Triumph Tiger 1200 XRT Review
“ A great heavyweight touring bike with abundant power from the triple engine, electronic suspension and screen. ”
What Is It?
The 2016 Triumph Tiger Explorer XRT is a premium road focused adventure style bike which was updated in 2018 and has an off-road equivalent in the Tiger Explorer XCA.
Engine: 1,215 cc Triple, 137 bhp
Economy: 40 mpg
Range: 180 miles
Seat Height: 837 mm
What Is It Like?
First registered as a demonstrator by Bevan Motorcycles, Cardiff in 2016. Purchased privately in September 2017 at 3,500 miles from the second owner. Has now completed 4,800 miles.
It was fitted with Triumph Expedition pannier rails plus Triumph Expedition sliding carriage, panniers and top box.
Choosing The XRT
After what seems like a lifetime of multi bike ownership the decision was reluctantly made to reduce the fleet to a single bike that would fulfil our modest need for speed, two up comfort and touring capabilities.
After six happy, almost trouble free years and 20,000 plus miles with a Yamaha Super Tenere and having recently exported a disappointing Triumph Tiger Sport 1050, the focus was on more power, wider tyres / wheels, electronic suspension, similar comfort, running costs and luggage capacity matching the Yamaha.
I dismissed the KTM and Ducati options for perceived lifetime ownership costs and the S1000XR for luggage, pillion provision and possible vibration problems. I also didn't want a dirty chain drive so the final shortlist comprised of only a BMW GS and the Triumph.
Being old, impoverished and allergic to the exponential effects of depreciation, the final objective was to find a realistically priced low mileage version of either.
Upgrading The Luggage
Research revealed that Triumph Expedition luggage is manufactured by Givi, adapted to accept Triumph locks and then modified to suit Triumph designed racks.
The two suppliers mount the corresponding Expedition / Trekker Outback luggage on the same bike. Ten days, over £300 worth of Givi racks and a top box later, plus a small fitting modification, we finally owned the bike we wanted.
- Givi Trekker Outback pannier racks
- Givi SR6403 rack
- V40/E55 top boxes
- Givi Smart Bar accessory mount
- Abundant power from the triple engine
- Improved road manners, from electronic suspension, wider tyres and the multitude of riding modes
- Brembo front brakes
- Electric screen and deflectors
- Infotainment displays
- Peripheral equipment, like automatic indicators, hill start, heated grips, heated seats, gear indicator, TPMS and “easyclean” cast alloy wheels
- Transmission, comfort, cornering ability, mirrors
- Dated looks, too similar to the 2012 launch model
- Top heavy weight distribution
- Fiddly controls, identified by many of the journos’ on launch videos
- Tank range, when compared with the S.T.
Dynamically, the first notable quirk is the very Citroen like self levelling / height setting characteristic of the semi active suspension which means that irrespective of load the bike appears to retain the same road geometry and not settle down as would be expected from traditional springs and shocks.
Maybe that goes some way to explain the alternative height models. With (very old) 32” inside legs, there are no problems with seat height but you are very aware of the stationary / low speed weight and high centre of gravity, particularly when catching boots against the standard engine bars.
Once on the move the suspension comes into its own and the weight only exposes itself on fast pot holed bends but corrects itself very quickly, and there is a tendency to run wide after over enthusiastic two up roundabout entry.
Nevertheless, the triple engine, claimed by some to be too “buzzy”, is absolutely delightful and the smooth gearbox is light years ahead of the Tiger Sport. The rather bulky final drive is harsh and noisy compared to the Super Tenere.
The 20 litre tank is disappointing for such a long distance tourer, with the warning lamp illuminating at around 160 miles, compared to the ST’s 190 miles.
The huge electric screen and deflectors are a major benefit, although the four screw mounting looks to be overloaded and has already worn out the mounting rubbers.
The heated grips are excellent, hand guards appear a bit flimsy, but the rider controls are less complicated than portrayed in “journo reviews”.
Triumph engineers should be applauded for rewiring stock plastic mouldings to fit all the new control gear, which does take a little getting used to.
Some of the standard stuff on this model, like automatic indicators, hill start, heated seats, engine bars and TPMS, are luxuries that I would not have chosen to pay for, particularly the TPMS which cannot be displayed simultaneously with the more important fuel countdown meter.
The XRT is a great heavy weight touring bike, let down by the dated looks, although the 2018 model is getting the LED lighting this one should have had, as well as the TFT display and maybe a quickshifter.
- Richard E, 2017
Triumph Tiger Explorer XRX - One trim level down on the road side of the range.
Triumph Tiger Explorer XCX - The equivalent model on the off-road side of the range.
Check out this video review from TheMissendenFlyer.
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