2011 Triumph Tiger 1050 SE | Review

2011 Triumph Motorcycle

As motorcycles become more technologically complex, a bike such as the 2011 Triumph Tiger SE that delivers both simplicity and high-performance is most welcome.

Despite the lack of different engine programming maps, electronically controlled suspension, or any other number of bells, whistles, and gizmos, the Triumph Tiger 1050 SE is far from a stone-age motorcycle.

Most notably, it has a nicely performing ABS that works nearly transparent, slowing you down safely when you get harder on the brakes than conditional allow.

The design of the Triumph Tiger itself is certainly contemporary, with an aluminum twin spar frame, braced aluminum swing arm, 17-inch alloy wheels and 43mm upside down forks. That’s all the good stuff!

Although the 2011 Tiger 1050 SE looks like an adventure bike with its tall stance and 32.8-inch seat height, it’s pure street bike with very sporting Michelin Pilot Road tires that have no interest in the dirt. That’s fine, as they stick appropriately well on mountain roads when making the most of the 113-horsepower 1050cc Triumph powerplant.

The iconic triple’s powerband stretches from idle to redline, and is matched to a wide-ration six-speed transmission; it is virtually impossible to find yourself engaging the wrong set of cogs. Sure, revs mean power, but you can short shift the torquey motor – the 72-ft/lb peak comes at 6250 rpm (3150 before the hp peak) – and still get around with authority. Handling and engine performance fit hand-in-glove.

Thanks to the wide bars, the Triumph Tiger 1050 SE can be muscled around at will. A claimed wet weight of 539 pounds is not intimidating, and the radial-mounted front calipers and more than happy to allow you to drive the Tiger hard into a corner (again, with the backup of ABS), while the Michelins retain traction and provide confidence.

The SE portion of the 2011 Triumph Tiger 1050 SE indicates the presence of locking hard saddlebags (easily removed), handguards, and the ABS, as well as a choice between Intense Orange and two-tone Matte Graphite/Matte Black.

This turns a great sport bike and commuting weapon (nothing beats seeing over SUVs in LA traffic) into an outstanding sport-tourer.

 Long distances are effortless on the Tiger 1050 SE, as the seating position is perfectly neutral, adding no extra weight on any part of the rider’s body. The windscreen is never intrusive and takes just the right amount of windblast off the rider. Hand and foot controls are intuitive and do not fatigue the rider.

No complaints can be made about the supportive seat, though there isn’t a lot of room to move around (a gel seat is available from Triumph). This bike is ready for easy 500-mile days, but feel free to take it farther.

Gas stops are infrequent, thanks to a 5.3-gallon tank and 200+ mile range. The bags have a capacity of 45 quarts, so while it’s not dresser, that’s plenty of cargo carrying capability for long-weekend rides.

The Triumph Tiger 1050 SE’s suspension is manually adjustable – spring preload and rebound damping on both ends, add compression damping on the forks – so you can tune the ride height and suspension action to taste and accommodate a passenger and full bags. For most riders and situations, the stock settings are just right.

A highly versatile motorcycle, the 2011 Triumph Tiger 1050 SE is at home grinding it out at rush hour on the Hollywood Freeway as it is rapidly rolling the odometer on Interstate 10 across the ruler flat desert.

If you don’t mind sitting high and proud, the Tiger 1050 SE is an accommodating motorcycle that demands nothing from the rider and returns great handling, superb power production, and reassuring comfort.

2011 Triumph Tiger 1050 SE Specs:

  • Engine Type…Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder
  • Displacement…1050cc
  • Bore/Stroke…79 x 71.4mm
  • Fuel System…Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection with SAI
  • Exhausts…Stainless steel 3 into 1, high level polished stainless steel pipes
  • Final Drive…X ring chain
  • Clutch…Wet, multi-plate
  • Gearbox…6-speed
  • Oil Capacity…3.5 liters (0.9 US gals)
  • Frame…Aluminum beam twin-spar
  • Swingarm…Braced, twin-sided, aluminum alloy
  • Front wheel…Cast aluminum alloy multi-spoke 17 x 3.5 in
  • Rear wheel…Cast aluminum alloy multi-spoke 17 x 5.5 in
  • Front tire…120/70 ZR17 Michelin Pilot Road
  • Rear tire…180/55 ZR17 Michelin Pilot Road
  • Front suspension…Showa 43mm upside down forks with adjustable preload, rebound and compression damping, 150mm travel
  • Rear suspension…Showa Monoshock with adjustable preload and rebound damping, 150mm rear wheel travel
  • Front brakes…Twin 320mm floating discs, Nissin 4-piston radial calipers (ABS)
  • Rear brakes…Single 255mm disc, 2-piston Nissin caliper (ABS on SE)
  • Front Brake Master Cylinder…Nissin master cylinder, 16mm diameter
  • Instrument Display/Functions…LCD multi-functional instrument pack with digital speedometer, trip computer, analogue tachometer and clock
  • Length…2110mm (83.0 in)
  • Width (handlebars)…840mm (33.0 in)
  • Height without mirrors…1320mm (51.9 in)
  • Seat Height….835mm (32.8 in)
  • Wheelbase…1510mm (59.4 in)
  • Rake/Trail…23.2°/87.7mm
  • Fuel Tank Capacity…20 liters (5.3 US gals)
  • Wet Weight (ready to ride)…228 kg (502 lbs) 245 kg (539 lbs)
  • PERFORMANCE (Measured at crankshaft to 95/1/EC)
  • Maximum Power…115PS / 113bhp / 85kW @ 9400 rpm
  • Maximum Torque…98Nm / 72 ft/lbs @ 6250 rpm

Riding Style

  • Helmet: Shoei Multitech
  • Jacket: Firstgear Kilimanjaro
  • Gloves: Firstgear Mojave
  • Pants: Firstgear Mesh-Tex
  • Boots: Sidi Strada Evo

Action photography by Kevin Wing