TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER (2012 - 2015) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£710|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Triumph has built a bike with more power, better handling, more agility and arguably better styling than R1200GS. It weighs in on the heavier side and never feels quite as exciting and as pure as the relatively lightweight GS, but in every other way it has the BMW knocked.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
|Engine type||liquid-cooled, 12v, DOHC, in-line three-cylinder, 6-speed, drive-by-wire, fuel injection, shaft-drive|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis frame with single-sided cast aluminium alloy swingarm|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|Front suspension||46mm USD forks|
|Rear suspension||Kayaba monoshock, adjustable for preload and rebound damping|
|Front brake||2 x 305mm discs with 4-piston calipers|
|Rear brake||282mm disc with twin-piston calipers|
|Front tyre size||110/80-19|
|Rear tyre size||150/70-17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||42 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£710|
|Used price||£5,300 - £8,500|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||135 bhp|
|Max torque||89 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||150 miles|
Model history & versions
2012: Model introduced
Also available as an XC version - same spec but with more of an off-road biased set-up
Owners' reviews for the TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER (2012 - 2015)
22 owners have reviewed their TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 EXPLORER (2012 - 2015) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£710|
Annual servicing cost: £250
Good alround bike
My bike has ABS cruise control & heated seat & hand grips. Spot lights & 2 power points one at the front of the tank & another in the top box.
Buying experience: I brought it from Alfs in Worthing very good service.
Annual servicing cost: £2
Best features,handling,engine characteristics,the bike is top heavy
Low down grunt
Well built,there is rust,but I ride through the winter and do not clean it! Recovered twice,after 3 years the battery failed and a puncture.Cylinder head and bevel box changed under warranty after 25,000 miles,but did not need doing,exhaust header pipes changed at 95,000 miles.rear shock failed at 35k then 85k,the motor has never used any oil in 140,000
service it myself except for valves
Cruise control.michelin annakee3 tyres,20k.tyre life on the rear
Buying experience: Brand new from a dealer.£12,000
Annual servicing cost: £250
I’ve had my Explorer for 5 years now, and I absolutely love it. I bought it second hand from A Careful Owner who’s wife found it too tall, hence difficult to get on, and off. I’ve only taken it around Europe a Couple of times, but it performed Magnificently. I had several BMW’s prior to the Triumph, and Rode them for a Living. I bought my first BMW 1000RS in 1979, and others from then onwards. About 7-8 years ago I noticed every middle aged Guy, was doing his test, and buying 1200 GS’s like Clones, and knew I didn’t want to be one of them. The Explorer handles beautifully, has tons of Power, and puts a Smile on my face every time I ride it. I swopped with a Friend last year for a Day, and I was so happy to get off his GS, reminded me of a Tractor, and get back on my Sports Tourer. I have two Gripes though. The Clutch is Heavy, maybe as I’m 63, and the Clock is so small, it can’t be read. Apart from that , it’s all the bike I’ll ever need. The new bikes have riding modes, and if you need these, you really shouldn’t be riding them.
Annual servicing cost: £500
loads of great options and lovely engine sound to 70 mph but the whines and rattles sound cheap and nasty. Will be my second (and last) Triumph. Heading back to Honda for quality. Done 12,000 miles and its looking tired even though has been well maintained.
really great power and abs not at all intrusive. Great with the missus on board.
silky smooth to 60 mph then awful
sounds like a bag of spanners loose in there somewhere.
Buying experience: dealer and was fantastic. Didn't negotiate as it was a bargain with every possible piece of equipment
Version: Launch model
Annual servicing cost: £150
Some quality issues - forks, exhaust, paintwork and cheap fittings are a shame. Have recommended the bike to friends, and still do. No comebacks from anyone yet!
Needs air seat to get 4+ hours in the saddle. Awesome torque and handling once suspension is sorted.
Absolutely terrific! Amazing acceleration and torque. Rattles somewhat but no issues at all at 60k miles. Reliable, and trustworthy.
Exhaust headers, welds and pipes split after 30k miles. Stanchion tubes on USD forks go rusty quick time, despite 'protective' guards.
10k miles servicing intervals great. Majors at 30k.
Heated grips a must if you ride in colder months. TPMS brilliant and still wotlrking after 8 years and 60k miles. ABS good, ECT OK. Cruise invaluable on long boring days.
Buying experience: Bought launch model from dealer. Good price with a few extras thrown in.
Annual servicing cost: £100
I honestly can't fault it for how I use it.. Probably the only thing is it's pretty heavy. And maybe a bit top heavy. But I'm no giant... 5 foot 8 and about 9.5 stone.. And its fine for me. This bike is so versatile. I can tour across Europe and the UK effortlessly. 2 up with a ton of luggage and soak up hundreds of miles in a day. Or hook up with friends on a sunday morning. Blast round the lanes and enjoy the handling without destroying my back or arms.. Hell yes I'd recommend it. And 4 of my friends bought them as well.
