The race is in the books, and we’ve turned our attentions to prepping for the next adventure, but it’s valuable to take a look back at just how things went on our Mexican 1000 adventure. The chaps at ICON sat down with both Johnny and ICON rider Ernie Vigil to get the low down on just how things went.

Of particular interest to me was just how well the Triumph Tiger XCs modded for racing performed. ICON put that question to Johnny and Ernie both.

How does bombing Tigers through the desert different than dirt bikes (advantages/disadvantages)?


The tigers are very well composed, with the biggest differences being the weight and the power. The weight gives you some stability, especially at speed, but it can turn small mistakes into big moments. It also makes navigating the technical washes very tricky, but if you trust her she will perform. The power is just awesome, we would ride the bikes a gear or two higher than “normal” to ease wheel spin and just use the torque, and on the long fast sections the bikes just haul ass in comfort and style.

Ernie Vigil:

I grew up racing motocross so for me the dirt is home. The difference between the Tiger and a conventional dirt bike is huge. The Tiger wants to go crazy fast due to having twice the horsepower of a dirt bike. The problem with that though is it doesn’t like to slow down. In Mexico the roads were hard packed and super slick so the ability to scrub speed is non existent. Getting 500+ pounds to speed was no problem. Getting it to slow down was a different story. You have way more braking power than a dirt bike having 2 rotors and massive calipers up front so not coming in too hot and having to lock up was hard not to do. Especially since I suffer from the disease of not knowing how to take it easy. I want to charge! Aside from that the suspension isn’t made to take the abuse we put them through. They are made more for light dirt situations not a full blown dirt ass kicking. The Ohlins suspension made a huge difference though. We were able to soak up smaller jumps and rhythm sections with no problems. All in all the bike surprises me more and more every time I ride it. I gave it the same business I would give my dirt bike and minus a few little mods we can make to help, it took it pretty damn good!

You can get more of the Q&A over at the ICON Raiden site, including Johnny’s impressions of ICON’s new Raiden riding gear they were testing during the race. Plus, stay tuned here at Behind the Moto as we catch up with Johnny for a more in-depth look back at the Mexican 1000 adventure.