All Duels – Duel of road bikes: BMW R1200RT Vs Triumph Trophy 1200 SE – A sofa for two

Duel of road bikes: BMW R1200RT Vs Triumph Trophy 1200 SE

All Duels - Duel of road bikes: BMW R1200RT Vs Triumph Trophy 1200 SE - A sofa for two

With its new Trophy 1200 and its over-equipped SE version, Triumph intends to supplant the ultra-accomplished BMW R1200RT at the top of the road bike category. Does the Englishwoman have the means for her ambitions ? Answer in this new MNC duel !

A sofa for two

Let it be said: Triumph has decided to challenge BMW for the status of the best European manufacturer of large displacement road bikes. Even if it means being openly inspired by Germanic references to achieve this ambitious goal more quickly !

In another segment, it was already difficult not to notice the similarities between the very successful and the "queen" of maxi-trails, the R1200GS. On its momentum, the manufacturer of Hinckley continues its offensive with the Trophy 1200, a motorcycle intended as comfortable and prestigious as the throne of the "Queen Mother" herself (read our).

There again, no need to grind your brains for a long time to put the glove on the identity of the one who plays both the role of muse and rival, as the similarities with the BMW R1200RT jump to the helmet (read our).

In addition to fairings and generous volumes (2230 mm long for the BMW, 2235 for the Triumph), these "two-wheel sofas" have in common an imposing front face characterized by a large double lens and "retro-indicators" barely smaller than those of a minivan.

The stems are also aesthetically very similar, down to the shapes of the high capacity suitcases installed as standard (32 liters for the RT, 31 for the Trophy). As for the tanks in "XXL" format (25 liters for the Behème, 26 for the Triumph), they almost seem to come out of the same mold. !

Seen from the rear, only the location of their exhaust and their acatene transmission can distinguish them at first glance: the long chrome silencer of the R1200RT (an optional degree of finish) is placed on the left side and its cardan shaft on the right, whereas it is the reverse on the Trophy 1200. This one also differs at the level of its sides of fairings: as on the preceding generations of Trophy (from 1990 to 2003), the Triumph exhibits an opening crossed out on each side of its high engine.

Mechanically, the two motorcycles have architectures that are as totally opposed as they are culturally attached to the history of their respective brand: a flat twin for the German, a three-cylinder in line for the English. Their only common point is to have been carefully thought out to bring together all the qualities expected of a road motorcycle engine: a wide range of use, solid pickups (including duo and loaded like a mule), robustness to foolproof and a restrained appetite.

For the kilometer devourer from Munich, the iconic 1170 cc Boxer is even an essential component of its visual identity: impossible to confuse it with its two cylinders with 101 mm bore and 73 mm stroke lengthened perpendicular to the road! Copiously "boosted" at the start of 2010 thanks to the cylinder heads with double camshaft of the BMW HP2 Sport, this endearing air-oil-cooled engine now develops 110 hp in Full and 120 Nm of torque (5 Nm more than before) and its maximum speed increased from 8000 to 8500 rpm.

In order to expand its offer of large displacement motorcycles, Triumph for its part created from scratch an engine perfectly suited to road exercise: a "three-legged" (what else?) Of 1215 cc with liquid cooling of 85 mm bore and 71.4 mm stroke. This modern unit of 134 hp and 120 Nm of torque features a ride-by-wire electronic accelerator and an oil-water exchanger which improves both its energy efficiency and its reliability (read our).

Identical to the one discovered on the Tiger Explorer maxi-trail, this powerful and smooth engine is distinguished only by small adjustments made to the exhaust, the airbox and the transmission. Thus, the sixth pulls a little longer on the Trophy 1200 (4400 rpm at 130 km / h on the last report) in order to contain fuel consumption..

No, luxury is not an option !

To overshadow the best-selling BMW Motorrad France (), Triumph did not stop at building an elegant, statutory and well-powered motorcycle. The Hinckley coat of arms intelligently took advantage of the main weakness of its competitor: its endowment of extremely poor original equipment. A characteristic "dear" to BMW, both on its motorcycles and on its cars.

