The Triumph Tiger 900 is one of the most versatile and rugged adventure motorcycles money can buy.
Still, like any other machine, the dual sport adventure bike suffers from a few frequent failures that owners and buyers should all be aware of.
This article covers the most common problems riders report with their Triumph Tiger 900s and how to solve them.
Table of Contents
1. TFT Screen Failure
One of the common problems of the Triumph Tiger 900 is the TFT screen failure. The screen may get corrupted, turn blue in heavy rain, or loosen up due to faulty screws.
Possible causes of TFT screen failure on a Triumph Tiger 900 include low battery voltage, faulty connector pins, bad starter relay, or damaged display.
“New to Triumph Bikes. In fact, this is my first one ever. I got a 900 Tiger GT Pro. I love the looks and bike so far, but I did have a scare… So, I just had the first service done at 500 miles, which included a software update. Two days after the update, the dashboard/Screen went crazy after a short stop and restart. The screen started scrolling with Hexadecimal numbers error codes. I stopped and turned the bike off. But the screen stayed on, and the bike would not restart. So I disconnected the battery and thus power.” -TheTriumphForum.com
Some possible fixes for TFT failure are checking the battery, the connector pins, and the starter relay, flashing the ECU at the dealership, reconnecting the display, or replacing it if necessary.
You may also need to tighten the screws holding the display.
2. Windscreen Buffeting
Another common problem of the Triumph Tiger 900 is windscreen buffeting—when wind bounces off the bike’s windshield and slaps against the rider’s helmet, shoulders, or chest.
The aerodynamics of the Tiger 900’s chassis and windscreen may cause turbulence and increase wind noise around the rider’s helmet.
Some riders change the screen for an aftermarket windshield customizable to their height.
Others find it doesn’t make much difference, as the buffeting is caused by wind sliding underneath the screen and not over the top.
Finally, some Tiger-900 owners claim their windshield bolts loosen while riding, making the shield unstable, and that’s what causes the buffeting.
“I’ve ridden more time off-road in the last 16 months than on the road. The only issue I’ve had with OEM parts was that the fasteners holding the [wind] screen loosened up and went in the wind.” -TriumphRat.net
“I’m 5’ 9” tall and really like my Puig screen as it seems so much better than the stock screen. I normally ride with it at the lowest position but will raise it for highway riding (~70 MPH). There’s no helmet buffeting, but as you ask about wind to the shoulders & chest, it’s still mostly there as that wind comes in under the screen.” -advrider.com
“Word of caution. A taller windscreen is not a good idea if you plan on doing any rougher off-road than just a smooth dirt road. Even with the stock screen in the low position, I’ve banged my helmet on the top of the windscreen several times when getting weight forward.” -advrider.com
Some possible solutions for wind buffeting on a Tiger 900 are adjusting the windscreen height, adding a spoiler or a deflector, wearing a helmet with a visor, or changing your riding position.
You can also check the windscreen brackets and screws for stability.
3. Transmission Fault and Clutch Problems
Another common problem of the Triumph Tiger 900 is hiccups within the gearbox and clutch, causing issues with shifting gears smoothly or engaging the neutral position. The clutch may slip, drag, or make odd noises due to poor adjustments, lack of maintenance, wear and tear, or damage.
“Went for a 200-mile ride on my 2020 Rally with 2800 miles on it. Bought it just a couple of months ago with 2400 miles on it. After a couple of hours and just finished up about 20 miles off-road, the clutch seemed to be slipping. Every time I would get on the throttle hard, the RPM would go up, but nothing at the rear wheel. Then, if I backed off, it would catch, and RPM would drop. Under slow advancement, there are no issues. Did this continuously from that point forward. The clutch felt like it was slipping.” -advrider.com
“Mine was similar and most likely originally not in specs to start. Just enough that it worked until it was worked. Adjusted mine, and with 14K miles now, no further problems. I do find that the locking ring on the cable adjustment at the clutch lever likes to loosen up after a couple of rides on mine. I always check it before a ride.” -advrider.com
Some possible fixes are adjusting the clutch cable, lubricating the gear lever, replacing the clutch plates, or servicing the transmission system.
4. Bike Stalls While Riding
Another potential problem the Triumph Tiger 900 exhibits is stalling while riding in the rain, during cold starts, or when idling.
