In-Brief Review | Does it have what it takes to beat the R1200GS?
Our contributor writer Alan Cathcart just got back from the Triumph Tiger 1200 media launch in Spain with an in-depth first-ride review. Here’s a concisely version of the review, pointing out the 10 essential facts you need to know about the new Tiger 1200.
The engine is much more responsive from low revs, but without being snatchy or remotely abrupt in terms of pickup from a closed throttle.
The torque peak is at 7,600 rpm where 122 Nm/90 ft-lb is available – but there’s already 121Nm at 6,100 rpm, and 118Nm at 5,500 revs. This mean you could hold third gear for literally miles on end, letting the engine drop as low as 3,000 rpm where 107Nm is on tap, then winding it on to deliver that seamless drive up to somewhere around the 9,500 rpm limiter.
100 mph/160kmh comes up at 6,000 rpm, just two-thirds of the way to redline, so this really is a serious mileater. saw 7,000 rpm in sixth gear which equated to 200 kmh, but the Triumph is digitally limited to 220kmh, supposedly to do with stability when fitted with the optional hard luggage.
The ride-by-wire digital throttle offers a choice of up to six riding modes for the 1200 triple – Rain, Road, Off Road, Rider, Sport and Off Road Pro. The entry-level Tiger 1200 XR variant features only the first three modes, with the XRX adding Sport and the range-topping XRT the Rider mode. Off Road Pro is reserved for the XC family and completely deactivates ABS and traction control, and switches the electronic suspension to its Off Road setting.
Cool features: keyless ignition, hill-start control, and see-round-turns adaptive cornering lighting which progressively activates four LEDs up to a lean angle of 31 degrees, illuminating a twisting road as you lean.
The much lighter crank assembly and optimised fuelling enhance the Tiger 1200’s handling, thanks to the reduced gyroscopic weight and thus lower inertia which makes it much easier changing direction in turns, and especially so compared to the original Explorer.
Heavy-Weight. The XRT weighing in at 243kg dry even after going on a diet, against the 244kg kerb weight of BMW’s R1200GS, it’s far from being the lightest. Add in a full 20-litre fuel load and oil plus water, and you’re looking at a kerb weight for the Tiger 1200 of around 265kg. However, thanks to its subtly revamped architecture and above all the kilos it has shed versus the Explorer, it’s no longer as much of an issue as before, and you certainly don’t get such a sweat on making it change direction as before.
Better brakes thanks to new benchmark Brembo radially mounted Monoblock four-piston calipers for the front. Additionally, to provide what Triumph terms “smooth and progressive braking”, the Tiger features an integrated brake system again developed with Continental, which automatically applies a percentage of rear brake as you squeeze the front brake lever, though this is deactivated at low speeds, or off-road.
The keyless ignition and steering lock is useful – until you need to fill up with fuel. Then you need to take your gloves off and go hunting through your pockets for the key in order to open the fuel cap, which rather defeats the purpose of the system.
Pricing for the family of 1200 Tigers is definitely high end, with bikes priced from GBP 12,200 on the road in his British home market (incl. 20% tax). The Tiger 1200 XRT I spent most time on comes in at GBP 16,150, or there’s the Expedition version at GBP 17,650 with a full set of hard luggage.
A couple of months ago we put the Tiger Explorer against the facelifted R1200GS. Here's the result.