Tiger Project: First Round of Travel Parts Installed

With the addition of a few aftermarket parts from AltRider, our Project Tiger is getting underway. 

Sam Bendall—Sam Bendall - LiveMotoFoto.com

Adventure motorcycles come off the production line not entirely ready for off-road travels. Sure, they are more than capable of tackling the dirt, whether it's a fire road or gravel patch, but without some substantial protection, Adventure motorcycles can fall victim to the gnarly terrain they traverse. Ha...no pun intended. 

Many aftermarket parts can be installed in a number of hours or even fewer, but seeing as though I would be relegated to a tight time frame with more riding than wrench time, I am going to have to install parts to the Tiger over a couple months before she’s ready to even play in the dirt. Because this is an everyday bike, I opted to prioritize the first round of parts around my highway stints. 

Sam Bendall

Let's Add Some Parts to this Kitty

AltRider Luggage Rack

First thing was first, I needed a much better mounting point on the rear of the bike to secure my Velomacchi 50L Duffle Bag for week-long jaunts to Northern California and back. Triumph’s rear rack behind the passenger pillion is weak at best. It does not provide any versatile mounting options outside of the Triumph branded duffle bag. I opted for one of the best luggage racks in the business and they offer it for a number of bikes aside from the Tiger 800XC. 

Sam Bendall

Popping off the OEM bolts on the rear rack. 

The AltRider Luggage Rack is available and manufactured in the USA from 3/16-inch (4.75-millimeter) thick anodized aluminum, it incorporates side flanges for extra strength and rigidity. The strategic cut-outs provide places to latch down practically anything I’ll need in my travels and will also provide me with the future versatility to mount a top case in the event I walk down that path. All of its cut-outs have a routered edges which provide a smooth and a clean finish and will prevent any kind of sawing off my favorite Rox Straps. 

Sam Bendall

Place AltRider luggage rack on top of the plastic OEM plate and insert the bolt spacers between the rack and the bike. Tighten bolts and voila! New luggage rack.

Installation was easy and took 15 minutes. I simply removed the stock bolts and mounted the AltRider Luggage rack on top of the stock plate. Four bolts and four spacers later and the job was done. 

Sam Bendall

Sometimes you have to strap your gym shoes down. Notice all the awesome mounting holes!

AltRider Headlight Guard

Rolling down the highway at 80 mph with a rock being kicked up from the car in front of you is a real possibility. Replacing OEM materials can be such a hassle and I’ve had windshields develop cracks in my travels along Interstate 5 due to errant stones flying through the air. I wanted to be preventive and get a headlight shield that would protect against high-speed projectiles of all sizes. Most off-road enthusiasts opt for the metal-mesh style guards but I figured I would split the difference and try something that would work in all environments.

Sam Bendall

Some Assembly Required

I jumped into my office and broke out my tiniest Allen keys to mount the plexiglass panels to the metal frames. Afterward, the shield would pop into place on the bike. 

Installation of the AltRider Headlight Guard was easy as well but required additional assembly of the plexiglass shields to the metal mounting frames. I retreated to my office instead of the garage to assemble the unit and then went back down to the garage to replace the stock bolts that held the headlight housing in place and replaced them with the supplied AltRider mounts. Mounting the shield is as easy as pressing the rubber grommets onto the ball joints.   

AltRider Engine Crash Guards

This was a preparation for the enviable for when I venture off the beaten path. Few adventure motorcycles come with included engine guards and every ADV rider I know defaults back to a handful of aftermarket hard part manufactures to ensure engine health. Drop your bike, have an unscheduled dismount or hit that hidden boulder in the sand at 35 mph in the Nevada desert, you’re gonna want to make sure your engine has a roll cage around it to absorb the impact. When I first learned to ride big ADV bikes, my BMW R 1200 G/S came equipped with AltRider’s Engine Crash Guards and I crashed that bike a handful of times. They worked so well, it was a no-brainer that I would put the same bars on my Tiger. 

Sam Bendall

The Tiger 800XC Engine is painfully exposed to the elements. It needs all the protection it can get. 

One specific feature that drew me to the AltRider bars for the Tiger is the hidden connector in the front which yields a seamless system. In the case of a hard impact on one side, the energy transfers from one side to the other and thus the initial impact is distributed to all the mounting points. 

Installation was marginally a pain in the ass because the Triumph OEM Engine Hex bolts were not the easiest to get to. At one point a number of expletives coming from my mouth led me to holler at my mechanic, Mike, down the road. If I say the F-word more than 15 times in two minutes, I don’t let my pride get in the way, I call in the help of experts and those with way more tools than I have at my disposal. Even Mike cursed the Hex Bolt when we began working on the install. This is not to knock the AltRider bars in any way, they fit the bike flawlessly and mounted flush with no issue.  

Next up will be a beefy skid plate to protect the vulnerable underside of the engine housing when I begin going over things instead of around them. Because daylight savings is now in effect, I am in desperate need of adding some auxiliary lights so I can see and be seen out on the hairy roads of California. 

The Tiger Project will continue but now it's time to put another 1200 miles on this spry girl as I have to get up to the Bay Area to teach for a week. 

Sam Bendall

Loaded up and ready to hit the road.