This most commonly happens when the bike is in rain mode when dropping RPMS when downshifting from 3rd to 2nd gear or when using the clutch at low speed due to software errors failing to trigger the Tiger 900’s anti-stalling feature.
“I was out yesterday riding and put the bike in Rain Mode (because it was about to start raining). Started riding down the street. I was in 3rd gear, around 18-25 mph, pulled in the clutch, and, I think, coasted a bit before downshifting to second. At that moment, the engine died. I had not released the clutch because when the engine died, I was still rolling forward and could restart the bike and keep going. This happened twice in a row, within a mile of each other.” -TriumphRat.net
“Because rain mode uses a different fuel map with lower settings, it might need more time to get those tables configured, even if road mode tables are OK. That’s a ‘might’. I’m only guessing here.” -TriumphRat.net
“When I was investigating the Tiger before I bought mine, I found a few posts about people having to have the dealer reflash the bike because of software errors. Triumph doesn’t seem to have their systems up to 100% reliable. The RPM shouldn’t drop too low; that’s what the computer monitors constantly. An anti-stall feature is built where the bike doesn’t want to drop below a certain point when it’s in gear.” -TriumphRat.net
Other possible causes of frequent stalling on a Triumph Tiger 900 are low battery voltage, faulty connector pins, bad starter relay, dirty injectors, fuel system issues, idle air circuit problems, or weak starter motor.
5. Power/Performance Loss While Riding
Some Triumph Tiger 900 owners may experience power or performance loss while riding, especially at high speeds or altitudes.
A dip in your Triumph Tiger 900’s engine performance may be due to low battery voltage, faulty connector pins, bad starter relays, dirty injectors, fuel system issues, or poor tuning.
Start by checking and replacing the battery, the connector pins, and the starter relay. If you suspect old or contaminated fuel could be the cause, run some Seafoam through the fuel tank.
Finally, we suggest adjusting the ECU if the performance stays erratic.
Riders who simply want more power than stock tuning allows can consider installing a power commander or a supercharger, but this voids your Tiger’s warranty.
6. Too Heavy for Technical Offroading
While the Triumph Tiger 900 is a versatile and highly-regarded adventure motorcycle, a few owners report it’s not ideal for technical off-roading. The Tiger is heavier than other bikes in its class and has a high center of gravity.
This may make it hard to manage at low speeds, easy to drop, and difficult to lift. It may also limit the suspension travel, ground clearance, and maneuverability on rough terrain.
Some possible solutions are lowering the seat height, reducing the luggage weight, adjusting the suspension preload, and damping.
Also, this is only a matter of taste. Adventure bike riding is different than riding dirt bikes.
It’s common for novice ADV riders to carry dirt bike expectations over to their Tiger when riding trails.
Adventure riding requires certain physical fitness and riding skills regardless of the make and model.
7. Faulty Rear Reflectors
In recent years, faulty rear reflectors are one of the most common issues with Triumph Tiger 900s. The rear reflex reflectors may detach from your Triumph Tiger 900 due to a manufacturing defect. Losing a rear reflector reduces the bike’s visibility and compromises the rider’s safety.
“The red reflector under [my Triumph Tiger 900’s] license plate fell off. The second one also fell off. I super glued the third one with over 12,000 miles on it.” -TriumphRat.net
“I had the same issue – the rear reflector fell off – I’ll try super glue with the replacement.” -TriumphRat.net
Triumph issued a recall for the Tiger 900 in all markets except Brazil and China. The recall number is SRAN 582, which began on August 17, 2020.
All affected models will have the rear reflex reflector replaced free of charge.
Whether you’re in the market for a used model or already own a Tiger 900, check the reflector, run the VIN, and contact your local Triumph dealer for more information.
8. Quick Shifter Failure
The quick shifter allows the rider to change gears without using the clutch or rolling off the throttle. It works by cutting off the ignition for a fraction of a second when the gear lever is moved.
However, some Tiger 900 owners have reported that their quick shifter stopped working or worked sporadically, especially at heavy throttle or wet conditions.
“The quick-shifter doesn’t work when it gets wet (I now have to wrap Saran around the quick shifter when I wash it, which is a bit silly for a supposedly off-road bike).” -Triumphrat.net
“My [Tiger 900’s] only fault was the quick shifter failing at about 15,000 km after getting wet. I was out touring then and noticed the loss on the winding mountain roads we were riding. The dealer could not fit me in for a five-week service and check of the shifter. After four weeks, the shifter started working again, so I guess it dried out.” -TriumphRat.net
This is a truly common problem, so we suggest you contact your local Triumph dealer for more information as soon as you experience it.
