Skip to main content

Triumph Tiger 1200 Review (2022)

BikeSocial Road Tester. As one half of Front End Chatter, Britain’s longest-running biking podcast, Simon H admits in same way some people have a face for radio, he has a voice for writing.

Posted:

23.01.2023

Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Pro Explorer 2022 Review Price Spec_01
Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Pro Explorer 2022 Review Price Spec_02
Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Pro Explorer 2022 Review Price Spec_03

Original report by Ben Purvis (7th Dec 2021)

Launch report by Simon Hargreaves (20th March 2022)

Second opinions and Owner reviews (23rd Jan 2023)

Price: from £14,995 (2023 price) | Power: 148bhp | Weight: from 240kg | Overall BikeSocial rating: 4.5/5

 

What’s the story? Flagship Triumph adventure bike is 100% revamped: more power, new engine, new frame, new suspension, less weight, bigger price tag. But is it better than a BMW R1250 GS?

It’s clear from the outset that Triumph has had a single-minded approach to the development of the 2022 Tiger 1200 range: to beat BMW’s R 1250 GS in every way that might tempt a customer in the firm’s direction. We can’t predict whether that will be enough to topple BMW’s perennial chart-topper but whatever the result it’s going to be hard to argue that Triumph hasn’t thrown everything it’s got into the effort.

While the Tiger 1200 name is carried over from the 2022 model’s predecessor, that’s about all the bikes share. The new model is a clean-sheet design, with a purpose-made engine, new chassis, transmission, suspension, electronics and styling. Triumph says the intention was to make a bike that felt like the Tiger 900 but offered more in every respect.

The range is five-strong, split into two clear categories. The three ‘GT’ models are road-biased, with cast alloy wheels, 19in front, 18in rear, and 200mm suspension travel. Two ‘Rally’ machines have 21in front, 18in rear wire wheels and 220mm of movement, making for a more off-road-oriented look.

Within those categories, the bikes are split again, into ‘Pro’ – with a 20-litre tank and slimmer bodywork – or ‘Explorer’ with 30 litres of fuel capacity and brawnier looks. Think BMW’s GS Adventure, compared to the base GS, although BMW doesn’t have a road-oriented Adventure model to rival the Tiger 1200 GT Explorer. The fifth Tiger 1200 is an entry-level stripper model, simply called the Tiger 1200 GT, shorn of much of the equipment you get with the GT Pro, GT Explorer, Rally Pro or Rally Explorer but coming in at a surprisingly low price.

 

Prices & PCP
Power and torque
Engine, gearbox, and exhaust
Handling, suspension, and weight
Comfort and economy
Rider aids, extra equipment, and accessories
Off-road
Rivals
Verdict
Owner Reviews
Technical Specification
Features List

 

pros
  • Weight, size & comfort: 30-litre tank Explorer is incredibly compact & light, Pro version feels more like a Tiger 900, all-day comfy

  • Handling: excellent steering, stability, agility. Showa semi-active is sensational

  • Tech: top-spec models want for nothing (except adaptive cruise)

cons
  • Mirrors: blurred most of the time on Explorer

  • No bling: looks nice & good finishing, but unshowy and understated paint, colours, etc

  • Engine: shy of a few ccs to compete with rivals on sheer performance

2022 Triumph Tiger 1200 | In depth review on and off road

BikeSocial's Simon Hargreaves puts four of the five new models though their paces on-and-off-road in Portugal

 

Here at the press ride in Portugal, Triumph staff aren’t coy about taking the BMW R1250 GS and GS Adventure head-on. For the first time the factory is explicitly calling out the BM by name and listing, one by one, the number of targets set for the new Tiger 1200 and by how much they ‘beat’ the GS and GSA.

In the past Triumph management have frowned on their staff even mentioning the opposition, but now the gloves are well and truly off. This is fighting talk from Hinckley, and they’re confident they have a superior motorcycle not just compared to the previous Tiger, but to the market-leader – faster, lighter, more manageable, better-handling and cheaper. Basically, better on the road and better off it, than a GS and GS Adventure.

The five-bike Tiger 1200 range isn’t complicated, but there are a lot of features and differences to get our heads around. We’re riding three Tigers a total of 170 miles on the road, and one Tiger off-road for half a day on light trails:

On road:

  • the road biased GT Pro with a 20-litre tank, 19in front wheel, lower seat height. Available in Snowdonia White, Sapphire Black or Lucerne Blue

  • the up-spec road biased GT Explorer with a 30-litre tank, 19in front wheel, lower seat height. Available in Snowdonia White, Sapphire Black or Lucerne Blue

  • the up-spec off-road biased Rally Explorer with a 30-litre tank, 21in front wheel, taller seat height. Available in Snowdonia White, Sapphire Black or Matt Khaki Green

Off-road

  • the off-road biased Rally Pro, with 20-litre tank, 21in front wheels and taller seat height. Available in Snowdonia White, Sapphire Black or Matt Khaki Green

  • click here for the Off-road experience. We aren’t riding the base model Tiger 1200 GT which is only available in Snowdonia White.

 

 

2022 Triumph Tiger 1200 Prices

How much is the 2022 Triumph Tiger 1200? £14,660 for the entry-level GT in Snowdonia White. The Tiger 1200 GT Pro is £16,700, the Rally Pro is £17,700, the GT Explorer is £18,100 and the range-topping Rally Explorer is £19,100. All Pro and Explorer models come in Snowdonia White or Sapphire Black, with Matt Khaki as an option on Rally versions and Lucerne Blue available on the GT Pro and GT Explorer.

The prices of those upper-echelon models might seem high compared to, say, BMW’s R1250GS Adventure (which starts at £14,905) but Triumph points out that the Tiger’s standard equipment levels are much higher, saying that an R1250GS Adventure spec’d to match the Tiger 1200 Rally Explorer would need four accessory packs, plus optional heated grips and tyre pressure monitoring, pushing the BMW’s price to £19,455, £355 more than the Tiger.

Sales are due to start in Spring 2022.

White is the base colour; black is £200 extra, khaki or blue is £300.

