Our two biggest criticisms of the base Triumph Tiger 800 (not the XC) were limited ground clearance and a 19-inch front wheel chosen for its dirt-style at the expense of road capability. When we reviewed it this summer, the conclusion was that it’s a great light tourer and commuter, but its ability at both is compromised especially by that front wheel and the difficult tire choices it presents. But, the thing is, there’s already an adventure-style all rounder in the Triumph family. The 2012 Triumph Tiger 1050 doesn’t share its little brother’s limitations, leaving it free be sort of a Speed Triple tourer. It’s just received upgraded suspension too.
For 2012, the big Tiger gets increased damping ability in both the front forks and rear shock. That shock is also upgraded with a 29 percent stiffer spring, a change which should increase control in corners and limit squat under acceleration. Combined with 20mm lower handlebars, that should make the Speed Triple tourer a little less wheelie prone.
Fitted with a 17-inch front wheel, as always, the owners of the big Tiger are free to fit real rubber. Touring, sport riding or commuting, they can optimize the bike to their needs. That makes the bike relatively unique among adventure tourers, shedding the dirt pretense of funny front wheel sizes to exist purely as a tall, capable, do-it-all motorcycle.
New graphics modeled after those of the Street Triple and red, white or matte black/matte grey paint round out the updates. A minor revision, but all this should help make an underrated, oft-forgotten bike that much better.