine and then the catalytic converter is located aft of the sump with another catalytic converter just before the exhaust canister. This is a great improvement as all three of my old Tiger’s oil pans were cracked by the catalytic converter being smashed into the bottom of the casing even with a skid plate.

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Skid Plate
A new skidplate eliminates many of the flaws found in the outgoing Tiger 800’s design.

An additional benefit of the new oil sump is relocated skid plate mounting points; gone are the rubber-mounted pucks of the 800. Skid plate mounting was a well known weak point of the old Tiger 800. New solid mounts get bolted through the oil pan into the engine case, and the front of the skid plate is mounted to the front of the engine with a sturdier bracket. The Rally Pro Skid plate still looks a little thin for my personal taste and it also doesn’t cover the catalytic converter mounted under the bike, and frankly, it should. If you want to be a Pro, act like one.

The engine certainly does act and perform like a pro, though. 10% more peak torque and 12% more horsepower in the mid-range put the Rally Pro in a new category when it comes to performance. Numbers are one way to put it into perspective, but third gear stand up power wheelies are how I like to categorize power. Even in fourth gear it’s possible to get a little roller going if you give a good  yank on the handlebars. The old Tiger wouldn’t do those with stock gearing. It’s a good way to gauge the engine performance gain by “feel” if you don’t have a stopwatch and the ole 800 handy.

WATCH: Quick close-up look at the upcoming Tiger 900 and a little taste of the engine braaping.

Keeping the Tiger 900 engine cool seems to be pretty easy with the new split-radiator design on the new bike. Separated by a frame rail, two individual radiators handle incoming coolant one at a time. This creates a dual-pass cooling type system, which gives the coolant sufficient time to… well, cool as it must complete two journeys through radiators. The bodywork on the Tiger now has large ports to direct heated air away from the rider. One thing that was never talked about on the press launch was the bike being hot. Consider that a huge win for the Tiger 900 and its rideability. It also has a cooling fan on each radiator, which I never heard kick on during our test rides.

New T-Plane Triple Crank Firing Order.
Tiger 800 vs Tiger 900 acceleration times.

Forward momentum is important, and yes, the Rally Pro does that better than ever. The Tiger has always gotten the forward thrust done with one of the slickest gearboxes on the market. Now the Rally Pro’s six-speed transmission is linked to the rear tire via an all-new slipper/assist clutch. While the clutch pull is light, it requires a smooth engagement on the rider’s behalf. Not that it’s grabby, but if you find yourself fatigued and making hasty clutch and throttle inputs, the assist side of the slipper/assist clutch will make you want to take a second, catch your breath and start acting like a “pro” yourself. The first four gears of the transmission are reportedly the same as the outgoing 800, but fifth and sixth are said to be taller to reduce engine speeds at highway speeds.

All-Pro trim level model, Tigers, come with shift assist actuators on the shifter linkage (the rest can get the shift assist added.) Some journalists at the launch noted that they didn’t “need it or use it,” but I found it extremely useful and entertaining. Few things feel better than going from 1st to 6th, never lifting the throttle, toe-ing through the gears. It also works going the opposite way and blips the throttle for you on clutchless downshifts. Wanna feel like a boss? Go from sixth to third as you roll on the throttle for a highway pass at speed with no clutch.

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally

The shift assist is also useful in off-road situations. Picture this: you’ve blown a turn in an off-road setting in third gear, but you’ve managed to get your braking done. Instead of stalling out and tipping over or being overwhelmed by all the skidding and clinching, you simply press the shifter down, and you’re now in a gear that the motorcycle can stay running. You’re not reaching for the clutch or revving the engine, and instead, you just carry on down the trail. Who’s the pro now?

New Showa Suspension

Triumph used to deal with WP suspension for the Tiger XC’s — A company that sells, and I quote “pro components” for suspension upgrades. Unfortunately, even WP certified suspension shops were not allowed to service WP branded Triumph suspension. Instead, owners were directed back to Triumph dealerships as per Triumph’s and WP’s contract. For a lack of better words: that sucked. Because WP makes a great product and also has some really outstanding certified service centers. While most Triumph dealers can handle a fork seal replacement, they aren’t necessarily known for tuning a custom shim stack or even being able to handle a full tear down and replacement of internal suspension parts. 

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Showa Suspension

Not being able to upgrade or tune the old Tiger 800’s suspension pointed customers toward the aftermarket and left many owners uncertain as to which choice to make. Hopefully, now that Triumph has moved from WP to Showa suspension, they can support owners who want a custom setup at  Showa certified suspension tuning centers.

The Tiger 900 Rally and Rally Pro both now come with a new Showa suspension front and rear. 45mm forks are clamped onto by nicely detailed and finished triple clamps. They’re now “fully” adjustable for compression and rebound damping like the outgoing WP units but also feature external preload adjusters! Thank you Triumph for that. The forks also have 240mm of travel up from 220. Travel doesn’t mean that much though, unless the valving is appropriately tuned. 

Aggressive Testers in our group ranged from a svelte Bob Barker sized 140lbs to somewhere north of new dad bod 230lbs. I land right around 215 and have a reputation for pushing an adventure bike past its limits and ruining everything. I even once blew the fork seals out of a brand new Tiger 800 XCA in just three days while testing it at AltRider’s Taste of Dakar in Nevada. Showa built this suspension for a wide range of rider weights and styles, and they’ve done it well.

