New Triumph Explorer tested: first impressions.

By Marc Potter
marcpotter Tested every new bike since 1994, loves anything on two wheels, Bike Social boss, Potski to his mates. Recently discovered elbow-down riding - likely to end in tears.

First riding impressions of the new Triumph Explorer rangeTriumph has released six new Explorer model variations from the XR to the XT. They've got a host of changes including styling tweaks, more power, an electronic screen, improved traction control, new Brembo brakes and hill hold control on the more expensive models. We're at the world launch in Portugal to ride them. Here's our man Marc Potter's first impressions.

Triumph has now split the new 1215cc-powered three-cylinder Explorer into two groups – the XR series as the more road-biased adventure bike, and the XC series which is designed to be more off-road biased. All bikes get more power and torque (137bhp & 90.7ft-lb), a lighter clutch and styling tweaks to the succesful shaft-drive 1215cc triple.

It’s a similar set-up in terms of range to the Triumph Tiger 800 which Triumph also split in to XR and XC ranges last year. So there are now six XRs. The Explorer XC, Explorer XCx, Explorer XCa, Explorer XR, Explorer XRx and Explorer XRt. Prices start at £11,800 for the entry-level XR and rise to £15,800 for the XCa.

Triumph's new Explorer

The full price list is:

XR        - £11,800

XC        - £12,200*

XRx      - £13,400* (low seat option available)

XCx      - £14,200* (low seat option available)

XRt      - £15,000

XCa      - £15,800

Marc Potter on Triumph's Explorer

We'll bring you more on the level of spec and which bike has what later, but for now all you need to knos is that top-spec bikes get a new Triumph-developed semi-active suspension system, new styling, cornering ABS, cornerning traction-control and an electronically-adjustable screen. Triumph say the bike is 'the ultimate trans-continental adventure motorcycle. and they've certainly not scrimped on the spec of their flagship model.

After riding the new Explorer XCa this morning, our man on the scene at the world launch, Marc Potter said: "I was on the original Triumph Explorer launch back in 2011,  and the bike impressed. But with technology and the bike's rivals moving on so quickly it was time for Triumph to up their game. The Explorer was always a good bike, but with the latest spec is now more than caable of taking the fight to the bike's main rivals.

"We’ve ridden the bike about 20 miles or so so far, on a variety of different roads. The weather is blowy and the roads are between wet and dry. But you can already feel how much grip the Metzeler Turants next generation tyres combined with the TSAS (Triumph Semi Active Suspension) give you when the conditions are unpredictable."

"The suspension always makes sure the bike is at the right attitude, so you don’t get the pitching back and forwards you might have done on the older version. 

"We’re riding XCA, which is the top-spec bike with spoked-wheels. It feels heavy at low speed but once you get on the move it loses the weight. The brakes are a huge improvement, it’s got cornering ABS but I haven’t tried that yet. The traction control works great in the wet and helps you find grip, and the motor is incredible smooth and torquey although I’ve barely been out of the mid-range so far.

"It certainly feels to live up to Triumph’s claim that it's the ultimate trans-continental adventure motorcycle. Plus, the mirrors seem to be good, which is great as I’ve mostly got Charley Boorman wheelying behind me."

Potter has just ridden the explorer off road

After a brief period off-road, he added: "We’ve just ridden the bike on a short off-road section. Unfortunately, the more extreme off-road section we were due to try had become flooded after five days of rain. The shorter section still gave us a good flavour of the bike’s adventure nature. It may be big and heavy but the explorer is way more than a touring bike. You can ride it fast off-road thanks to the brilliant semi-active suspension and the traction control lets you get away with lurid sideways action in complete confidence. We only had standard road tyres, which limit the bike’s ability off-road but we were still impressed with it’s do all nature and ability. 

"Test rider David Lopez, a hugely accomplished rider, says you can get away with incredible things on the bike once you’ve got proper off-road tyres on it."

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