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