$4000 Streetbike Surgery - Triumph Tiger 1050

Turning Bounce Into Pounce

There I was on the mighty Tiger in a decreasing-radius left-hander, feeling confident and, well, fast. I was just waiting for the sound of something to start scraping. Then I hit a small bump and started bouncing ... and bouncing ... then I bounced some more and started freaking out! By the time I made it to the exit, it hit me: I needed suspension upgrades.

When I bought this adventure-tourer a year ago, this wasn't the sort of "adventure" I had in mind. I actually use the Tiger more like a sport-tourer, or even a sportbike. Aside from commuting and the annual Los Angeles to Laguna Seca road trip, most of my riding is through Southern California's twisty canyons as a weekend warrior.

I haven't completely abandoned touring, however. Prior to the first epiphany, I added quite a few long-distance essentials, starting with Givi's Monokey V46 top case. That's "mono key" as in one key to lock, unlock or remove the case, and 46 as in liters of cargo capacity. I use the top case every day, and it holds everything from a spare pair of gloves and a camera to an overnight bag. Installation of the required rack was very simple with only basic hand tools.

The MRA Vario Touring Screen Windshield is another indispensible addition. Aside from looking cooler than the stock windscreen in smoke or gray, the Vario allows you to adjust airflow via a seven-position spoiler. Adjust away till you get your proper flow on.

I invested in a set of GSG-Moto frame sliders and rear-axle protectors early on, and let's just say they've paid for themselves more than twice. Constructed from heavy-duty steel, aluminum and DuPont Delrin, these bits provide solid, relatively inexpensive protection. Fit and finish are fantastic and installation is simple. My checkbook and I say thanks.

ASV's C5 levers come equipped with click-wheel adjusters that let you position the levers closer or farther from the grips, providing 180 different variations. Choose standard length or 1.25 inches shorter; some riders prefer shorty brake levers, so feel free to mix and match. They come with a 5-year warranty; break one and ASV will fix or replace it.

Now back to my suspension woes. At about 16,000 miles, things got flat-out bouncy no matter which screws I turned in which direction. No more damping. That's when I started scouring the Internet for the best options to firm up the Tiger.

I settled on an Elka 3-way Sportsbike Shock out back, along with a Traxxion Dynamics AK-20 Axxion Cartridge Kit and stiffer, 1.05-kg. springs for the fork. After a brief conversation with reps from each company, I knew I was in good hands. Both inquired about my weight and riding style to help their technicians dial-in the base settings. When two big boxes of suspension components showed up, I "incentivized" (read: plied with beer) Test Fleet Manager Michael Candreia to help me install the new/refurbished bits.

The new suspension feels completely different. Compared to stock, the Elka shock is pure genius both in terms of feel and ease of use. Anything you need to adjust is simply the turn of a knob away-no screwdriver or spanner required. Seriously, you've got hydraulic preload, high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping all within arm's length. You can almost adjust it on the fly.

Traxxion Dynamics did a great job on the fork as well. No more bottoming out over large bumps, excess dive under braking or bouncing through turns-exactly what I was looking for. I never realized how much "English" I was putting on my British bike to get it to go where I wanted!

While Michael was at it, I also had him install a Two Brothers VALE carbon-fiber M-2 slip-on that subtracted 9.5 pounds and added 3.9 rear-wheel horsepower at 9250 rpm. Even with the P1 PowerTip Sound Suppressor in place, the Tiger now emits a sweet growl every time I open the throttle. Pulling out of corners, driven by that smooth power, I know I'm accelerating-64 mph, officer, honest-much quicker with the freer-flowing exhaust.

Tiger lovers, I can't recommend these suspension and exhaust upgrades enough. The mighty Tiger rides on, leaving Ol' Bouncy in her tracks-pun intended.

ASV Inventions
16421 Gothard St. #A
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

C5 Sport Bike Clutch and
Brake Levers $250

Elka Suspension
1585-M, De Coulomb
Boucherville, Quebec
Canada J4B8J7

3-Way Sportsbike Shock with Remote Hydraulic Preload Adjuster $1345

Givi USA
9309 Forsyth Park Dr.
Charlotte NC 28273

V46N Monokey Case $273
Mounting Rack $126

Traxxion Dynamics
261 Rope Mill Pkwy. #3
Woodstock, GA 30188

AK-20 Fork Kit $999.95
Fork Spring Kit $109.95

Twisted Throttle
1080 Kingstown Rd. #1
Peacedale, RI 02879

GSG-Moto Frame Sliders $244.99
GSG-Moto Axle Sliders $69.99
MRA Vario Touring Screen Windshield $149.99

Two Brothers Racing
401 S. Grand Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92705

VALE Slip-on Exhaust System with M-2 Carbon-Fiber Canister $579.98
P1 PowerTip Sound Suppressor $29.98
Total $4178.83

$4000 Streetbike Surgery - Triumph Tiger 1050

GSV-Moto frame and axle sliders protect the pricey British bodywork from the ineptitudes of feckless Tiger pilots with expendable DuPont Delrin. Don't leave home without 'em.
Adjustable ASV C5 levers are much more accommodating to human hands than the stock Triumph bits. Choose standard length or 1.25 inches shorter.
An optional hydraulic adjuster makes dialing in spring preload on the Elka shock painless. Custom-built for the Tiger, it offers high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping.
The Givi Monokey 46 top box provides a safe, detachable home for essential sport-touring or commuting cargo without making the Tiger's tail look big, as saddlebags would do.
Traxxion Dynamics firmed up the flaccid fork with a pair of CNC-machined Axxion cartridges and stiffer springs. Less stiction and improved sealing deliver more accurate damping than before.
The stock mufflers are heavy and restrictive. VALE carbon-fiber slip-ons from Two Brothers Racing are neither, and give the Tiger a much more menacing growl.