One Of The Most Adventure-Ready Tigers Ever Built

Triumph Motorcycles revamped its large-displacement Tiger family ahead of MY2018 with a host of improvements that include a significant weight loss — both inside the cases and outside — for quicker spool-up and livelier throttle responses. The electronics were buffed as well with more rider-controlled options on top of the already top-shelf gadgetry. New cast wheels carry it all with a sporty new spoke arrangement and blackout treatment. Trumpet packs in even more yummygoodness, so let’s dig in, shall we?

Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Tiger 1200 XR.

  • 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-3
  • Displacement:
    1215 cc
  • Price:

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR Design

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR
- image 783005
These are, by far, the most adventure-ready Tigers ever built.

Adventure bikes, by virtue of their adventuresome nature, tend to have rather extreme design characteristics, and that’s certainly true of the Tiger 1200. The factory tweaked the looks a little with a slight shuffling of the painted bits against the blackout backdrop and a new tank graphic, but the new Tiger 1200 XR is one apple that fell mighty close to the tree as it’s still very similar to the Tiger Explorer XR it replaces.

It starts off right up front with the stylized front fender and class-typical, bird’s-beak fairing that houses twin-beam headlights and an electronically adjustable, vented windshield. The 5.2-gallon fuel tank defines the flyline in an appropriately dramatic fashion with large shoulders ahead of a narrow waist. The trailing edge of the tank drops precipitously to meet the saddle that carries a steep bevel so as not to wedge open the rider’s legs like the barrel of a horse. It comes with a two-position mount that allows the seat to be set at 32.87 inches off the ground or jacked up to 33.66 inches tall, and the pullback bars work with the butt-bucket and low footpegs to form a relaxed triangle with room to comfortably stand while under way.

A short rise to the pillion pad elevates the tail end to place the rider in the bike as much as on it, and of course, the Tiger retains the rear luggage rack that gives it some cargo-carrying capacity right off the floor. A generous taillight caps the rear end flanked by self-canceling LED turn signals with a plateholder/mudguard to control the fling from the rear wheel.

The exposed Trellis frame gives the Tiger a utilitarian vibe with plenty of that typical British architecture for which Trumpet is famous; not as sexy as some of the alternative rides out there, but still attractive and very confidence-inspiring. An upswept exhaust adds a sporty kick and contributes to the 4.4-pound weight loss that helps improve handling and acceleration for an apparent performance increase without actually increasing engine output.

The factory has been working on the new Tigers for a football-minute now, and the new family marks the end of a significant amount of work. “The new Tiger 1200 range is so advanced it has taken a full four years to develop,” says Mr. Paul Stroud, Chief Commercial Officer for the company. “And today we’re proud to launch a family of motorcycles that altogether boasts significant class-leading engine characteristics, rider-focused technological innovations and premium styling; all in the name of first-class riding enjoyment. These are, by far, the most adventure-ready Tigers ever built.

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR Chassis

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR
- image 781621
The agile nature of the frame makes the Tiger very eager in the corners.

Tubular-steel members make up the Trellis frame that uses the engine as stressed member to triangulate the webbing and stiffen up the rig with a cast-aluminum, one-sided swingarm that pulls double duty as a housing for the shaft final drive and leaves an unimpeded view of the rear wheel on the exhaust side. The wheels themselves run with five offset Y-spokes that give them their spanky new look with a 120/70-19 hoop leading the way ahead of the 170/60-17 out back. Built primarily for the road, the tires come cut with a street-centric profile that sports deep grooves to improve water evacuation and traction during inclement weather.

In another bid to protect the integrity of the contact patch, Triumph chucked on a switchable ABS feature to prevent lockup due to overbraking/poor condition/some combination thereof. It works with the dual, four-piston Brembo monobloc calipers and 305 mm discs up front and twin-pot Nissin caliper with its 282 mm rear disc, and that’s plenty of brakeage for a bike that weighs in at only 534 pounds, wet.

WP supplies the stems with a set of beefy, 48 mm inverted forks that deliver 7.48 inches of travel as well as compression/rebound damping adjustments right on the caps for easy access. Out back, the WP monoshock takes care of business with 7.59 inches of travel and adjustable rebound damping with a hydraulic preload adjuster. That’s some pretty supple stems, and they play right into the agile nature of the frame that runs with a steep, 23.2-degree rake and short, 3.93 inches of trail that indeed make the Tiger very eager in the corners.

