It seems like over the last three years Triumph has launched a massive resurgence campaign for its adventure motorcycle segment. The Tiger 800’s and 1200’s were starting to show their age and had rapidly been bypassed by KTM, BMW, and Honda in the mid-sized and larger displacement categories. In 2020 we witnessed the introduction of the Tiger 900 model and now this year were witnessing the introduction of a new Tiger 1200 model.
The last generation of the Tiger 1200 was Triumph’s flag ship model for its adventure segment and was Triumph’s attempt to go head-to-head with the KTM 1290 and BMW GS 1200. By pairing a 1216cc engine and a shaft drive the older 1200 had the capability to eat up some serious highway miles as a touring motorcycle. With a technology package that featured a TFT dash with several riding modes and an electronically adjustable suspension the old Tiger 1200 had all the bells and whistles that its European competitors had. However, its biggest drawbacks were its hefty weight coming in at 563 pounds and its limited capabilities off pavement. For an adventure bike that was meant to go against the Austrian and German heavy weights it couldn’t keep up.
Recently, I was able to take a new 2022 Tiger 1200 GT Pro for a morning ride thanks to Charleston Triumph and Triumph North America during a demo day. While I would have preferred to ride the new Tiger 1200 Rally Pro unfortunately, they have been very difficult to acquire so I had to settle for the road-oriented GT Pro trim instead. When I first got on the Tiger 1200, I quickly noticed how tall it was with a 34-inch seat height which kind of surprised me since I figured the road-oriented version would be shorter. In terms of power delivery, the new 1160cc engine coupled with a shaft drive was incredibly smooth and with the introduction of the new T-Plain crank it had plenty of low-end torque. I’m not going to lie the Tiger 1200 is big wide bike, but it wears its 540-pound weight well and was fairly nimble riding in and out of traffic. I was able to take it down a few dirt roads and it was incredibly stable even at low speeds where weight can become an issue.
The GT Pro that I rode had a semi-active Showa suspension that was very smooth and ate up Charleston’s rough roads with no issues. For stopping power, the Tiger 1200 is equipped with the same Brembo Stylema brake calipers that the Tiger 900’s have. For the electronics package the 7-inch TFT dash is easy to read and can be customized to fit a rider needs and it comes with a legitimate tachometer which is something that Tiger 900 riders have been wanting since its release. The TFT dash also has five different riding modes and has Triumph’s My Triumph Connectivity System so you can pair your phone as well as other Bluetooth devices. For comfort the Tiger 1200 especially in the GT Pro trim comes with heated grips and seat, aluminum skid plate, plastic hand guards, and an adjustable wind shield.
So, at this point your probably wondering how I feel about the new Tiger 1200 after spending some time on one. Granted my time was spent on a GT Pro and not a Rally Pro so it’s difficult to say how it really handles off pavement which is where I tend to judge an adventure motorcycle the most. That being said I felt that the new Tiger 1200 was a good motorcycle that had great throttle response, smooth suspension, and was very comfortable. If I needed to ride a motorcycle from Charleston to California on pavement, then the Tiger 1200 GT Pro would be a bike that I would highly consider. One drawback with all of that is the price. Triumph has become a premium brand and the Tiger 1200 certainly showcases that with its high end fit and finish. Ranging in price from $19,100 for a base GT model to $24,200 for the top-of-the-line Rally Pro Explorer the new Tiger 1200’s are priced in the same category as the Harley Davidson Pan America, BMW GS1250, and KTM 1290. Considering the competition Triumph has done a pretty good job of competing in the larger displacement segment. For me, I enjoyed riding the new Tiger 1200 and liked it, but I didn’t love it enough to trade my Tiger 900 for one.