2024 Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Pro and Explorer Review | Same bike as before, now with a refined engine

Highlights

  • Modified engine internals give fewer vibes
  • Redesigned crank for better low speed running
  • Active Preload Reduction for push-button low seat height

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Power: 148 bhp

Prices

New £18,295
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Triumph’s flagship adventure bike got totally overhauled in 2022 – less weight and more poke than ever, with full-spec features and a new frame, suspension, brakes and styling. Triumph took the unusual step of comparing the new Tiger 1200 with the then flagship BMW R1250GS, and showing how, on paper, it surpassed the spec of its rival with less weight, more power and a lower price.

The range had two models: road-orientated GT and adventure-styled Rally. Both came in Pro or Explorer versions: Pro with a 20-litre tank and Explorer 30 litres (and extras such as blind-spot rear radar and heated seats).

The Rally had wire wheels with a 21in front and 18in rear, Showa semi-active suspension with 220mm travel and a tall 875mm or 895mm seat height, sitting the rider higher than the road-based Tiger 1200 GT (which came with a 19in front, cast wheels, less suspension travel and lower seat). Triumph claim over 14,000 Tiger 1200s have been sold since 2022 and, in the UK, the more purposeful-looking, slightly better-equipped and more expensive Rally outsells the GT.

The Tiger’s motor was a retuned 148bhp, 1160cc inline three-cylinder from the Speed Triple – plus the lumpy, off-balance T-plane crank concept previously used in the Tiger 900 to add more engine character and off-road grip. But the T-plane crank concept – which effectively unbalances the otherwise smooth inline triple engine – wasn’t universally popular.

Some riders complained the engine was too lumpy, with annoying vibration that increased in frequency as revs climbed. Also the engine was prone to suddenly stalling at low rpm – especially when the rider least needed it while negotiating U-turns and feathering the clutch.

For 2024 the Tiger 1200 remains, on paper, almost identical, but cures those problems: engine changes completely alter the feel of the bike and make it an entirely different proposition with more smoothness and civility all through the rev range.

The new 1200 also gets a push-button preload lowering system that lowers seat height at low speed and standstill for easier access to stable footing, making the Tiger more accessible for a greater number of riders.

The Rally also gets increased cornering clearance from repositioned footpegs, and a flatter, re-shaped seat. A new colour, Matt Sandstorm, is also introduced to the Rally models.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

With chunky 49mm Showa semi-active forks and a Showa shock, 220mm spring travel and a kerb weight of 250kg for the Rally Pro and 261kg for the Rally Explorer, ride quality is very good.

Damping varies with rider mode, from soft and comfortable for touring to sharp and responsive for sportier riding. There are six default modes, including a custom Rider mode for a personalised set-up (changes remain with ignition off). Preload is automatically adjusted to suit payload.

An extra mode is available over the GT – the Rally gets Off-Road Pro, which turns off rear ABS entirely and switches the front ABS to an off-road setting.

The Rally runs an off-road orientated 21 x 2.15in wire front wheel and 18 x 4.25in spoked rear wheel sizes (wearing Metzeler Karoo Street tyres, 90/90 front and a 150/70 rear), but the steering of both bikes is instantly light and agile – it’s a more natural feel than the heavier-steering GT models, and in the wet generates more confidence; which is unusual, for a 21in front.

It could be because the Rally runs a shallower rake angle and shorter trail than its heavier-steering 19in front GT counterparts, and maybe this is a set-up a better-suited for road riding.

2024 Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Pro and Explorer close up of the Showa suspension

The higher seat height (than the GT models) sits the rider higher on the bike, which raises the rolling centre of gravity and gives the Rally a top-heavy, faster rate of turn than its GT sibling.

Brakes are as before – four-pot radial Brembo Stylema calipers on 320mm discs with a Magura radial master cylinder and adjustable span, and Conti’s cornering ABS. The brakes are plenty powerful and have lots of lever feel which, along with the reactive suspension, lets the Rally be trail-braked deeper into the turn than you’d expect on a 21in front and long forks.

The heavier Rally Explorer, with a full 30-litre fuel load, steers and brakes with more weight transfer than the lighter, 20-litre Pro – but both bikes hide their weight well and don’t feel excessively large or cumbersome on the road. Until you stop, when the tall seat height catches up!

During the launch there was no time or access to get an experienced pillion view of the Tiger 1200 Rally but, as nothing has changed for the pillion rider, any previous comments about the passenger set-up on the outgoing model still stand.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Rally’s 1160cc inline triple is borrowed and retuned from the Speed Triple, making 148bhp @ 9000rpm and 96 lb.ft at 7000rpm. That’s a fairly fit motor for an adventure bike, and there isn’t a situation in which the Rally drags it heels.

It won’t equal the mighty bottom-end shove of BMW’s R1300 GS or KTM 1290 Super Adventure – they have a few more cc to play with – and it hasn’t got the bonkers top end reach of Ducati’s Multistrada V4S – the Tiger, as befits a triple, is somewhere in between – occupying the middle ground but not reaching out to extremes (the Tiger 1200’s capacity is less than the previous Tiger 1200, at 1215cc – it’s closer to Honda’s 1084cc Africa Twin than it is the 1300cc GS or 1301cc KTM 1290. Even Ducati’s Multistrada V4 is 1190cc).

In 2022, the Tiger 1200’s wobbly T-plane crank was introduced to add engine character and low-down traction off-road. In a Speed Triple the three crankpins are spaced at a regular 120° on the crank, for perfect primary and secondary balance.

It’s a smooth engine. But while that smooth power might be satisfying on the road, it’s less good at finding grip off-road – where an engine with wide firing interval gaps can find grip and give a better feedback to the rider. So Triumph engineers designed the T-plane crank with crankpins at 0°, 90° and 180° to creates an imbalance and longer gap between power strokes.

Think of it like this: imagine three bricks each in a pair of washing machine drums. In one, they’re attached to the inside of the drum at evenly spaced intervals, 120° apart. In the other, they’re all on the right side at the top, middle and bottom. Now put the machines on spin cycle and see which one shakes the most.

By adding these vibes, the T-plane 1200 certainly had a strong alternative character and helped the Rally feel more appropriate off-road (the platform engineered, road-biased GT models got the same engine even though, arguably, they would’ve been better off keeping a conventional triple). But the vibration was strong and rose in frequency as engine revs climbed – at cruising speed it was a noticeable chattering. Plenty of riders were fine with this feeling; some less so.

So for 2024 Triumph have dramatically lessened the vibration by rearranging mass on the counterbalance shaft and say it’s a 5% reduction in pitch vibration, 43% less in the yaw plane and 89% less in the roll plane, just by moving weight about.

And it’s definitely worked – the smooth, churning potency of the original 120° triple has returned, now with just enough pulsating rhythm to add a bit of flavour. It’s a quite astonishing transformation into a smooth, civilised power plant and even adds a wailing howl when the motor is nailed. Now there’s absolutely no problem with intrusive vibes at any revs – but it still feels like a distinct and unique engine layout.

But this isn’t the only engine refinement. Triumph have also looked at the previous Tiger 1200’s sudden and unexpected stalling at low revs, which could often end up with an embarrassing topple-over. A T-plane crank’s firing interval has long gaps between combustion strokes – during the dwell time the engine isn’t producing torque but effectively decelerating before the next power stroke. It’s why the engine stalls at low rpm, because there’s insufficient crank momentum to keep it spinning.

Triumph’s fix adds crank mass to and ups the generator flywheel size – it’s where the 1kg extra weight of the 2024 bike comes from. It means the crank has more inertia and keeps turning between power strokes – it’s harder to stall.

And it works – the motor is more flexible, holds a longer gear and pulls down to lower revs without chattering or stopping. Triumph have also added a 15mm longer clutch lever for more control, and the result is motor happy to chug at walking pace without stopping. It’s a major improvement.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Triumph’s finish has got better and better over the last ten years, and the Tiger 1200 is an improvement over the unrefined blocky look of the previous Tiger 1200 Explorer. But while the Rally Pro and Explorer look well-finished and put together, they’re not as sleek and sophisticated as BMW’s new R1300 GS. On the other hand they still look like actual adventure bikes, not a sports tourer crossover. The Rally’s paint choices are one-note and fairly dull: matt gunmetal, black or khaki. There’s surely a lot of scope for sexing up the bikes with more adventurous paint schemes.

The 1200’s redesigned T-plane engine is only two years old, and no common engineering faults reported. The hydraulic clutch can need regular bleeding, and faults have been mentioned with quickshifter, remote keyfob, TFT dash and various assembly/quality control issues related to individual bikes; no more so than with any other new machine.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Tiger 1200 Rally Pro costs £18,295 and the Explorer is £19,695. Considering the standard trim level of the bike for this price, it compares well with an equivalently spec’d BMW R1300 GS (which would be around £19,110) or Ducati’s Multistrada Rally (which starts at over £20,000). Currently (April 2023), KTM’s 1290 Super Adventure is good value; starting at £14,599 base price... for which it comes with adaptive radar cruise.

Quoted via MCN Compare (based on a 54-year old male engineer, married, licence held for 9 years, 8-years NCD, no claims or convictions, for social, domestic and pleasure use. Bike is garaged with postcode WA14 1NU and annual mileage 5000 miles. Quote supplied by www.MCNcompare.com in April 2024), cheapest fully comp insurance for the Tiger 1200 Rally Pro starts at around £555 with £1750 excess or £674 with £850 excess. The more expensive Explorer costs around £20-£50 more, and so does an equivalent R1300 GS.

Service intervals are a decent 10,000 miles. Servicing costs vary from dealer to dealer, but the Tiger 1200 is known to be expensive at around £300 to £400 for an annual service, rising to quotes of over £1000 for a 20,000 mile service.

Fuel economy is around 45-55mpg depending on riding style.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

The level of trim offered with the Rally Pro and Explorer as standard, is excellent. The Rally Pro comes with semi-active suspension and a high degree of electronic rider-mode customisation, plus heated grips, cruise control, cornering ABS, adjustable screen, centre stand, quickshifter, handguards and fog lights. The Explorer adds a 30-litre tank, heated seats, full engine bars, blind spot rear radar and tyre pressure monitors. Most of this would cost extra to fit to the R1300 GS.

Triumph say the reason the Tiger 1200 Rally Explorer only comes with a rear blind-spot radar and not also a front adaptive cruise control radar is because, according to their customer focus groups, it’s not been asked for (which sounds like gaslighting; hard to imagine many people in their focus groups specifically and solely asking for rear blind-spot radar alone).

 

Specs

Engine size 1160cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 12v, inline triple
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity -
Seat height -
Bike weight -
Front suspension 49mm Showa semi-active forks
Rear suspension Single Showa rear shock, semi-active with auto preload and push-button minimum setting
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs with Brembo four-piston radial caliper
Rear brake 90/90 x 21
Front tyre size 90/90 x 21
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost -
New price £18,295
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Three years

Top speed & performance

Max power 148 bhp
Max torque 96 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

2012 Triumph Explorer 1200: The all-new Explorer 1200 is launched. Powered by a 1251cc triple, it comes with cruise control, ABS and TC as standard. Early issues with its cylinder head gain it the nickname ‘exploder...’

2013 Triumph Explorer 1200 XC: The spoke-wheeled Explorer XC model joins the range with a bit more rugged attitude.

2016 Triumph Explorer 1200 XR and XC:  The second generation sees a comprehensive update to the Explorer’s electronics, chassis and engine. There are now six versions – three road-biased (XR) and three more rugged (XC) models. Semi-active suspension is now introduced alongside cornering ABS and TC.

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR and XC: The Tiger is updated (and no longer called the Explorer) in two forms – the road-targeted XR and more rugged XC. The XR comes in standard, X and T spec while the XC is available in X and A. The bike’s’ engine is tweaked with a lighter flywheel, weight reduced by 11kg and electronics updated.

2022 Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Pro and Explorer: The Tiger is completely overhauled and restyled with a new 1160cc engine and T-plane crank, 25kg lighter chassis and upgraded electronics package. The off-road style Rally comes in Pro or Explorer guise, in which the Explorer increases tank size from 20-litres to 30-litres and adds a higher level of trim.

2024 Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Pro and Explorer: almost identical package, but with much smoother T-plane crank engine and less propensity to suddenly stall.

Other versions

Since 2022 the Tiger 1200 also comes in GT Pro and GT Explorer versions, the more on-road orientated Tiger 1200, with identical engine and chassis, bar a wider 19in front, cast spokes, shorter travel suspension, lower seat height and lower price tag.

Since 2020, Triumph’s Tiger 900 offers the same T-plank crank triple concept in both GT and Rally guises in varying levels of trim, in a smaller, lighter and more manageable package.

Owners' reviews for the TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 RALLY PRO (2024 - on)

1 owner has reviewed their TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 RALLY PRO (2024 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 RALLY PRO (2024 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Value vs rivals: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Equipment: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
5 out of 5
15 July 2024 by Baz

Version: Explorer

Year: 2024

Best features are the extensive extras that come as standard worst feature tft screen

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Blind spot radar excellent

Buying experience: Purchased to replace a 2022 gt explorer which I wasn’t impressed with but on 2024 models they seem to have sorted out the issues

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