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.
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.
GSV-Moto frame and axle sliders protect the pricey British bodywork from the ineptitudes o
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.
- 2011 Triumph Sprint GT – Motorcyclist Magazine
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- 2006 Triumph Sprint ST
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- 2007 Triumph Speed Triple 1050 Motorcycle Review – Ultimate MotorCycling