The rear shock has 230mm of travel (up from 215mm on the 800 XCa) and is hooked up to the swingarm via linkage. Adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping only. I’m feeling a bit let down that they didn’t add compression damping in this update. Even so, the Rally Pro never felt under dampened. In fact, it felt a little firm on a few g-outs in the desert terrain. So, maybe I should just keep my mouth shut because firm is better than soft and wallowy. The rear still exhibited some of the typical rear wheel lift the old 800’s had but didn’t do it nearly as much  – only on one jump and a few heavy compressions to the rear suspension.

Off-Road Performance

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Review

The Tiger has always been one of the best adventure bikes on the street, but on the dirt, it was a different story. You needed to know how to handle it… err “Ride the Tiger.” Now, with the Rally Pro, I found myself hesitant to approve the claims that it’s improved. So I tested the Rally Pro, and I tested it hard. Under what some people would consider a top-level pace, I never found the bottom of the suspension stroke except one time on a larger than average jump. Before you say, “what’s top-level pace?” Let me introduce you to our ride leader Gary “Baulless” Morgan. FIM road race license holder, ex-Euro motocross A-level racer and almost MotoGP racer. A broken leg ended his road racing career, and now at the beautiful age of 50-ish, he’s an instructor at the Triumph Adventure Riding Experience in Wales, and he’s top-notch in my mental book of “fast guys” on anything with two wheels.

    1 2     Next Page >>

Author: Steve Kamrad

Related Stories

Related Stories

 117

Leave a Reply

117 thoughts on “Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro First Ride Review

  1. Nice review, Steve! I may be tempted to trade up from my old ’13. But before I do, are they sending you one of those new 1200s to try and break anytime soon?

    • Hey Lee, i have a personal 1200 scrambler xe but if it was my choice I’d have a 900. I don’t think I’ll love the 1200 tiger offroad as much as I do the 800 or 900 so go ahead and don’t wait for that day, but if you email triumph directly maybe they’ll listen to you and send me one! Big race this weekend on the scrambler. Sand blast rally

    • Yeah man. That upward force smashing a catalytic converter into the bottom. I had all sorts of pucks and rubber dampers. It was basically bigger than the oil pan. Also i was riding way too hard

      • The old skid plate was poorly designed. Loosely connected by a few bolts and every time we’d take it off-road it would bang the header, push into the oil filter and start drooping down in the rear.

  2. I’ve got a tiger 1200 now but looking to get a lighter bike to do more off-road. I’m stoked about the new tiger 900, will you give us a video review on it? How would you say the tiger 900 compares to the ktm 790 adventure?
    Your articles and videos rock Steve, keep up the good work!

    • Review video on the way but really the article will have more information in it than anything. Check my long reply below for 790 vs 900 feelings. Get a 900 you’ll thank me later

  3. Excellent article Steve! When you send the tiger guy to review the new tiger, youre sending its biggest fan and its worst critic. I wouldn’t be interested in anyone else’s opinion.

  4. Solid Review and the best one I’ve read to date. Much love to my favorite funny talking, east coast Sasquatch. There are few people who know the various iterations of the Tiger like Steve as he has properly thrashed each one he’s ridden. It’s expressly why I will never let him ride mine.

    I’m excited to get on the new Rally Pro. Maybe some time soon. My biggest gripes with my own 800XC is the stock suspension, which I’ve since modified for my weight and riding style, and the low-end power delivery when riding technical sections off-road. Like Steve said, The Tiger 800 “is” a bike you learn to ride off-road. It takes a little coaxing but can get where you need it to.

    Best quote of the article: “Character comes from being odd, unique, or having a particular bias in one direction or the other,” yup, that’s Steve for ya and all of us who think taking a big bike off-road is a good and merited idea. 🙂

    • Sam don’t ride one unless you have the money to buy one. You’ll like it that much. The motor is soooo good it leaves the 800 behind without even trying. You’d still need springs front and rear cause you’re a giant but in stock form they would work for a while.

  5. Steve is probably the best reviewer to compare the old 800 to this new 900. It now sounds like a top contender for the ‘middle weight’ crown. I have a 2020 KTM 790 Adventure R which for me is THE ‘unicorn’ bike. The rally pro offers a lot but is pricey, $3 K more than the KTM. I wonder if the Tiger 900 designers had a picture of the KTM 790 with a bull’s eye on it hung above their drafting boards?

    • Yeah the 790 is going to do a little better offroad but for me personally the Tiger would be the bike for road trips or bdr routes. The new suspension is super flowy over rocks and gravel. The motor is the king along with the transmission.

      • Hi Steve what are your personal experiences with the ktm 790 adventure R? It would be rad to see a video of you going nuts on such a bike?
        You are directly comparing it to the Tiger 900 rally pro, did you test the 790 adventure to it’s limits yet? And for touring? Just wondering. I just bought one (it’s my second bike, traded the tiger 800 xcx for it) i love it so much.
        I’m not experienced offroad and i’m about to tackle 3 levels of offroad courses etc.. but how the ktm is balanced and with the wp xplorer suspension kit i can’t imagine it to be just a little better offroad than the tiger 900. But i can imagine why the majority of the people think it’s a hideous motorcycle. I love ugly ducklings 😉 (except my gf )

