A sense of humor is not something you normally associate with hardcore desert racing. But this Triumph Tiger 800 XC is sporting Icon colors, so we’re guaranteed a twist on the usual.
The bike is nicknamed ‘Mantecore.’ If you’re a fan of popular culture you’ll spot the discreet reference to another white tiger—the recently-deceased big cat that featured in the routine of Vegas illusionists Siegfried and Roy.
There’s a yellow-and-blue bike too, known as ‘Turkish,’ which harks back to old-school cigarette brand colors. As Icon’s Joe Gustafson ironically notes, “Energy drink liveries lack a certain dose of refinement that the older vice brands had in spades.”
The bikes are far from being trailer queens. They’ve been built with the help of Triumph USA and its dealership Motoworks Chicago and this weekend, they’ll be lining up at the start of the NORRA Mexican 1000 rally. It takes place in the Baja desert, 30,000 square miles of scorched earth and an unforgiving environment for both man and machine.
Icon is taking this extremely seriously, and the Tigers have been prepped to within an inch of their lives. It’s going to be an extreme (and rare) endurance test for what are essentially ADV bikes.
Each bike has been modified with Öhlins suspension, an enduro-capacity tank from Safari Tank Australia, extra armor and rear fuel tanks from Rally Raid, a rally navigation panel, PIAA lighting, and Woody’s superlaced tubeless wheels.
Why the venture into rallying? After all, Icon is known for its sportbike gear and, via the Icon 1000 brand, its retro/custom-tinged apparel. But next year, the Portland-based company will launch a range of heavy-duty ADV gear called Raiden. We’re told it’ll combine rugged, expedition-level design with that signature Icon edginess—and the Mexican 1000 race is part of the testing program.
The four riders of these two bikes will be testing the new gear, with Icon’s own Joe Bolton and Ernie Vigil piloting the yellow Tiger. Keep an eye on their progress via the #Mexican1000 hashtag on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.