It's always at it's best. This is why replacing it is so difficult for me. It ticks so many boxes. We can easily do anywhere between 100-150 miles per stint. But we do use air hawk air cushions. But on our holidays, an average day is 300-350 miles. Which is easy. And a heavy day can be as much as 500 miles. Which is definitely a bit tougher. But doable.
The Triumph triple engine is an inspiration for me. I've owned inline 4's, twins and now this. It's amazing because its not lumpy like a twin. Or high revving like an inline 4. What it is, Its got a nice amount of torque and will also rev pretty high and become a bit more exciting. Best of both worlds. Possibly lacks a tiny bit of power compared to some other adventure bikes. But if you want power, you buy a sports bike. Right?
Incredible. I've owned it 4 years and has only once let me down. This is the longest I've ever kept one bike. And that was just a wire breaking on the back of the ignition switch. A tiny bit of solder sorted that and 10 minutes of my life. In 50000 miles, I think that's exceptional! It's always been well looked after, and has absolutely zero corrosion on it. Everything seems to be built to last.
Great fuel economy. Cheap insurance (for me)
I've only owned it loaded from new. So for me, Absolutely love the cruise control, ABS(saved me a couple of times. Heated grips. Traction control. All above are excellent and couldn't be without them now. I've added upper engine bars. LED spots x4. An MRA screen. Sat nav mount. LED indicators. R&G protectors. A rear shock guard and hugger and a heated seat. And they're all awesome!!! I think tyres are a real personal thing. I'm on my 3rd set of Anakee 3's. And get on fine with them. Had metzeler tourance on there when I got it. But found they were noisier on tarmac and a bit rumbly on long journey's.
Buying experience: Bought privately off a friend. And I know he's gutted he ever sold it!!! :) :) Bad luck!!!
Annual servicing cost: £300
I purchased a Triumph "Used Approved" 2014 Explorer with 24,000 miles on the clock in 2017. I didn't fancy following the crowd and getting a GS as I found the overall GS experience underwhelming. The Triumph on the other hand looked fantastic, it's tough and rugged with a lively engine. The bike was perfect for two up touring,with plenty of power and a comfortable position for all day riding (with a few modifications). To make the bike right for me, I made the following mods: 1) Arrow end-can 2) Custom made comfort seat 3) Fog lights 4) Bar risers 5) GPS Mount 6) LED indicators and front light Had it not been for all of the issues I had with it, I would still be riding her.
The ride was smooth with a linear power curve. Brakes were perfectly capable and the bike inspired confidence due to it's road presence. I used this bike as a commuter into London aswell as trips to Europe, it was the perfect all round bike.
The thing felt like it could pull a house, it never ran out of steam
I was extremely disappointed with the build quality on this bike. For a bike that is marketed as an Adventure bike, i'm certainly glad I didn't go too far off the beaten track. In my 13,000 miles of ownership, I had the following issues. 1) Gearbox- would hit neutral when downshifting from 3rd (Selector shaft replaced under warranty) 2) Gearbox - The screen would indicate the wrong gear. (Gear Positioning Sensor replaced under warranty) 2) Exhaust headers became badly corroded and required replacing (£750) 3) Traction Control would randomly kick in, instantly cutting power as if the wheel was slipping. It's not exactly what you want when you are cruising at 70mph on an open motorway with good road surface. Triumph talked me into buying a new rear tyre as they suspected the previous one was squared off and throwing the sensors off (£120). Neither the new tyre, nor replacing the wheel speed sensor fixed the issue. I was eventually advised by a Triumph mechanic that it is most likely a bad ECU causing the problem, but Triumph would not replace it under warranty. The mechanic personally advised me to not go down this route as he couldn't guarantee it would fix the issue. Having gone back and forth with the dealer for months, I had no other option that to get rid of the bike and move on.
Michelin Road 5 Trail tyres transformed the bike, they are in a different league to the stock Metzelers.
After many years of sports tourers such as ZZR1100s, Blackbirds and Hayabusas, I fancied a change of scene and went all adventure bike. In Sept 2018, I bought a 2013 Explorer with 37,000 miles and full Triumph service history and I do love riding it, but, now at 50,000 miles, it has turned out to be the most unreliable bikes I've ever owned. It had already had all it's recall work done, so cylinder head, cam chain guides and tensioner, final drive unit, sidestand and mainstand have all been replaced, and since I've had it, I've had to replace the gearbox, throttle bodies, and now the header pipe has cracked. When it's running though, it's superb. Engine is torquey, and gruff. A little unrefined. A Honda it most definitely is not. Sounds like a bag of spanners at tickover. There is transmission whine. Torque is plentiful, but not much point in revving above 8000 rpm, as all you get is noise.
Excellent all rounder. Comfortable, fast and handles well. Brakes lack a little initial bite, but otherwise perfectly adequate.
Torquey, powerful, gruff and full of character.
Gearbox failure at 43,000 miles. It started going into neutral on down changes from 3rd to 2nd. A week later the gearbox went bang. On removal, missing teeth were discovered. Throttle bodies failed. The bike wouldn't start one morning. Just cranked. A fault code revealed the servo motor on the bodies had failed. No serviceable parts, so off to eBay again. Triumph want about £1500 for these. Just got to get the headers sorted now.
Valve clearance check and adjust from Triumph is extortionate at around £800. I'll do the 50,000 mile one myself.
I like the traction control oddly. Not really needed on this, but I've never had it on a bike before. Tyre-wise, Metzeler Tourances are frightening. Michelin Anakee 2 are excellent with a bit of tyre roar at 55 to 70 mph. Michelin Anakee 3 are again excellent wet or dry, however they have to be the noisiest tyres I've ever had on a bike.
Annual servicing cost: £100
Great as a 2 up tourer. Not bad on fire roads for such a heavy bike. If I didn't have the wife I'd have bought the 800.
Very comfortable. Heated grips and seats make for bearable cold weather riding.
Side stand bolt replaced (recall).
Do all my own servicing.
Needed ROX risers to be comfortable.
Buying experience: Bought new from a dealer. No discount.
Annual servicing cost: £350
I hated the Gruff engine below 3000 revs initially, but after 3000 it's just wonderful. Wide handlebars make it turn easily and it hold a line superb through bends. Heavy to move around but once moving its incredibly agile. Fuel consumption is good for a big bike, so comfy and great 2 up. Mirrors are good, centre stand is great but heavy to lift onto. Overall, a superb bike.
it will hold a line superb and great ride quality for the UK
Gruff below 3000 rpm but after that a joy.
Been great so far, only a slave cylinder failed.
servicing every 10,000 so good but 20,000 is £700 from Triumph.
Lots to play with.
Buying experience: from a dealer that I've used many times.
Annual servicing cost: £6,500
It rides fantastic but: The motor is blown up bij 22000 km ( 3 years old) and nobody from triumph is responsible. I am very sad. Worst case scenario is 6500 euro repair. ( 2500 euro coulance) For details send a mail.
Great big bike!
Never let me down
10,000 miles interval and returns good economy for a big bike esp on the mway.
This is one seriously great bike. I loved the look of it when trading my 1050 Tiger. I test rode this before the 800 & I am so glad I did. Initially the weight is very intimidating, but once its rolling it is so easy to ride its amazing. I changed the tyres for Road Pilots, (never been a fan of Metzeler) & the handling is amazing for a large bike & believe me it is heavy. It comes with all the bells & whistles, cruise control, ABS Traction control & Shaft drive. The ride is very smooth, and it has HUGE torque, can easily pull away and leaves anything in its wake. Around the bends it handles great, cannot comment how it compares to the BMW, but I love it. It can bimble easily in top gear @ 30mph & not struggle to pull away when it needs to. I use mine to commute & days out, however, you do need to be wary if filtering, if this thing starts to go over, you ain't going to stop it. The build quality is excellent. Each morning I open the garage & I just love the look. Rugged, but hell fire, worth a test ride
Front brake EXCELLENT, the back could do with a little more bite. All in all no problem though.Handles like a dream & very comfortable.
A Triumph engine ALWAYS brings a smile when you start the engine. Sounds glorious & When you open it up, its mind blowing. Huge torque & grin factor out of this world. Can't describe how good the engine feels.
Good quality, no problems so far.
10,000 mile services, whats not to like.
Cruise control, is great but does feel alien to begin with, ABS should be a YES to every bike now & the traction control are all bonuses. The ABS & Traction control are switchable.
Buying experience: Bought from Triumph West Yorkshire. Excellent service, no pressure & and the back for a couple of hours. Came back blown away. Been back couple of times browsing (as you do) & always remember me & the bike. Do a good coffee here too. (Upstairs machine)
Annual servicing cost: £140
Great tourer and v good sport tourer. Quality is v good indeed, way better than my previous BMWs.
Previous BMW owner, the tiger is far superior
Cruise control can be tough to use
Buying experience: Dealer purchase, v good no issues
Annual servicing cost: £250
too a Friend YES. No fork gattors!!!! ??
all day every day, yes,every 2 hours
cant beat the power of a Triple,ask the 600's.This is a 1215 ?
