Includes An Alphabet Soup Of Top-Shelf Electronic Acronyms

Triumph Motorcycles has long been a frontrunner in the race to the top within the adventure-bike genre, and the all-new Tiger 1200 XRt is a perfect example of why that is. This is Triumph’s top-shelf ADV model with all the available bells and whistles built right in. That’s on top of an already-extensive rebuild that the factory says brought in over 100 improvements over the outgoing model, so this ride is totally up-to-date with cutting-edge technology of both the comfort and safety variety. Join me while I check out Triumph’s flagship model for the road-centric ADV market and see how it stacks up against some other likely candidates.

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

  • 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-3
  • Displacement:
    1215 cc
  • Price:
    21050
  • Price:

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt Design

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt
- image 785813
Coming, going or in profile, the Tiger 1200 XRt looks like serious business.

Even though the XRt has a decidedly street-tastic bent, it retains some off-road capabilities, and much of the overall look is influenced more by the brown than by the black. I guess it’s all about that bird’s beak front fairing at the end of the day; it dominates the front end and sets the tone for the rest of the layout even though it’s functionally superfluous since the front fender actually contains the fling from the front wheel.

The fender struts mount to the fitting at the bottom of the inverted front forks, and the supports double as fork guards that turn grime and grit away from the swept area of the inner fork tubes before it can chew up the fork seals. Blackout treatment shades the front end starting with the struts and fender that join the new cast-aluminum wheels and drivetrain for a touch of the dark side that I really like, plus it works well with the Korosi Red and Crystal White hues Triumph has on the palette this year.

Dual headlights ride in the wide fairing with all-LED lighting that includes a set of DRLs to improve visibility safety during the day plus an Adaptive Cornering Lighting feature that detects the lean into the turn and lights the way where you’re actually headed instead of just where you’re pointing. Up top, the XRt alone gets an electronically adjustable windshield that comes vented to prevent the head-buffet fatigue. Heated handgrips come as part of the standard package, as do the hanguards along with the backlit handlebar switch cubes and joysticks that help you navigate through the various menus on the full-color, TFT display. Oh, and there are plenty of features you can fiddle with to be sure, but more on that later.

The 5.2-gallon fuel tank dominates the flyline to give the Tiger its adventure-tastic profile with a deep-scoop seat (also heated) and rise to the pillion pad that puts the pilot in the bike as much as on it. Fold-up passenger footpegs join a wide pillion pad and grab rail for your other’s comfort, and since the pegs mount to the subframe rather than the swingarm, they deliver a less jarring ride; all good stuff if you like to share your adventures.

A mini mudguard finishes off the fling coverage out back with just enough room for the tag plus a little more while the large, easily visible taillight and whisker-type turn signals wrap up the rearward lighting. Coming, going or in profile, the Tiger 1200 XRt looks like serious business.

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt Chassis

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt
- image 785815
It has a very active suspension that is working for you all the time – no diving, no squatting, none of that.

The support system is no great mystery on this machine as the tubular-steel Trellis is plainly visible since the factory wasted nothing on superficial body coverings and left it all hanging out for the world to see; what little there is, anyway. Since the structure uses the engine as a stressed member to replace a whole section of the frame, it’s left with a steering head that comes set at 23.2 degrees, a couple of spars and a hardpoint for the single-side swingarm for the main structure. Smaller diameter tubing makes up the subframe to complete the standing rigging. WP provides the suspension with a set of inverted, 48 mm forks up front that come with electronically-adjustable damping and a monoshock out back that comes with same plus an automatic preload adjustment and semi-active variable damping feature.

The brakes are equally top-shelf with a set of dual, 305 mm discs and four-pot Brembo binders to slow the front wheel and a 282 mm disc with a twin-piston anchor out back and Triumph’s angle-sensitive ABS feature that takes into account the fact that the steering stresses reduce the amount of traction available for the brakes, and adjusts its interventions accordingly so you don’t wipe out when trail-braking, for instance. Oh, and if you feel like your skillset is up to the task, the factory leaves you with the option of disabling the system in its entirety for a full-raw ride.

Cast-aluminum blackout rims roll with a 120/70-19 hoop up front and a 170/60-17 out back to round out the rolling 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, electronically adjustable damping, 7.48 in (190 mm) travel
Rear Suspension: WP monoshock, electronically adjustable semi active damping with automatic 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
Front Tire: 120/70 R19
Rear Tire: 170/60 R17

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt Drivetrain

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt
- image 785819
The XRt comes packed with an assortment of electronic wizardry that leaves no stone unturned.

The drivetrain comes with all sorts of electronic fandanglery on board, but first let’s look at the hard-and-crunchy bits shall we? Trumpet’s powerplant of choice is a liquid-cooled in-line triple that runs an 85 mm bore and 71.4 mm stroke for a total displacement of 1,215 cc and an 11-to-1 compression ratio. Ride-by-wire technology carries the rider’s demands to the engine, but the inputs are more like suggestions than actual rules since they’re all filtered by the cornering traction-control feature as well as the riding-mode gadget. Much like the ABS, the TC is switchable if you’d rather have the natural feel (no giggety), and the XRt comes with a total of five rider modes; one of which is rider programmable so you can try your hand at tuning.

