In January 2007 I test rode the new Tiger 1050 demonstrator.
My initial impressions compared with my Tiger 955i:-
The Tiger 1050 felt so light compared with my Tiger 955i, both when wheeling it around and riding it. The new Tiger is slimmer as well, the C of G is
much lower. The engine is very revy and the Tiger 1050 is quick. Top gear roll ons are impressively fast. There is less flywheel so riding in town is a
little jerky. I had wheel spin twice accelerating hard on damp roads were my 955i would not have spun the BT020. The front brake is awesome, clearly
a whole generation better with floating disks and radial callipers. The seat is wide and comfy, a bit hard after my gel seat. I could just about get my heels
down, about the same as my lowered 955i. This bike is clearly more Supermoto than Traillie, you tend to sit on it, not in it. The suspension is firmer and
the steering is quicker. You could go into a corner way too fast and worry less about getting round than my 2003 Tiger (Both bikes would probably still
make it, less drama on the new one). The screen is OK. It will tour and I would have no problem riding to the South of France and back with a few Trails
on the way. I found the instruments are harder to read as they are well below the sight line. Keeping to a steady 30 or 40 mph is not easy with such a
frisky engine. I like the MPG option, max speed etc but I dislike not having an analogue Speedo.
Overall I really liked the new Tiger so I upgraded to one. For a shorter rider like me this new bike is much more manageable. I rode my 2003 Tiger 955i
immediately afterwards and it was still a great bike. The engine is smoother and it soaks up bumps better. The steering is slower and the old Tiger felt
really stable and planted (which I like). I did not feel in any way disappointed or let down to be on my old Tiger. These bikes are so different I would
own both if I had the cash.
I also test rode a KTM 990 Adventure the same week as it is the only bike I would have considered buying in place of the Tiger. I've owned three KTM
300 EXC Enduro bikes and I loved them to bits. The 990 offers good handling, brakes, gearbox etc and of course cool Adventure looks. The latest
990's have a much lower seat height. I could get my heals down easily. I liked the V-Twin under acceleration however the engine must have a very
short stroke as it revs to 9,500! The complete lack of flywheel and poor low speed fuelling were it's biggest let down. I stalled it twice. At 30, 40, 50 or
even 60 mph on a steady throttle it rides like a bad tempered RD350 2 stroke. On-off-on-off-on-on-on-off-off-off-on-on etc..... Cruising round back
country lanes is not particularly pleasant unless you gas it all the time. It was relief to get back on my 955i. The Triumph Triple engine is so sweet and
so sophisticated by comparison. The Adventure is better than a BMW 1200GS but not as good as my Tiger. I would much prefer the Tiger to own and
ride. The KTM Suspension is better off road but the engine fuelling is dreadful.
I have had no trouble keeping up with the early Adventures off road, in fact it is the other way round. First a KTM Rider has to stop the engine and go
through a 30 second re-start routine that eliminates the Anti-Lock brakes. Then they inevitably stall at some point, re-start and nearly crash on the next
downhill bend as the ABS has re-engaged automatically. So they stop the engine (again) and re-start it with the ABS disabled. By this time I've arrived
at the end of the trail on the Tiger and I've been waiting over 2 minutes. To be fair a similar rider on a KTM Adventure without ABS will just leave the
Tiger 1050 for dead off-road.
My first roadtest of the Tiger 1050 + KTM 990 Adventure in 2007
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