2013 Triumph Tiger Explorer
by Brian Robinson
Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Lewis & Clark, these are just a few explorers that made their mark discovering America. Well, Brian Robinson’s been doing a little research of his own, and he’s found a new British explorer looking to make an equally big mark on the U.S..
BRIAN ROBINSON: Yes, there have been a lot of great explorers in America’s history, but this Triumph Tiger Explorer is not about the past. It’s about hitting the road and making some history of your own.
Adventure bikes, the “go anywhere do anything” SUV’s of the two wheeled world, are without a doubt trending in motorcycledom right now. And, while you’ll probably never actually take that around the world trip you’ve been planning in your head for years, it’s nice to know that you could if you owned one of these bikes.
Well last year, Triumph embarked on their adventure quest with the Tiger 800XC, and now they’re following that up with the larger Explorer. The utilitarian look certainly fits the part, especially when you add the industrial strength looking, aluminum and plastic side cases. Frame is tubular steel and swing arm one-sided, while up front a medium sized beak-style fairing houses big, dual headlights.
Our tester came fully outfitted for the long haul task with adjustable windscreen, engine and sump guards, auxiliary lighting, GPS mount, and even heated grips and seat.
Compared to the 800XC, the Explorer is not only larger, but much more comfortable, particularly on the highway. Ride quality is almost plush, as suspension soaks up all bumps with only minor disturbances. Who needs electronic suspension when you just design it right to begin with?
Indeed, the remote reservoir rear shock and 46mm front forks are designed more for confident handling and outright comfort than for ultimate ground clearance. The more time I spend with this Explorer, the more it keeps nagging me to take a month off and play 4-corners on the 48.
Also a big step up from the 800 is power, which comes from an all-new liquid-cooled, 1215cc, fuel-injected, inline-triple. Its 135-horsepower and 89 lb-ft. of torque provide more than enough muscle for any adventure. It’s deployed with Triumph’s new ride-by-wire throttle system that is very responsive, perhaps too responsive at times, such as when making mid-corner adjustments or trying to turn on cruise control at high speeds.
Transmission is the usual 6-speed, engaged by a hydraulic clutch with relatively light pull, and the goods head out back through a shaft final drive. The fuel tank holds 5 gallons and change, which should get you 200 miles, provided you can muster some right hand restraint. A fairly comprehensive gauge package keeps you up to date on everything from fuel level to the usual trip meters and air temp.
While the aforementioned optional side cases hold 62-liters and are easily removed. A top case is also available for mounting on the standard luggage rack which blends in nicely with the very comfortable seat.
Pricing for the Explorer is steep at $15,699, but as any of those great explorers will tell you, before you set out on any grand adventure you’ll have to do a little fund raising. But, the 2013 Triumph Tiger Explorer is well worth the effort, as for now it is clearly the king of the adventure bike mountain.