 

Triumph Tiger 1200 PCP details

Based on £4000 deposit, 5000 miles per year, 7.9% APR

Triumph Tiger Model

OTR price

36 Payments

Final

Total

1200 GT

£14,600

£111.19

£8,890

£16,892

1200 GT Pro

£16,700

£144.96

£10,175

£19,394

1200 GT Explorer

£18,100

£167.93

£11,013

£21,058

1200 Rally Pro

£17,700

£161.51

£10,768

£20,582

1200 Rally Explorer

£19,100

£183.89

£11,630

£22,250

 

Power and torque

The Tiger 1200’s engine shares its 1160cc capacity, as well as the basic design architecture and bore/stroke measurements with the Speed Triple 1200, but it’s classed as a new engine thanks to being equipped with a shaft drive and tailored specifically for use in the Tiger, gaining Triumph’s ‘T-Plane’ crankshaft design.

Regardless which version you get, peak power is 148hp (110.4kW) at 9000rpm, with 130Nm (96ftlb) of torque peaking at 7000rpm. That means power is around 30hp down on the revvier version of the engine used in the Speed Triple 1200 RS and RR, but torque is 5Nm higher and both figures are achieved much lower in the rev range.

More significantly for Triumph, the new Tiger 1200 is 14hp up on the BMW R1250GS, although since it gives away 94cc of capacity compared to the 1254cc BMW it’s no surprise that torque is 13Nm lower than the German bike’s peak.

 

 

Engine, gearbox, and exhaust

Like the smaller Tiger 900, the Tiger uses the ‘T-Plane’ crankshaft design, giving an uneven power pulse instead of the regular 240-degree firing interval usually found on triples where the crankpins are set 120-degrees apart. The Tiger 1200’s crank is T-shaped when seen end-on, with cylinder 1 on the left arm of the ‘T’, cylinder 2 at the bottom and cylinder three on the right-hand side. The 1-3-2 firing order means there’s a 180-degree interval between the first and second power pulses, then two 270-degree intervals between the next two.

The idea is to find a middle ground between the low-end thrust of a twin and the high-rev power of a triple.

The engine drives through a six-speed box and into a brand-new shaft-drive system, significantly lighter than the old Tiger 1200’s. On every model apart from the base GT, there’s an up-and-down quickshifter as standard, allowing for clutchless changes.

The exhaust is designed to be slimmer than the old Tiger 1200s, making it easier to fit luggage around it and meaning the panniers – there are two optional sets, either sculpted plastic or boxy alloy ones – don’t lose as much space wrapping around the silencer.

 

 

Three big questions about the new Tiger 1200 motor:

How does it feel compared to the previous Tiger 1200 motor?

How does it compare to a 1250 GS flat twin and other rivals?

How does the T-plane crank feel upscaled from 888cc in the Tiger 900 to 1160cc?

 

How does the new Tiger motor feel compared to the previous 1200 motor?

The new 148bhp 1160cc motor is more responsive, more energetic, lighter and more vibey compared to the previous 139bhp 1215cc Tiger – it makes it feel a bit wheezy, slow-revving and lethargic. In almost every measurable respect the new motor is better, and its contribution to the new Tiger’s package in terms of compact balance and handling dynamic is critical; Triumph couldn’t have built the 2022 Tiger with the old motor – and, as a whole, the new bike is a superior machine.

 

 

But judged by the seat of the pants, the straight-line performance difference between the old 1200 and the new one doesn’t feel like a big leap – drag race the two side-by-side and the new bike will win, but I suspect it wouldn’t be by a huge margin on engine performance alone (as suggested by this composite of Triumph’s claimed dyno curves, the new bike  overlaid with one at the launch of the 2018 Tiger 1200).

 

 

And whether, as an existing 1200 owner, you’ll appreciate the new bike’s lumpy firing interval (or vibration) against your smooth-spinning triple, is moot; if the T-plane crank’s primary role is to add some off-beat, bottom-end, off-road traction, I can see the relevance in the smaller Tiger 900 which may be more likely to be taken off-road – but in a flagship touring adventure bike, where miles on tarmac out-weigh miles off-road substantially, introducing wobbly ‘character’ possibly makes less sense.

That’ll be down to a demo ride for you existing Tiger 1200 owners to decide. There’s a lot more to commend the new Tiger 1200 than just its motor.

 

How does it feel against its rivals in the big adventure bike class?

Against its rivals the triple hasn’t the eye-opening bottom-end whump of either the larger twins; BM’s flat-twin GS or KTM’s V-twin 1290 Super Adventure. Let’s face it, if you’re a fan of a big twin cylinder’s instant propulsion off the bottom end of the revs at tiny throttle openings, you might be dissatisfied with the performance of any inline triple this side of a Rocket 3.

I asked Triumph engineers if 1160cc, with size, bore, stroke and compression ratio shared with the much sportier Speed Triple, was a compromise. The answer is no; make the engine larger and more powerful (or torquey) and weight increases; not just pistons and rods, but every other engine component, transmission and drivetrain – and the chassis too, to manage the performance increase. It also effects packaging. Engine capacity (and therefore performance) is directly linked to a bike’s weight – if achieving lower weight than its main rival, the GS, is a target, 1160cc does it while still delivering the performance Triumph feel is appropriate for their flagship adventure bike.

It’s the same at the top end – the Tiger 1200 hasn’t got the searing full-throttle performance of Ducati’s Multistrada V4 or, again, KTM’s Super Adventure. With significantly less valve overlap than the Speed Triple and smaller injectors, the Tiger 1200 engine is tuned for midrange – and economy (and, again, less weight).

So what it does have is plenty of performance in between – it’s rapid off the line, batters through the beautifully slick quickshifter in short order, and emerges into a tall, overdrive top gear for low-rpm cruising. 80mph shows at 4500rpm which is a relaxed (and frugal) cruising altitude. But it also means you have to cog it down to get the bike to overtake, where GSs and KTMs leap away immediately.

But overall, the new Tiger delivers the right amount of go to achieve what Triumph think we value most in an adventure bike: it’s fast enough not to be slow, it’s quick-revving and responsive, is geared for nippy acceleration down low and low rpm economy (and, presumably, vibes) in top, and doesn’t weigh a ton. But while the engine is good, for me it’s not the star of the show.

