The all-new Triumph Tiger 1200 is aiming to take on the BMW GS… can it win?
Triumph's new adventure bike is lighter and more powerful than its Teutonic rival
Triumph has just pulled the wraps off the all-new Tiger 1200, the British firm's big-cc adventure bike. It has an all-new frame, electronics suite, engine and looks to have been designed with the sort of care and forethought that makes it a very viable rival to BMW's all-conquering R1250GS.
This is the road-biased GT Pro model, with 19-inch front wheel
The new Tiger 1200 comes in 2 families: the road-focused GT and off-road-friendly Rally. There is an 'Explorer' version of each, which gets lots of tech as standard, as well as a 30-litre fuel tank for the first time on a Tiger, meaning you can travel up to 370 miles on a tank if you're careful.
NEW TIGER 1200 PRICES AND MODELS
This is the Rally Pro model with the 21" front wheel. GT models are more road biased
Overall there are 5 models of the new Tiger 1200: GT, GT Pro, GT Explorer, Rally Pro, Rally Explorer. The GT kicks off at £14,600, followed by the GT Pro at £16,700, then the Rally Pro at £17,700, the GT Explorer at £18,100 and the Rally Explorer at £19,100. For the first time in Triumph history, you get a three-year warranty as standard.
New Tiger 1200 engine
The heart of the new Tiger 1200 is an all-new 1,160cc three-cylinder motor with Triumph's 'T-Plane' crank, which uses an offset firing order to give the feel of a torquey two-cylinder engine at low revs while still revving with a distinctive triple howl. Triumph's equipped the Tiger 1200 with a new lightweight shaft drive, so you can do big miles without the faff of chain maintenance.
Power is up to 150hp at 9,000rpm (up 9hp over the outgoing model, and 14hp more than the GS), and torque sits at 130Nm at 7,000rpm, which is 8Nm gruntier than the old Tiger 1200. Triumph's made a lot of noise about the character and punchy, exciting power delivery – something it says is missing in the BMW with its flatter power curve. The new Tiger engine breathes out of a slimmer exhaust pipe that allows the accessory panniers (more on which later) to sit closer to the bike. An up-and-down quickshifter is standard on all but the entry-level GT model, and all versions have a 10,000-mile (or 12 month) service interval.
What's new in the chassis department?
Again, pretty much everything. The headline news it that the new Tiger 1200 is more than 25kg lighter, which is a godsend for owners of the existing bike which is a bit portly and top-heavy. Triumph's put effort into lowering the new Tiger's centre of gravity, and they've also made it significantly slimmer between the legs, meaning that it'll be easier than ever to get your feet down.
This is the GT Explorer – the roadgoing version with all the bells and whistles (and 30-litre tank)
Every Tiger has a two-height adjustable seat, which flicks between two seat heights 20mm apart. The seat heights are 850-870mm on GT models and 875-895mm on Rally ones, although there's an optional 20mm lower seat available for all.
Triumph's put electronic semi-active suspension on all of the Tiger 1200 models which automatically adjusts the preload based on how loaded up the bike is, and this varies by riding mode – of which there are up to 6.
Also new is a double-sided swingarm which alone saves 5.4kg over the previous bike, and Triumph's finally heard the cries of off-road fans and given the bike a bolt-on aluminium rear subframe and bolt-on pillion pegs, to avoid scrapping the whole frame in the event of a tumble.
The new 1200's headlight has a single daytime running light bar stretching across it
In terms of tyre sizes, the GT range of bikes runs an 18-inch rear wheel with a 19-inch up front shod in Metzeler Tourance tyres. The Rally bikes keep the same 18-inch rear but run a proper off-roady 21-inch front wheel – both with off-road-ready Metzeler Karoos on it. Triumph's also homologated the bike for Michelin Anakee Wild tyres which are better for off-roading. Whichever wheel size you end up with, you get Brembo Stylema calipers on the front wheel to help you stop faster than you can say 'it has a Magura master cylinder for the brake and clutch too.'
What about the tech?
As you'd expect, Triumph's thrown the kitchen sink at the Tiger 1200. The big news is that the bike has a rear-mounted radar unit from Continental, which is used for blind-spot warning lights in each of the mirrors, which flash rapidly if you then indicate as if to move into the path of a vehicle that's about to pass you. We asked Triumph why there's no front-facing radar to give the bike adaptive cruise control, and they said customers didn't really want it as much as blind-spot assistance, and it'd push the price of the bike up further.
Otherwise it's fairly standard stuff – you get an optically bonded 7-inch display, cornering traction control and ABS and Triumph's app connectivity as standard. All Tiger 1200s get full LED headlights, with some models getting cornering lights. All bikes also get keyless ignition and a keyless fuel filler.
You can, of course, turn the electronics off if you plan on showing off to your mates
Naturally there's a huge range of accessories for the bike, including two styles of panniers and top boxes, both made by Givi. You can pick from an adventure-style aluminium set, or a moulded plastic set whose top box can swallow two full-face helmets. Triumph's also offering an extra screen deflector in case the regular screen (which can now be adjusted up and down with one hand) isn't tall enough.
Sadly Triumph's kept to its usual tame colour palette, so you can only get the Tiger 1200 in white, black or blue – with a khaki option replacing blue for the Rally models.
God knows how Triumph got permission to do this, but we're glad they did