2011 Triumph Tiger 800 vs. Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Rider Magazine Road Test

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2011 Triumph Tiger 800 vs. V-Strom 650 ABS Road Test


June 21, 2011

by Kevin Wing

[This  Triumph Tiger 800 vs. Suzuki 650 ABS Road Test Comparison was published in the June 2011 of Rider magazine]

When we tested the V-Strom 650 in 2004, and for years thereafter, Suzuki had the multicylinder adventure touring to itself. Quietly and humbly, the (“V” for its V-twin; strom current or river in German) a loyal following as a great, all-around motorcycle. Such invites company.

For 2009, BMW its lineup by calling its new 800cc adventure model the F 650 GS and rechristening the that previously held name the G 650 GS. The F 650 GS, a bike we haven’t tested but one I’ve ridden in the Alps, is the more street-oriented of the F 800 GS dual-sport that won our Motorcycle of the award in 2009. And for 2011, has introduced two all-new adventure mimicking BMW’s strategy of a street-focused model, the Tiger 800 . and a model, the Tiger 800XC .

We set out to which is better, the long-in-the-tooth V-Strom 650 . which has changed since our 2004 test for the addition of ABS, the newer BMW F 650 GS or the Triumph Tiger 800. BMW wasn’t able to provide us an F 650 GS test unit, boiling it to the Japanese V-twin vs. the British triple.

The Tiger’s mill is based on the Triple 675 but is stroked to 799cc and is 85 new. Power, sound and are close to ideal.

First and the Tiger 800 enjoys a 154cc advantage over the V-Strom which translates to 20-40 more horsepower and torque On Jett Tuning’s Dynojet the Tiger puts 83.9 and 51.2 lb-ft of torque to the wheel vs. 63.5 horsepower and lb-ft of torque for the V-Strom. The greater power was clearly as it pulled away from the during side-by-side roll-ons and every corner exit.

by a delightfully unique triple note, the Tiger is hands-down exciting to accelerate. But that comes at a price. Weighing 8 pounds less than the of which is accounted for by its 0.8-gallon-lower capacity—the mightier Tiger fuel more rapidly. It 38.4 mpg vs.

45.9 mpg for the V-Strom.

from the SV650 grin the V-Strom’s 645cc engine modest power and sips Lack of skid plate caution off road.

The fuel-sipping V-Strom chugs steadily, accelerating more and transmitting more engine to the rider at any speed, but with the kept high it can be hustled curves at a respectable pace. bikes have hiccup-free injection and good throttle but on/off throttle transitions on the felt more abrupt slowly negotiating offroad and ruts.

The Triumph and Suzuki have stout chassis. The tubular steel trellis shared by the 800 and 800XC, is designed for the of offroad duty. Likewise, the has a cast-aluminum twin-spar frame from the larger V-Strom Both bikes have shifting six-speed transmissions light clutch pulls, but the has a slight hitch between and second that requires a shift.

On- and offroad, the Triumph’s tuned suspension provides a ride. It offers more travel front and rear and 6.7 inches, respectively) than the (5.9 inches at both better damping and greater to bottoming during offroad

On the other hand, the Tiger is adjustable for rear spring (easily done with a wrench), whereas the Suzuki preload adjustability front and the latter via remote knob, and rebound adjustability. Braking is similar, both machines triple-disc setups with two-piston front calipers and one-piston rear calipers. but not great.

ABS is standard on the Suzuki (an $800 on the Triumph), but it cannot be disabled (as with most ABS bikes, the rear wheel off the ground and it with the front wheel will eventually disable the ABS the ignition is recycled).

These bikes with generous clearance are an absolute delight to through corners of any variety: and slow, wide and fast, and in between.

With remarkably handling, the Tiger 800 and V-Strom 650 are two of the motorcycles to ride, period. As as you saddle up they just sense, communicating a telepathic like a favorite pair of jeans. As with most bikes, the Tiger and V-Strom comfortable, upright seating tall bars that are an reach and provide plenty of leverage, and narrow tires change direction effortlessly.

power is accessible rather scary and braking is steady than grabby. Remember I said about the V-Strom loyal following? It’s on a solid foundation of experience, not

Owners want the V-Strom’s versatility, reliability, touring and deep aftermarket support, and appreciate not having to pay too much for it. The Tiger 800 offers similar but only time will whether that potential be realized.

The V-Strom’s instrumentation is a blast the past: analog speedo and tach just the basics in the center

As adventure tourers that spend most of their on paved roads, the Tiger and favor comfort over The Triumph’s two-piece saddle is firmer and less dished the Suzuki’s one-piece seat. seat height can also be changed from 31.9 to inches but it’s fixed at inches on the V-Strom.

The Tiger’s can be further altered by adjusting position or removing half-inch-tall inserts in the footpegs for more With its larger, manually windscreen (basic tools larger fairing and fuel and taller handlebar, you sit down in the whereas you sit on top of the Tiger, a sensation by the Triumph’s higher center of

Donya Carlson, our long-legged managing editor, gave the nod to the in terms of passenger comfort. She its wider, flatter seat, generous legroom and seemingly suspension compliance, though she the Tiger’s wider passenger handles.

Besides engine and power, what really the Tiger apart from the is its newness. The V-Strom’s design has up well over the years, but it dated when parked to the Tiger, its bulbous fairing more fragile than the rugged black plastic and frame.

Analog tach and digital are complemented by a fully featured LCD and onboard computer. Buttons be easier to reach.

A taller and standard skid plate add to the Tiger’s go-anywhere look. The instrumentation is similarly old school, the analog speedometer and tachometer by a central LCD display with the basics: fuel level, dual tripmeter, odometer and The Tiger’s analog tach is by an LCD panel that includes all of functions plus speed, position, fuel consumption, range and tire pressure

Suzuki FB 80

Also standard on the Tiger are a key ignition immobilizer and a 12V power

When considering this likable pair, I’m reminded of the apt of Melissa Holbrook Pierson’s about motorcycles, The Perfect . The Triumph Tiger 800 and Suzuki 650 are motorcycles not defined purely by specs, though differences in fuel economy and price are important considerations. Motorcycles us in particular ways, and these me for different reasons.

The Triumph 800 is more exciting, its look, and feel stimulating my lizard that primitive nerve of emotion. The Tiger is also capable offroad—such an important for me that I’d probably pony up the dough for an 800XC. On the other the Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS is more

It’s cheaper, it’ll go on a tank of gas, it’s comfortable for the long-haul with or a passenger, it’s supported by a dealer network and the aftermarket are much broader and deeper. If, as say, we buy with our hearts and with our minds, I’m sure it be too hard to convince myself the Tiger 800 is the better choice.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS

Base $8,099

Warranty: 1 yr. unltd.

Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse V-twin

Bore x Stroke: x 62.6mm

Compression Ratio:

Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse triple

Bore x Stroke: x 61.9mm

Compression Ratio:

Frame: Tubular steel w/ cast-aluminum swingarm

Wheelbase: in.

Rake/Trail: 23.7 degrees/3.4 in.

Suzuki FB 80
Suzuki FB 80
Suzuki FB 80


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