A little history – So I am going to be true to myself and say this, I wasn’t a fan of big and obnoxious looking ‘ADV’ bikes. Riding all kinds of scooters, street motorcycles and classic bikes, I just did not see the purpose of this category- especially in a place like India. I recall test riding a Triumph Tiger 800 four years ago and while it did feel comfortable, that was it, it just did not impress me beyond that.
But as humans, things tend to grow on us, which holds true for motorcycles, too and that’s where I was after a few years of touring and putting in more seat time. You then start looking at what you need that motorcycle to do and how it fits your purpose. Two years and 35,000 km later, the Tiger 800 looks like it’s doing its duties (‘Why an ADV in the first place?’ is a good topic for another blog, right? I promise I’ll get down to it). For now, though, I wanted to get back to how I have kept this Tiger running and what you should be looking out for in a 3-part series where I go from everything I have done from the front, to the centre and all the way to the rear.
After market parts
The Triumph Tiger 800 XCA I own is the fully loaded variant, and came with a lot of bells and whistles from the factory. But lights are something I am extremely picky, about so the first thing I did was get a good set of aftermarket auxiliary lights. Baja Design have some serious credibility in the rally world, and have a reputation for not just fantastic light output, but very robust and rugged units. The Squadron Pros that I got aren’t cheap, but I don’t regret it one bit, as I do spend quite a lot of time riding in the dark. I also spend a lot of time riding off-road, which means I spend I’m standing for extended periods of time, which is why I invested in a set of ROX Pivotable Risers for my handlebars. They’ve added height so I don’t hunch over, improving ergonomics and have added a great deal of comfort due to the adjustable pull back angle. The next seemingly insignificant purchase was an X-Grip RAM mount for my mobile phone. I’ve bought cheaper mobile mounts in the past and learned the hard way that they come apart when push comes to shove. The RAM mounts have withstood a lot of abuse, and don’t seem close to be ready to give up. And finally, when it comes to protection, I got a set of aluminium hand guards from Bark Busters, engine and tank guards from Triumph and a bash plate, which I feel are all essential if you are riding trails – But I’m going to leave this topic to a certain Ouseph Chacko, who spends the majority of his life off-road, and whose blog is up here.
This bike gets all its love at home, by my very own hands. It gets cleaned, greased, used and all wrenching takes place with my own tools at home.
Every 10,000 km, I replace the fork oil which has kept my fork seals intact without any leaks considering the absolutely filthy days this bike sees on a regular basis. The stock fork oil that Triumph recommends for the Tiger 800 comes close to a 4W rating but I have been using the Maxima 5w and that’s working perfectly for my needs.
At 35,000 km I carried out a steering bearing check. All it needed was a thorough cleaning and grease, so I used the Maxima Waterproof Grease. This is one part I really felt would need replacing at 35,000 km but looks like the stock bearings have kept up with what I have put the bike through.
Every 5,000 km, I take the brake callipers off and subject it to a deep cleaning- especially the guide pins- with brake cleaning spray/fluid. I then proceed to apply the right amount of copper grease around the threads of the guide pin. This pin goes through a lot of muck and is highly prone to getting jammed, which is why copper grease is the saviour. For the pads, I use EBC fully-sintered pads. I still feel they are the best in the market. They last long and keep the rotor in check without wearing it down, and I have only praise for them.
The last thing I do after a maintenance operation, and before putting the callipers back is to check the wheel bearings and the axle. If needed, I clean and grease them. Trust me, it just makes your ride smoother. And then I get the torque wrench to tighten the wheel to spec. My buddy Rahul Bam recently explained the basics of torque settings and why they are so crucial to get right, so I’ll let his article do the explaining. Just make sure you have access to the service manual which should have the correct torque settings
Anyway, that’s how I’ve been taking care of my bike for the last two years, and compared to other Tiger 800s I’ve ridden, I can proudly say mine is in better shape because of it. Stay tuned, though, and I’ll tell you more in part 2 of this, soon.
About the Author :- Suhaib Abeer
Riding motorcycles since he was 13 running 39 now 🙂 Abeer as most people call him is a firm believer that if you open all those nuts and bolts and sit there thinking “now what” you will surely get it fixed back. It may take longer but you will get there. Being part of Motousher he gets to feel, touch and experience what premium aftermarket parts are all about and how they can make a riding experience better.