        • So i have some trail time on the 790r and a bunch of miles on 790 dukes. When comparing the motors and the transmissions the tiger 900 takes the cake in a big way. I’ve also tried a 790r with 7k worth of rally spec suspension at the rally height and it’s both amazing but hard to turn in and hard to ride. The tigers suspension is only down on travel by 10mm at the front and you’d never notice that. At the end of the day high level riders start to max out adv bikes in a way that they all hit a level playing field which is weight. You can’t overcome it. So then ease of use and functionality come into play and I prefer the normal tank position of the 900 over the 790 every time. The 790 is good and has its advantages with tire choice. Would say Toby Price be faster on a 790 or a 900 with stock suspension and the same tires. It really depends on the terrain and even how he or you are feeling that day. I’ve been shocked that a honda AT feels better on gravel than a ktm 1090r does but ease of use comes into play. I don’t think a 790 would be a massive leap better than the tiger 900 at anything offroad because it all comes down to weight and rider ability. It’s like when people think the bmw gs is the easiest thing to ride at a bmw school, well sure it is because the center of gravity is low and the steering lock is infinite and the engine is hard to stall. The 790 would be a nightmare at the bmw gs trophy becausr they play bmw games at them. I’d prefer the size and shape of the tiger offroad over the 790 because the 790 has that low gas tank that could get in the way or make the bike feel larger than it really is. The new showa forks on the tiger felt better than anything else on the market when leaving the earth in wheelies or jumps and returning with a really nice plushness and they felt properly damped. Top level riders will prefer the 790 frame geometry as would I for deep sand but that’s at speeds over 70 miles per hour. I just got done racing the sand blast rally on my scrambler 1200xe and with its 2 inch over swing arm and 9.8 inches of travel front and rear it was fantastic and I don’t think I would have choose a 790 for that race except for the 18 inch rear tire choices. But the scrambler feels huge on tight single track because of its shape and again in that case I’d prefer a 900 tiger. The only thing that would make the 790 a massive leap forward is getting the spring rates and sag set properly, my scrambler in stock form has 40 to 43% sag and I’m looking for 33% so proper straight rate springs make a huge difference. After that. Training and putting gas in the bike and burning it up are what matter.

  6. I cam here ready to go all “meh” on the new one. Then I read the review. Dammit. Now I’ll be upgrading from my 2017 XCA to a 2020 Rally Pro. I have 17k wonderful miles on my 800 but that new 900 definitely sounds like it’s worth the upgrade.

      • I just got an 2018 Tiger XCA with very few miles on it.
        After this review I am a bit worried about the skid plate hehe :<

        • Best thing to do is a free spirits cat delete header and order a hepco becker skid plate with the big rubber pucks. Then use copper wire to suspend it from the crash bars if it ever rips off.

          • I have a 2014 XC and about every few months I re-super glue the rubber back together on those things and then also tie it back up with zip ties to the lower guards. It really was a terrible design.

      • I’ve got a 2011 base model with cast wheels and ordered the rally pro. Doing the. TET in Albania and Montenegro in October, can’t wait. Great review and loved reading it . Problem is you got me the waiting game a tad bit harder !!!

    • Man i wish I could agree with you but after riding it, it’s super plush on big initial hits, and takes adjustments really well. The downside will be finding a good shop that can rebuild and customize a valving and spring set up if Triumph doesn’t support certified Showa suspension shops. Showa builds good suspension for Hobda and their mx and desert racing teams. So hears hoping it works out but stock it’s a nice healthy improvement over the WP units

  7. Author is a bit confused about crankshaft layouts of the 800 and 900 motors. The 800 motor has crankpins at 120 degree separation and fires every 270 degrees of revolution. It does not have good primary balance as the crankshaft ends tend to vibrate conically. The balance shaft spins at crank speed to offset this vibration somewhat. The new 900 has the crankpins in a T, sort of like a cross plane 4 cylinder with one crankpin missing. Or think of it as a 180 degree crank with a third pin stuck at 90 degrees in the middle. I don’t see much benefit to this crank layout as it will still have the primary coning vibration of the 120 degree crank. Since two of the crankpins are 180 degrees apart, it will generate some some order vibration like a 4 cylinder. Perhaps can get by with two coils instead of three. Dumb idea in my opinion.

    • It was my first adv bike. The 900 would be easier to learn on. The standard Honda AT is probably the easiest full size adv bike to start on.

  8. Dammit. I have a 2016 XCA. I love it to death. Put a lot of goodies on it. I have the offroad tune on it and it runs well, but always wished for a little more power. Do you know if the alum. Triumph boxes from the 2016 can be used?

    • understood it from my dealership that yes, they are the same. still made by givi.
      /Mike ( currently on a 900 rally pro )

  9. This is hands down the most accurate review i’ve read on it. and it made me go buy one. Too bad revzilla dropped their video version already tho, sitting back with an adult beverage ( preferably whiskey ) and watch someone rip it and talk about it is always more enjoyable than the read. Cheers

    • Thanks Mike, i enjoy videos too they just take time. Even this article took some extra time to edit but it was worth the extra work. Appreciate you dropping a comment here and I see you ripping yours.

  10. great review between the two. I was set on the 790 as I am breaking my 1190 just to much. Your review is swaying me a bit… question between the 900 and 790,,,

    if you were to do a long weekend full of very technical riding (Lesotho), much like some of the riding you guys did on that rally with the 1200 scrambler (good riding there) but x10, which would you choose?

    • Times 10!!! I’d be on a ktm 690 or 350 excf. So for instance if I needed a dirt bike I’d go 350 over 500 unless it’s all open desert, 690 if I had to do miles. If i was doing something like 2x even it would be the 690. If i had to have a multi cylinder adv bike in that 2x scenario it would be a scrambler 1200xe because it’s so easy to see around with out the fairing. After that it’s personal preference between the 790 or the 900. I’d go tiger 900 rally pro every time due it’s engine and rock solid reliability in the 800 version. But the 18 inch rear rim of the 790 affords much more aggressive tire options but at the end of the day they’re both so similar in soze and weight that they’ll all be a handful. Hope this helps.

