New Triumph Tiger 1200 and 800 sharpen their claws

Published: 07 November 2017

While the Tiger 800 has been a consistent star performer for Triumph, the big Explorer has been left behind by the competition in recent years, despite relatively recent updates which included the addition of WP electronic suspension on the top models. But both Tiger families have been to the beauty salon to get a serious visual makeover that’s underpinned by some serious sharpening of their claws with a raft of engine, chassis and technology updates.

A whole lot of Xs

There are extensive model options, with six variants available of the Tiger 1200, and six Tiger 800s, too. Each family of 1200s and 800s comprises four road versions (XR, XRx, XRx low, and range-topping XRT), while the off-road focused XC comes as an XCx and a top-spec XCA. All spec parts are also available as options to make your own bespoke bike. The 1200 ‘low’ has a 815-835mm seat height, while the 800 ‘low’ is 760-780mm.

Twelve disciples

Devotes of the Explorer, and new buyers alike, have got more motivation than ever to consider a new Tiger 1200. The Explorer name is dropped, along with around 10kg of mass thanks to over 100 refinements that should transform the big cat. With six versions on offer, it’s the range-topping XRT road version and XRA dual-purpose option that are likely to get the most attention.

Each bike is dripping in tech, from the first press of the keyless ignition to the semi-active electronic suspension, cornering lights, Arrow titanium silencer, heated grips and seats, six-axis IMU, cornering ABS and six riding modes. The 1200 is visually lighter and sharper, and the reduction in bulk is complimented by a quantum leap in fit and finish that support its claims of premium positioning. In the metal, this is a leaner, fitter and more attractive animal.

Tiger 1200 XRx

1215cc inline-triple / 139.5bhp @ 9350rpm / 835-855mm seat height / 244kg (dry)

Tiger 1200 XCx

1215cc inline-triple / 139.5bhp @ 9350rpm / 835-855mm seat height / 248kg (dry)

After Eight

Following on from the original 800’s rampant success, the new model gets even more changes than the 1200 – with Triumph claiming over 200 chassis and engine upgrades to create a more responsive package. Most riders might not notice the shorter first gear or faster revving engine immediately, but they will certainly notice the step up in quality, and that 5” slab of TFT dash nestling behind the single-handed manually five-way adjustable screen.

The Eight takes a lot of benefits from the Twelve, from the dash to the backlit switchgear, to the new Off-road Pro riding mode for the XC models, the addition of LED lighting, and the same three-touch cruise control. The engine is much-updated and now develops 94bhp and is claimed to be more responsive and sporty in delivery – aided by a shorter first gear. The 800 has come of age.

Tiger 800 XRx

800cc inline-triple / 94bhp @ 9500rpm / 810-830mm seat height / 199kg (dry)

Tiger 800 XCx

800cc inline-triple / 94bhp @ 9500rpm / 840-860mm seat height / 205kg (dry)

Techwatch

The new Tigers have been treated to an explosion of binary finery for 2018. Both get the fully adjustable TFT dash first used on the 2017 Street Triple, and driven by the switchgear and joystick controller. The switchgear is now backlit, too, making menu selection and control easy in the dark. There’s also an Off-road Pro rider mode (taking the maximum modes to a total of six) for improved manners when the tarmac runs out, and updated and simplified cruise control. The 1200 also gets a new bi-directional quickshifter, keyless ignition, very neat heated grips, and smart LED lighting with clever variable-intensity progressive cornering lights built in.

They’re the most technology-laden Tigers ever.

See all the hot new 2018 bikes at Motorcycle Live this November 18-26.

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