First Look: 2011 Triumph Twin Tigers

Triumph reveals two all-new adventure-tourers

Adventure-bike manufacturers traditionally have aimed for some elusive, all-around ideal that inevitably results in a motorcycle with compromised performance both on- and off-road. Triumph hopes to avoid this trap by offering its new Tiger 800 enduro in two distinct versions, leaving you to choose the one that best suits your purposes. The standard Tiger is intended primarily for street riding, with cast 19-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels fitted with road-biased rubber. The Tiger XC is equipped for off-road exploring with stronger spoked wheels-the front 21 inches diameter-and more protective bodywork that incorporates hand guards, fork guards and a distinctive fender beak. The engine and frame will be identical on both bikes.

The Tiger bears more than a passing resemblance to BMW's F800GS, but with an anticipated 105 bhp and a 440-lb. curb weight it should easily outperform the Beemer. The 800cc inline-triple is based on the British firm's proven 675cc powerplant, with a longer-stroke crank providing the displacement increase. Specifications were scarce at press time, but there are apparently enough differences between the two engines that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has classified the 800 as a new engine family for homologation purposes. The 800cc triple's power profile should be a perfect match for the Tiger's intended use, with a smoother, snappier character than a similarly sized twin and more personality than a small-bore four.

The tubular-steel chassis is built for strength, and the exposed rear subframe appears capable of carrying serious loads, with plenty of room for optional hard luggage and roomy passenger accommodations. An upright, Dakar-style windscreen hovering over the dual headlights will block a bit of wind, with larger options immediately available from Triumph. Indeed, there will be an extensive line of accessories, including performance parts, enhanced engine protection and everything imaginable to expand touring comfort and range.

Triumph has been on a tear lately, releasing exciting models and expanding into new categories at a pace unmatched by any other OEM. This pair of Tigers continues this effort, and looks almost certain to increase the firm's market share and lure even more buyers to the British brand.

Bird-beak front fender, hand guards and other dirtbike styling cues distinguish the Tiger XC. A 21-inch front wheel allows a wide choice of knobby tire options for increased off-road capability.