Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200 ABS (2012-present): On-road delight at the adventure category.Engine: The liquid cooled, 1215 c.c. three cylinder in-line engine delivers 135 bhp/9300 rpm and 12.3kgm/ 6400rpm, (89 ft lbs) claimed figures.
Actually the engine requires at least 2000 rpm, providing decent torque at the low-end and the middle spectrum of the powerband, while it is very linear up to the 10000 rpm mark where the rev limiter intervenes. The power provided is great and direct, indicatively on a nimble pace of riding on B-roads, a minimum of 7000 rpm is required.
On the highway 5000 rpm correspond to 140 km/h and the 6000 rpm to 166 km/h, indicated figures.
The final drive is shaft. An indicative average fuel consumption figure is 7.1 l/100 km (40 mpg Imperial). At the adventure category all manufactures feature superb engines, although the three cylinder one seems to combine the best characteristics in terms of riding sensation.
Riding position: The seat is high, it will be adequate to tall riders. Stepping a firm foot on the road is essential due to the weight of the bike, which is 259 kgs (570 lbs) nominal figure, road ready. The riding position provides alertness, as the torso is quite inclined to the front.
The rider is placed in and over the bike. RiderĘs arms are spread wide onto the handlebar.
The dimensions of the Explorer are naturally great. The width of the bike is increased substantially at the sides of the fuel tank. The saddle height is adjusted either at 837 or 857 mm (32.9-33.7 in). The handlebar and the screen may be also adjusted.
The pillion gets a lot of space on the bike. She/he is seated quite far behind from the rider, the saddle is soft, the knees form a comfortable angle and the handgrips are quite practical. On this pillion position even a big passenger will be accommodated nicely for a long journey.
On the road: A 46 mm inverted fork is equipped at the front and a shock fitted with a linkage at the rear. Suspension travel is 190 mm at the front and 194 mm (7.48-7.64 in) at the rear. The shock may be adjusted to spring preload (remotely) and the rebound damping. The suspension adjustments were left to the default settings at the bike tested, although they were still very firm. A Trellis type frame and a single sided swingarm are featured.
OE tires are Metzeler Tourance EXP with dimensions 110/80-19 at the front 150/70-17 at the rear. This tire was discontinued and replaced by Metzeler Next which is improved. However the Tourance EXP is considered a comparatively good choice for the Explorer.
In town the Explorer is a tall, big and heavy bike. Riding position is very tall, it may be compared to a large SUV, that is something like a …small truck! Thus rider gets a superb view of the road ahead on traffic. Eventually the Explorer could be used for occasional rides in town, although a very tall rider could use the Triumph even more frequently on urban rides.
On downtown rides the Explorer feels restricted, due to the characteristics described at the previous section. Thus there are many compromises asked to the rider, which do not exceed the standards of the adventure category though.
Specifically speaking, steering lock is good. In the case of filtering the handlebar is higher than car mirrors, that is about the same with SUV mirrors. Combined with the large width of the bike, makes the Explorer a difficult bike for filtering.
Road imperfections are absorbed relatively well. Because its an adventure bike, comfort to the rider could be slightly better over potholes and bumps. Eventually the use of a small bike, a scooter or a cub is recommended in case of downtown rides.
On B-roads the big Triumph is an utterly neutral, stable and robust bike. Initially the stability surpasses agility which is a surprise given the category standards. From the other hand, the superb stability results to great riding confidence, no matter the pace of riding. Feedback to the rider is very good, while riding confidence is enhanced by the robustness of the bike which is mainly due to the firm suspensions.
On roads like this and especially at a spirited pace of riding, rider feels that the Explorer is a committed bike which will provide great safety, confidence and thrilling rides. The Explorer becomes a joyful bike at such a pace, tempting the rider to play on the road. Any moaning about comfort over potholes is well forgotten by now, the Tiger Explorer is a motorcycle committed mainly to on-road satisfaction.
A portion of maturity is required here by the future buyer as the Explorer is not the top bike in terms of absolute power output. However evaluating the bike as a combination of power, set up and character, the nimble riders of the adventure category, or generally speaking anyone who wishes to accomplish on-road riding pleasure, should seriously think about it. The shaft final drive was not noticed during the test, well done Triumph, while the traction control is very discreet although it cannot be deactivated easily.
On the highway the Explorer will frequently exceed the expectations of the rider. Once again the stability and robustness of the bike are evident. Although the engine operates effortlessly, it will provide instant and powerful acceleration without downshifting of course.
On the long stretches and the sweepers the Explorer creates an adequate and pleasant gap from the Tiger 800, feeling bigger and better planted on the road. The seat, the riding position and the air-protection become a comfortable package. Indicatively, with the standard screen which may be adjusted without tools, air flow is felt at a speed higher than 190 km/h, (118 mph) on the helmet, rider has to incline to the front then. The top speed is 230 km/h (143 mph) indicated figure.
On dirt roads the weight of the bike and the tall seat will not create the confidence required to short - average stature riders. The on-road suspension settings are revealed, although the bike is more user-friendly than what it is expected.
‘he bike is equipped with an ABS which may be deactivated. Two 305 mm rotors are featured at the front with four piston calipers and a 282 mm rotor at the rear with a two-pots caliper. The power of the front brake is normal for the standards of the category, while the rear is powerful. Activating the brakes the initial bite is average front and rear, while whenever the ABS is activated, pulsing is considerable.
Given the sporty on-road character of the bike, the operation of the brakes is adequate although not at the same high standards of the bikeĘs potential.
Comments: The silencer is big, rather wide. On the instrument the indications of the selected speed, fuel consumption, ambient temperature, warning for frost, tire pressure (the sensors are required) are provided. The ABS, traction control, cruise control, a 12V plug and trip computer are standard equipment.
The design reminds of a Bmw, e.g. at the right side itĘs like a cowl under the seat is missing. However the instruments look dated for a 2012 m.y. bike.
Ń bigger screen, an aluminum underbelly protection , heated saddles for the rider and pillion, heated grips, hand guards, high intensity fog lights, engine protection, panniers, lower or higher saddles etc are optional equipment.
From 2013 onwards the Explorer XC which is even more adventurous.