  11. Hi Steve,
    Really liked your article but It confirmed my worst fears, I just got last year a 2019 Tiger 800 xca and I’m torn with decision to trade it in for the new 900,It’s gonna cost me for sure…
    What u think I should do, my heart say go for it but my wallet and my wife says other wise 🙂

    • Do not ride a 900 rally pro unless you are ready to buy a rally pro. That being said the 19 800 is a fantastic bike and the upgrade would be good but not exactly life changing. I know this doesn’t help. So just don’t rode a rally pro unless you can buy one with the wifes permission

      • Great review and have a question. I’m a shorter rider (28-29 inch inseam) and the GT might be a better fit for me. How do you think the cast wheels would hold up on fire roads with decently deep potholes and some rocks. Do I need the Rally for that sort of riding? If so, any concerns about lowering it? Thanks

    • You could check my reply in this comment section to Seth’s question. Anything else hit me up and I’ll get back to you

  12. thanks for reply! if I can pick your brain some more…

    with regards to the 790 vs 900 for technical riding. which would be the least tiring? if you were doing multiple days of barely seeing 3rd gear, which bike would leave you the least tired after 3 full days of riding (and swearing)?

    • That’s really gonna come down to skill level, after talking with friends though who have more experience on the 790r than me but have riden the tiger and the 790. The 790 is going to be the winner here but for me personally I just bought a Tiger 900 rally pro and either bike will do the same things for me. Just wish the tiger had an 18 inch rear tiger. So if tire choice becomes the deciding factor the 790 would also win out.

  13. Hi Steve! Loved your review of the new Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro. I’ve been riding dual sports for about 12 years now. Started on a Yamaha WR250R and have ridden the past 6 years on a Honda XR650L. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah and do a fair amount of off road riding. I’ve loved my Honda on the dirt, but it’s always disappointed me on paved roads, especially the interstate with a top speed of about 75mph. I’m 6’3” and 200lbs. I want a stronger, faster bike, but I’m a bit intimidated too, especially as bike weight is a concern (I tend to drop bikes off-roading). Trying to choose between the BMW F 850 GS Adventure and the Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro? Any thoughts? Recommendations? Any other bikes I should consider?

    • Hey Seth, so make sure to check adv pulse’s youtube and watch the video review too. I specifically compared it to the F850 at the end. Thing is most people feel the f850 is too heavy and very much disagree with that when comparing it to other offroad bikes for beginners. The f850 feels easier to ride and like it has a lower CG than most and the size of it makes it less intimidating. You can also lose about 20 pounds with a full exhaust system and decat on that bike. But the F850 is expensive and not as premium as the Tiger Rally Pro. Infact I just bought one for my self yesterday. Like paid for it. Not a special deal either. I have a review of the F850gs on adv pulse and on my personal YouTube channel as well as a unconventional review of the F850gs at the sand blast rally in 2019. This year I raced my personal scrambler 1200xe at the sand blast rally and with really good tires it preformed much better than the F850 but again as a beginner bike the F850 is pretty great but on the Road the 900 is much better and the suspension package and brakes on the tiger make it a clear winner. Not to mention the quick shifter on the tiger and the transmission is way better too. So your dilemma lies in picking the right bike for you which might be the Tiger 900 for highway and easy adv riding and keeping a good dual sport in the garage. Hope this helps.

  14. Great review, thanks. Glad you mentioned the rake thing, I would have never known. Looking back at specs now, I’m used to bikes with 26-28 rake off road. Little worried about the 26 rake on the new Tiger.

    How different feeling/sounding is the new engine versus other Triumph triples like the Tiger 1200, Speed Triple, etc.? Is it as clanky as a twin or does it still retain that smooth triple character?

    Also, you mentioned talking to some friends about the 790 R that seemed to sway you and made you feel it was noticeably better in the dirt than the 900 Rally Pro? Is that the case? If so, what comparisons did they share?

    I have a 790 R now and love how small and light it feels with the low slung tank, but really dislike the rough KTM twin motor character and gearbox. The stock suspension on the 790 R is also pretty abusive in stock settings. Having a smooth Triumph triple and more forgiving suspension sounds nice, but not if I lose significant dirt handling and nimbleness.

    Also, I’m guessing the Rally Pro is around 490 lbs wet versus the 790 R’s ~470 lbs?

    • The rake angle on the tiger 900 is listed at 24.4 not 26, and yeah that could be an issue. I own a tiger 1200 and am looking to downsize to a lighter bike for off-road. FWIW I text drove the new 900 yesterday and unfortunately it didn’t blow me away. It’s sounds great but I’m not sure there’s enough weather protection. The power of the new motor didn’t floor me either. I gotta say I’m having an issue with the pricetag on the bike, and since it’s new the dealers are right at MSRP. Although it’s heavier, I find myself considering the Africa Twin now. Rake angle is like 28 and it’s supposed to be good off road.
      I suggest you go ride the new tiger 900 for yourself.

  15. I’m trying. Been itching for the local dealer to prep one to ride.

    I also have the Tiger 1200 and love it. Due to its size, its strictly a pavement bike for me. Can you give your thoughts on the differences in the engines between the Tiger 1200 and Tiger 900? My love of the Triumph triple is what is pushing me to look at the Tiger 900 Rally Pro as an off pavement bike.

    On another note, have you considered the 790 R? That thing feels like a 450 in the dirt. I used to own a 2016 Africa Twin and it felt massive compared to my 790 R.

  16. I would really like to know what kind of backpack he is wearing in the first shots of the video review? Does somebody it looks great!

