Triumph has released a teaser video that masterfully shows us exactly what to expect while creating all kinds of questions. We do know that a new Tiger is being promised, with the bike set to be revealed to the world on 7 November at the EICMA show in Milan. But we’re a little confused as to exactly what kind of Tiger this is.
You’re probably aware that there are presently 17 different models in the Triumph lineup wearing the Tiger name. Those are split into three major variants: Tiger 800, Tiger Explorer, and Tiger Sport. The latter is not available in the United States and is an entirely (wonderful) road-focused vehicle. The other two are nominally adventure bikes, with the 800 being chain-driven and the 1215cc Explorer featuring shaft drive.
Where it’s possible to tell, the bikes featured in the teaser are chain-driven, which implies a new Tiger 800. That makes sense. The Tiger 800 range was overhauled for 2015, but is already a little behind the curve when it comes to the technowhizzbangery that Triumph loves putting on its bikes. Rumors of a new Tiger 800 have been swirling for awhile, with Triumph recently stoking the fire in presenting its Tramontana bike at the Panafrica Rally.
What’s throwing me off, however, is the word choice being used by Triumph: just “Tiger,” not “Tiger 800.” Adding to the confusion is a shot at the 0:15 point in the video, which shows a bike sporting the current Explorer’s front end – that shot appearing to demonstrate cornering headlights. Immediately after that, we see a close-up of LED headlights that *may* be different (I can’t decide if they actually are) than those we’ve seen in the shot before. These clues suggest one of two things:
A) We can expect to see updates to both the the 800 and Explorer ranges.
B) Triumph has decided to simplify its naming convention – henceforth referring to the 800 as the Tiger and the Explorer as, maybe, the Explorer – and give the smaller bike the same look as the larger one, similar to what Suzuki did with its V-Strom models last year.
The second option obviously assumes that the two slightly different sets of headlights shown in the video aren’t, in fact different. Meanwhile, if it turns out that both the 800 and Explorer are getting dramatic updates, I’ll admit to being a little miffed as an Explorer owner myself.
The Explorer range was just recently overhauled for 2016, and as the owner of a 2017 Tiger Explorer XRx I can tell you that the “newness” of my bike means that finding aftermarket accessories is a pain in the ass. If Triumph has gone and made my bike obsolete I’m going to be pretty annoyed.
That said, I’d probably still go out and buy the new Explorer. Triumph is on fire these days, churning out one drool-inducing machine after another, so it’s hard not to be excited. And if the British manufacturer were to fix the the biggest problem with the Explorer – its considerable weight is too high, as opposed to the low center of gravity on the BMW R 1200 GS – I can pretty much guarantee that the folks at Bevan Triumph (my local dealership) will be getting a phone call.
However, this video doesn’t seem to be suggesting major chassis changes. The two talking points of the 30-second spot are engine and technology, with Triumph claiming to have “transformed” both.
With Euro 5 emissions regulations looming for 2020, one wonders if Triumph has been clever enough to step to the plate ahead of other manufacturers. Maybe. What’s more likely is that Triumph will have worked to ensure the Tiger’s inline triple (regardless of capacity) performs in a way that better allows the bike to claim adventure status. At present, the engine’s performance is a little more road-focused. No complaints from me, but I have heard off-roaders critique the need to spin up the engine a bit to get the kind of torque they want.
In terms of technology, it looks as if the new Tiger (or at least one version of it) will be equipped with the same sort of dash display as introduced on the 2017 Street Triple RS, as well as an even more cluttered version of its “switch cube” handlebar joystick.
At the launch event last year for the aforementioned Street Triple range, I got talking to Triumph Chief Commercial Officer Paul Stroud about how he sees the brand. He told me that he sees Triumph as a brand with three pillars: modern classics, thrilling road bikes, and adventure machines.
“Maybe people don’t really think of us for that last one,” he said. “But I think they will. I'm excited for what the future holds.”
I am, too. I can’t wait to see what the company unveils on 7 November.