 

 

How does the T-plane crank feel, upscaled from 888cc to 1160cc?

The Tiger 1200 vibrates just like the Tiger 900. The off-beat T-plane crank vibration and its lopsided firing interval manifests as low intensity power pulses (or vibes) at low rpm – a bit like a twin but less pronounced and at a higher frequency. If you’d describe a twin’s engine character as like a bass drum beat, the T-plane triple is more like a tom-tom roll.

Triumph says the T-plane design delivers better traction in low grip conditions (off-road and presumably also on wet or slippery roads) by staggering power pulses to the rear tyre. And in the Tiger 900 it gives the bike a more tractive and natural feeling trying to find grip (or rather, not losing it when you don’t want to). But it’s hard to judge in isolation because the Tiger 900 was also improved over the old 800 in many other areas (weight, riding position, suspension etc).

But the effect feels the same in the new Tiger 1200. The vibes are, I think, slightly stronger than the 900’s, but more effectively smoothed-out (which Triumph say they are, with better rubber-mounting engine isolation for bars and pegs). Triumph engineers stress what we’re feeling isn’t only vibration but the pulses from an uneven firing interval; the characteristic the T-plane crank was designed to introduce. But whatever the origin, it’s what we’d all describe as vibration when the engine’s running.

Like the 900, as the revs rise on the 1200, the frequency of the vibration also increases. By the time the engine reaches mid-revs, it hits a pitch where it blurs the mirrors (on the Explorers, with big blind-spot radar mirrors; the standard mirrors on the Pro models are less affected). And it can certainly be felt by the rider, through pegs and bars.

When I rode the 900 at its launch two years ago, I wondered if this vibration would be too much for some people at cruising speed on the road; sensitivity to vibration is subjective, to a point. For me it wasn’t a problem but rather a characteristic of the bike; I haven’t heard tales of thousands of unhappy Tiger 900 owners, so presumably it’s not a problem for them either. I subsequently rode the Tiger 900 for thousands of miles in the UK, often hundreds of miles in one day, and never once had tingling fingers or feet, or felt annoyed by the vibes. They were part of the character of the bike.

The 1200, for me, is the same. The vibes are there, they don’t seem – over the course of the launch, which isn’t like a normal ride – strong enough to annoy or cause me discomfort or irritation. But again, it wouldn’t surprise me if it bothered some owners. It was suggested by other riders on the launch that the vibration intensity differed between bikes – that the GT was worse than the Rally, or the Explorer model worse than the GT. I rode them all and didn’t notice a difference, although I did notice the mirrors were more blurred on the blind-spot Explorers than the standard Pros – probably the fault of the mirrors, not the engine.

 

 

Handling, suspension, and weight

Regardless which version of the Tiger 1200 you opt for, you get Showa semi-active suspension as standard, with automatic rear preload adjustment to counter the weight of luggage or pillions and the ability to constantly tweak damping settings on the move to suit the conditions and your riding style. On the GT models, there’s 200mm of travel at each end, rising to 220mm for the Explorers.

Triumph has worked hard to reduce the bikes’ weight. The base GT now comes in at 240kg wet, including a 90% full tank of fuel, which makes it a full 25kg lighter than the equivalent old-generation Tiger 1200 – the frame, part tube and part alloy, is 5.4kg lighter than the old model, the unusual ‘Tri-link’ swingarm saves another 1.5kg and the fuel tank is alloy to help move the centre of gravity down. The higher-spec’s GT Pro weighs 245kg, while the bigger tank of the GT Explorer pushes it to 255kg. The off-road-oriented Rally Pro is 249kg and the Rally Explorer is 261kg.

As standard the GT models come with Metzeler Tourance rubber, 120/70-19 front and 150/70-18 rear, while the Rally versions get 90/90-21 front and 150/70-18 rear Metzeler Karoo Street tyres.

 

 

From the launch

If, after 50 miles on the Rally Explorer – the top-of-the-range, heaviest, most expensive new Tiger 1200 – you told me it has a 19in front wheel, not a 21in front, I wouldn’t argue. If you said it has a 20-litre tank, not a 30-litre tank, I wouldn’t question it. If you said it’s chain drive, not shaft drive, I would happily go round the back with a tin of lube. And if you said it’s 25kg lighter than it is, you’d have no dispute with me.

The Tiger 1200 – and especially the Rally Explorer – is a remarkable piece of packaging and chassis management.

 


All four models have slightly different handling characteristics because of their specs, but some commonalities stand out. Firstly, the two Explorers, with tanks brimmed with fuel to last up to 350 miles, aren’t even remotely top heavy or cumbersome at any speed. It’s quite astonishing how well they hide their mass. They don’t feel massive when you get on (unlike a GS Adventure which is, however you squint, the view is always utterly dominated by its tank) and they don’t feel massive to throw around. The extra fuel over the 20-litre Pro models is stored partly down at the seat (where the Pro models have a plastic infill) and partly with extra width – but I can’t stress enough how it doesn’t feel wide, massive or imposing when you ride.

The 20-litre Pro models are even lighter; they don’t feel much heavier than their equivalent 900 siblings (in fact they’re only around 10% heavier, with a significantly higher level of performance).

And it’s amazing the Rally Explorer’s 21in front feels so unlike any other 21in front bike I’ve ridden – combined with outstanding Showa semi-active suspension maintaining the Tiger’s front-rear poise, there’s none of the spindly, long-legged waggling associated with other 21in front bikes. Stand on the brakes hard enough to get the ABS protesting and you’ll feel them dive to the bottom – but for general bend-swinging and straight-line stability, the Tiger Rally Explorers are supreme. The GT models, with 19in front wheels, should be a more conventional front-end experience – but, after the agility of the Rally models, they feel less compelled to turn when you’re pushing on.

 

 

And the GTs drag their pegs a bit too easily. Adventure bikes aren’t usually so easy to grind but the GT Pro and GT Explorer deck-out their 200mm of suspension travel with minimal application, and even the Rallies, on 220mm, will cheerfully draw an arc in the tarmac with their hero blobs (although come to think of it, the Tiger 900 GT is easy to grind too). Maybe ground clearance really is on the limited side, or maybe the chassis simply allow more extreme lean angles than we normally feel happy with on an adventure bike. The confidence in the front end of the Rally would suggest it.

The Showa semi-active suspension is highly accomplished. Triumph makes crazy claims – they say if the system detects both wheels off the ground (think humpback bridge or jump off-road) the bike will increase damping to compensate before you land (although they’re not *that* confident; off-road jumps were banned on the launch ride!). They say the auto-levelling preload, in response to payload, also adjusts damping – which isn’t a claim I’ve heard anyone else make. Triumph also says the damping is so finely controllable it effectively acts like a rising rate linkage (by managing spring rate) – which I think is a claim too far, but Triumph have done away with rising rate linkages (more weight saving) and the rear end feels perfectly connected. Which is one of the reasons I’m not a chassis engineer.

The most impressive aspect of the springs is how they maintain the Tiger’s pitching – even with a full tank, it never overloads the forks. And the lovely-looking triangulated swingarm and lightened drive shaft have a geometry that feels for all the world like a conventional chain drive, in the sense there’s a natural sensation of squat (or anti-squat) when you get on the gas – no jacking-up of the back end.

 

 

Is the 2022 Tiger 1200 better handling than the previous Tiger 1200?

Night and day yes, in every respect. Smoother ride quality, sweeter steering, better pitch control, better damping, full semi-active adjustability and auto-levelling preload. Perhaps it has less ground clearance, but in every other respect it knocks the old bike out of the park.

 

Is the 2022 Tiger 1200 better handling than BMW’s R1250 GS, and other rivals?

Put them in a slalom and a Tiger GT Pro will beat a GS. In fact the Tiger Rally Explorer, even with a bigger tank, probably will too. It’s way more agile.

In terms of sheer roadholding, I’ve long been a fan of the way the GS steers and holds a line with an implacable sense of entitlement; nothing will deflect it from its purpose unless the rider asks it to. It handles like it’s not just on rails; it’s a MagLev. Whatever the reason (Paralever back end, Telelever front end, engine mass and position, a combination of all) the Tiger – in fact no bike – has quite the same sense of nailed-down surety. And if you asked which modern big adventure bike to take on a track day, you’d not look past Ducati’s Multistrada V4.

But overall, the Tiger is at least as good as a package. Stability, agility, minimal weight transfer, excellent ride quality, customisable suspension, fantastic Rally front end with a 21in wheel, and the way the Explorers hide the weight and volume of 30 litres of fuel is still baffling me.

 

 

2022 Triumph Tiger 1200 Comfort and economy

Making the new Tiger feel smaller than it really is was one of Triumph’s development goals, so the they’ve made the seat slimmer to reduce the stretch to the ground while increasing the space for the rider to get comfortable.

At its lowest, the GT model’s seat is 850mm off the ground, although there will be a lowering kit to reduce that to 830mm if needed, while the Rally’s is 875mm high. If you’re taller, the seats on both models can be adjusted upwards by 20mm. There’s an adjustable screen, of course, and although it’s not electric it can be quickly moved with one hand using a bar just above the instruments. Clear deflectors either side of the screen add more wind protection.

Compared to the previous generation, the bars are 20mm wider to give more control and the Explorer versions are 16mm higher to give a more upright riding position.

Although fuel economy figures have yet to be established, Triumph estimates that the GT, GT Pro and Rally Pro will get a 250 mile range from their 20-litre tanks, while the 30-litre capacity of the Explorer models will up that by 50% to around 375 miles between fill-ups.

 

From the launch

176 miles on the 2022 Tigers without a twinge is proof Triumph have made them comfy. The seats aren’t as bum-sculpted as the BMW R1250 GS items but work just as well even though Triumph have made them slimmer to get better ‘stand-over’ dimensions. No aches, no pains. And heated as standard for pillion and rider on the Explorer models.

The GTs, with twin seat heights of 850mm and 875mm, are the most ‘sit-in’ of the range – and it feels a bit odd to be sat so conventionally, deep ‘in’ an adventure bike and makes the bars feel relatively high. The Rally models, with 875mm to 895mm seat heights, are more balanced and in keeping with the style of the bike and its bar-to-footpeg spacing – and, for me, more naturally comfortable; I don’t end up slumping forward on my pelvis in that horribly inactive armchair riding position. The bars themselves are wider than the previous Tiger, but don’t feel as much like a paddle as the GS; they’re just the right width.

 

 

The screen is excellent too – one-handed lever mechanism is smooth and easy to use at speed with the left hand. The range of adjustment isn’t huge – it’s effectively a two-position setting; on lowest, there’s conventional wind blast and noise on head and shoulders. Lift it fully up (a six-foot rider can still see over it) and the high frequency wind noise disappears, but leaves the low-frequency rumbling. There’s no buffeting on either setting. I suspect most riders will want to fit a screen extension for good measure. And it’s not as tall as the previous Tiger’s screen (which always looked a bit too big, to me).

As for economy, Triumph claim “up to 248 miles” from the 20-litre Pro and “up to 372 miles” from the 30-litre Explorer. That would be a fuel economy figure of 56.4mpg. Triumph’s spec says their tested fuel economy is 55.4mpg.

On the test ride we covered 176.2 miles at a trip measure of 41.5mpg on the Rally Explorer, with 109.4 miles remaining – 286 miles in total. The same distance left a GT Pro on the reserve light (assuming they were full when we set off in the morning; I checked the Rally Pro and it was brimmed).

It’s safe to say the Explorer will run over 300 miles, but 350 will take some restrained riding. The Pros will be looking for filling stations around the 160 to 180-mile mark.

 

 

2022 Triumph Tiger 1200 Brakes

Regardless which version you choose, the brakes are Brembo M4.30 Stylema four pot front calipers on 320mm floating discs, operated by a Magura radial master cylinder. At the back there’s a single-pot Brembo caliper and 282mm disc. IMU-controlled cornering ABS is standard.

 

From the launch

The brakes are excellent on all models, with sexy Magura levers and master cylinder, loads of span adjustment and plenty of feel. Even on the Tiger Rally Explorer with a fairly full tank, it takes a proper crash stop to bring the ABS into play – it’s outside the range of normal use.

