New Bikes

2012 Triumph Tiger Explorer revealed

BMW GS gets a real rival

TRIUMPH is either very bad at keeping secrets or has been orchestrating a pre-publicity campaign around its new Tiger Explorer for more than a year: this bike is no surprise. What it is, though, is very impressive.

Even now, just a couple of weeks before it's officially revealed at EICMA in Milan, there's still secrecy around its technical details. Triumph is only saying that it's 'over 1200cc' – we're betting that means 'just over 1200cc' rather than significantly bigger – and not mentioning anything about power. Some rumours have specifically mentioned 137bhp, which is probably about right.

Triumph has come clean on some of the technology, though. There will be traction control as well as switchable ABS brakes, plus a fly-by-wire throttle.

Obviously the styling is very Tiger 800-ish, sharing the same headlights, but the most important detail when it comes to the bike's ability to challenge the BMW R1200GS is the fact the all-new engine features shaft drive. Eliminating the maintenance of a chain, the shaft has always been one of the attractions of the GS and a major reason that the previous Tiger 1050 couldn't compete directly with the BMW. It will also be vital on the forthcoming Triumph Trophy touring bike, which will share the Tiger Explorer's engine and transmission, but get its own aluminium chassis instead of the Explorer's steel tube frame, as well as huge dollops of standard kit.

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