Because having to hand over the wallet to benefit from the anti-skating services, an on-board computer and cruise control on a motorcycle already costing € 17,700 in its original livery remains quite frustrating. Especially since the bill goes up quickly: our test model with its Safety Pack (ASC anti-skidding and RDC tire pressure) and its RT3 Pack (chrome exhaust, ESA II electronically controlled suspensions, on-board computer, handles and heated saddles, additional electrical outlet, cruise control, alarm, Bluetooth MP3 radio) costs € 20,735.

It suffices to compare the data in our table "Practical aspects and equipment" on the penultimate page to measure all the interest of the "price party" of the Trophy 1200! As a reminder, in its standard version at 17,250 €, the Triumph receives as standard a complete on-board computer, cruise control and disconnectable anti-slip. And the over-equipped SE version at € 18,870 chosen for this duel also includes electronically adjustable TES suspensions, a tire pressure indicator, a third 12 V socket and an MP3 / Bluetooth audio system..

Our test model was also fitted with optional saddles (€ 639.80 both) and heated grips (€ 209.90), as well as a 55-liter top case (€ 359.90 + 163.90 € for its support) and a windshield 25 mm higher and 38 mm wider (€ 279.90). All for a total amount lower than that of the RT (€ 20,523) !

A disabling detail, however, tarnishes this idyllic picture: the ergonomics of the Trophy can be improved. Triumph was unable to make accessible all the functions offered, in particular the controls for the electric bubble with memory function, the heated grips and the sound system which can only be operated after having released the left grip. Same remark concerning the switch controlling the heating of the rider’s seat, placed on the left side below the seat..

Despite all its qualities (the acoustic rendering is superior to the BMW, especially above 100 km / h), the English audio system suffers from buttons that are too small and too firm. Not to mention the warnings control located under the digital keypad of the instrumentation, which is also very well supplied (two trips, fuel gauge and consumption, gear engaged, clock, engine and air temperature, tire pressure and intervals revision): we have seen more accessible for a function used to signal an emergency situation…

Finally, it is a pity that the British engineers did not consider it useful to assign a specific button to select the calibration of electronic suspensions. Triumph Electronic Suspension, a system that intervenes on the trigger at the front and the preload and trigger at the rear. Thus, to choose between "Comfort", "Normal" or "Sport" mode, it is necessary to scroll through several menus and submenus via the "i" buttons and the arrows located on the left stalk. Neither practical nor frankly intuitive…

On the BMW, all the controls are at your fingertips and none require the slightest movement of the hands, apart from resetting trips or setting the time subject to the buttons located under the instrumentation. A simple press on a switch allows to electronically influence the damping laws via the ESA II system (rebound, preload and stiffness of the front and rear springs) or to disconnect the anti-slip.

The R1200RT benefits from the experience acquired by the automotive branch of BMW: this is reflected in particular through its impeccable ergonomics and the presence of a very ingenious dial responsible for centralizing multiple functions..

Thanks to this multi-controller inspired by the devices in force on German cars, it is easy to navigate through the different menus, to scroll through the average and instantaneous consumption, to consult the mileage of partial trips, the air temperature, the tire pressure or even to change the radio frequency or the title on their play-list. And of course to raise or lower the volume of the sound system. Wunderbar !

Quality included

Subjected to close scrutiny, the BMW R1200RT and the Triumph Trophy 1200 SE do not attract any particular criticism regarding their build quality and finish. The materials are qualitative in look and feel, the fit of the plastics is perfect, as are the welds and surface treatments. At the same time, it’s the least of things on motorcycles flirting with the 20,000 euros !

The more nit-picky among us may simply regret that the cables and sheaths running around the handlebars of the Englishwoman are not a little better camouflaged – or even directly inserted into its long branches as on some Harley-Davidson, for example..

On the German side, it is the low-end "R1200RT" stickers placed on its sides of the fairings which are a little task … Moreover, if it is complete and well arranged, the instrumentation appears a bit sad with its gray background and white needles. The attractive chrome dials of the Triumph undoubtedly have more effect, while its large digital screen is more readable thanks to its larger inscriptions..

More modern, the Trophy 1200 SE accommodates a clever storage compartment in its left fairing return: not only does it lock automatically when the motorcycle exceeds 5 km / h, but it contains a 12 V socket, a USB connector connected to the sound system and a clip for storing a credit card. The BMW also has a small waterproof space with a USB socket (placed on the right), but it requires a turn of the key to open and close: less practical at tolls.

But what are these two queens of the road worth on the road, precisely? In the saddle !

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