Triumph Tiger 1200 (2022) on and off-road review and video

Tiger-1200-2022-Visordown-review

The Triumph Tiger 1200 gets the biggest update since its launch with a ground-up redesign. We went along to test it in Portugal

Details
Manufacturer:
Category:
Adventure
Price:
£ 14600
Overall
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

LAUNCHED in 2012, the Triumph Tiger 1200, then called the Explorer, was a model that fired the UK’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer into a new and burgeoning two-wheeled battleground. Nine years later, that bike gets its biggest refresh to date, with the Triumph Tiger 1200 for 2022 seeing a complete redesign, all the way from the mud up.

It’s a model that has always sat somewhat in the shadows of bikes like the BMW GS, KTM Super Adventure, and Ducati Multistrada. That’s a situation that Triumph is looking to fix for 2022, as the new Tiger gets sharper claws, a stronger bite, and agility that has never been seen from one of the firm’s big-capacity adventure bikes.

What’s new with the 2022 Triumph Tiger 1200?

Easy; everything. This bike is a clean sheet. It’s totally new and improved in every way. The frame, engine, swingarm, bodywork, styling, and electronics are all-new and bang up to date. The sleeve of the new T1200 is jam-packed with tricks, as Triumph goes after the top seller in the sector. It’s much lighter, more powerful, easier to ride, more capable, and it features more technology than ever before. There is also the inclusion of two new Explorer models in the family, that squeeze their 30l fuel tanks in at the head of the GT and Rally families.

Chassis

The frame of the new Tiger 1200 is all-new across the board, with a lighter, slimmer, and more accommodating tubular steel trellis gracing every model in the range. The sub-frame is a bolt-on item that shaves weight, improves handling, and makes the bike much more accommodating than the previous machine was. Linked to that frame is a new tri-link swing arm and shaft drive assembly. That part alone helps to shave a not-insignificant 1.5kg from the new model’s weight, bringing the lightest bike in the range down to 240kg ready to ride.

The bike also features new, dedicated wheel sizes for the road and off-road model, something that you couldn’t specify with the previous machine. While that may be a small change to many riders, in a market that is becoming so focused on performance and ability in a given scenario, it’s likely to appease a lot of people too.

The new bike also features Showa semi-active electronic suspension, meaning adjustments from sporty, firm, through to supple, more comfortable settings can be achieved at the flick of a switch.

2022 Triumph Tiger 1200 family

Triumph Tiger 1200 GT | £14,600

The entry point into the range is the stock 1200 GT. It features all the updates I mentioned above and comes with cast road-biased wheels and a 19” front / 18” rear set up. You also get a DRL headlight, an adjustable screen, and the option to add a quick shifter. Each bike in the range also comes equipped with the MyTriumph connectivity system as standard.

Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Pro | £16,700

The Tiger 1200 GT Pro gets all the same goodies as the stock GT while gaining hill hold control, a quick shifter, cornering headlights, and heated grips. It also gains a centre stand, cruise control, aluminium skid plate, LED fog lights, user-configurable, and Off-road riding modes.

Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Explorer | £18,100

For those looking for longer legs from the bike (although the stocker already has a 20l tank) the new explorer adds 10-litres worth of fuel to the machine, along with some added extras on top of those mentioned above.

First up is the headline-grabbing blind spot detection system. It illuminates when a vehicle is closing in on your blind spot and will then flash if you indicate to change lanes if a vehicle is present - It’s a very handy feature on motorways and dual carriageways. You also get heated grips, heated seats, a tyre pressure monitoring system, engine protection bars, and a centre stand.

Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Pro | £17,700

If you’re familiar with the Tiger 900 range, you’ll know where this section is heading. Spoked wheels across the two bikes (21” front / 18” rear), more adventure-biased tyres, and that bad-ass attitude that all the current Rally Triumphs exude so well!

The Rally Pro gets the same spec as the GT pro, although its box of tricks is bursting with an extra Off-Road Pro riding mode. That cuts the ABS to both wheels, kills the traction control, and provides those who can with maximum off-road riding smiles per hour. Both the Rally models also feature a tougher engine protection plate for off-road riding.

Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Explorer | £19,100

Like the GT Explorer, this bike gains a big tank, blind-spot system, heated seats (rider and pillion), fuel tank and engine protection bars, and a tyre pressure monitoring system

Triumph Tiger 1200 colours

Both of the Rally models are available in the Tramontana-inspired Matt Khaki (the white framed bike I used off-road), Sapphire Black, and Snowdonia White. The GT Pro and GT Explorer are available in Snowdonia White, Sapphire Black, and Lucerne Blue (as ridden on the road). The base model GT is available in Snowdonia White only.

Triumph Tiger 1200 engine

It’s really no surprise to see the Tiger 1200 lean on that T-plane design we first saw in the Tiger 900. In both bikes, the engine is a peach, providing a best of both worlds feeling that is loved by road testers and customers alike. And Triumph didn’t stop there. All-new the crankpins to the valve gear, the 2022 Tiger 1200 boasts 150bhp, 95lb-ft, and is backed up by that unmistakable T-plane character.

9bhp (which is the increase over the previous generation bike) is normally hard to spot on a bike, although with the 2022 T1200 it helps that the entire bike is 25kg lighter than the previous generation machine. With that rich spread of torque, we were dispatching third gear overtakes like top-spec nakeds and basking in a generous spread of low-to-mid-range shove that hurls the Tiger 1200 out of slow speed turns with eye-opening aplomb.

And it isn’t just a story of more this, and more that, here. The newest T-plane engine is just miles better than the first. Triumph has learned a myriad of lessons since launching the Tiger 900 back in 2021. The new engine is sweeter on the throttle, even less vibey, and still features that handy two-in-one calling card that has won over so many fans.

Triumph Tiger 1200 on-road handling

Before I get into this section, I need to advise you that I was sticking true to the model range and riding the GT Pro and GT Explorer models on the road, and the Rally Pro model off-road. It may seem Like I’ve negated to cover the Rally Pro Explorer but, in all honesty, I felt that was testing them in the way that most riders will use them. It’s also much the same as the Rally Pro, just with a few more KG and bags more gizmos! In the coming months, I’ll be razzing over to the Triumph Adventure Experience for a full off-road review of the Tiger 1200 Rally Pro Explorer on the trails at the firm’s ‘home’ turf!

First up, this was a pacey road ride, with Portugal offering up the best road, best views, and nicest weather it could muster. And the big Tiger did not disappoint. The previous bike had a very clever, yet sometimes sickly, suspension set up, that was almost too good at ironing out the bumps and lumps, tipping the bike fore and aft on the brakes a little too much for my liking. The new algorithms that Triumph has employed make it a much more focused and enjoyable machine to ride. And if you want the two-up comfort of before you can still do it at the flick of a thumb.

The biggest thing you’ll notice is the speed with which the bike turns, both in fast and slow corners. The handlebars are slightly wider, which helps with leverage, and the who bike is much lighter. Both of these add up to a bike that tips in nicely and holds a line with impressive accuracy. It didn’t take long to get the pegs decked out though, with most of the bikes arriving back in Triumph’s hands needing a little light maintenance! It sounds childish, and it probably is, but when you can push a bike of this size and shape as fast and hard as we did today, full credit is due to the team behind it, because you really couldn’t have done it with the old bike. The brakes are updated for this year also, with the Brembo Stylema calipers providing substantial amounts of breaking power and excellent feel at the lever.

Triumph Tiger 1200 off-road handling

For day two of the press launch, we headed north, away from Albufeira and to the stunning WIM Motors Academy. It’s an expansive place, that links technical sections to fast sweeping fire trails and even a flat track course.

It was the perfect playground to put Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Pro to the test, with dry weather helping to generate some adventure-spec dust, especially for the pictures and video.