 

 

Rider aids, extra equipment, and accessories

The IMU-assisted suite of rider aids include up to six riding modes – three (Road, Rain, Sport) for the basic Tiger 1200 GT, five including rider-configurable and ‘Off-Road’ settings for the GT Pro and GT Explorer, and an additional ‘Off-Road Pro’ setting for the Rally and Rally Explorer.

All versions get keyless ignition, which also operates the steering lock and filler cap, and everything apart from the stripped-down GT gets adaptive cornering lights, the quickshifter, and a hill-hold system. The two Explorer models also get tyre pressure monitors and heated grips and seats as standard.

Most intriguingly, though is the rear-facing radar system that’s fitted to the GT Explorer and Rally Explorer. Made by Continental (so the Tiger is the first production bike to have a radar from anyone other than Bosch) the system offers blind spot monitoring and lane change assist functions, warning if there’s a vehicle lurking over your shoulder.

A 7in TFT dash is standard across the range, with integrated ‘My Triumph’ connectivity for smartphone-operated navigation, music and calls, plus Triumph’s unique GoPro control system.

 

From the launch

New clocks, adapting the circular display style from the Speed Triple, are simple and easy to read – but there’s something ill-fitting about a round display in a square surround. But they’re a world better than the wavy style display on the Tiger 900. Triumph have kept the information compact – the display is the polar opposite of BMW’s IMAX-style dash.

Switchgear is Triumph’s standard backlit grey buttons, and although accessing the things you want to see on the screen isn’t intuitive (I spent ages pressing the wrong buttons, going up when I should be going sideways, etc) I guess you learn in the end. Triumph’s Bluetooth connectivity allows for the rudimentary turn-by-turn nav (does anyone use that function) and call management.

There’s a lot of scope for customising settings. Within each riding mode, throttle maps, traction control and suspension damping characteristics can be set to your choice. But I struggled even to get the trip to show up, and moving between remaining miles on the fuel display and general trip mileage information took around four presses of Triumphs fiddly joystick. And because it’s so close to the indicator, I often ended up pressing that by mistake.

Obviously, the Tigers are fully-loaded with tech depending on model, featuring cruise, multi-layered traction control, cornering ABS, cornering lights, hill-hold, quickshifter, heated grips and seats – and the Explorers come with blind spot radar detection: a radar sit sin the tail, the mirrors have a small amber light under them. When the radar spots a vehicle approaching from behind, it lights up the warning light – the system is fixed and can’t either be adjusted or disabled by the rider. It seems to incorporate velocity as well as distance of the approaching vehicle – if a following bike approached me slowly, it triggered the warning light later than a bike approaching me faster, but further away. In each case, the warning light isn’t bright enough to distract during daytime riding – which kinda defeats the point, but better that than annoying.

What is strange is Triumph didn’t fit the radar to front and offer adaptive cruise control. Like cruise control itself, it’s one of those things you don’t know you want until you have it, and then you appreciate it. The reason Triumph give for not fitting it is because their customer research shows it isn’t a significant must-have feature, and the cost of developing it would push the price of the bike higher than Triumph wanted. Pretty simple equation.

Triumph offers a wide range of accessories for the Tiger 1200s – the usual items, but the most commonly fitted will be luggage: a set of aluminium adventure panniers (probably made by Givi as they are on the Tiger 900) is around £1500 including rails. However here BMW really do have them beaten – the range of Option 719 accessories for the GS range is vast.

And it has to be said, a fully-blinged BMW GS, with special paint options and gold rims, is still a hell of a thing to look at. Part of the attraction of the GS for some riders is the feeling you’re riding a motorhome on two wheels – the scale of the bike is so vast, it’s like a home-from-home. It’s really obvious where the money went – you can’t miss it.

The Tiger 1200 – and Rally Explorer in particular – makes a mockery of its actual size to feel astonishingly like a normal motorbike. But it looks too normal. It’s good-looking and the finish is the high quality we’ve come to expect from Triumph – but it’s not showy. If anything, it’s understated. Who want a £20 grand bike to look understated? We want it to look like it cost every penny.

 

 

2022 Triumph Tiger 1200 - Off-road

Triumph gave us half a day off-road on a stripped-down Tiger 1200 Rally Pro – centre stand removed, tank half empty, seat lowered, peg rubbers removed, running on Michelin Anakees, bars turned up. Basically, making the bike as off-road as possible.

The trails I rode were easy – nothing remotely gnarly – and, as I’m a self-proclaimed enthusiastic amateur off-road, Triumph were taking no chances because they had a limited supply of Tigers and couldn’t afford to have one break. To be honest, I would have preferred a bit more of a challenge so maybe next time I’ll tell them I’m intermediate level.

But as it stands, the Rally Pro felt like a slightly larger version of the 900 off-road (and it does on the road too). A GS, for me, feels unwieldy off-road – of course some riders can make it look like a 250 enduro, but at my level (which I’d guess is similar to a national average) the Tiger feels much more an off-road natural than the BMW. I even found the time to follow a fellow rider’s advice and set the bike up to run in Off-Road mode (with appropriate traction control and ABS off at the rear – Off-Road Pro disables it at the front too) – but with a Rain map. This reduced the Tiger’s throttle aggression and made it much smoother to use.

The triumph hasn’t got the off-road DNA of the KTM Adventure Rs – you never forget you’re riding a road bike off-road – but its size and mass are so impressive it’s very manageable. I’d think twice about tackling a slippery peat bog in the Peaks, but then I would on anything.

 

 

Rivals

Triumph is pretty clear that there’s one bike it’s got in its sights – BMW’s R1250GS. Although, of course, that’s really two bikes at least, given the differences between the base GS and the off-road-oriented GS Adventure, not to mention the vast array of ways those bikes can be tailored with optional accessory packs (another area where Triumph is putting focus, with more than 50 accessories due to be available at launch).

Other potential competition comes from the likes of KTM’s 1290 Adventure and there’s a dark horse in the form of Harley’s Pan America.

