MILAN SHOW: Triumph release sharper Tiger Explorer

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Triumph have given the range-topping Tiger Explorer range a significant mid-life refresh and have now expanded the available bikes to six within two model variants called XR and XC to follow the pattern set by the smaller 800cc Tiger.

2016 Triumph Tiger Explorer highlights

  • Six new models
  • More power, more torque
  • Cornering ABS and traction control
  • Semi-active suspension
  • Electrically-adjustable screen
  • Hill hold control

Many of the changes to the bikes are common across the whole six-bike range but Triumph have attempted to split the bikes into those that are completely road orientated (XR) and those that offer more off-road ability (XC).

All models share the same 1215cc inline three-cylinder 12-valve motor; unique to the class thanks to the cylinder configuration and also sporting shaft drive. Triumph were forced by the looming Euro4 legislation to update the Explorer’s engine because it wasn’t compliant in terms of either emissions or noise.

The changes to the engine aren’t believed to be radical but Triumph are yet to reveal detailed information about the internal changes. What we do know for sure is that the bike has a new exhaust system with a larger catalytic converter, as well as updated ride-by-wire software and increased power and torque.

In line with the smaller-capacity Tiger 800 range, Triumph have deployed half the alphabet in order to differentiate the six models of the two separate models. The road-focussed models are XC, XCx, XCa and the more off-road capable machines are dubbed XR, XRx and XRt.

All models feature a host of technological upgrades which, Triumph say, are aimed at increasing stability and control. Those features include new semi-active suspension – a first on a Triumph –cornering ABS and traction control, and four rider modes available which have been pre-set and a fifth which the rider can tailor to their own settings.

The two entry-level models in each range; XR and XC; get adjustable and non-semi active suspension supplied by WP. The other four are specified with the Triumph Semi Active Suspension (TSAS), which allows the rider to electronically control the adjustment of the front and rear suspension damping, and automatically adapts the rear shock preload settings to match the surface.

The ABS system has been updated too. The entry-level models get switchable ABS and traction control while the remaining four models are fitted with more advanced cornering ABS and traction control. These four models are fitted with an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which uses a bank of sensors to measure five axes of movement including lean angle, acceleration and deceleration to ensure the traction control and ABS work to the best performance.

Additionally there is now the option of a Hill Hold Control (HHC), which electronically holds the brakes on to steady the bike for a hill start; handy on a big adventure bike on uneven surfaces.

2016 Tiger Explorer in detail

NEW STYLING: The changes to the styling of the Tiger Explorer are comprehensive but not strikingly different to the current bike. There are a lot of changes to the side panels, the area around the bottom of the windscreen, around the front lights and to the fuel tank shape too.

ADJUSTABLE WINDSCREEN: A first for the adventure bike class is the fitment of an electrically adjustable windscreen for added touring comfort.

HEATED GRIPS & SEAT: Heated grips and a heated rider and pillion seat are available.

UPDATED ENGINE: Getting the bike to pass new Euro4 regulations meant a fair amount of work to the engine, mapping, fuel injection and engine internals although Triumph isn’t talking specifics right now.

NEW EXHAUST: A new exhaust was part of the work done to pass Euro4 as the catalyst is bigger and the noise from the engine has to be damped down more effectively for ride by and static testing.

EURO4: Most noticeable of all the changes enforced by Euro4 is the fitment of the front and rear reflectors mounted on the fork legs and the rear numberplate mount. Less visible is the fitment of a carbon canister for the capture of fuel vapour, which is now mandatory.

SEMI-ACTIVE SUSPENSION: Triumph Semi-Active Suspension (TSAS) is fitted to four of the six Tiger Explorer models and works to keeping the damping constant to suit the terrain or road surface and taking into account the load of rider, pillion and luggage.

LUGGAGE: It wouldn’t be an adventure bike without the ability to take a large amount of luggage and the Tiger Explorer has custom-made hard panniers and mounts matched to the bike.

Triumph’s bumper 2016 range

The UK’s biggest bike manufacturer has already unveiled the glut of its 2016 range, here’s a refresh of the headline new bikes from Triumph for 2016…

Thruxton, £10,495 (est)

All new version gets an 1199cc liquid-cooled parallel twin motor thrusting out a beefy 81ftlb torque, new chassis with revised geometry, and completely revised styling.

Full Thruxton story

Thruxton R, £11,995 (est)

Top-spec version of the Thruxton gets twin Öhlins shocks at the rear, a beefy Showa Big Piston Fork, and Brembo monobloc calipers and Pirelli Diablo Rosso tyres. Innumerable accessories are available.

Full Thruxton R story

T120 Bonneville, £9899 (est)

The base model in the family, the new Bonnie rekindles the use of the T120 designation first used in 1959, and gets the new 1199cc engine, all-new chassis, and period-style Pirelli Phantom tyres.

Full T120 Bonneville story

T120 Black, £9899 (est)

Also all-new for 2016, with the 1199cc liquid-cooled engine (producing 77ftlb in the T120), new chassis and bodywork, the Black looses the vast majority of its chrome, for a moody retro vibe.

Full T120 Bonneville story

Street Twin, £7995 (est)

A new model in the classic line-up, this Street Twin is the only bike in the range to use the new 899cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin. A range of ‘inspiration kits’ delivers three pre-styled custom editions.

Full Street Twin story

Speed Triple S, £10,199 (est)

The ever-popular 1050 gets a serious makeover, with 104 engine changes alone. The new S gets a hike in power and torque, 10% fuel efficiency boost, ride-by-wire throttle, and five rider modes.

Full Speed Triple S story

Speed Triple R, £11,499 (est)

The R model benefits from a few flashes of carbon (mudguards and tank panels), an Öhlins NIX30 inverted fork and TTX36 RSU shock, plus billet handlebar clamps, risers, and swingarm pivot covers.

Full Speed Triple R story

Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter