The "English GS" is back on the adventure in 2018! Increased engine potential, downward weight, impressive equipment endowment, the Tiger 1200 XCA promises a lot. We checked on the field under test. In 2016, the Triumph Tiger Explorer XCA made a strong impression on Arnaud, our TT tester. For 2018, here comes a new Tiger family, more advanced, lighter, smarter! Finally adept for adventure and to counter BMW R1200 GS and Ducati Multistrada 1260? A nice alternative anyway.
Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA - A revival in the background
Just like two years ago, it looks like it has not changed, yet! The Tiger 1200 hides behind its sharpened and classy refit the extent of updates and their effectiveness. Although it has enjoyed great success in the French market, the R1200 GS gave it a small chance, with 396 units sold in 2016 against 4016 BMW. The GS is constantly setting the standards of maxi trail and occupy the first place in sales. Assuming that its customers are ready to pay big for motorcycles with strong touring and off-road potential, Triumph offers in 2018 to amateurs a trail at least as well equipped, if not better. Its asset however: a more adjusted tariff.
Tiger 2.0 is the electronic game
As if one suddenly discovered that a heavy motorcycle is not universal, Triumph reinterprets its maxi trail. And to see the smile of Miles Perkins - Director of brand management at Triumph - the work must be worth it! On the program: weight loss (up to - 11 kg compared to the model replaced), engine power gain of 3 cylinders (+ 2 hp despite Euro4), and especially a new management of embedded electronics. As we know, today, the "software" part of the motorcycle conditions the sensations and defines its character. Ranging from the operation of the motor (3 modes), assistance (anti slip, active ABS in curve), to the advanced setting of the semi active suspension WP (implemented on high-end models), the electronics is thus given for have evolved considerably.
By cons, it will be a sacred summary table to navigate the equipment of 6 versions of Tiger 1200, even if everything is "simplified", according to representatives of the brand. A little tour in the technical details will tell you more. For now, the white XCA - and therefore the ultimate version of the Tiger 1200 - waiting for us on the parking for a test drive. It is about 5 °, the roads are slippery and the rain threatens and ideal for a test!
The pleasure at your fingertip
Contact. The key to transponder in the pocket, a pressure on the circuit breaker switch initializes the sequence of the on-board computer. The total mileage is first displayed under the brand logo (a tradition at Triumph). Then appears the meter as chosen among the 3 to 6 available designs. It's time to familiarize yourself with the new "4-axis + click" joystick (5 axes thus), allowing a simplified navigation in the plethora of functions and possibilities. Placed under the blinker, it allows to simply choose the information displayed, their presentation, alternate displays. It is also he who controls the inclination of the electric bubble. Less quick than a dedicated button, but the commodos are already well loaded and better still backlit. So we forgive, especially considering the effectiveness of the bubble.
This magic button acts on all the possible settings (except the handles and heated saddles). He also intervenes for the navigation in the dense and yet explicit menu "Home". It is accessed via a shortcut button on the right commodo. It also allows the advanced configuration of the audience and the choice of the engine behavior. A Mode button, inserted in the left-hand switch, allows you to directly select and drive the driving mode. However, it will be necessary to turn off the gas for consideration. The Mode you choose affects the ABS setting, Traction Control, Ride By Wire Accelerator Mapping, Suspensions Mode and their setting. Only downside: the joystick, ergonomic that it is, remains at an inaccessible place with big gloves / fingers. It is just under the flashing switch. Fortunately, these are off automatically!
Arguments of the weight
The first laps on board this evolution of the Tiger 2018 are nice and the overall balance of the bike is excellent. Certainly, the feeling of weight is still present when it comes to move the motorcycle at a standstill, but as soon as it is in motion, the Tiger 1200 makes forget its overall mass. Maintains only the sensation of high weight placed in the tank when one "dances" on the road with it filled to the bottom. Triumph boasted during the presentation the linear and neutral character of the engine. Sacred program, but not the most exciting a priori. Gas!