Here’s a high-level comparison chart:

 

Make/Model

Tiger 1200 GT Pro (Rally Explorer)

BMW R1250GS (Adventure)

KTM 1290 SA S

Harley Pan Am 1250

Ducati Multistrada V4 S

2021 Tiger 1200 XCa

Engine

1160 inline triple

1254cc boxer twin

1301cc V-twin

1252cc V-twin

1190cc V4

1215cc inline triple

Power

148bhp @ 9000rpm

134bhp @ 7750rpm

160bhp @ 9000rpm

148bhp @ 8750rpm

170bhp @ 10,500rpm

137bhp @ 9300rpm

Torque

96 lbft @ 7000rpm

105 lbft @ 6250rpm

102 lbft @ 6500rpm

94lbft @ 6750rpm

92 lbft @ 8750rpm

91 lbft @ 7600rpm

Wet weight

245kg (261kg)

249kg (268kg)

245kg

245kg

240kg

270kg

Seat Height

850-875mm (875-895mm)

850-870mm (890-910mm)

849mm

825-856mm

840-860mm

837-857mm

Price

£16,700 (£19,100)

£13,625 (£14,905)

£14,999

£14,000

£19,595

n/a

 

 

2022 Triumph Tiger 1200 - Verdict

Blown away by the Tiger 1200 handling and chassis management. Never has the weight of so much fuel been so effectively disguised; if money is no object, there’s no reason not to buy the Explorer versions of the GT or the Rally – they’re a different order of manageable than the previous, somewhat top-heavy, Tiger 1200, and much less imposing than the GS Adventure (pre-supposing that’s a good thing). And the 2022 Tiger GT and Rally Pro bikes feel more like Tiger 900s.

And there’s no reason to side-step the Rally models if you like the green paint, white frame and wire wheels, but think a 21in front is too skittish on the road. Not on the Rally it’s not.
The engine is less impressive, but only in the straight-line performance sense. It’s powerful, flexible, clean, efficient, compact and delivers almost everything you want from a modern flagship adventure bike motor – apart from that last little bit of eye-opening wow-factor. It’s most noticeable during overtakes, and is probably therefore also partly down to top gear ratio choice; you have to cog it down to get it to really take off with gusto. But that niggle aside, it’s a great engine.

So overall, is the Tiger 1200 better than a GS? Yes, it’s lighter, cheaper spec-for-spec, more manageable, more agile and more powerful. It’s no less comfy, efficient or packed with features. The Rally Pro is easier to ride off-road than a GS.

The Tiger’s engine isn’t as torque-rich at the bottom end, and it’s not a flat twin; if you prefer a twin to a triple, doesn’t matter how many off-beat vibes Triumph add, they won’t convince you. And the Tiger as a whole doesn’t look as expensive or showy as the GS – it would need better paint with some lacquer, gold wheels, a few cosmetic blings.

 

Second Opinion – Michael Mann (GT Pro)

 

Michael is 6ft tall. This bit is relevant.

 

A very long way from the press riding launch in sun-drenched Portugal is the rather more down-to-earth and realistic riding conditions of the UK in mid-January, for what is surely an ideal tester for the big Triumph. I’d been handed the GT Pro for a month over the Christmas and New Year period just to put you in the picture in terms of weather and state of the roads. As soon as you get on the bike, it’s easy to feel at home – the riding position for this six-footer places my head and eye-line in the perfect place to a) see the rather sexy TFT screen, b) to be offered enough protection from the adjustable screen in its highest setting, c) reach the handlebars in a natural manner, with the slightest hint of stretch, and d) to initially judge the hip-knee-foot alignment of the lowest of the two seat height settings. On this lower setting, my knee was pretty close to the wind deflectors.

Thankfully I’m familiar with Triumph’s handlebar and switchgear layout, which is similar across much of the range, including the excellent backlit buttons and easy to use 5-way joystick. And what dawned on me early in the test period was how simple the layout of the dashboard is. While modern-day motorcycles have a tendency to go overboard with electronics and rider aids, the plethora of options require manual control and that’s when menus and information can overwhelm the screen. Not in this case. The options are tucked away neatly and it’s easy to see which can and can’t be accessed when on the move.

Impressively comfortable over any distance in terms of riding position, and more so for me when I flicked the seat into the higher position, though the adjustable screen gets an 8/10 for wind deflection, I’d prefer another 50mm on top please. Heated grips are 3-stage and are effective. The GT Pro doesn’t come with the heated seat as standard, but the button is still there on the handlebars to tempt you.

I was surprised not to see the adaptive cruise control on the Tiger – the radar is there on the Rally bikes because of the blind spot detection which in turn means the mirrors are larger, wider, nicer, and have a wider range of adjustability than the GT Pro.

The engine is super strong, really versatile across its optimal performance range with power available through the whole rev range, and it sounds fabulously fruity too with the T-plane crank thumping away offering pleasant yet unobtrusive vibes. Though I’d rather trade a little of the top-end rush for a bit more acceleration urgency. I found initial throttle opening not as precise as I’d like – there’s a fine line of hesitancy where the bike starts to move or not (the two BikeSocial members, Chad and I who all reviewed our own versions had all experienced a stall – and apparently talk is common on the Facebook forum which suggests Triumph are aware and there’s a software update available), it’s probably down to the ECU smoothing or balancing the power and torque available.

The Tiger 1200 GT Pro is eager to much those miles but lacks the ruggedness of the Rally models and their 21” spoked wheels. Pound-for-pound it’s aesthetically and mechanically refined, contains bags of quality throughout, and for me would vie for top spot in this market along with the Ducati Multistrada V4.

 

Second Opinion – Adam ‘Chad’ Child (Rally Explorer)

 

Chad is 5’7”.

 

I’ll be honest we didn’t get off to the best start. My initial impression was, ‘she is a big girl’. I’m obviously used to riding adventure bikes, but I am short 172cm to be precise, or 5’6 and a half. I’d opted for the largest of the Tiger range the Rally Explorer, 21-inch front wheel, 30l of fuel, 875mm seat height, 220mm of suspension travel, and 261kg. To be fair, that is lighter and lower than BMW’s R1250 GS Adventure, which I’ve ridden extensively in the past, but taller and heavier than my KTM 1290 Super Adventure S which I ride daily (19-inch front wheel).

