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Spy Shots Reveal Leaner, More-Capable Triumph Tiger 1200

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Triumph Tiger 1200 spy photos

New spy shots out of Europe show that Triumph may be taking its top shelf Tiger 1200 platform to new levels of performance, with many new design features intended to increase its off-road adventure potential. 

Most impactful is this new Tiger’s slenderized profile, which echoes the revamped styling of the fresh-from-the-oven 900 models, now categorized as GT (street) and Rally (off-road) as opposed to XR and XC. 

When the 800 range transitioned to the 900cc for 2020 it not only gained torque and midrange power, it lost weight and gained suspension travel as well, results we hope to see repeated in this new 2021 1200 Tiger, which will likely transition to 1250 or 1300cc ahead of European emissions requirements. 

Triumph Tiger 1200 revamped for 2021

Adventure-ready queues on this budding Rally model include a more robust aluminum skid pan aimed to increase engine and header protection during off-road escapades, as well as a very narrow slice-and-dice 21-inch tubeless spoked front wheel that will replace the current Tiger 1200’s already spoked 19-incher. And while it may be wishful thinking, it appears the flagship Tiger’s 17-inch wheel may be replaced by an 18-inch wheel as well.  

The entire rear wheel drive system on this prototype is new, with a double-sided swing arm system replacing the the single-sided unit we’re used to on the Tiger 1200s. Showa suspension will likely replace the 1200’s WP kitting front and rear, a change already manifested in the 900 Rally, which gained a useful one inch of travel for 2020, a bump we’d love to see matched in the larger Tigers. There will also be a bolt-on rear subframe for this 2021 model, making the bikes easier and less costly to repair.

As expected, this Tiger is powered by an inline triple, though this new mill looks more compact than the previous 1215cc version, and will likely use a new crankshaft and the unique 1, 3, 2 firing order present in the new 900 engine, which provides improved engine feedback and character. The modest bump in capacity seen across most platforms today is a way for manufacturers to meet looming emissions standards without losing performance, and if the Tiger 900 is an indicator, its larger displacement sibling will realize a performance gains from the reconstruction. 

Triumph Tiger 1200 spotted with key changes

Styling-wise this new Tiger is noticeably more svelte than its predecessor, with a flatter fuel tank, sharper beak and more angular bodywork. A stylish headlight peers from beneath a tour-worthy windscreen that employs small adjustable wings on either side for fine tuning air flow. 

And while we can’t see it in these spy shots, the new top shelf Tigers are sure to feature Triumph’s new, ultra-bright seven-inch TFT screen which provides access to information, amenities and rider aids, and new for 2020, there is also improved connectivity with your smartphone, allowing hands-free control of music and phone calls. 

The improvements evidenced by these spy shots look very promising for increased off-road adventure potential from the big Tigers, though we’ll have to wait to see if the physical slenderizing of the machine translates to a lighter weight as well. While the Tiger 1200 XC  is a capable machine in the dirt, it is a true heavyweight at 547 lbs dry. A cut in weight would be an especially welcome change. 

And it looks like we won’t have to wait long for a reveal. The fact we’re seeing this future model in such near-finished form makes it likely we’ll see it sometime this year.

Photos by Motorrad


Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

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