The Triumph Tiger is known as one of the most capable and friendly adventure motorcycles in the world but despite that, the mere thought of riding it in proper off-road scenarios can be an intimidating one. If you feel this way but still cannot stop yourself from getting astride one of the Tigers and experiencing it at its capable best, then Triumph Motorcycles India have you covered with the Triumph Tiger Training Academy. It is conducted at regular intervals across India so that riders from every corner of the country get a chance to take part in it. Now, it was the turn of Aamby Valley which offers one of the most beautiful backdrops and terrains to do motorcycling on. Add to that riding a Triumph Tiger and it makes for an opportunity that just can’t be missed.
The day started with the classroom. It was a room full of bikers seated on benches in their riding gear itching to get on the machines and letting it rip. But before that, we were given some crucial riding tips from the acclaimed rider and trainer Vijay Parmar who gave us a lowdown on what to expect on the obstacle course and what is the correct way of handling such powerful and capable machines even when everything doesn’t go the way you planned. For me, the most crucial part was the body position that was to be maintained in order to prevent the bike from slipping. Why? Because there are two kinds of riders – the first ones are those who are used to riding such bikes on such terrains and conditions and usually “stay over” the motorcycle to have complete control. I landed in the latter half – the kind of motorcyclists that just love getting “under the motorcycle” to hit that apex at high speeds on the perfectly laid out tarmac on a race track. So yes, the required style of riding was different and seemed like a challenge. Vijay Parmar’s tips went a huge way in filling us with confidence as we now had an idea of how these machines react to different types of inputs and what is to be done in case we lose control. The topics covered included the likes of what to do in case of emergency (ICE), crash prevention, crash protection, body position, handling the motorcycle and understanding of the riding gear and its importance.Triumph Tiger Training Academy begins with a classroom session. (Photo: Triumph Motorcycles)
The Triumph Tiger nameplate is shared across five models consisting of two engine capacities. The one with the bigger 1215cc engine – which also tops this model range – is called the Triumph Tiger Explorer. The rest four are powered by 800cc engines and, in increasing order of price, are – the Tiger 800 XR, Tiger 800 XRX, Tiger 800 XCX and the Tiger 800 XCA. We rode the Tiger 800 XCA which costs Rs 14.37 lakh (ex-showroom, pan India).
After the rider briefing, it was time to head to the obstacle course laid out by Triumph Motorcycles India. The good part was that before heading out and tackling the obstacles head on, we were made to take a walk across the course which helped us mark our braking, turning and the tricky areas which would help us later in the day. The course had a total of five obstacles laid out.The first course was about handling the Triumph Tiger. (Photo: Triumph Motorcycles)
The first one was the slalom test followed by a section which had high ascend and descent angles. Through the slalom, the rider could not keep their feet down (doing so would mean a rerun) and interestingly, the cones were not laid out in a straight line. The way through was to take the motorcycle slow and generate lean between the cones in order to get better cornering. The ascend and descend that followed were tricky as well. This course saw quite a few riders lose grip and taking reruns in order to improve their handling and it was done under Vijay Parmar’s supervision who helped us by giving suggestions simultaneously while we were undertaking the course – helping us to improve dramatically in each run.
The next course was riding the motorcycle through water and how to control it just in case the tire digs in the mud and the bike starts to go sideways. A fairly simple but efficient practice of riding these motorcycles through such conditions.
The third course was the tricky one. It had a proper off-road course laid out and the riders were supposed to clear it, without falling of course. The layout wasn’t that difficult the first time you see it but here’s the catch – it was dug up in Aamby Valley at a time when rains are a more common sight than the sun and it made everything a bit more complicated, or exciting, depending on how you see it. There was a lot of slush and areas where you’ll be struggling to find traction. The idea was to maintain balance and momentum at the same time. Lose any one of those and you are going down and will need the ever ready marshals to help you get out of the sticky situation, literally.The third obstacle course of the Triumph Tiger Training Academy was the trickiest one. (Photo: Triumph Motorcycles)
The fourth course was more of a demonstration where Parmar showed us how what to do in case you stall a motorcycle, even as big and heavy as this, while on an incline. The answer is that you leave the motorcycle engaged in gear and moderate the descent using the clutch lever. As pressing the clutch will decouple the engine and the bike will begin to descend, letting go of the clutch at the right time is crucial as you need to do it before the bike generates momentum and gets out of control.
Then came the fifth and the final course which was a long water crossing. This was again, a fairly simple one, as you just ride the motorcycle in a straight line. But since it was a huge puddle of water, and given the capabilities of the Tiger, you could just force your way through and make for some really cool photos with water splashing everywhere – the perfect obstacle to end the training!Splashing water was never this fun; A still from the Triumph Tiger Training Academy. (Photo: Triumph Motorcycles)
So at the end of the day, the Triumph Tiger Training Academy provides a platform for aspiring riders as well as existing high capacity motorcycle riders to experience off-roading in a different, engaging, safe and controlled environment. It helps the rider learn how to keep going when the going gets tough and all of it comes from an environment which is filled with riders who are filled to the brim with passion and excitement for motorcycles. And above all, you head out of the academy learning more than you could have imagined or would have learned to ride such machines on asphalt for thousands of kilometers. If you do well in the academy, they will give you a certificate of completion as well – a reminder of the adventure-filled day and a prized possession in your living room.