Inspiration: Interview

Charley Boorman 1200 test ride

Charley Boorman: new Tiger 1200 review

'It’s an amazing leap forward'

FTR Bio:, Charley Boorman

Title: Triumph and Movember Ambassador

Age: 51

Jobs: Writer, actor and adventurer

Achievements: Globe-travelling motorcyclist

Out in the Spanish mountains, Triumph invited journalists and big names in motorcycling to try the new Tiger 1200 XC and XR models. FTR catches up with experienced adventure rider Charley Boorman, who put the Tiger 1200 through its paces on road and off.

Q. What were your first impressions?

A. It was really interesting for me as I’d just spent seven weeks on the previous model doing my motorcycle tours in Africa. I could really see and feel the difference. It’s a huge advancement in engine throttle response, technology and braking. It’s fabulous to ride.

Q. How did it perform?

A. We’ve been riding tarmac mountain passes with stunning views but, of course, my favourite riding is off-road. We took the bikes through these beautiful Spanish mountains on little dirt tracks – it was fantastic. Loose gravel, dirt, shale, we’ve covered quite a bit of terrain. I really feel it’s a massive jump. Triumph has listened to the riders and everything is better. The handlebars have been dropped back about 20mm, so it’s more comfortable, and the electric screen gives even better wind protection. It’s great for covering long distances. Even sitting in 6th gear on the motorway, you can wind on the throttle and it pulls and pulls. They’ve lightened and shortened the exhaust too, so it’s got even more of that triple sound.

Q. What did you think of the new TFT display and controls?

A. The switchgear and interface was very intuitive – there’s a toggle to scroll through the menus. The colour TFT screen is really useful too. I was on the motorway and adjusted the suspension on the fly to ‘comfort’ and it was so easy. The gear selection graphic is much more prominent and you can tailor the display to suit you, it can be simple to read or really dynamaic. Because it’s so straightforward you don’t have to think about it – you can keep your eyes on the road.

Q. What about the engine?

A. The big thing that I really enjoyed about this bike is the much more immediate throttle response. The engine and throttle are so closely connected now. One journalist said he’d been riding his dad’s old carburettor-equipped bike and the new Tiger reminded him of that instant response you get from a bike with carbs. This wonderful linear power delivery gives you an instant connection to the engine. Sometimes when you have ride-by-wire throttle you can have a bit of lag. That’s simply not there. The 11-kilo weight loss combined with the extra power makes a difference off-road. Ultimately, everything together – the weight loss, the active suspension, the power – works to make the bike more nimble.

Q. Any other features that caught your eye?

A. At night the adaptive cornering lighting is really lovely and a helpful rider aid. The illuminated dials give off a soft light that helps with navigating the controls at night without being too distracting. Also, one morning it was a little chilly so I switched on the heated seat and grips and it just took that edge away instantly. With all the work that’s been done, it’s a really nice bike to ride in all terrains. I can’t wait to get my hands on one!

Disclaimer: Featured motorcycles (Tiger 1200) were part of a global reveal and their availability will vary from market to market. For more information please visit your country specific website.