If imitation is a measure of flattery then Triumph's new Tiger 800XC is a rolling tribute to BMW's F800GS. But what happens if the imitator surpasses the imitated? Does adulation become insult?
We're not implying that Triumph is a vindictive company out to "get" another OEM, but with the introduction of the Tiger 800XC, it's obvious Triumph is attempting to kick dirt in the face of its German rival. To defeat the GS at its own game is a tall order for Triumph, especially considering the Tiger's nearly non-existent reputation for off-road performance.
With BMW's mid-displacement adventure-touring F800GS in production since 2008, and winner of our 2009 and 2010 awards for Best On/Off-Road Motorcycle, Triumph has had plenty of time to analyze and strengthen its weaknesses in a model of its own. At first glance the only upgrade Triumph managed to impose was the addition of a third cylinder. A few days riding a combination of freeways, twisties and dirt exposed each model's nuances, but the outcome was oftentimes obscured by similarity.
More: 2011 Adventure-Touring Shootout: Triumph Tiger 800XC vs. BMW F800GS [Video]