For clarity, I have ridden the old Tiger 1200 on a trail before, and I’ll liken it to sledging on two wheels. It was a big bike, and once that weight and balance took effect it took some serious skill to get things pointing in the right direction! With weight savings across the board, the new bike is much more direct on the dirt

I wasn’t 100 percent confident of the off-road stuff, with the leaps made in the on-road handling leading me to believe the bike might be compromised for the muddy bits. Chuck on the Michelin Anakee Wild hoops though (which are handbook approved I might add), select the lower of the two Off-Road modes, look up the trail a bit, and it all seems rather familiar. To put it bluntly, there is only about 20kg between the Tiger 900 and the new 12’. It’s got all the toys, all the capability, and more of pretty much everything else that the T900 has. On the fast sweeping fire trails, I couldn’t think why I’d rather be riding its smaller sibling, and when the going got technical, I was still flabbergasted by the poise and composure of the machine.

And it’s not just weight that is making the difference, the electronics are all-new, all updated, and all-improved. The ABS, traction control, electronic suspension, and power modes all allow you to endlessly twiddle and tweak the off-road riding experience. You really can set the bike up just how you like, something that Triumph development rider Filipe Lopez showed me after a short initial ride. We utilised the Rain throttle map, importing it into the off-road mode for a super soft delivery and slightly reduced power. I didn’t ride like that all day, but for the first couple of hours, the slightly tamer delivery helped me to ease into the task!

Run up the modes though, and like the 900, the Tiger 1200 will flatter you in Off-Road mode, and exhilarate you in Off-Road Pro mode, with the 150bhp streaking to the back wheel, lighting up the rear tyre for those mid-corner adjustments that never fail to bring a smile to my face.

Triumph Tiger 1200 comfort

This is something the previous T1200 was very good at, cosseting the rider and passenger, cocoon them in a cosy, comfy bubble until their journey ends. Despite its slimmer, lighter, more performance-focused demeanour, the new bike is very much the same comfy armchair the previous machine was. If anything, especially for shorties like me, its slimmer waist makes the act of everyday riding even more comfortable. The ergonomics are pretty much the same as before, the screen works just as well (and is now much easier to adjust on the fly), and your pillion will be spoilt with the rear seat and grab rails.

Is the Triumph Tiger 1200 Blind Spot Radar System any good?

In short, yes, it’s excellent. I’ve ridden a few bikes that feature Radar assistance already, and while guided cruise control seems to be the buzzword many manufacturers are clinging to, I’d happily skip that and opt for blind spot detection any day of the week. I’m happy to report I’ve never run into the back of a vehicle while using cruise control, although changing lanes and spotting a car at the last minute has happened on occasion.

The system on the Triumph completely eliminates this danger, with the LED cluster in the mirrors illuminating when a vehicle is detected. It calculates a load of factors like your speed and the closing speed of the other vehicle. When it reaches a distance that could be in your blind-spot, a cluster of LEDs will illuminate to warn you of the hazard. If the system detects an approaching vehicle while the rider is indicating to change lanes, the LED cluster will now flash, giving the rider a more prominent heads up that danger is approaching.

Triumph Tiger 1200 (2022) verdict

After two days and a couple of hundred miles in the saddle of the new Triumph Tiger 1200, it’s fair to say I was blown away by how well it performed. The new bike has been improved in every single direction while still retaining those traits owners held so dear. It is faster, more capable, cleaner running, and just as comfortable as before. My absolute initial thought after about 50-miles was that it kind of feels like someone has bolted a 1200cc engine directly into the Tiger 900 chassis.

The other impressive thing is how much this model closes the gap on the German, Italian, and Austrian competition. On the road and off it, this bike is more than a match for the big three adventure bikes in the class, in fact, if I was being completely honest, I’d take this over a GS any day of the week. It feels lighter, easier to ride fast, and just as capable on the dirt as its Bavarian competitor, and with that new-for-2022 styling making it stand out from the crowd, you certainly won’t be blending in with the dirge of clones lined up at the biker café when you do go out.

For more information on the new Triumph Tiger 1200 models, head to: www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk