BMW Motorrad president Hendrik von Kuenheim seemingly makes it a point to never mention the T-word if he can help it – as in, Triumph! Instead, the boss of Europe’s largest motorcycle manufacturer invariably refers to the company that’s rapidly shaping up for Germany’s No.1 to be less of a minor irritant, more of a major competitor, as ‘our English friends’ – which is to say, NOT!
HvK is known to be particularly exercised by the way that Triumph has carved great chunks out of BMW’s market share with the Tiger 800 middleweight adventure tourer launched a year ago, especially its XC variant complete with a BMW-style ‘beak’ to the nose. That was however just a preliminary skirmish, because now the gloves are off for real with the debut of the Tiger Explorer 1200 multi-purpose maxi-enduro. It’s a bike that’s targeted directly at BMW’s R1200GS cash cow. This means war.
‘We identified certain must-have ingredients we had to incorporate in creating a genuine competitor to the BMW R1200GS benchmark, in what’s become a key growth segment of the market,’ states Simon Warburton, Triumph’s Product Manager. Yes, and right from the first, it was intended that the Tiger Explorer should undercut the ABS-equipped R 1200 GS Boxer by at least 3 percent pricewise in all markets.
The Explorer’s 1215cc watercooled three-cylinder 12-valve motor is a clean sheet design sharing no parts with any other engine in the current Triumph range and has been designed to have as few external oil and water pipes as possible, to avoid damage if/when dropped. Durability is achieved by spraying jets of lubricant onto the pistons. A Keihin ECU takes care of fuel injection, as well as ride by wire, though here there’s no choice of programmes as on, say, the Ducati Multistrada. Claimed peak horsepower for the new engine is 135 bhp at 9,000 rpm, with maximum torque of 12.1 kgm delivered at 6,400 rpm – but more to the point, there’s already more than 10 kgm delivered at just 2,500 revs, and this is held all the way through to the 9,500 rpm revlimiter.
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