The beauty of the latest generation, high-capacity (best) off-road adventure bikes is that they feel anything but what they are. It sounds odd but, even with all their size and weight, they feel comfortable, calm and easy to ride over rough terrain. It’s not easy to make a machine that can do it all, to make a bike that can take a long road trip and still have the ability to fight off-road as well, but Triumph feels they have it. nailed it with their Tiger 1200 Rally Range. After a day of driving the GT model on the road, it was time to see how the Rally version stacked up on the dirt.
Built from the ground up, the latest Tiger 1200 range really has everything but the kitchen sink launching for 2022, as I detailed in our GT Review. This includes a new chassis and engine platform, along with high spec components and a smart amount of tech to boot. Just like the GT Pro model, the Tiger 1200 Rally Pro comes with all the same bells and whistles, including all the electronic aids and gimmicks, such as semi-active suspension, cruise control and quickshifter to name a few. name a few. Unlike the GT models, the Rally Pro comes with 20mm extra suspension travel front and rear (alongside a 25mm taller seat), Metzeler Karoo dual purpose rubber, a 21-inch front wheel and tubeless spoke wheels, plus an extra ‘Off-Road Pro riding mode’, which is essentially a hardcore, hands-off mode for those who take their off-roading to the max. serious.
Having spent over 170 miles in the saddle on the road-focused GT models, I’ve been incredibly impressed with the capabilities of the new Triumph, as you can read here, although it felt fairly focused, with an engine that erred on the side of sporty aggressiveness. So could the Rally model retain that amazing on-road ride, while offering a plush skill set that would make it suitable for attacking dirt? Well, there was only one way to find out, with a full day on the big rally bike not only on the road, but also at the WIM off-road complex in Portugal. So is this the real deal?
Adventure bikes tend to split opinion on their looks, but I have to say the Tiger 1200 Rally Pro looks like the absolute bee’s knees in the metal. Sitting in the Matt Khaki color scheme (which is an extra £300), it’s easy to see why so many people opt for the adventure-esque option on a GT; those wire wheels and taller stance really make it look the part, but with the seat at the lowest height it thankfully doesn’t feel too tall than the GT models, or more intrusive – even with the additional ground clearance. With two off-road modes to choose from, I went with “Off-Road Pro” to start with, which is the more focused and hardcore version of the two, essentially giving the most aggressive settings with no intrusion from the electronics. . With wet ground, no electronics and almost 150 horsepower at my disposal, I have to say it was a bit too much for a morning ride. Despite being an off-road-oriented engine map, it’s still on the vicious side of the initial throttle hold that breaks up traction in a consistent, yet controllable way.
It’s a true testament to the chassis and suspension setup. Even though I was pushing on the power, the nearly 250kg Triumph never felt dangerously loose in the rear, rather composed and predictable. Although the feel from the front end was vague at first, my confidence only grew with each turn, and the more I rode, the more I really felt in tune with that big 21-inch front wheel and semi-suspension. -active, until finally I felt like a nimble enduro machine. Switching to ‘Off-Road’ mode, which features driving aids, made the beast much calmer, as the traction control in particular was very impressive at controlling everything. It has completely transformed the Tiger from a big, excitable weapon into an incredibly capable machine for a reasonably competent off-road rider, whether tackling big open corners in fourth gear or doing heavy-duty work. first gear clutch. I also thought the Tiger 1200 Rally Pro was much better balanced and lighter than I expected which is hugely important to me with a bike this size – not only was it capable beyond my level of skill, but it was also easy and docile to ride.
But the real beauty isn’t just how the Rally models handled off-road, but also how good they were on the road. It’s a real testament to the chassis design that even though the Rally has long-travel suspension, off-road capable rubber and a larger front wheel, it still retains the GT’s incredible handling abilities – I would say it feels like it retains nearly enough of all the capability of the road-focused Tiger, but with an extra string to its bow too.
In all honesty, the new Tiger 1200 Rally really exceeded my expectations. After a bit of time in the saddle (or standing), it looked like a really impressive off-road machine, which I didn’t expect given its strong on-road capabilities and sporty nature, which comes pretty close GT models in terms of its capabilities. It’s really two bikes in one, something that could take anything from riding hundreds of miles on two-lane roads, getting dirty off the beaten path, and everything in between. It’s exciting, comfortable and focused, and impressively blurs the lines between sportiness and adventure; the Tiger 1200 really looks like the new king of the jungle.