The Explorer will have an all-new tubular-steel frame with a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel, and shaft drive.
The Explorer will have an all-new tubular-steel frame with a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel, and shaft drive.
The Speed Triple R will probably be the sleeper of the show.
The Speed Triple R will probably be the sleeper of the show.
Bonneville T100 Steve McQueen Edition: cooler than a polar bears paws.
Bonneville T100 Steve McQueen Edition: cooler than a polar bears paws.

Only one of them is actually a new model, but Triumph has nevertheless managed to come up with three (very different) star attractions for the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, just two weeks away - and in typical Euro fashion, it's teasing the punters with a few pictures and a tantalising lack of detail.

The big news (literally) is the all-new Tiger Explorer 1200; having made the lack-lustre BMW F600 GS look silly with the superb Tiger 800, Hinckley has decided that the time is right to take on the original GelandeScooter.

Details are scarce; Hinckley will only confirm that the capacity of the transverse three-cylinder engine is "in excess of 1200cc". That almost certainly means that it will bear the same relationship to the 1050 as the 800 does to the 675, which is to say, the same bore but on a longer stroke.

Expect the same, or maybe a couple of kilowatts more peak power, but with way, way more torque, possibly more than any other adventure tourer.

Also confirmed is that the Explorer will have an all-new tubular-steel frame with a 19" front and 17" rear wheel, shaft drive, switchable ABS and traction control as standard, a 950W alternator (which will charge your GPS and run some serious spotlights at the same time), adjustable seat height, optional hard luggage and a "fly-by-wire" throttle.

Then there's the Speed Triple R, which at first glance looks exactly like the standard-issue 1050 and, for that reason, will probably be the "sleeper" of the show.

But wait, as they say, look again: The R comes with superlative Ohlins suspension (titanium-coated 43mm NIX30 upside-downies in front and a TTX36 rear monoshock with adjustments for everything except the colour of your pillion's panties), Grand Prix-quality Brembo monobloc brake callipers, a pair of gorgeous PVM forged-aluminium wheels that Hinckley says are a kilogram each lighter than the standard kit, and optional ABS.

Sadly, the bike retains the same front-end styling, which can most charitably be described as unfortunate.

Triumph aren't saying whether the Speed Triple R will have anything extra in the muscle department but, even if it doesn't, the chassis upgrades will ensure it will be the ultimate hooligan tool for the street and, by extension, a killer track-day machine.

The third Milan debutant from Hinckley will undoubtedly be the scarcest; only 1100 examples of the Bonneville T100 Steve McQueen Edition - to give it its full title - will be built for worldwide distribution.

Mechanically, it's a bog-standard T100, but it's been done up to recall the TR6C McQueen and his stunt-rider friend Bud Ekins rode in the cult movie The Great Escape, with matte green paint, blacked-out trim, a single seat and neat little parcel rack, fork gaiters, a bash plate and McQueen's signature on each side cover.

For all you movie trivia buffs, the rider doing the barbed-wire border-fence jump in The Great Escape is Ekins - not because McQueen didn't want to but because the studio bosses wouldn't let him!

They were even more upset when he qualified (on his own TR6C) to ride for the US team in the 1964 International Six Days Trial in what was then Communist East Germany.

McQueen didn't care; he once famously said: "Racing is life; everything else is just waiting" and it is that spirit that makes this bike cooler than a polar bear's paws.

The 2012 Triumphs are due for SA release in the second quarter of the year. Prices, as always, when they get here.