Once I’d thrown a leg over the tall seat, I can only get one foot down at a time, again similar to another tall adventure bike I’d ridden previously. But interestingly in the Rain mode the suspension softens, the electronic suspension sags, and I feel more secure, almost both feet down at the same time. I soon learned to plan tricky stops, or simply flick into Rain mode around town when it’s very stop-start.

The modes are not just useful for changing the suspension, but you feel the character of the bike change, the power and rider aids are significantly different between the ‘road’ modes.  The majority of my bike time was in the wet and cold on the approach to Christmas. Rain mode was perfect, soft fuelling and suspension were backed up by excellent rider aids.

Occasionally I opted for the sportier modes, when you feel the step in power, she has some grunt, surprisingly so at first. The suspension has less travel, the whole package is tighter. For a relatively big bike, the Tiger can deliver a sporty, spirited ride.

But for me, the Tiger’s ace card is comfort and eating big miles. Sit back in comfort, with the heated grips and seat to the maximum, large (sometimes noisy) screen fully upright, set the cruise control, and relax. What a lovely, simple, and relaxing way to churn out the miles. I was achieving 250 miles from the 30l fuel tank, before the fuel light illuminated, but ridden legally and you’d easily see over 300 miles. And because it’s so comfortable, that is certainly possible in a day without any complaints. In fact, 6-900 miles a day, wouldn’t be out of the question, this is a true globetrotting bike, from London to the Alps in a day with no problem.

After just over a month of ownership, the initial apprehension was simply a distant memory, the big Tiger turned out to be easy enough to live with, but if you are short like me, try before you buy, the 19-inch version may be a preferred option. A truly global adventure bike, which is versatile, fun, distinctive, and appealing, I can’t wait to try it again in summer, and possibly off-road.

 

Owner Reviews

We got in touch with several BikeSocial members who own the latest Triumph Tiger 1200 model to canvass their opinions. Chad and Michael even met up with two of them, here’s what Laurence Martin and Toby Batt had to say:

 

 

Laurence from Bradford, West Yorkshire (5’9”)

Model: Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Explorer from Youles in Blackburn

Riding history: owned a previous gen Triger 1200 immediately before his current bike. Before that was a BMW RT, ’95 Tiger before that. Riding since he was 17. Had a break of about 10 years between Tiger and RT. Used to commute but then moved from London to Yorkshire – ex-police. Rode in London.

Any modifications: Soft-panniers (non-Triumph), crash bars, Ultimate Add-Ons handlebar bracket (not compliant with a tank bag!)

Why did you buy: Brother-in-law had a Street Triple from Youles and I was looking at a Tiger 900 but there was a big delay in the delivery of those. I’d tested the KTM 1290 and the BMW GS, and the GS was close but I felt loyalty to the Triumph brand because of my previous Tigers… and I didn’t want to be on a GS because there are so many of them.

Thoughts:

“The difference between this and the last generation is night and day. It just feels like a little sportsbike by comparison, so light and nimble. The character of the T-plane engine, on low revs when you open the throttle, very similar to the KTM it rumbles away under load. I find it fun; it’s invigorating.

I have taken it on a big tour covering 3,500 miles in 2 ½ weeks with my brother-in-law on his KTM 890 Adventure. We rode to Portsmouth then on the ferry to Bilbao then rode via Pyrenees, down to Gibraltar via the East coast of Spain then went up through the centre of Portugal. Averaged 54mpg, 250-300 miles per day and were stopping 80 miles before the end of the day so we were set for the following day.

It’s still a top-heavy bike, nowhere near as top heavy as the previous generation which I’ve had, and once you’re loaded up with kit for touring then the low setting is just enough to be able to cope. I tried the Rally Pro, aesthetically it’s spot on but to be constantly looking when you’re stopping to see which way the camber is going… and so the reason why I chose the GT Explorer was purely because of the seat height. I’d have preferred the Rally Pro, not because I do any serious off-road, but it looks the part. I’ve not done any off-road since buying and it wouldn’t matter if it didn’t have Off-Road mode.

I’ve created my own riding mode – it’s the same as Street mode but with the softer suspension. If I’m riding with a group I often go into Street or Sport. It does handle very well and you can really hustle it. You can quite easily knock it into 6th and go from 30mph up with no problem. Yet on B-roads, you can have that in 3rd or 4th and stick with it. It’s fast enough to ride with a group without needing change up. The brakes are sh*t hot – they’re really good.

I don’t use the My Triumph app, I don’t think it’s as integrated as it could be, it would be nice if they did something like Ducati or BMW where you have a map. Instead, I use Google Maps / Calimoto with my headset. And there’s no storage, nowhere to put a disc lock or a puncture repair kit. Under the pillion seat is the phone holder and USB port but I run a 2m USB cable from there and feed it along the tank to the ‘bars.

The CPU speed isn’t the quickest so the start-up TFT display takes a long time, which is frustrating in this day and age. The noise and buffeting from the screen is my biggest annoyance, otherwise I can’t fault the bike. The screen is good, but it could be better. I’ve ordered a Givi screen which bolts straight onto the existing bracket but it’s a bit wider and a bit taller.”

 

 

Toby from Holmfirth, Yorkshire (5’10”)

Model: Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Explorer from Cobb & Jagger in Bradford

Riding history: last bike was a first-generation Fazer 1000 which I still have. Prior to that: Triumph Sprint ST (too uncomfortable after a back op), another Fazer before that, Fireblade RRV (‘97) before that, which I regret selling. An IAM advanced rider and IAM local observer. Pretty much an all-year rider. Training & social riding 4-5 times per week.

Any modifications: Trekker luggage (top box, 2 x panniers and mounting – 25% off from the dealer), engine bars, Sat Nav and a Monimoto Tracker.

Why did you buy: My wife’s Street Twin 900 was in being serviced and MOT’d, and the dealer encouraged me to take the Tiger 1200 out, he told me to take it out for the day and when I got back (after about 5 hours), I said, “where do I sign?”! I was trying to find things I didn’t like, to talk myself out of it, and I couldn’t.