Frame: Tubular steel trellis frame
Swingarm: Single-sided, cast aluminum alloy with shaft drive
Rake: 23.2 º
Trail: 3.93 in (99.9 mm)
Front Suspension: WP 1.89 in (48 mm) upside down forks, rebound and compression damping adjustment on fork caps, 7.48 in (190 mm) travel
Rear Suspension: WP monoshock, rebound damping adjustment, hydraulic preload adjustment, 7.6 in (193 mm) wheel travel
Front Brakes: Twin 12 in (305 mm) floating discs, radially mounted monobloc Brembo 4-piston calipers, switchable ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 11.1 in (282 mm) disc, Nissin 2-piston sliding caliper, switchable ABS
Front Wheel: Cast aluminum alloy 10-spoke 19 x 3.0 in
Rear Wheel: Cast aluminum alloy 10-spoke 17 x 4.5 in
Tires, Front/ Rear: 120/70 R19/ 170/60 R17

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR Drivetrain

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR
- image 783006
In spite of its road-tastic nature, you can expect a better and more controlled ride than you'd expect from a streetbike when the black turns to brown.

At a glance, the new XR would seem to run much the same mill as it predecessor, but the proof truly is in the pudding in this case as the lighter internal components reduce the inertial resistance and allow for crisper responses to the ride-by-wire throttle inputs. The previous version came with two Riding Modes, “Road” and “Rain,” that allow the rider to tailor the power delivery based on the conditions and available traction. To that, the factory adds an “Off-Road” mode so, in spite of its road-tastic nature, you can expect a better and more-controlled ride than you’d expect from a streetbike when the black turns to brown.

It gets even better. A new switchable traction control system prevents rear-wheel slip to protect the back contact patch under acceleration, and a slipper-type clutch limits backtorque in the system to keep the rear end from getting squirrely and hopping under hard downshifts for an all-told, quadruple layer of traction protection with the ABS tacked on. Cruise control comes standard, as does the security immobilizer that may not prevent your bike from being stolen, but it will ensure that the thieves earn it by having to carry it off.

The in-line triple runs with liquid cooling to manage the waste heat and a new, lightweight muffler to silence the report of the waste gasses. A dual over-head cam actuates four valves per cylinder with electronic-injected throttle bodies to manage the induction and 3-into-1 exhaust headers to complete the circuit back to atmosphere. An 85 mm bore and 71.4 mm stroke gives it a total displacement of 1,215 cc and an 11-to-1 compression ratio with 141 horsepower on tap at 9,350 rpm backed up by 90 pound-feet at 7,600. Funtimes? You betcha’, and plenty of oomph even with its greater-than-quarter-ton bulk.

Engine: Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder
Displacement: 1,215 cc
Bore x Stroke : 85 mm x 71.4 mm
Compression: 11.0:1
Max Power EC: 141 hp (104 kW) @ 9,350 rpm
Max Torque EC: 90 ft-lbs (122 Nm) @ 7,600 rpm
System: Ride by Wire, fuel injection
Exhaust: Stainless steel 3 into 1 header system, side mounted stainless steel muffler
Final Drive: Shaft drive
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate hydraulically operated, torque assist
Gearbox: 6-speed

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR Price

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR
- image 783003
Black and white are the only colors available, starting at $16.5k.

You can score a 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR for a base MSRP of $16,500. I’d like to say it’s available in a broad palette of colors, but buyers have only two monochromatic options from which to pick; the Jet Black over blackout with white highlights or the Crystal White over blackout with black highlights. A bit dreary, but custom painters gotta’ eat too, I suppose.

Instrument Display and Functions: TFT multi­functional instrument pack with digital speedometer, trip computer, digital tachometer, gear position indicator, fuel gage, service indicator, ambient temperature, clock and six rider modes (Road/Off­road/Off-Road Pro/Sport/Track/Rider-Customizable)
Color: Jet Black, Crystal White
Price: $16,500 ($16,750 in white)

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR Competitors

2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260
- image 779491
2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR
- image 781622
Yeah, the Multistrada is pure sex on wheels, no doubt about it, but the Tiger gets a big win at the checkout counter.

