Tri­umph Tiger 1200 Xcx

We get wet and wild with Tri­umph’s lat­est big cat


hink­ley’s lat­est fe­ro­cious fe­line is now the big­gest Tiger on the prowl

Peer­ing through the tall screen at the empty stretch of the well-sur­faced, four-lane high­way ahead of me with the rain lash­ing down, i wound back the throt­tle in third gear and, as the an­i­mated tachome­ter on the full-colour TFT dash changed from blue to flash­ing red, was pro­pelled past 150 km/h as 141 Bri­tish horses were un­leashed upon the rear wheel. i briefly de­lib­er­ated rolling off, con­sid­er­ing the in­clement weather and less-than-perfect vis­i­bil­ity, but just couldn’t help my­self; my ad­dic­tion to speed won over sen­si­bil­ity this time — i hooked an­other gear and opened the gas, set­ting free a surge of torque ac­com­pa­nied by the howl­ing in­take, as this 251-kilo­gram (dry) be­he­moth punched a hole through the wind and rain, with me hang­ing on and grin­ning stupidly in­side my hel­met.

the mo­tor­cy­cle in ques­tion is the new-for-2018 tri­umph tiger 1200 and i was lucky enough to spend a day with this fe­ro­cious fe­line out on the open road. al­though there are sev­eral changes, both ex­ter­nal and me­chan­i­cal, in this up­dated model, tri­umph have re­tained the in­stantly rec­og­niz­able sil­hou­ette of the out­go­ing tiger, al­low­ing the new bike to be eas­ily iden­ti­fied as the big ADV from hinckley. tri­umph have dropped the “ex­plorer” tag from their line-up and this year’s bike is sim­ply called the “tiger 1200” and it is the mid­dle-of-the-range, off-road bi­ased Xcx vari­ant that is be­ing of­fered in in­dia so far.

in an ef­fort to make the new bike more in­tu­itive, safer, and eas­ier to ride, tri­umph have re­worked sev­eral com­po­nents with­out re­ally chang­ing the essence of the ma­chine. We still have a 1,215-cc, 12-valve, liq­uid-cooled in-line three, nes­tled within a tubu­lar steel trel­lis frame. tri­umph claim that the frame has been re­worked to save weight, while the en­gine gets a lighter fly­wheel and crank­shaft not only to re­duce weight, but also to help it spin up faster. the new euro 4 mill is sim­i­lar in lay­out to the old en­gine and the peak power dif­fer­ence is neg­li­gi­ble: 141 Ps at 9,350 rpm, which is just two Ps more at 50 rpm higher. Peak torque is down by one nm, to 122, and comes in at 7,600 rpm, which is 1,400 rpm higher than be­fore. Power is trans­ferred to the rear wheel via a ro­bust shaft and tri­umph are quick to re­mind us that this is the world’s most pow­er­ful shaft-driven ad­ven­ture mo­tor­cy­cle. sus­pen­sion du­ties are taken care of by a beefy WP up­side-down fork up front with 190 mm of travel, while the rear is sup­ported by a WP monoshock with 193 mm of wheel travel. tri­umph’s pro­pri­etary elec­tronic damp­ing sys­tem, tri­umph semi ac­tive sus­pen­sion (tsas), does duty at both ends and can be stiff­ened for a sporty feel or soft­ened for com­fort on the fly. ad­di­tion­ally, the rear sus­pen­sion also fea­tures au­to­matic preload ad­just­ment to main­tain the cor­rect ride height with or with­out a pil­lion and/or lug­gage — no need to break out the tool-kit.

the new tiger 1200 gets FULL-LED light­ing all around and those fa­mil­iar twin head­lights now seem to frown at you, cour­tesy the slant-eyed Drls. Peek­ing out from un­der the head­lights is the ADV-INSPIRED pseudo beak and close in­spec­tion of the new body­work re­veals sev­eral small aero de­flec­tors that do a great job flow­ing wind around the rider with min­i­mum buf­fet­ing, trans­lat­ing into less fa­tigue over longer rides. the tall screen is elec­tron­i­cally ad­justable via the five-way joy­stick on the left-hand switchgear and, at its high­est po­si­tion, kept 5’ 5” me rel­a­tively shielded from the el­e­ments. taller rid­ers may want to opt for the op­tional higher screen to pre­vent tur­bu­lence around the hel­met at high speeds. the wide, 20-litre tank leads to the ex­tremely com­fort­able and sup­port­ive seat, while the tail sec­tion is de­void of any plas­tic, the ex­posed steel tub­ing of the sub­frame giv­ing the bike a tough and rugged look. the tail-light, al­though now

LED, re­tains a sim­i­lar light sig­na­ture and squar­ish shape of the out­go­ing tiger, so you’ll know ex­actly what it was when one passes you at speed on the high­way.

