Real Riders: Bill Connor

Real Riders -


Real Rider: Bill Connor

Our latest Real Rider is Bill Connor. A man with more passion about riding and keeping the troops safe when they come home to enjoy their favorite roads. We decided to do a little Q&A with Bill and see why enjoys life on two-wheels.

1: How did you get into riding?

I started when I was about seven years old riding a small blue mini bike. I don’t remember the brand and I am not really sure it had one. It had a lawnmower engine mounted sideways in a tube chassis with some small square profile tires. Had a little thumb throttle with a go-kart centrifugal belt drive. I rode that until I accidentally ran over my sister one afternoon, and then had to take a brief hiatus from riding. Let’s just say dodging a mini bike is not the same as playing dodge ball. Never got it running again after it sat for that long.

Real Rider: Bill Connor

2: What do you ride today?

Today I ride a Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200. Wonderful bike with lot’s of power, comfort, and great handling. Clearly my little mini bike sticks with me though, the Triumph is blue like the original go anywhere bike I had. One of the other features I like about the Explorer is passenger comfort. I do about 70% of my riding with a pillion, so this is a huge factor for me. Happy wife, happy ride.

Real Rider: Bill Connor

3: Where is your favorite road to escape on during the weekend?

I actually have several loops that I ride here in Maryland. They are always changing just a little as I add or subtract roads. Some I get tired of, some the traffic changes depending on day and time of year. My favorite road is Route 30 through the bottom of Pennsylvania. It has everything, small towns, twisty mountain roads, and scenic areas to just enjoy the day. The rest of the time my favorite road is the one I am on at that moment.

4: What is your dream trip on a bike?

My dream trip is a tough question to answer. My current small dream trip is to spend a lot more time camping. I recently rebuilt my camping setup and have been chomping at the bit to find the time to try it out. Looking forward to a weekend getaway in West Virginia soon.

5: Why do you like riding?

Why is breathing necessary? I ride because without it I am unhappy, moody, and less personable.

  • hunkyleepickle

    Great article, like to see more of these real rider bits. Also, great bike. I’ve been contemplating trading my street triple for a tiger 800 for quite some time now. Same amazing engine, even more versatility. Plus endless bits and bobs to add on those beautiful tigers!

    • Mr. White

      This is my second season with my Tiger 800 XC and I frigging love it. Wonderful engine, plush suspension. Hopefully it will finally kiss some dirt this summer, but with the way the Chicago streets are after this nasty winter, every ride feels a bit off-road!

    • William Connor

      Thanks for the comment. The Tiger 1200 is pretty amazing. There have been complaints about weight and off road ability. I have not been bothered by either area. For off road it comes down to tire choice really. The stock tire is worthless off road, but with the right rubber the Tiger works just fine. The top heavy feeling people describe is more difficult to gauge. I have no issue with low speed tight maneuvering. Is the bike a bit heavy, yes. I can however crawl along at 4 mph and simply sit on the bike and roll with no issues, execute a nice tight u-turn, or flick through a switchback without issue.

      • Doug Herbert

        One of my bikes is a Triumph Trophy 1200, which has the same engine and drive train as the Tiger 1200. In my very biased opinion, I think this motor/trans combo is one of the best available. Very powerful, with a very predictable flat torque curve with a 6 speed transmission makes for a lot of fun. The drive shaft requires virtually no maintenance. Triumph did such a good job on the suspension of mine, that the bike feels way smaller than it is, right up until you turn the throttle. I’ve read so much negativity about these bikes on the owners forums, I just don’t understand why. Imho, these bikes are just amazing.

  • Kyle

    Great article and awesome bike. I too am thinking about picking up a Tiger 800. What backrest is that in the first photo?

    • William Connor

      Great lighter smaller version of the 1200 I have. The back rest is made by Cee Bailey and the plate mount is made by Premier Cycle Accessories. It’s a nice setup. My wife prefers to ride with a backrest and I don’t want a top box on everywhere I go.

  • JP

    Writer: William Connor
    Rider: Bill Connor

    Did you just write about yourself in third person!?

    • William Connor

      Not exactly. Sorry I missed this comment before. I did answer the questions that were sent to me and provide the pictures.

  • Dennis Hightower

    Great article BC. Thanks…

  • Chris Cope

    I rode the Tiger Explorer XC recently here in the UK. I found that at European motorway speeds (i.e., around 100 mph) it developed high-speed wobble. Anyone else ever experienced this? Otherwise it would be the perfect bike.

    • William Connor

      Must be something wrong with your test bike.

  • Morty

    Ahhh another Tiger owner , even the same color as mine , Where did you purchase your engine guard ?

    • William Connor

      Sorry missed this question. These are the Alt Rider engine guards. Super strong and very nice.