New Triumph Explorer spotted testing

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Triumph’s 1215cc Tiger Explorer was the UK’s third-best-selling big bike last year, but despite its success the firm is putting the finishing touches to a heavily revamped version.

Why rush to redesign a model that’s doing so well? The answer lies in the two bikes that beat the Triumph’s sales: BMW’s R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure. Triumph know that the real challenge is to take on the German machine that rules the roost.

Triumph surveyed owners and potential buyers to find out what they want from a next-generation Explorer. Among the suggestions were semi-active suspension, cornering ABS and traction control, cornering headlights, an electric screen and new instruments.

It’s clear the bike is only a few badges away from being production-ready. The basic frame and engine appear to be carried straight over from the current bike, but new suspension, brakes and styling are all visible.

Suspension upgrade
The new bike’s fork and shock appear to be WP items, in keeping with some versions of the Tiger 800. By adopting WP kit instead of the Kayaba suspension of the existing Explorer, the door is opened to use the same semi-active set-up as the KTM 1290 Super Adventure. 

At the bottom of the new forks are Brembo radial calipers that make the existing Explorer’s Nissin four-pots look positively weedy. The adoption of the WP and Brembo hints that Triumph may be using the latest Bosch ABS and stability control systems.

This particular test bike is probably calibrating the suspension. The red, anodised aluminium box mounted to the bars is likely to be an electronic control box allowing the system to be tweaked before the final modes are settled on. There’s also a black plastic box mounted on the back of the bike, probably containing datalogging kit.

Style change
The nose is redesigned, with a more intricate screen design that now incorporates fixed Perspex flaps on either side of the electrically-adjustable centre section. Although the Triumph survey dedicated a section to tank size, it appears the firm has opted to stick with the existing 20-litre design. The instruments are new and appear to have digital displays either side of a central, analogue rev counter.

While there has so far been no official comment from Triumph, all the indications suggest the new Explorer will be available as a 2017 model, while the highest spec version will almost certainly see Triumph increase the Explorer’s price in line with its rivals – at around £13k.