Although a massive bike, Triumph made the seat narrow at the front to make your knees closer together at the tank area. In addition the tank is massively ‘scalloped’ at the rear and the tapered bars and screen are all adjustable. The glorious-sounding 1215cc engine is faster than the BMW, it has much more precise steering, it can cary more weight on board and it's more comfortable than the Beemer to boot. And the ABS is totally non-intrusive - go in hard on the brakes and it just sits patiently waiting behind the scenes. The Triumph does feel a little heavy off-road but it just about cuts it and it's certainly suited to gentle green-laning.
The tranverse triple is equipped with ride-by-wire, shaft-drive, traction and cruise control. Minor service intervals are 10,000 miles with a major service at 20,000 (BMW's 2012 R1200GS needs a service every 6,000 miles). The engine makes 135bhp at 9,000rpm (the limiter cuts in at 10,000rpm) and 89ft-lb of torque at 8,400rpm.
Triumph know how to build motorcycles and the 1200 Explorer is extremely well put together, with build quality on par, if not better than BMW.
When new the Explorer was cheaper than the BMW R1200GS but came without the kudos of being the 'original and best' in the adventure bike field. Prices are holding up well but if you want a genuine GS-beater, look no further.
Much of the equipment on the first Explorer was optional so look for an used example where the original owner ticked a few of the expensive options such as panniers, crash bars and fog lights. That said, the Explorer does come in a higher level of trim as standard than the BMW R1200GS so should be considered better value.