Today’s Triumph has direct ties to the original company,
although there was a lapse in production through most of the
As with most big adventure bikes, you deal with dirt in the
standing position on the Triumph. The layout makes it comfortable.
NOVEMBER 2013 / DIRT BIKE 71
rear brake pedal is usable in the standing position. Best of
all, the bike is crash-resistant. The parts that hit the
ground first are made of tough, flexible plastic rather than
easily shattered bodywork. And yes, we tested that aspect
We went through the same cycle of skepticism followed
by belief when we finally rode the bike. The first impression
of the motor is that it’s pure street material. It’s a quick-revving screamer, and it’s really, really fast on top. The official
rating is 94 horsepower, which was plenty for us. We’re sure
there are ninja guys out there rolling their eyes thinking, “You
guys need to get out more,” but in the world of adventure
bikes, the Triumph is more comparable to the 1000 class
than the existing 700-to-800cc candidates. At first, we
stayed in the playground near its 10,000 rpm redline, just
because it’s so much fun up there and freakishly smooth. It
took us a while to realize that the bike produces torque
down low too. Revvy, multi-cylinder bikes are supposed to
buzz and make your teeth tingle, but the Triumph is never
Still, there’s something about that electric powerband that
makes traction a little more difficult on hard-packed ground.
The XC slides very easily, but you have to be very gentle
with the throttle when it’s time to straighten out. In the end,
the best traction control on earth is a skilled right wrist, and
once you understand that, the Triumph cooperates well.
BUMPS, HUMPS, TWISTS & TURNS
What really made us fans was the suspension. Its lack
of adjustment caused concern at first, but as it turned out,
we didn’t want to adjust anything. On washboard dirt
roads, it’s pretty good. On holes and naturally occurring
curbs, it’s better yet. On full-steam, Mark Tilley jump landings, it’s fairly amazing. This is more evidence that
Triumph’s engineers are in tune with real off-road riders.
We don’t know if that’s wise in the big picture, because
they say that most adventure bikes never touch the dirt.
We, however, do hit the dirt, and we think the Triumph’s
suspension is excellent.
In slow-speed off-road setions, you never really forget
that the XC is a 500-pounder. It’s not an especially light-feeling 500-pounder, either, with most of the weight up
high. That thing that looks like a fuel tank in front of the
seat really is a fuel tank, and you can tell when it’s full.
But, treat it with respect and you’ll be fine. Like all big
bikes, it handles best in the dirt if you’re always standing. That means you stand in the straights, stand in the
turns, stand when it’s rough, and stand when it’s smooth.
The XC is perfectly comfortable for that type of riding.
A short fit of grumpiness follows: the fuel mileage is so-so, around 40 miles per gallon. In summer time, your legs
take a lot of heat. The fuel filler splashes gas back at you.
The passenger peg brackets are welded in place. There’s
nothing trail-worthy about the Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires.
The ground clearance isn’t especially great, despite the
21-inch front wheel. On the flip side, the fuel tank is plenty
large. The passenger pegs are sturdy enough to use as
grab handles, and it has a 21-inch front wheel. Best of all,
the Triumph is a fun, comfortable bike. It’s a machine that
you can ride all day and still not want to get off, whether
the venue is dirt or pavement. It’s worthy of being called an
adventure bike, and it’s worthy of being a Triumph, which
might be the highest praise of all.