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Triumph Explorer 1200 – Yee-hah!

This entry is part 9 of 17 in the series Adventure Rider Issue #22

One of Adventure Rider Magazine’s favourite big adventure bikes has found a spot in the shed with Triumph Explorer 1200

Before everyone sends nasty e-mails, we reckon the Triumph adventure bikes are awesome, and we don’t care who knows it. Don’t bother telling us how we always bat on about them. We know.

It doesn’t mean there aren’t excellent motorcycles in the other brands – there are. We’ll bat on about them when we feel like it too. But it’s the British bikes we’re talking about right now.

It’s an opinion formed after a big dollop of experience in the real adventure world. Triumph Australia has never held back on putting our firmly rounded backsides on its bikes and encouraging us to push them hard.

We’ve responded and given some of the 800 Tigers a very tough workout.

Now it’s time for the Explorers to face the challenge.

That’s right. The bike we thrashed through far-north Queensland last year, and to which we – and the rest of the Australian motorcycling journalism fraternity – showed absolutely no mercy, has landed in the Adventure Rider Magazine shed with the same instruction from Triumph Australia: ride real adventure – the tougher the better.

Triumph Explorer 1200

Triumph Explorer 1200

“Ride real adventure,” Triumph told us. “The tougher the better”. We will. You can bet on it.


Just to refresh everyone’s memory – and ours – the Explorer packs a fair punch from a 1215cc, liquid-cooled, 12-valve, three-cylinder powerplant. Some tuning means the current bike has a little more horsepower and torque than the previous model, and one interesting aspect of the Explorer is its shaft drive. That can some-times mean the bike will behave in interesting ways.

We couldn’t fault the final drive during our time with bike at the media release, or on previous models, but we’ve never had the chance to work them as hard as we plan to work this bike.

The Explorer has a good electronics package, so the modes offered are: Road, Rain, Off Road, Sport and a fully programmable Rider mode. The XCA variant also has heated seats, an electronically adjustable screen, pannier rails, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Hill Hold, CNC-machined footpegs and LED auxiliary lights.

WP suspension with Triumph’s electronically controlled semi-active suspension – TSAS – made a big initial impression on us, as did the leading-edge traction control and ABS.

We loved all of those features when we first rode the bike back in issue #19, and it’s a serious bit of adventure-riding kit.

Triumph Explorer 1200

Triumph Explorer 1200

Look closely. Ours will never look this clean again.

Step aside

So now we get to take the Explorer and do what adventure riders call ‘serious shit’.

Thanks, Triumph Australia!

Have we got the best job in the world, or what?

Planning for the first gut-splitting test of tenacity is underway. We’ll report back…eventually.

We don’t want to rush work as important as this.

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