5 Reasons We Can’t Wait To Ride The 2020 Triumph Tiger 900

An all-new Tiger means there are new reasons to get excited.

2020 Triumph Tiger GT Pro
2020 Triumph Tiger GT Pro and Rally Pro. Pricing for the Pro models has not yet been announced, but the base-model Tiger 900 is $12,500, only $500 more than the 2019 Tiger 800.Triumph

We love riding every new motorcycle, but we get especially pumped about bikes that have undergone a from-the-ground-up reboot. After scoping out the 2020 Tiger 900 at its US unveiling at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis, I’m already polishing my helmet visor and rummaging through my closet to find my old Triumph T-shirt in anticipation of taking a spin on it. The Tiger 800 had that end-of-life-cycle sense of refinement that made it incredibly flattering to distinctly average riders like me, but the Tiger 900 is lighter, more powerful, and higher-tech than its predecessor, which is promising indeed. You can understand my eagerness (“Put me in, coach!”).

Here are five reasons why I’ve been dreaming of Lawrence-esque adventures aboard a 21st century Boanerges. And rest assured, although Triumph plied us with free Budweiser throughout the day, my objectivity was not impaired.

New “T-Plane” Engine

T-plane engine
T-plane triple engine.Triumph

Triumph’s three-cylinder platform is beloved for its throaty soundtrack and über-linear powerband. However, it can’t match the low-end grunt delivered by two cylinders. For 2020, Triumph developed a new motor with what it’s calling a T-plane triple crank—triples are naturally crossplane (that is, their crankpins are offset by 120 degrees). The T-plane crank has an irregular 1-3-2 firing order in which the first cylinder fires, followed 180 degrees later by the third cylinder; 270 degrees later the second cylinder fires, followed 270 degrees later by the first; ad continuum. Triumph claims the design gives a twin-like engine character in the bottom-end of the rev range.

Lighter Package

900 Rally Pro
The 2020 frame is visually different than the previous model. The new detachable subframe makes up a minimalist tailsection. Note: heated seat button and charging socket beneath seat. There’s a cellphone charging port and dustproof enclosure under the rear seat.Triumph

In spite of its 88cc displacement hike and concession to Euro 5 standards, Triumph was able to build a lighter Tiger. Depending on the model, the Tiger 900 is around 16 pounds lighter than its predecessor, thanks in large part to a lighter frame with bolt-on aluminum subframe. According to Triumph, the frame moves the engine down and forward to improve handling.

Further Distinction Between Each Model

900 GT
The Tiger 900 GT.Triumph

The 900 model range is divided between the off-road-focused Rally models and street-oriented GT models. Getting rid of the old XC/XR designation simplifies things for consumers, but it also signifies further differentiation between the two subcategories—the Rally models are more off-road-ready than ever, which in turn allows the GT models to have fewer sacrifices in terms of streetability. Amid a myriad of differences (ride modes, seating positions, etc.), the most visible are the wheels and suspension. Rally models get 21-inch spoked fronts and Showa suspension with 9.4 inches of travel up front and 9 inches of travel in the rear. The GT models have 19-inch cast wheels up front and Marzocchi suspension with 7 inches of travel in the front and 6.7 inches in the rear.

Up-Spec Components

Brembo Stylema calipers.Triumph

Triumph was very generous to endow the Tiger 900 with up-spec components. Every bike in the range, including the $12,500 base model, features Brembo Stylema brake calipers and stainless steel braided brake lines. You’ll find Stylemas on flagship European superbikes (frequently without braided lines, ahem) that cost more than twice as much as the Tiger. If Triumph can give riders the good stuff at a reasonable price, why can’t other manufacturers? The Tiger 900 also has a huge 7-inch TFT dash (on all but the base model), Continental six-axis IMU, magnesium engine covers, heated grips and seat, and full LED lighting. When you buy a Triumph, you get a lot for your money.

Its Cool Looks

Tiger 900

In addition to top-shelf parts, the Tiger 900 has industry-leading fit and finish. There’s barely any plastic on the thing. Brushed aluminum radiator shrouds and headlight surrounds look super rugged and frankly make much of the competition appear a little cheap in comparison. Even the removable passenger pegs are beautifully finished, unlike the throwaway pieces found on many other bikes that are painted just to disguise the welding slag. Every part on a Triumph seems _designed_, suggesting a depth of intentionality that goes beyond performance and reliability. Triumph puts the extra effort into making its machines look and feel a bit more special. It’s a testament to the company’s overall pursuit of excellence. Note: I received no monetary remuneration for my favorable comments above. Unless you count the free beer. But then, that was only Budweiser.