With the seat at its lower 835-mm set­ting, i swung a leg over and pulled the hefty mo­tor­cy­cle off the side-stand. the tiger 1200 comes with key­less ac­cess and, with the key safely tucked away into the pocket of my jacket, i thumbed the com­bined starter and kill-switch tog­gle to be greeted by the ex­cel­lent five-inch colour TFT screen. the dash, which hosts a plethora of in­for­ma­tion, can be cus­tom­ized to suit the rider’s pref­er­ences and rid­ing style. We have seen sim­i­lar units on the street triple rs and tiger 800 and i am al­ways im­pressed with its ease of use and amount of in­for­ma­tion on of­fer. Per­ma­nently dis­played are a speedome­ter, tachome­ter, gear in­di­ca­tor, clock, fuel level, am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture, and the cur­rent rid­ing mode, while the strip along the bot­tom can be cus­tom­ized to in­clude trip me­ters, fuel con­sump­tion, coolant tem­per­a­ture, ser­vice in­for­ma­tion, dis­play style set­ting, sus­pen­sion ad­just­ments, and more. rid­ing modes on the tiger 1200 Xcx are rain, road, sport, off-road and off-road Pro, and each of these has its own pa­ram­e­ters for throt­tle map, trac­tion con­trol and ABS. the tiger 1200 gets cor­ner­ing ABS and trac­tion con­trol based on sig­nals re­ceived from an in­er­tial Mea­sure­ment unit (IMU) that mea­sures speed, ac­cel­er­a­tion, en­gine rpm, pitch, lean an­gle, and yaw and ac­cord­ingly reg­u­lates the in­tru­sion of the elec­tronic nan­nies.

Press­ing the starter but­ton fur­ther brings the big triple in­stantly to life and it set­tles into a smooth idle with a deep rumble em­a­nat­ing from the op­tional ti­ta­nium ar­row ex­haust fit­ted on our test bike. a blip of the throt­tle brings forth a men­ac­ing growl, ac­com­pa­nied by a crisp roar from the in­take as the en­gine gulps in air; the high-pitched whine, char­ac­ter­is­tic of pre­vi­ous tri­umph triples, has been greatly re­duced and is barely au­di­ble over the sweet ex­haust note. once on the move, i took a few moments to get used to ma­noeu­vring this tall and heavy mo­tor­cy­cle through Mum­bai’s rush-hour traf­fic, but, once com­fort­able, i had no prob­lems at all.

the rain started pour­ing down be­fore i was out of the city and, as i made my way to the high­way, i got a taste of how the elec­tron­ics on a mod­ern mo­tor­cy­cle keep you safe in chal­leng­ing con­di­tions.

on a shiny bit of wet and slip­pery tar­mac, i rolled on the throt­tle at about 50 km/h in fifth gear and the rear wheel in­stantly stepped out, send­ing me and the tiger side­ways with­out warn­ing. the mo­ment passed even be­fore i could re­act as the well-tuned elec­tron­ics reined in the rear wheel, and i con­tin­ued on my way with noth­ing more than a sigh of re­lief and an el­e­vated heart­beat.

With traf­fic fi­nally thin­ning out it was time to stretch the tiger’s legs, and i was greatly im­pressed with the en­gine’s us­abil­ity all through the rev range. torque is avail­able from as low as 3,000 rpm and the bike pulls like a lo­co­mo­tive by the time the tachome­ter reg­is­ters 5,000 rpm, with the peak twist still over 2,000 revs away. get greedy with the throt­tle and the tiger 1200 is ca­pa­ble of hit­ting scary speeds ridicu­lously fast, all the while feel­ing sta­ble, planted, and ask­ing for more; if we had the roads, it would truly be pos­si­ble to cruise all day at over 180 km/h with­out the en­gine break­ing into a sweat. But this is in­dia and, on our un­pre­dictable and pot­hole-rid­den roads, the elec­tronic sus­pen­sion plays a far more im­por­tant role in rider sat­is­fac­tion than a pow­er­ful en­gine. set to sport, the sus­pen­sion feels taut, the bike tips into cor­ners with a sporty, sure-footed feel and there is very lit­tle fork dive un­der brak­ing. Ma­nip­u­late the joy­stick to soften things up and steer­ing slows down no­tice­ably, the rear squats dur­ing ac­cel­er­a­tion and fork dive be­comes pro­nounced on the brakes, while bumps, bad patches of road and speed-break­ers are gob­bled up with­out is­sue. left to its own de­vices, the sys­tem au­to­mat­i­cally ad­justs the damp­ing sev­eral times a sec­ond and does a great job of main­tain­ing con­trol and keep­ing the tyres in con­tact with the road across a va­ri­ety of sur­faces and rid­ing con­di­tions, thus giv­ing the tiger a ver­sa­tile, do-it-all air.

tri­umph’s lat­est big cat brings the most pow­er­ful en­gine in the seg­ment to­gether with a sturdy chas­sis, ex­cel­lent sus­pen­sion, and a fan­tas­tic elec­tron­ics pack­age to de­liver a world-class rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, while keep­ing the rider safe and in con­trol in a va­ri­ety of con­di­tions. i think it is a wor­thy re­place­ment for the out­go­ing tiger ex­plorer and can hold its own in the grow­ing ad­ven­ture-touring space.

Tri­umph’s lat­est big cat brings the most pow­er­ful en­gine in the seg­ment to­gether with a sturdy chas­sis, ex­cel­lent sus­pen­sion, and a fan­tas­tic elec­tron­ics pack­age to de­liver a world-class rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence

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