From the TT to the XC

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My first experience with a Triumph motorcycle was on a Bonneville. Not too terribly exciting given the bike’s ubiquity and longevity, arguably the bike that kept Triumph in business, much like Harley’s Sportster. What made the experience extraordinary were 1) my spouse was pillion, 2) we were on Isle of Man and 3) riding the circuit of the TT the week before the race.

Bucket list living.

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Since selling my previous ride, the KLR 650, I’ve been in one of those bikeless funks, especially since converting to ADV riding. I hit the sites, the ratings, the rankings, the owner forums, thinking all the while I’d go Bavarian, but in my digging around I found that things weren’t all they’re cracked up to be in the Black Forests; that according to riders and reviewers alike, there was something better. A Brit.

A Triumph Tiger 800XC now occupies my garage and is my weekly commuter, 1000 kilometers a week, longitudinally across the State of Utah.

This one a trade-in for an upgrade to Triumph’s flagship dual sport, I was promised it was the best on the lot, that it’s owner was impeccable in his riding and maintenance, all fodder proven false in one afternoon with a 5mm hex wrench and a downloaded vehicle record.

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This 800XC has been down hard, high and low sides, evidenced by a new LH engine cover, terribly touched-up crash bars, a bent and severed at three mounts sump plate, a new RH mirror and windscreen, deep scratches on the RH side of the headlight cluster, dents on both sides of the tank, none of which I noticed during my test ride. It’s like crack, I’m sure, getting back on a bike after so long, even if it’s for a sorting-out, pre-purchase ride. I should sell motorcycles.

With 11890 miles, decent Metzler rubber and a solid throttle response, torque and flickable handling, I was sold.

So, along with the ugly and bad came some good, like a pair of Givi 37L Trekker Outback Panniers and mounts. For the uninitiated, these are state-of-the-art hard case panniers.

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One last farkle is the LeoVince exhaust. It produces a nice motor note without overwhelming. Not sure on performance improvement since I don’t have a baseline with the bike before.

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Despite its checkered past – show me a well-ridden bike without one – I’m satisfied with its performance and can’t wait to rack up the miles in the very State that’s home of the marque’s namesake, the Bonneville.

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