Ducati’s Multistrada 1260 makes the grade as a worthy competitor for the Tiger. Ducati enjoys a reputation for quality, and the MS certainly shows why. First of all, there is no denying the sensuous nature of the Duc’s design. There is an almost feline/feminine quality about it in the sinewy flow that also alludes to a great underlying strength. Both sport a bird’s-beak front end and split-beam forward lighting with windshield protection, but it looks like Trumpet alone allows for a windhield-height adjustment, and a push-button one at that.

Exposed Trellis frame are also a constant across the board, but Duc kinda’ downplays it for less of an industrial look than one gets from the Tiger. Yeah, the MS is pure sex on wheels, no doubt about it. The MS’s stems gain Duc a win with full-spectrum adjustability front and rear, and while the brake hardware is comparable, Ducati’s cornering ABS gives it a leg up in the anchor department.

A total of 158 horsepower and 95.5 pounds o’ torque are available from Ducati’s 1,262 cc Testastretta engine, a skosh more than the 141/90 from the Tiger, and it comes with comparable electronics to boot for another minor victory. Triumph gets some back at the checkout at more than two grand cheaper than the $18,695 Multistrada 1260.

He Said

“Adventure bikes are beginning to grow on me, and the Tiger’s street-centric nature is just the sort I’d want to ride. Yeah, ’cause let’s face it, I got nothin’ as far as off-road skills are concerned. The power, the electronics and the adjustable saddle/windshield are certainly strong selling points, I just hate that the color selections are such an absolute yawn.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The 1200 used to be the Explorer. This is a really massive bike, but surprisingly comfortable. With bags and a passenger, it might be a bit of a handful if you’re not at least 5’10”. The suspension gives you a really nice ride, but the frontend dives a bit on hard braking. With all the electronics onboard, it really is quite a nice bike.”

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder
Displacement: 1,215 cc
Bore x Stroke : 85 mm x 71.4 mm
Compression: 11.0:1
Max Power EC: 141 hp (104 kW) @ 9,350 rpm
Max Torque EC: 90 ft-lbs (122 Nm) @ 7,600 rpm
System: Ride by Wire, fuel injection
Exhaust: Stainless steel 3 into 1 header system, side mounted stainless steel muffler
Final Drive: Shaft drive
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate hydraulically operated, torque assist
Gearbox: 6-speed
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular steel trellis frame
Swingarm: Single-sided, cast aluminum alloy with shaft drive
Rake: 23.2 º
Trail: 3.93 in (99.9 mm)
Front Suspension: WP 1.89 in (48 mm) upside down forks, rebound and compression damping adjustment on fork caps, 7.48 in (190 mm) travel
Rear Suspension: WP monoshock, rebound damping adjustment, hydraulic preload adjustment, 7.6 in (193 mm) wheel travel
Front Brakes: Twin 12 in (305 mm) floating discs, radially mounted monobloc Brembo 4-piston calipers, switchable ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 11.1 in (282 mm) disc, Nissin 2-piston sliding caliper, switchable ABS
Front Wheel: Cast aluminum alloy 10-spoke 19 x 3.0 in
Rear Wheel: Cast aluminum alloy 10-spoke 17 x 4.5 in
Tires, Front/ Rear: 120/70 R19/ 170/60 R17
Dimensions & Capacities:
Width Handlebars: 32.68 in (830 mm)
Height Without Mirror: 57.87 in (1,470 mm)
Seat Height: 0.08 - 0.12 in (835 - 855 mm)
Wheelbase: 59.84 in (1,520 mm)
Dry Weight: 534 lbs
Tank Capacity: 5.2 gal
Details:
Instrument Display and Functions: TFT multi­functional instrument pack with digital speedometer, trip computer, digital tachometer, gear position indicator, fuel gage, service indicator, ambient temperature, clock and six rider modes (Road/Off­road/Off-Road Pro/Sport/Track/Rider-Customizable)
Color: Jet Black, Crystal White
Price: $16,500 ($16,750 in white)

References

Ducati Multistrada 1260

Ducati Aims To Bring Front and Rear Radar To The Market
- image 777813

See our review of the Ducati Multistrada 1260.

Triumph Tiger Explorer XR

2016 - 2017 Triumph Tiger Explorer XR
- image 735982

See our review of the Triumph Tiger Explorer XR.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: triumphmotorcycles.com, ducati.com

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