In fact, it is not so! The three-cylinder certainly shows an obvious good-humor in Road or Rain mode, but it still has a lot of character when you activate the Sport mode. Certainly, no excessive rage or nervousness exacerbated here, but a thick couple, very pleasant and omnipresent, raised by a power arriving at around 7000 rpm. Kind of big elastic on the higher reports and even more on the 6th, where he agrees to start around 1500 rpm and some 40 km / h, the 3-cylinder excitedly excited when playing the game. box. He then reveals his true enthusiasm in the low and mid-regimes, while expressing himself in a "firing" way through the Arrows escapement. A delight that we do not sulk, especially in these complex weather conditions. British phlegm seems to have acted even in the driving behavior, always with this touch of elegance and this ability to surprise pleasantly, when you want to play. A very good point.
The charm of British motorcycle
As we sink into a foggy valley, the road offers no grip. The Metzeler Tourance Next and anti skating do not seem to even notice it. Appears in front of us a beautiful rainbow filling the valley. Magic moment savored on a motorcycle as it should, while we try to get closer. Bubble in the low position, the bust is already well protected. The Shoei Hornet DS worn for this test of the Tiger 1200 XCA barely feels the airflow on its cap. No treasure at the feet of the arch, but the entrance to the highway. Pity.
1st - 100 km / h ... Shift. 2nd - 140 km / h ... Shift. 3rd - 175 km / h ... The bubble in the high position, no more draft. Awesome protection, and all without any swirl or thrust in the back! On this point, the GS can envy the English. It feels good to continue the exercise durably, even if the saddle reveals its firmness and its fairly flat seat. The legs are well sheltered, and you can even use the cruise control to fully enjoy the relaxation offered. The traveler box is checked without detour. Especially since the consumption remains contained: about 6.2 l / 100 km at this rate. The opportunity to feel once again the characteristic vibrations of the 3-cylinder. Small discharges stimulate the hands. So much feedback on the engine's energy. Sensual, the Tiger? It seems like.
A tiger in freedom
We dive to the surrounding mountains. On a resolutely tricky bitumen, the very neutral reactions of the Tiger 1200 are a permanent asset. Predictable, pleasant, she willingly enjoy her new handlebars. Despite the almost negative temperature, efficient handguards make the use of heated grips optional. Well protected and gently warmed by the engine, we evolve without much restraint. The resting audience testifies to the great discernment they display and the prudence of our opener. Which suddenly decides to take advantage of a sunny and dry mountain side to free the big cats. In this narrow and risky section, we leave all restraint in the cloakroom. The Shifter, very urban in its definition, prefers not to be abrupt and causes a slightly too long ignition failure when not used at mid-revs. The jolt felt elsewhere encourages the player to clutch lever, while taking advantage of its accuracy and good assistance.
Pushed more than reason, but so good and addictive, the Tiger is all to his advantage. She puts the forms and the form (that of her engine), allowing to place her more than 265 kilos with the full as if one made body. Remains a reactive traction control, even in its least intrusive position. Precautious during big accelerations on the angle, it summarily strikes the power before releasing the horses. As curbs pass by, and precipices along the road encourage greater concentration, radial forward braking demonstrates its high accuracy. Coupled with the right lever, it acts with the expected efficiency of equipment of this quality, while remaining highly civilized and exploitable.
Race the English!
Of course, such a rhythm brings out the presence of a cardan at the slightest hesitation. The engine thrust is reinforced as much as that produced on the rear wheel ... However, the Tiger 1200 puts once again the qualities of its frame and its suspensions. Definitively adopted. The electronics perfectly manages the settings of the WP set. It even allows a permanent optimization of comfort and behavior. Especially once you push the "Sport" slider to its maximum, in order to pre constrain it to the best, to the max.
After this short respite, blind turns become wet again and the descent is softer, both literally and figuratively. We come home as well as frustrated. Yes, this bike has a real potential, it will take much more to find the limits. And yet, with what we have just tested, we can say that it already has a sacred pedigree on the road. Tomorrow, we tackle the Off Road test on the handlebar of this same Tiger 1200 XCA.