Thoughts:

“I went for the GT because I don’t go off road. I tried the GT Pro but wanted more bells and whistles which is why I went for the GT Explorer. I will give off-roading a go but a) I’ve never had an adventure bike before, and b) I don’t fancy taking a 20-grand bike down a gravel track and falling off it. Once I’ve got used to the bike, I might go green-laning with my mates who do it. I can’t ride it in the high seat position, I’m too much on my tippy toes, I don’t feel safe, so I have the seat in the lower of the two positions.

I toured Scotland last year and plan to tour Spain this year. I had my wife on the back, so that’s 30 litres of fuel plus 30 litres of luggage and a pillion, it’s a lot of weight, and the centre of gravity then changes because the pillion sits quite high. I found it easier to touch the floor when fully loaded though. We achieved 49-50mpg on the Scotland tour, and you could easily get 290-300-miles per tank, even two-up.

I think that’s because the torque is very linear, it’s not snatchy. When I ride my Fazer, it’s a lot more snatchy. The quickshifter is an excellent piece of kit. I found this one a lot smoother than the one I had on my Triumph Street Triple.

The My Triumph app connects easily but the sat nav is just step-by-step, it’s very basic. I prefer to see the road ahead. You just have an arrow and yardage.

I’ve still got the original screen on mine, and I don’t have any problem with it. With the riding mode, I toggle through them all; I so use Rain mode which softens the suspension and put the ABS and everything on but it’s a lot more sluggish. The road conditions where I live are shocking, so I soften the suspension. But I mainly use Street mode, probably 80% of the time.”

 

 

 

 

 

Paul from West Sussex

Model: Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Explorer (purchased June 2022)

Riding for: 42 Years

Any modifications? Bar risers, Fuel exhaust, taller windscreen, rear hugger, fender extender, hand guard extenders and Amplink

Approx. annual mileage: 6000

"Over the years I have had many bikes from R1’s to Harleys and most in between. My days of testing my poor riding skills are over and have been replaced by comfort, practicality, and safety. My Tiger 1200, known as Trinity, is a great mix of all the things I need from a bike, plus a few more. I have had a 1250GS previously and I have to say that the Tiger is more fun and more modern to ride. Prior to the 1200 I had the 900 Tiger which was also great, but I’m pleased I traded up. The tech on the bike is excellent and at the push of a few buttons it can transform the ride. The riding position, comfort and ability to manhandle the bike all contribute to it being a pleasure to ride. The seat height, like all adventure bikes, is a little tall for my short legs but with the lower seat (810mm) it’s comfortably manageable, a slightly lower version would make the bike perfect. Before buying I test rode the Ducati Multistrada and the BMW S1000XR. On balance I made the right decision."

 

 

2022 Triumph Tiger 1200 Technical Specification

New price

£14,660 (GT), £16,700 (GT Pro), £17,700 (Rally Pro), £18,100 (GT Explorer), £19,100 (Rally Explorer)

Capacity

1160cc

Bore x Stroke

90.0mm x 60.7 mm

Engine layout

Inline triple

Engine details

Liquid-cooled, DOHC, T-plane crank

Power

110.4kW/148bhp @ 9000rpm

Torque

130Nm/96ft lbs @ 7000rpm

Transmission

6-speed

Average fuel consumption

Claimed: 55.4mpg /5.1 l/100km

Tested: 41.5mpg /6.8 l/100km

Tank size

20 litres (30 litres on Explorer models)

Max range to empty

Claimed: 250 miles (375 miles for Explorer models)

Tested: 180 miles (280+ miles for Explorer)

Rider aids

6-axis IMU

Frame

Steel tube with alloy sub frame

Front suspension

Showa 49mm inverted forks, 200mm travel (220mm travel on Rally models)

Front suspension adjustment

Semi-active damping control

Rear suspension

Showa monoshock, 200mm travel (220mm on Rally models)

Rear suspension adjustment

Semi-active damping control, automatic preload adjustment

Front brake

Brembo Stylema radial 4-piston calipers, 320mm discs

Rear brake

Brembo 2-piston caliper, 282mm disc

Front wheel / tyre

Metzeler Tourance 120/70R19 (Metzeler Karoo Street 90/90R21 on Rally models)

Rear wheel / tyre

Metzeler Tourance 150/70R18 (Metzeler Karoo Street 150/70R18 on Rally models)

Dimensions

2245mm-2296mm (l) x 849mm-982mm (w) x 1436mm-1547mm (h)

Wheelbase

1560mm

Seat height

850-870mm (GT) 875mm-895mm (Rally)

Weight

240kg to 261kg (wet) depending on model

Warranty

3 years, unlimited mileage

MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet rated

Servicing

10,000-mile intervals

Website

www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk

 

2022 Tiger 1200 - Features List

 

GT

GT PRO

GT EXPLORER

RALLY PRO

RALLY EXPLORER

Semi-active suspension

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Suspension travel

200mm

200mm

200mm

220mm

220mm

Wheels

Cast 19in front, 18in rear

Cast 19in front, 18in rear

Cast 19in front, 18in rear

Spoked 21in front, 19in rear

Spoked 21in front, 19in rear

Tyres

Metzeler Tourance

Metzeler Tourance

Metzeler Tourance

Metzeler Karoo

Metzeler Karoo

Tyre pressure monitor

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

Tank size

20 litres

20 litres

30 litres

20 litres

30 litres

Seat height

850-870mm

850-870mm

850-870mm

875-895mm

875-895mm

Cruise control

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Centrestand

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Heated grips

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Heated seats

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

Engine bars

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Tank bars

 

 

 

 

Yes

Cornering lights

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Fog lights

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Cornering ABS

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Traction control

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Up/down quickshifter

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Hill hold

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Blind spot radar

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

Rain/road/sport modes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Off-road mode

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Off-road Pro mode

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

New Triumph Tiger 1200 First Look | Exclusive Interview!

New-for-2022 comes the Triumph Tiger1200 and we've had a sit and a poke around the new five-bike range already.

 

What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard

  • An ignition immobiliser system

  • A vehicle marking system

  • An alarm system

  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has, and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.