9. Front Suspension Fork Seals Leak
One of the common problems of the Triumph Tiger 900 is the front suspension fork seal leak oil, often due to wear and tear or damage from debris, but sometimes from faulty installation or failure to replace the seals per service intervals.
Leaking fork seals affect the motorcycle’s suspension performance, handling, and braking.
Furthermore, excessive oil leakage close to the front tire risks loss of control or collision.
The fork seals are rubber rings that prevent the fork oil from escaping and keep dirt and debris from the fork tubes. Once worn or damaged, the seals allow the hydraulic fork fluid to seep through.
“Had the left front fork seal start leaking on day 5 of a 6-day CO-BDR trip. When I got home, I ran a Seal Doctor around the fork several times. It still leaked, so I had to pay for a replacement, as Triumph views this as a worn item.” -TriumphRat.net
Some possible fixes are inspecting and replacing the fork seals and oil per the owner’s annual recommendations.
You may need special tools and advanced mechanical skills to do this job, so you may want to take your bike to a professional mechanic.
What Are the Pros and Cons of the Triumph Tiger 900?
- Powerful and smooth engine with three cylinders and 888 cc displacement
- Versatile and adaptable to different riding modes and terrains
- Comfortable and ergonomic seat, riding position, and controls
- Stylish and modern design with LED lights, TFT screen, and Bluetooth connectivity
- Reliable and durable with high-quality components and materials
- Good fuel economy and range with a 5.28-gallon (20-liter) tank
- Heavy and bulky
- Expensive and costly, with a starting price of $12,500 and high maintenance fees
- Screen and electronics issues such as corrupt display, blue screen, or loose screws
- Wind buffeting and noise due to the aerodynamics and windscreen
- Transmission faults such as hard shifting, false neutrals, or clutch slipping
- Stalling, loss of power, or vibration at low or high RPMs
What Do the Reviews Say?
The new Tiger is stuffed with clever electronics, but the single biggest change is the crankshaft – on a motorcycle, you don’t get much more fundamental than that…
In theory, this should improve its off-road ability – the longer gaps give the rear tire more chance to find grip on loose and slimy surfaces, and it sounds different, too. Disadvantages? The arrangement is inherently out-of-balance, so it needs balancers to sort out the vibes.
The new engine also makes a big difference to the Tiger’s trailability. Faced with rocky climbs or wiggles, the bike has a responsive but beautifully smooth throttle action and easy power delivery.
The adventure market loves a gadget, and the Tigers come with an impressive level of equipment. Moving beyond the base model, you get multiple modes, heated grips, cruise control, cornering ABS and traction control, and big TFT instruments.
Invest in the Pro version of the Rally, and you get heated seats, a quick-shifter, Bluetooth, tire pressure monitoring, a center stand, and fog lights. In addition, the Rally Pro has crash bars, a sump guard, and an extra mode.
Lovely supple engine, pulling from down low without chugging (also tested a Multi 950…). With the brilliant quick shifter, you tend to short-shift at a max of 5k rpm, but if you pull it through to about 8k RPMs, it growls and screams in a beastly way. Then, the tiger awakes. So, it’s a calm and subdued engine most of the time, but don’t forget to give it the beans sometime! Engine heat only becomes apparent when it’s over 30 degrees Celsius (when you wear Kevlar Jeans). Fuel consumption is around 5l/100km.
At 10,000 miles in over 18 months, I have only had one issue: the quick shifter didn’t like getting wet, but this was replaced under warranty due to a duff seal… The bike hasn’t missed a trick [besides that]; everything is still running as it should, on the OEM chain and sprockets, and there is a bit of life left in the brakes.
What’s the Resale Value of a Triumph 900?
|Year||Mileage||Used Listing Price|
What Are Some Alternative Models?
|Triumph Tiger 900||$12,500||55|
|KTM 790 Adventure/R||$13,699/$14,699||49|
|Suzuki V-Strom 1000/XT||$13,399/$13,599||45|
|BMW F 850 GS Adventure||$14,445||57|
|Yamaha Ténéré 700||$9,999||52|
|Ducati Multistrada 950 S||$16,995||44|
|Honda Africa Twin||$14,399||49|