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Wed, 10 Jan 2018

My Tiger 1200 Test Ride (A customers first ride and review)

I was lucky enough, today (5th January 2018) , to be able to test ride the new Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt.

When the Total Triumph (Taunton) salesman, Craig showed the bike to me, I was a little owerawed by its many features, but immediately found its keyless ignition facility very good, and loved the full colour instrument panel which was informative and easy to read. "Go and take it out" said Craig, so I did.

There is a pub approximately 200 metres from the Total Triumph dealership, and before I had reached it, I knew that this bike was something very special. It had lost its bulk and from the instant of pulling away felt like riding a 250, not a 1200. My route took me up a steep windy hill to the Blackdown hills above Wellington. Here the power and the way it was available in such a smooth and fuss-free way made itself felt. I inadvertently discovered the hill start feature at the top of the hill at a T-junction and found that extremely helpful, and can imagine it would be even more so with full luggage and a pillion. I rode on across the ridge of the hills on a perfect winding road with many bends and a couple of straights. I dialled in a more sporty ride setting and found the power, acceleration and handling to be perfect for me. More power than I will ever need, but what a comforting thought to have that in reserve in an emergency. 

The handling was uncanny, and neutral; it neither falls into nor out of bends, and how it manages to be so agile in them is beyond me, but it is, and many riders will safely find angles of lean greater than I managed. I tried out the quickshifter and found it amazing, changing gear at any time in any gear and at any speed without any jerking. It was really just like a semi-automatic gearbox, and after that I only used the clutch for stopping and pulling away. The system could even be used in corners as there is no appreciable loss of traction as it is so quick. The brakes, with their front/back linked system were superb and stopped the bike very quickly.

I came down off the hills to the A303 east of Honiton, and investigated the bike's main road manners. Suspension back to comfort and the ride was the most comfortable I have ever had, Craig had said to ride on some catseyes, so I did and hardly felt them, nor did the bike track white lines - could this be the tyres, the suspension, or both? I took the A358 back towards Taunton and found the bikes instantly available power ideal for overtaking the many slower-moving vehicles and lorries which use this single-carriageway road.

I took the M5 south at Junction 25, dialled in a speed (not more than the National Speed Limit of course!) and set the Cruise Control. Is this a frivolous luxury? Only if you've never tried one. Once you have you will never want to be without one. It is amazing how good it is to rest your right hand, and also to know that your speed will not increase without you noticing.

I had switched on the heated grips and seat and had to switch them off again soon after as they are very good and it was not really too cold. I later discovered that they have three settings so could have been left on a lower setting. Switching off the Cruise Control is done by turning the throttle a notch back from idle or touching the brake, and did not produce any sudden slowing down, just a very smooth switch off. The electrically adjusted screen is excellent, and in its highest position, I was able to ride on the motorway with my visor up and no ill-effects.

I fully intended to come off at Junction 26 and to take the bike back, but I was enjoying the ride so much that I went on another nine miles to Junction 27 and came back up the old A38. Once again I really enjoyed the performance and handling. But, what is it like in town? I asked myself that question and then rode through Wellington to find out. Wellington was like a car park, with road works and extra traffic lights slowing the traffic to a crawl, so ideal to test out the bike's low speed handling. With its smooth throttle response (no on/off like some bikes) and its uncanny loss of mass when on the move, it was also a joy to ride in traffic, and although it took nearly twenty minutes to get through the town it was no hardship on the Tiger 1200.

I got back to the dealership, and reluctantly returned the bike. It is without doubt the best motorcycle I have ever ridden, and I had to have one; so I ordered one. 

MR GR (Total Triumph Customer)