    Really good review…thanks! 🙂

  17. I realize they added the white accents to make it look like a dirt bike but…. Matte Khaki Green brings me from 6 to Midnight errrtime I see it. The Matte Khaki Green Scrambler has had me drooling since high school and I wish they would have doused the rally pro inMKG instead of adding this white. At least made it gunmetal grey or silver if they had to go two-toned! I’m in betwixt the 900, Tenere 700, and to a lesser extent an F850gs. To be honest, (and this might sound ridiculous to some) but if the Rally Pro peaked at $14k and didn’t cause me to shell out extra $$$ to have that white removed then I’d probably be riding one right now and not be on the internet. Conversely, if the T700 looked a little less like a villain’s bike from a James Bond film and a little more like the Tiger 900 (presumably Bond’s actual bike) then I wouldn’t blink twice #Live&LetRide #TheBikeWithTheGoldenShocks. Seriously though…. Steve do you have any experience on the Yamaha T700? I would say thanks for the great review, but all it has seemed to do is convince me to spend more money. I had a hunch that once these big bore riders got tired of being ridiculed and accused of big-dicking, they would all trade down for these mid sized rides and then the price would jump. I mean obviously you don’t have to be Nostradamus to have called that because everyone on youtube worth their salt has been saying for years that the “mid-weight” adv bikes are the “real” adventure bikes and the clock has been ticking ever since. I just hope the price doesn’t get out of hand with the new trend. I realize these bikes are packed full of new tech, but tech constantly gets cheaper. The same guys that only occasionally ride a dirt road or bdr with their 1200GS are probably not going to magically turn into single-track wizards once they drop some lbs. and lose a couple 100cc’s of displacement.There is nothing wrong with that and it is totally fine. I’m not knocking them for that, I’m just not necessarily ecstatic about having to pay extra$$$ for their choices. I could end this by saying “the more people off road the better” but thats just simply not true. If that were the case then trails would be overly crowded, nature would be ruined, adv would be even more expensive than they are now, and a lot of people here would be indulging in asphalt safaris. Always Respect and Conserve Nature!

  18. Hi Steve, great review! How do you think the suspension compares to the other adventure bikes you’ve ridden for comfort? You give it a pretty good rap however I am looking for the most compliant and comfortable suspension I can find on my next adventure bike (old injuries are catching up to me) so be interested to see what you think the most comfortable bike would be. Prefer that it still wheelies and carries on like a teenager too though if possible.

  19. Every review I’ve read on the Rally Pro has the reviewer stalling the bike one or more times. Whats the deal with that? Is this bike more stall prone?

    • The older 800s were. The 900 is much better at staying on. Slipper/ assist clutch and firing order help with that

  20. Thanks for all the info. Based in part on this, I sold my 790 R and picked up a Tiger 900 Rally Pro today.

  21. On road, its really no comparison. The Tiger 900 Rally Pro is essentially better in every way. I’ll need to get some 50/50 tires on it before I can really compare the Tiger off road.

  22. I have a 2010 Concours and a 2016 800 xca. I love them both, but tring to find that one bike that will fill the adv bike and my 2500 mile sport tourer bike needs. Do you think the 900 is the bike? Seems like the 800 comes close for me.

    • If money is a concern keep the 800. If it’s not the 900 with a bigget windshield could be your do all bike

  23. How bothersome are the vibes at cruising and higher speeds? Enough to irritate after an hour or so? Would you consider alternatives because of the vibes?

  24. I don’t feel the same way as Steve on this one. I’ve got a little over 500 miles on my Rally Pro now and one of my main, albeit minor, complaints of my Tiger 900 Rally Pro is the vibration in the handlebars after a certain RPM. It starts somewhere around 6,000+ RPM. Go to the 19 minute mark of the Bennett’s 2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Review on YouTube. He talks about it at length.

    I also have had a Triumph Speed Triple, Street Triple and currently also have a Tiger 1200 and none of those Triumph triple motors had this handlebar vibration issue. I also own a Yamaha Tracer 900 GT which is considered by many to be a rougher running triple engine than the Triumphs and even it has less vibration in the handlebars than this Rally Pro. Granted, the Tracer seems to vibrate more in the pegs than the Rally Pro, but for some reason, vibration in the pegs aren’t as noticeable to me.

    I took the Rally Pro out this past Sunday for a 320 mile ride chasing a Ducati Multistrada 1260 S with a 64 hp advantage, which meant I was running the RP pretty hard to stay on his tail. There were a number of times on the ride where I was really pushing hard and thought, “Wow, these handlebar vibrations are very noticeable,” but that was about where it ended for me. It wasn’t like I had to cut the ride short or anything, I just noticed it.

    I get that everyone perceives vibration differently. For example, I don’t really like the vibrations that a KTM twin or BMW Boxer motor puts off, but the way that the Rally Pro vibrates is noticeable, but not that bothersome to me. I did call my dealer and ask about bar end weights and such to see if it was possible to suppress these vibrations and will use them if it is possible. But if it turns out that there is nothing that can be done about it, I will continue to own, ride and enjoy this bike as it is a really cool bike and gets a lot of things right, imo.

    Another side note, if you never really push the bike hard or actively short shift it, you’ll never run into the issue. When I’m not our chasing 158hp bikes on the Rally Pro, I typically don’t notice the vibration. I instinctively shift before the vibes come. It’s only when you run it like a race bike that the vibrations show up.

    • Very cool comments! Which would you prefer in agressive riding through twisties: Tiger 1200 or 900 rally pro? 21″ front vs muuuuch more weight?

