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