Featuring a ride-by-wire throttle, traction control, cruise control, electronically-adjustable suspension, electrically adjustable screen, a Bluetooth-equipped stereo, ABS and a tire pressure monitoring system, Triumph says its new Trophy is its most advanced bike yet. Using the same 1,215cc, 132bhp triple as the Tiger Explorer, the 2013 Triumph Trophy promises to be a seriously able tourer, even if it does look nearly identical to the BMW R1200RT.

That incredibly conservative styling is indicative of common practice in the touring market. Going on sale in January, 2013, the Trophy will go head-to-head with that BMW, the Yamaha FJR1300, Honda ST1300 and Kawasaki Councours 14. For some reason we call those bikes “sport tourers” here in the home of long, straight highways; the rest of the world just calls them what they are: touring bikes.

Weighing 662lbs (wet), the Trophy is nearly 100lbs heavier than that BMW, 20lbs heavier than the FJR, but 20lbs lighter than the Kawasaki and 70lbs lighter than the Honda.

With 132bhp and 89lb/ft of torque, it makes equivalent torque to the BMW and Honda, but is ahead on power. It’ll be slower than either the FJR or the Concours. Especially the Concours, which uses a version of the ZX-14’s inline-four, retuned to 153bhp.

The Trophy comes in either blue or silver.

So how’s yet another shaft-drive tourer going to compete in that market? If recent hits from the British brand like the Triumph Tiger 800 and Tiger Explorer are anything to go buy, it’ll do so with subtle capability, feature content and price. The Tiger 800, for instance, looks eerily similar to the BMW F800GS, but starts at $1,300 cheaper and is a substantially better motorcycle once you get away from the spec sheets and into the real world.

Only the feature-heavy SE version of the Trophy will go on-sale in America. It includes all those features listed above, as well as standard panniers. A price has not yet been released.

So where’s that subtle ability going to come from? That motor should be smooth, fast and, thanks to ride-by-wire can come with both TC and cruise control, features none of the bikes listed above yet have. Adjusting automatically to rider input, it should also aid fuel economy on long journeys, combining with the generous 6.9-gallon tank to offer solid tank range.

Instruments are clean and simple, with analog dials bookending an LCD display for ancillary functions. All the fancy stuff is controlled by switches on the left bar.

Practical features like the adjustable screen should be extremely useful too, it moves through a generous 6.5 inches of travel and memorizes your last setting so it’ll return there after switching the bike off and on. The rider’s seat height adjusts too, between 30.3 and 31.1 inches. That’s relatively low.

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Suspension is by WP and will be electronically adjustable, on the fly, for rebound damping in the forks and preload and rebound damping in the shock.

Service intervals are a handy 10,000 miles apart. 20,000 for major services.

It’s a conservative play in a conservative market, but one that should be worthy nonetheless.

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