    • Amazing you didn’t follow the break in period on your new bike. Wringing it out above 6,000 RPM with only 500 miles on it seems like a bad move.

  25. Hi Steve,

    Was searching YouTube for 20 AT and the new T900RP content, and found your videos. That lead me here.
    Pretty great stuff! (videos and written content). Thanks for posting them.
    I’m seriously considering purchase of one of these new bikes.

    Would you feel comfortable trail braking under throttle on fast rough downhills (over off road water bars, etc.) with either of the T900 RP or the ’20 AT?

    Are the brakes powerful enough for this technique without overheating?
    Do they give you warning before fading, or boiling off the rear tire? lol

    Thanks for the input.

      • Pull the fort tubes through a bit like flush with the triples and it will improve the feel in sand and mud

      • Steve – Late to the party, but I was hoping you could help guide me towards a choice. I have an 1190R that I love on the road, but once I get off road (even with some classes under my belt) the top heaviness of the bike just intimidates me so much. I can’t really flat foot the 1190, but I’m not tiptoeing either. I’m 6’, 33” inseam. I can handle myself on road, but off road, I’d really like something that’s forgiving and confidence building. A lot of my off roading is going on a forest road, but then seeing a spur road that I would love to explore, but don’t for fear of getting stuck/ not being able to turn the bike around etc. Additionally, any dirt road that I get to requires at least 1.5-2 hours on the freeway.

        I’ve decided to cross shop the following: used 2017/2018 GS1200, 790S and the Tiger 900 Rally. What would you recommend for a beginner level off road rider, but advanced level on road rider? I got to sit on a 790S and was able to flatfoot it with the seat in the low setting. I can flatfoot a GS1200 also. Haven’t had the chance to sit on a 900 Rally yet.

  26. Not Steve, but have owned the 790 R and now own the Rally Pro.

    The 790 R is the easier of the two to ride off road, by just a little.

    The Rally Pro is the better all around bike by a larger margin.

    • Thanks. I was trying to post this as a separate question/ comment.

      As far as the 790 models, I’m definitely looking at just the 790S – not the R. The extra suspension travel on the R would make the bike too tall for me and I’d be right back where I started.

      That said, would you say the Rally Pro or the 790 is less intimidating off road?

  27. Steve – Not sure how this posted as a response to some one else.

    Late to the party, but I was hoping you could help guide me towards a choice. I have an 1190R that I love on the road, but once I get off road (even with some classes under my belt) the top heaviness of the bike just intimidates me so much. I can’t really flat foot the 1190, but I’m not tiptoeing either. I’m 6’, 33” inseam. I can handle myself on road, but off road, I’d really like something that’s forgiving and confidence building. A lot of my off roading is going on a forest road, but then seeing a spur road that I would love to explore, but don’t for fear of getting stuck/ not being able to turn the bike around etc. Additionally, any dirt road that I get to requires at least 1.5-2 hours on the freeway.

    I’ve decided to cross shop the following: used 2017/2018 GS1200, 790S and the Tiger 900 Rally. What would you recommend for a beginner level off road rider, but advanced level on road rider? I got to sit on a 790S and was able to flatfoot it with the seat in the low setting. I can flatfoot a GS1200 also. Haven’t had the chance to sit on a 900 Rally yet.

    • I would suggest explaining this scenario to all your local dealers and test riding all of them maybe a 1250 if you can. If you can’t. The Tiger 900 is the best street option. I just picked mine up yesterday. Bought it. So that really puts my money where my mouth is.

      • Thanks Steve. I’m hoping to get on the 900 Rally Pro tomorrow to see how it feels. Any thoughts on how top heavy the 900 feels compared to the 790?

          • Just in case you were losing sleep over my choice, I test rode the Rally Pro and a 790 Standard. I really liked the Triumph – the engine is an absolute gem. Everything that the eyes saw and the hands touched has a quality feel to it. That said, I could feel the slight top heaviness of the bike even at a stand still.

            I then rode the 790 Standard and couldn’t get over how light it felt – nimble, agile, easy kept popping up in my head. And for whatever reason, the “Ready to Race” DNA of KTM really resonates with me.

            And when I found a lightly used 2020 790R with all the factory bells and whistles (cruise control, heated grips, QS+, rally footpegs, Scotts damper + BRP mount) for a couple hundred less than MSRP of a new 790R, I couldn’t pass it up. I’m still getting the bike to 600 miles for it’s first service, so I haven’t really opened her up yet, but I can already tell that the bike is quite “playful.”

            Thank you (and Jarrett if you’re reading this) for your feedback.

  28. I haven’t ridden the non-R 790 in the dirt, only the R model.

    That low slung gas tank on the 790 models makes them feel much smaller and lighter than they are, which really inspires confidence in a new dirt rider. Kinda feels like a 450 dirt bike or something. The R suspension is pretty abusive feeling off road though, not sure about the non-R suspension.

    The Rally Pro is a little more intimidating initially to ride off road just because it appears larger when you look down at it, but once I got used to riding it in the dirt (about 75 miles) I ended up preferring it to the 790 R off road. The Rally Pro is a little more forgiving in the dirt, I think. This is with proper 50/50 tires on it, I mean. The stock tires are a little dangerous in the dirt, imo.

    Just yesterday, we had a group ride in the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas. We came up on a pretty rocky incline. I was riding with KTM 690’s, DRZ 400, 350 EXC, etc. When I saw them struggling with the climb, I was worried, but the Rally Pro just walked right up it. I caught up to the 350 and one of the 690’s on the climb and the 690 stalled in front of me. I tried to get by, but ended up stalled out in the rocks behind him. I thought I was in trouble at that point, but the Rally Pro fired right back up and started clawing its way up the incline. It really impressed me this weekend. I now prefer riding it to my old 790 R off road.

