TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER (2016-on) Review

Published: 18 February 2016

It might look like the original Tiger Explorer, but it’s a completely different animal

TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER  (2016-on)

It might look like the original Tiger Explorer, but it’s a completely different animal

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

Triumph has used state of the art electronics and a host of chassis, engine and comfort upgrades to transform its big adventure bike. It might look the original 2012 Tiger Explorer on the outside, but this updated 2016 version is a completely different animal. There are now six versions to choose from: three road variants (XR range) and three off-road (XC range), with ascending levels of spec. 

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

With its new riding position and seat, the Explorer is more comfortable on the long haul and more manoeuvrable off-road than the previous model. Wind buffeting has been banished, thanks to an electrically-operated screen – standard on all versions and a first for an adventure bike. Shaper steering, beefier Brembo brakes and wider wheels and tyres help the Triumph stop, turn and grip more effectively. But the biggest improvement to ride and handling comes from the new Triumph Semi Active Suspension WP suspension, fitted to the mid and high-spec models. Constantly adjusting damping and self-levelling the rear preload the electronic suspension improves ride quality and keep the Explorer composed, stable and helps it to seek out grip on and off-road. There’s also a ‘Low’ version, based on the mid-spec Explorer with new forks, shock and seat, which has a 52mm lower seat height. But as fast, safe and capable as it is, the new 137bhp Triumph is still pretty weighty and this XCA tips the scales at 258kg dry. The lightest version is the 244kg base model XR. So hardcore, sporty riders are still going to find more fizz from the lighter, more powerful adventure bikes like the Multistrada and S1000XR.

Engine 5 out of 5

It’s still the rasping 1215cc triple we know and love, with a low-maintenance shaft drive. It has a lighter, freer flowing, throatier-sounding exhaust and the motor has been tweaked to meet Euro 4 noise and emissions regs. It makes 2bhp more power and 2ftlb more torque, but there’s 6% extra torque at 5500rpm and more grunt right through the revs. Triumph claims 53mpg. It has a delicious spread of power all the way through the revs and thanks to a refined ride-by-wire system the throttle response is very smooth. 

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Triumph have taken strides to improve quality and reliability with higher quality components and paint finishes. 

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

Think ‘adventure bike’ and the term could mean many things nowadays. On one side you’ve got the ‘superbikes on stilts’ and 17” wheels, like the BMW S1000XR and Ducati Mutlistrada. On the other, the off-roaders with 19” fronts like the BMW R1200GS and  KTM 1190 Adventure R. The Explorer sits in the middle in terms of on-road ability, touring comfort and handling on the dirt.

Equipment 5 out of 5

You get a lot of equipment in standard trim, even on the base model Explorer. The headline stuff includes the electronic rider aid package on the mid and high-spec versions, which include up to five riding modes, the latest traction control and cornering ABS systems, semi-active suspension and a hill hold. Depending on spec you also get self-cancelling indicators, a centre stand, on-board computer, cruise control, heated grips and seat, 12v and USB chargers… the list goes on. There are plenty of official accessories to choose from, too.

Owners' Reviews

3 owners have reviewed their TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER (2016-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER (2016-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.3 out of 5
Equipment 4.7 out of 5
5 out of 5

05 August 2017 by graham

Overall I am finding this bike to be great fuel tank could be a bit bigger as I live in Canada the longer trips would benefit. I would defiantly recommend this bike. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
very comfortable the heated seats work well in cooler weather. good brakes and handles well in the twisties. I took it off road in the rockies up a gravel rock and dirty road. first time for me off road the off road mode was great gave me a lot of confidence.
Engine
5 out of 5
smooth and lots of torque from very low down.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
the plastic front end could have a better fill but that's maybe me just looking for something negative.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
as the service intervals are so far apart hard to say yet.
Equipment
5 out of 5
lots of goodies on this bike all good for big tours.
5 out of 5

Explorer XRX

19 December 2016 by Ian W

Fast, very comfortable, lovely handling and loads of useful toys but best of all its British. A bit heavy but this disappears as soon as you get moving. This one is a keeper! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Brembo brakes are nicely progressive and the adjustable electronic suspension is cracking.
Engine
5 out of 5
Sweet.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Excellent quality fitments and fittings.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
For the price of the bike it should come pre fitted with bars, luggage and rad cover.
Buying experience

Very easy transaction with the Triumph dealer.

5 out of 5

Confirmed. 34 days, 10605 kms later the XCa is the ultimate transcontinental adventure bike

11 August 2016 by WorldBiker

34 days and 10,605 kms through Europe and Norway's Atlantic Road and I could not imagine doing it on any other bike. When fully loaded, the engine delivers power at all revs, making for smooth starts, efficient passing, fun twisties and easy... Read more long-haul highway. While weight and range are a concern, they're not enough of a concern to detract from the overall ability of this motorcycle.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The TSAS is not a gimmick, it works. Fully loaded or not, front-end feel was always superb and the chassis always balanced. Only some wobble when starting off and at very low speed (under 5 kms) when very fully loaded (panniers, pillion and top box).
Engine
5 out of 5
Sublime.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
After long-haul tour, bike was as new. Robust build.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Not sure what the service will be on this bike given all the electronics but considering how it's performing so far nothing extraordinary is anticipated.
Equipment
5 out of 5
You can't get more on a bike than what comes standard on the XCa.
Buying experience

This is my 4th Triumph from the same dealer. 'Nuff said.

Read all 3 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2016
Year discontinued -
New price £11,800
Used price £9,000 to £15,100
Warranty term -
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 137 bhp
Max torque 91 ft-lb
Top speed 140 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 53 mpg
Tank range 233 miles
Specification
Engine size 1215cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, inline 12v. three-cylinder
Frame type Tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 837mm
Bike weight 244kg
Front suspension 48mm, fully-adjustable WP (semi-active option)
Rear suspension Single rear WP, fully-adjustable (semi-active option)
Front brake 2 x 305mm discs with four-piston Brembo calipers
Rear brake 282mm single disc with twin-piston Nissin caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 19
Rear tyre size 170/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2012: Triumph Tiger Explorer launched – the firm’s first ever big adventure bike.  

2016: Model updated with Euro 4 engine tweaks, a new exhaust, seat, electric screen, riding position, bodywork tweaks, riding modes, IMU traction control and cornering ABS, semi-active WP suspension, Brembo monobloc brakes. Explorer range extended to six versions.

Other versions

XR – Base model road.

XRX – Mid-spec road, also available in ‘Low’ spec with 52mm lower seat height

XRT – High-spec road

XC – Base model off-road

XCX – Mid-spec off-road, also available in ‘Low’ spec with 52mm lower seat height

XRC – High-spec off-road

Photo Gallery

  • TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER  (2016-on)
  • TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER  (2016-on)
  • TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER  (2016-on)
  • TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER  (2016-on)
  • TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER  (2016-on)
  • TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER  (2016-on)
  • TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER  (2016-on)
  • TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER  (2016-on)
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