Triumph Tiger Explorer: oh my

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This is the new large capacity adventure tourer Triumph’s been teasing for over a year. The Triumph Tiger Explorer has got a 1,200cc inline-three, single-sided shaft drive, an exposed tubular frame and looks straight off the 800. With a 19-inch front wheel, it’s obviously road-biased, but despite 800-alike looks, this thing looks promising. This is also Triumph’s first application of traction control and a ride-by-wire throttle.

Triumph is staying pretty mum on details until the official release at EICMA, only saying the motor is “1,200+cc;” acknowledging the presence of shaft drive (duh, look at the pics); 19-inch front, 170inch rear wheels; cruise control; traction control; and switchable ABS.

That ride-by-wire and TC is exciting. It should bring switchable power-delivery modes and safer power exploitation to this big, heavy bike, but this is also a sign that we can expect such systems to trickle down to more performance-oriented models like the 2012 Triumph Daytona 675, making such bikes faster and easier to ride very hard.

This powertrain — the 1,200cc+ triple and the don’t-call-it-paralever shaft drive — should also appear in the upcoming Triumph Trophy sports tourer.

When the Triumph Tiger 800 was first revealed, we critcized it for aping the BMW F800GS’s styling and mechanical configuration. But, when we rode it, we were literally amazed by the incredibly smooth, torquey triple, intuitive handling and complete comfort. That’s probably why seeing many of the same attributes in this Explorer has us excited rather than disappointed. That huge rear subframe and luggage rack are massively practical; the fairing is larger than the already proctective 800’s and the chassis looks to be similarly short and steep. The 800 is already plenty torquey and, to our minds, completely capable of competing with the BMW R1200GS, so this Triumph should be a damn good bike.

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1100]

    Woah, this looks dope.

    And I just bought a leftover 2011 MTS 1200. Maybe I shoulda waited.

  • R.Sallee (Ninja 250)

    I was gonna slag this for being a fatter-for-no-reason version of the 800, but damn if it doesn’t look hot. The photos show off some very nice finish not in the “budget” 800 version.

    I’d say this is an even riskier bike for Triumph than the 800.

    (Oh, and adventure bikes are definitely the SUVs of motorcycling.)

  • Odd Bjørn

    Being a little too large for the Triumph Tiger 800, this is what I have being waiting for……. I really do love my 2008 1050 Tiger ….. Sorry my dear friend….. But next year there will be a divorce ….. :-(

    • Lou

      +1, Bjorn. I do love my Tiger 1050 as well. However, just based on these photos, Triumph seems to have done a great job setting themselves, aesthetically, apart from the GS and giving this bike a very purposeful yet exciting feel. The 1050 is fun, handles great, very comfortable. This is just a another generation beyond, however and appears to be a great effort on Tri’s part. Well done!

  • dux

    I feel older already. Blah

    • Scott-jay

      Yep. At fifty-seven a giant motorcycle like this would get me in trouble (stuck off-road, or trapped like a weasel in a gas-stop tip-over). If I were ’bout twenty years younger tho’…
      It’s so good-looking.

  • robotribe

    This will be Canary Wharf’s 2-wheel equivalent to the BMW 3-series next year. Bet on it.

  • Helge

    Can Triumph do a bit more then just copy BMW? Seems not. Strange.

    • jpenney

      There are certain design elements that will permeate through any particular genre. Sure, the “tall-rounders” give a similar appearance at a distance but they are very distinct once you are looking. The same holds trued for sport bikes, dirt bikes, etc.

      The fact that any new bike in this segment gets called a BMW rip-off underscores how dominant BMW is. It would be silly for Triumph to not try to pull a piece of that market.

    • Bill

      Haven’t you already noticed that the motorcycle bizness is ALL about copying? Anytime a manufacturer makes a bike that actually sells well, within a couple of model years EVERYBODY’S got their cloned version out.

      Harley’s vs. Japanese cruisers, Ducati Monster vs. Aprilia Shiver, Ninja 250 vs. CBR250, Triumph Rocket 2300 vs. … OK forget that one, all provide prima facia evidence that copying someone else’s good selling bike is much preferred by OEM’s instead of them sticking their necks and checks out on something truly unique that might just bomb.

      OEM’s respective conservative natures have been in full force since the early to mid ’80′s when bikes like the CX500 Turbo, the Euro style XV920R, the Vision 550, the XL1000CR, the Yamaha GTS1000, et al failed miserably in the market, despite their advanced features and styling.

      It seems that we, as motorcyclists do not tolerate change well, preferring the familiar.

      Which is why we have so many clones among us today. So I opine.

      • Erok

        Triumph rocket is a take on the Honda valkyrie

    • Lou

      Its so easy to say that every big bore road/dirt/tour/commute bike is just copying BMW. OEMs are allowed to put out their version of what is a very useful and desirable platform. Personally, I don’t see how a three cylinder liquid cooled bike is copying a flat twin air cooled bike. It appears here that Triumph has done a great job in seperating their bike, aesthetically, from the GS, and, I’m sure, will also undercut the GS at price point. The engines, alone, will create a distinct difference for consumers to consider.

    • robotribe

      All’s fair as long as you improve upon the breed, I guess. Triumph has had it’s share of copiers as well; Kawasaki W650 and any big naked sport bike that obviously target and are inspired by a class defined by the Speed Triple come to mind.

  • zipp4

    That might be the largest exhaust can I’ve ever seen.

    • Ben Incarnate

      Thank you! That thing is gigantic!

    • Scott-jay

      No way: CBR250R exhaust rules.

    • Lou

      Doesn’t matter…that thing is comin’ off right quick! Ha ha!

  • Johndo

    Glad that fugly tank they had on the mule is gone, that bike does look nice. That exhaust must meet the 2025 pollution standards hehe.

  • holdingfast

    the “angularity” (new word?) of all the blue parts are incredible. what’s it transform into?

    • robotribe

      A wise-cracking giant robot who sounds just like Jason Statham.

      • dux

        Triumph Tall Roader: “Optimus, are you my daddy?”

  • motoguru

    Goddamn this thing is beautiful. Juice clutch ftw!

  • ike6116

    Ze Germans ze will not be pleased ya?

  • Troy R

    That’s a huge rear wheel!! 0.0

  • agro

    what a pusbucket!!
    this bike will be taking sales off the recently released and successful 800 tiger.
    Triumph should have used this motor in the Speed Triple/Daytona with chain drive then the tourer and adventuure tourer.

    Triumph, bring on the 1200 Speed Triple/Daytona and 800 Street Triple/Daytona!!!