  29. Steve – Have you done any testing of the off-road mode (non-pro)? I’m curious about the level of intervention, like how much it will let you steer with the throttle for example. I’m considering the Rally trim level bike, and that question is my only hangup.

    • Not Steve ,but I’ve been playing with different modes in the dirt. The traction control in the non-offroad modes are too invasive, imo. Even sport bogs me down on a rocky climb. But off road traction control works well. I’ve actually been running on Rider mode with Off Road map, Off Road TC and Road ABS as I feel the ABS works safely for my purposes.

      Side note, if you use Off Road TC in Rider mode, you still have to stop to come out of Rider mode and into Rain, Road or Sport, which is kind of a pain. I wish it would let you change in motion like the 790 R does.

      • Thanks Jarrett. Does the non-pro off-road mode TC allow any rear wheel spin, to step the rear end out under power?

        • Yes. Enough to roost constantly if you want. I havent felt TC engage invasively in regular Off Road mode. But I’m no flat tracker either.

  30. Going to pickup the rally pro this afternoon. The only thing I worry about is the rake. I live in Thailand and ride a lot of mud and sand. Only test ride I did was on the road.

    • Stock tires, front end was all over the place in even the easiest amount of dirt. But once I went to more aggressive tread, in this case the Anakee Wilds front and back, the bike got much more stable in loose Terrain. I’ve had it and everything but sand at this point and it was fine.

  31. tks for your reply Jarrett. My concern is the corner entrance. Just sold my GS850 and it was perfect after leaning and during reacceleration, but “difficult” to enter when compared to my friend’s GS1200. I also had to avoid trail braking due to the diving effect. How about the tiger? Regards

  32. Hi Steve

    So I own a tiger 800 xca 2016 model and looking to change to either 900 rally pro or GS 1250 R.. test rode both the bikes yesterday on a highway and in the city.. under pouring rain and sunny dry patches and some broken countryside roads.. eventually my riding would be 90 percent roads (good and bad) and 10 percent Offroad for fun sometimes only.. and honestly I can’t put a finger on which of the two to buy.. I am more confused after the test ride.. they both are so good.. but a couple of points I am thinking on.. since I have no choice but to choose one of the two (wish I could buy both ).. anyways ( also.. I am not a pro rider.. more like a layman who enjoys riding in a very laid back manner )
    Sitting position on 1250 is perfect but boring.. tiger slightly aggressive and more ready for fun.. BMW i was sitting ON the bike.. Tiger felt like I am IN the bike..
    Indian roads are not so smooth everywhere.. so while BMW was fine.. tiger was more springy and bouncier but would just glide over all undulations.. on bimmer I could feel the broken roads beneath.. loved the jumpiness of tiger
    BMW would reach 140kmph speed and I won’t even realise.. it’s a rocket.. but tiger’s take off is peppier.. and u want to keep doing it again and again..
    curves and twisties bimmer felt like it leans and turns on its own.. effortless.. like rider has to just sit and enjoy the scenery.. Tiger compels you to engage with the bike and make things happen but in a way that you enjoy doing those things without getting scared at all (on 800 I would never feel so confident)

    Now I rode 900 for 200kms and bimmer for a 100kms so these observations are basis that.
    The reason I am super confused is coz while I enjoy short weekend rides of 150-200 kms.. I also love touring where I would do at least 600 to 700 kms in a day..
    I know I would be more comfortable on the 1250 but also I found 900 more thrilling.. so after 1000 kms in a day on the bimmer I would still be standing comfortably alright but may not have a great recall of the journey.. on the Tiger I might be exhausted after 1000 kms in a day ride but I am sure I would have had more moments to smile.. and I don’t know which of the two things is better.. may be I will get used to BMW and start enjoying more.. and may be I would get tired of the tiger and want the comfort of GS after a few rides..
    U can see how screwed I am in my head right now and just don’t know where to put my money


    • Sounds like emotionally you want the tiger 900, me, id keep the 800xca and spend some money on adventures before upgrading from the 800 to the 900. But if i had to choose it would be the Tiger 900. The GS is to expensive and just a huge motorcycle.

  33. Steve,

    Great review. I am just breaking into the ADV scene. I recently moved to Tucson, AZ and am looking for the right bike to utilize for desert riding and daily commuting. I don’t anticipate any long distance touring. My abilities off road are limited currently but intend on dedicating a lot of time to riding in the dirt and getting into more technical riding. I am brutally torn between the new Tiger 900 RP and the Scrambler 1200xe. As an owner of both, any recommendations or advice. Thanks in advance!

    • Man, it’s a tuff call but the tiger 900 will do more of everything and is really really well laid out and the quality is top notch. Can you ride both for a demo?

      • Thanks for the quick reply, Steve. The dealer here in Tucson doesn’t currently have any Rally Pros in stock. I plan on taking the Scrambler out for a demo sometime next week. From how keen you clearly are on the Tiger, I may hold off a bit until I can take a trip to Phoenix and ride them both back to back. They do have a base Rally here at my dealer (I believe it’s the one you went to for the Triumph immersion event). Is the base Rally close enough to the Rally Pro to at least get a feel on whether the Tiger or the Scrambler would fit my wants/needs better? I know they will ship a RP here from a sister dealership if I was ready to pull the trigger. Thanks again in advance!

