Can you believe that the Triumph Tiger 1200 has been around for close to a decade already? Formerly known as the Tiger Explorer, the model has gone through two rounds of upgrades since its inception in 2012. Despite the latest refresh only dating back to 2018, the bike is already a little outdated, if only for the fact that it isn’t Euro 5-compliant and that most of its competitors are mostly all a step ahead.
As we’re getting ready to celebrate the big Tiger’s Aluminum Jubilee, it looks like Triumph has some big plans for the bike. 2021, or maybe 2022 (for a round decade), could mark the introduction of the model’s fourth generation.
Already back in February, 2020, we documented spy shots of a leaner Tiger 1200, suggesting that Hinckley was already hard at work on a new-gen adventurer.
Triumph has since introduced three new bikes and recently confirmed it would also launch the updated Bonneville lineup at the end of February, 2021. Where does that leave the Tiger? The trail has gone cold and the company has yet to acknowledge that it's, in fact, working on anything of the sort.
So, why are we writing about it if we don’t have any real updates? Because our fellow writers at Motorrad Online came up with a theory about the new Tiger that makes so much sense that we wanted to share it with you. Their thought is that the Tiger 1200 is going to get the new Speed Triple’s engine.
We already established a link between the new Triple and the Tiger a while back. Before the new streetfighter launched in January, 2021, we already knew that it was going to receive a bigger engine, based on a series of spy shots we published.
That’s when we suggested (without any real conviction) that one possible option was to use an evolved version of the Tiger 1200’s aging mill. Triumph has since confirmed that the 2021 Speed Triple’s new 1,160cc engine is actually the evolution of the former generation’s 1,050cc, so, it looks like things are going to trickle the opposite way.
Considering that Hinckley developed an entirely new, lighter, more powerful, and regulation-compliant powertrain, it would be a shame not to take full advantage of all the hard work that went into it. Plus, one way or the other, the Tiger 1200 will need some sort of tweak to remain a legal seller in Europe. The new 1,160cc triple is therefore a perfectly logical replacement for the current 1,125cc triple. One plus one equals Tiger 1200.
Granted, Triumph would likely have to reduce the output to make the engine more touring-friendly and adapt it to the shaft drive, but that's nothing that can't be done.
Since Triumph is on target to unveil two bikes in two months, why not complete a hat trick and unveil the Tiger 1200 in March for a three in three? That’s just wishful thinking, we know, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled for any hints.