Built very well. FRONT FORKS no gators. Front Down pipes cracked on weld seam 20000 miles phoned Triumph bad batch,new ones in post 2 days later.changed head studs to stainless alen bolts lots of copper slip job done.
sound of me Triple (GROWL) Water proofs other wise it"s gonna get wet.tyres are an individual choice and i'm not letting on
Buying experience: excent
great motorcycle love it to bits.
free three years servicing with purchase deal.
clever fuel light and mileage count down stops you running out of fuel .
Buying experience: paid 11000 got 1500 of for my caponord , they fitted engine bars and hand guards at an extra cost it also came with heated seat, grips, and pannier set,plus wire spoked wheels thrown in as part of the deal Swindon Blade Triumph! very help full sorting my deal at very short notice and fitting in my first service within three days of my scheduled tour to Waterloo and on into Germany to the Black forest only minor glitch to date was two bolts on N/S footrest bracket loose after first 1000 miles.
Very solid, power, rough, tough, reliable and good aggressive design.
Annual servicing cost: £1,000
A great bike and very quick
I have a memory foam seat that i would recommend, i can go 2 hours before i need a break
Its all there when you want it
No major problems
Major 20k service was a little dear but i am doing a lot of miles 10k in four months
High screen and heated seat
Annual servicing cost: £275
Came standard with ABS, Traction Control, Cruise Control (Use this all the time ) Being the XC model Came with standard, heated grips, fog lights, hand guards, engine bars, panniers, would recommend this bike to anyone also very good bike for the shorter rider, my friend has no problem with it being only 5.4ft with the seat right down I am 6.3ft
I have adjustable risers, the comfort is 5 star, also a airhawk fitted , can ride all day with none or very little discomfort, Brakes are okay, don't forget this bike is heavy, so they don't pull you up like a sport bike, the shaft drive is very smooth
Its a barnstorming engine, a lot of people say its noisy, mine is not since the head change on the recall, torque is the thing with this bike it has so much of it, whatever gear you are in, it just sits up and pulls
Build quality is very good, only problem i have with my spoked wheel version, is the spokes are not stainless steel, and are showing signs of corrosion, Tried to get this sorted under warranty, 3 times Triumph didn't want to know, saying not a warranty part, I am not the only one with this problem almost everyone with the spoke wheels having the same problem, on the Explorer forum. Apart from that Triumph have been really good, mine has had all the recalls done, Cylinder head changed to the uprated version, new ECU and Side stand bolt.
I think the valve clearance service is very high at 20.000k
Cruise control best feature, the three best accessories i have fitted are a Givi Airflow screen, this works a treat its adjustable up down forward and back, I tried a few screens this works, also have the powerbronze wind deflectors which also work well, Rox risers the adjustable ones, Tyres, dont like the standard fit Torrance, best by far so far have been the michelin pilot road 4 trail
Buying experience: Bought my bike from Piddcocks in Long Eaton, would recommend them to anyone very good experience, got a really good deal on the bike added a few extras and some clothing, they really discounted all of the extras and clothing
Sounds like a bag of spanners, handles really nicely. Rear wheel "wobbles" as though the bearings are shot. This is apparently normal, and has been like that from day one.
Loud, rattles, pulls like a train.
500 mile in and the engine got much louder. 5000 miles in and it's a bag of spanners over 5000rpm. Unpleasant whine from primary drive above 65mph. Engine casing corroding.
10k service intervalinterval is great
Annual servicing cost: £550
Ride is a little hard over bumps, but the compensation is very accurate handling with no wallow even when I took it on the track (at Cadwell).
Stonking engine. It will run slightly below idle in top gear, and pulls strongly from about 2000rpm. Torque seems flat from about 3000rpm to 10,000rpm. If you overtake a series of cars, you can start at 45mph, open the throttle, and accelerate in one continuous burn to alarming speeds without touching the gears. (When ridden by a trained professional rider on a closed private race-track in Germany, ossifer).
The bike is used hard, year round, for everything: light trail riding, race track use, touring, and doing the weekly shop. No corrosion, no mechanical failures. I did have a throttle position sensor fail, which stopped the bike for five minutes while the system reset. Fixed under guarantee in about two hours (this was about 30 months after the original owner bought the bike).
This is based on about 12000 miles per year
The basic equipment is very good - ABS, traction control, cruise control, good headlights, power point (and it's easy to add a second power point). A feature I thought really good is that it comes with two sets of pannier mounts. One is for Triumph equipment. The other is a set of points to which you can fasten aftermarket racks, e.g. for Givi. These are normally hidden behind little plastic panels, but mean that third party suppliers can do as good a job as OEM.
Buying experience: Bought from dealer in 2014 for £8900 with 10k miles. Six months dealer warranty, but Triumph extended their warranty to three years.