        • The rally pro has some rider modes that the rally doesn’t but other than that you’ll get the full feel for the rally pro minus the ability to shut down traction control fully and some things. Definitely worth getting the RP but just ride the regular and decide from that or the scrambler. Try not to get super caught up in the cool feeling of the scrambler.

          • Right on, I will go ahead and take the Rally and Scrambler out next week and decide from there. I have sat on the Scrambler on the showroom floor and you hit the nail on the head… you can help but not fall for the badass-ry factor of that bike lol automatic +2 cool points. But as you said, I’m doing my best to look past that and towards functionality. Thanks again for your response and advise. Take care and be safe!

  34. Hey Steve,

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a thorough review. Massively helpful.

    I’m about to move out of Brooklyn, an hour North, and plan to commute in a few days a week when there isn’t ice on the ground. I’m pretty green, I’ve only got about 4k miles under my belt on a Thruxton 900 but have been looking for something safer in all conditions and comfier for the longer ride in. I also have aspirations of doing the BDR and other mixed surface trips, I have zero off-road experience, though am doing a course in VT next September.

    My question is, given my primary purpose is going to be to have this as a commuter and my lack of experience in the dirt, would I be better served getting something cheaper and more road focuses (BMW f900xr or so) and then getting a second cheaper dirt bike, or do you feel this is something someone could grow into on dirt? I had been looking at the T7 as an alt but am concerned about height and comfort for the road bits and felt this was almost a perfect all rounder. Would love you thoughts.


    • Mmm tough choice. If I could only have one bike it would be the tiger 900rp but my buddy has a t7 and loves it for commuting. It will be a little easier to handle and might be the best choice.

  35. Thanks for such a prompt reply. Yeah, it’s a tough one. I’m going to go ride them in the spring and see what feels right. Thanks again.

  36. Hi Steve: Thanks for a great review. I test ridden the Tiger 800 a few years ago, and living in Tucson, AZ, I was put off by the amount of heat on the riders legs. This idea was also mentioned in most honest reviews of the 800. In your opinion, has this problem been addressed adequately on the 900RP? Getting much, if any, heat dumped on your lower half?

  37. Hi! I have same question with no unswear as Mitch,

    Mitch on May 18, 2020 at 7:59 pm said:

    Great review and have a question. I’m a shorter rider (28-29 inch inseam) and the GT might be a better fit for me. How do you think the cast wheels would hold up on fire roads with decently deep potholes and some rocks. Do I need the Rally for that sort of riding? If so, any concerns about lowering it? Thanks
    Reply ↓


    • Hi Paul. The cast wheels will be fine but I’d stay away from continental tkc80s and get Michelin tires as they have a much stronger side wall. Otherwise I’ve put 25k hard offroad miles on a tiger roadie and never had an issue until speeds got really really fast

  38. Great review! With regard to your comment about the front wheel’s durability. I did just bend it and am being told by two shops now it can’t be fixed. Do you have any recommendations for an upgraded wheel? I’d rather not buy the stock one again and have the same problem.

  39. I Felt the same. Not good rake. Steering could be wider. Inside city on hot days, Dam!!!! Lol !!!!! My legs burning !!! Brakes are good.
    Suspension !? Please, WP. Showa is just cheap. Tiger 800 suuuuper soft.
    Engine is amazing.Tires Battlax ! Please …. Scorpion on It.

  40. I’ve put a deposit down for a 2023 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro, which won’t be delivered until Nov 22. It will have a new color called sandstone. Still keeping my DR650SE and DR350S. This will be my first ride with more than one cylinder on the second one without a kickstarter.

  41. Great review, I am trying to decide on a middleweight ADV bike. I previously owned a F650 GS Dakar that I loved. I am planning a run down the Baja (bucket list) though I am not an accomplished dirt rider and would appreciate your opinion. My choices are the Norden, the Tiger 900 and the 850gs. I am an 80/20 rider which bike would you recommend?

  42. Thanks Rick, you know maybe keeping the Dakar 650 for Baja actually isn’t a bad idea and getting a tiger 850gt for street and gravel. Under 13k bucks. Hell of a great bike. Otherwise if I was going to go with 1 bike….. you should go tiger 900rp or Ducati Desert x. The Norden just doesn’t excit me.

  43. Steve, Thank you for your review. I just put a deposit on a 900 Rally Pro and am looking forward to going places by Bonneville T120 won’t (or shouldn’t) take me.

  44. Thanks Steve, awesome coverage on the Triumph 900 rally pro.
    I just purchased the bike late summer and we just completed a trip from Vancouver Island down the Oregon coast, back road routes to Reno down to Vegas and back to Vancouver Island…roughly 6000km.
    We encountered extreme temperatures, dust, dirt and fog, freezing temperatures on the way home high elevations in Oregon.
    The bike performed like a rockstar can’t wait to rip it up on Vancouver Island.

    I did have a question, is wondering if you knew the dual fans on the rads if they kick on automatically with a heat sensor I never did hear them running and if they do they’re very quiet.

    I noticed if there was a display on the dash that showed a fan so you didn’t know when they come on.

    Either way Steve thanks again awesome review safe riding buddy

    Dan Harvey
    Vancouver Island Canada


New Film: Extreme Adventure In Mongolia On Norden 901 Expedition

In recent years we’ve been gifted with a slew of exciting, inspirational vi...

Baja Bound: First Ride On Our Rescued KTM 990 Adventure

I’m supposed to be writing an adventure story and bike review, but all I can ...

BDCW's Husqvarna Norden 901 Build: Ready For The Back of Beyond

With the release of the Husqvarna Norden 901 roughly a year ago, the mi...