A keyless ignition provides some built-in security, and who can’t use a bit more of that, right? The XRt comes with a fancy Hill-hold control that does exactly what the name implies: it holds the rear brake to free up your right foot so you can get both of your training wheels deployed for stability. Yeah, there’s been a few times I’ve wished I had something like that. Cruise control adds another layer of luxury, and the fandanglery even extends into the six-speed gearbox as the Triumph Shift Assist gives you clutchless, push-button gear changes up and down the range to give that left hand a break.

How does it perform? Well, the factory claims a total of 139 horsepower at 9,350 rpm with 90 pounds o’ torque that come on fully at 7,600 rpm, and that’s respectable power even given the 535-pound dry weight.

Engine: Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder
Displacement: 1,215 cc (74.1 cu in)
Bore x Stroke : 3.35 in x 2.81 in ((85 mm x 71.4 mm)
Compression: 11.0:1
Max Power EC: 141 hp (104 kW) @ 9,350 rpm
Max Torque EC: 90 lb-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 XRt Price

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt
- image 785811
At a glance, MSRP seems like a lot, but this is the top model in the range.

Whether you pick the Crystal White or the Korosi Red, you can expect to shell out $21,050 for the MSRP. At a glance it seems like a lot, but this is the top model in the range, so bear that in mind.

Instrument Display and Functions: TFT multi­functional instrument pack with digital speedometer, trip computer, digital tachometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, service indicator, ambient temperature, clock and six rider modes (Road/Off-­road/Off-Road Pro/Sport/Track/Rider-Customizable)
Colors: Crystal White, Korosi Red
Price: $21,050

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt Competitors

2016 - 2017 Honda VFR1200X
- image 786112
2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt
- image 785821
Naturally, the VFR1200X rolls for a significantly lower price tag that will buy it some business, just not from the most discerning clientele.

Honda has its own road-centric adventure bike in the VFR1200X, and I consider it to be a bit more civilized than the Africa Twin, so let’s see how it stacks up.

Right off the bat I’m struck by how much skinnier the VRF is compared to the Tiger, especially up front. A narrow bird’s beak leads the way with a cyclops headlight, and it all comes topped by a narrow windshield. Certainly better penetration, but much less in the way of rider protection. The rest of the VRF is rather clean looking overall, and it hits all the pertinent high points but seems kind of thin, somehow. I don’t know, maybe it just looks finished against the industrial pragmatism of the Tiger.

Honda packs in fully-adjustable suspension front and rear, but can’t compete with Trumpet’s electronic yummy-goodness. That becomes a pattern with the ABS; yeah, the VFR has it, but it isn’t the fancy leaning kind, and neither is the traction control. Close, but no cigar. Honda falls a skosh short in the powerplant as well with a 127-horsepower V-4 engine that gets a little back with 93 pounds o’ grunt, but all the magic is in the transmission. You can choose between a standard six-speed transmission or the Dual Clutch Transmission that delivers push-button shifts along with several shifting modes for different conditions. Naturally, the VFR1200X rolls for less cheddar with a $15,999 sticker that will buy it some business, just not from the most discerning clientele.

He Said

“Top-notch road adventurer. Trumpet hits all the high notes with plenty of yummy electronic goodness to be had, so the Tiger 1200 XRt is as comfortable and stable as the factory could make it, even though I wouldn’t dream of recommending it to a new rider, no matter how many gadgets they pack on.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “It has a very neutral seating position, so it’s very comfortable. Your butt might actually outlast the fuel tank, which says a lot, so the limiting factor may be your bladder. It has a very nice suspension that is active all the time – no diving, no squatting, none of that. The electronic package has just about all the techno wizardry you can imagine. You might not believe that adding a single letter to a model name could mean that much more.”

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder
Displacement: 1,215 cc (74.1 cu in)
Bore x Stroke : 3.35 in x 2.81 in ((85 mm x 71.4 mm)
Compression: 11.0:1
Max Power EC: 141 hp (104 kW) @ 9,350 rpm
Max Torque EC: 90 lb-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, electronically adjustable damping, 7.48 in (190 mm) travel
Rear Suspension: WP monoshock, electronically adjustable semi active damping with automatic 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
Front Tire: 120/70 R19
Rear Tire: 170/60 R17
Dimensions & Capacities:
Width Handlebars: 36.61 in (930 mm)
Height Without Mirror: 60.63 in (1,540 mm)
Seat Height: 0.08 - 0.12 in (835 - 855 mm)
Wheelbase: 59.84 in (1,520 mm)
Dry Weight: 536 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 gauge, service indicator, ambient temperature, clock and six rider modes (Road/Off-­road/Off-Road Pro/Sport/Track/Rider-Customizable)
Colors: Crystal White, Korosi Red
Price: $21,050

References

Honda VFR1200X

2016 - 2017 Honda VFR1200X
- image 755030

See our review of the Honda VFR1200X.

Honda Africa Twin

2018 Honda Africa Twin
- image 781532

See our review of the Honda Africa Twin.

Honda’s Triple-Threat Automatic Transmission Program

Honda's Triple-Threat Automatic Transmission Program
- image 758078

See our article on Honda’s DCT.

Triumph Tiger 1200 XR

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR
- image 781620

See our review of the Triumph Tiger 1200 XR.

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

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