Enjoy the slush
Pavement today Pirelli Rally inflated at low pressure, the Tiger will be entitled to a trip in space and time. Direction the movie sets of the Tabernas desert. Wet western atmosphere, the pouring rain being part of it. That said, for us, it will be soft enduro. The leaking ground does not scare the 1200. Despite its weight, its balance is needed once again, leaving excellent sensations. Standing on the notched footrests, the thighs pleasantly pressed against the welcoming tank, it is simply wrapped. Once again, the ride by wire is pleasant, and its slightly delayed response here is less noticeable than on road in Sport mode. The long pull of the handle also dampens the reactions, just like the Enduro Pro mode.
Front ABS, which is deactivated by default with this mode, can be re-engaged with less sensitivity. Ideal to keep all the benefits and keep the glide of the back. A slip of course also possible to acceleration. Smooth, stable and quick to work on its supports, the Tiger 1200 XCA has good skills in rough terrain. It will demand a high rhythm when the ground escapes, but will make perfectly illusion. In this movie set, what's more natural? A starlet was in any case born, and apart from its weight, defects noted by Arnaud have also been greatly reduced by developments. A comparison and another playground will surely tell us more. If she is no longer Explorer, the Tiger is in any case returned explorer!
Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA report
That it is far, the time when the trails were as simple as light and inexpensive to ride. After having gained a lot of weight and capacity over the decades (and the arms race), they changed their philosophy. In charge of electronics and assistance, their off-road skills have become subsidiary, before returning to the front of the stage. With this Tiger 1200, Triumph achieves an excellent synthesis of what is expected of a maxi trail: comfort, performance, a pleasant driving position and a whole universe of possibilities. Big and small riders will appreciate his abilities, big and small legs also, for other reasons though (adjustable saddle height and pleasing shape). Rest the full weight done, still impressive even if revised downward on this Tiger 2018.
However, it is not to be considered as disabling, especially with the new "hand brake" option linked to ABS. We forget it no matter what happens once the flexibility of the engine and the energy of its Sport mode fully exploited, even if one then consumes around 6.5 l / 100 km, a sum all reasonable given the 9.7 l / 100 km seen in average consumption enduro mode ... leek). Finally, the Tiger is far from ridiculous off the road, when well paved and well adjusted.
Seven years of reflection will have once again paid off, and the Tiger 1200 arrives quickly to win the game against the sharpest competition. Obviously, the BMW R1200 GS and the Ducati Multistrada 1260 have imposed a much more established image, but the maxi trail Triumph finally has a strong identity and advanced electronics. Still remains a price still beefy (21 150 euros for the XCA this test, against 15 900 euros for the XR much less equipped) even if the first revision to the flat rate is planned only 16 000 km. By Benoit Lafontaine, Triumph photos.
Flexibility and motor sensations
Delays on go-around
Location of the 5-axis joystick
Troublesome footrests for small jigs
Weight when stopped (or on the ground)
Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA Price & Specs
Price: XCA 21 150 € (as of 11/12/17)
Availability: December 2017
Color: Blue, White
Warranty: 2 years, parts and MO, unlimited mileage
Engine: 1 215 cm3, 4-stroke, 3-cylinder in-line, bore 85 mm x 71.4 mm stroke, water-cooled, 2 ACT and 4-hp / cyl., Ride by wire / electronic injection, 6 speeds, transmission by shaft and cardan
Power 141 ch. (104 kW) at 9,350 rpm, torque 12.2 daNm at 7,600 rpm
Part cycle: steel tube truss frame, aluminum swingarm single sided shaft, inverted fork WP diam. 48 mm, deb. 190 mm, adjustable in expansion and compression; AR semi-active single shock absorber deb. 193 mm, adjustable in preload and relaxation; braking ABS ABS disconnectable AV 2 disc diam. 305 mm / Brembo radial callipers 4 pistons - AR disc diam. 282 mm / 2-piston caliper; Metzeler Tourance Next tires AV 120/70 x 19 - AR 160/60 x 17
Template: wheelbase 1,540 mm, length 230 mm, width 930 mm, height 1,540 mm, hunt 99,9 mm / angle 23 ° 2, seat height adjustable from 835 mm to 855 mm, tank 20 l., Weight to dry (manufacturer's data) 248 kg
Performance: max speed + 210 km / h, NM conso.