’16 Triumph Tiger Explorer XCa
The question we have to ask ourselves is: Why do we ride motorcycles?
I've ridden all types of motorcycles over the last few years, and to this day I get a different kind of thrill each time I bring my feet up on the pegs. Cruisers, Tourers, Street, Sport, Sport Tourers, Super Sport, Off-Road, Dual-Purpose, Adventure Tourer, Scooters, small bikes, big bikes, you name it, I've ridden it. Looking back at the last year or so, I've found myself attached to more Adventure Bikes than anything else. I live for the "alternative route", and if it includes dirt roads and scenery, even better. I've come to live by my new motto: "Where tar ends adventure begins". Why on earth would you attempt to fight it out for a little spot among 1000's of other road users if you can have absolute bliss in the country?
Not too long ago I was given a green opportunity to test an Adventure Bike for a few days on our beautiful KZN soil. This time my feet came up and I was sitting on the ALL NEW Triumph Tiger Explorer XCa. Having ridden the first model a few years ago during a press launch around the Magaliesberg, I immediately felt a different horse between my legs. Off the bat, I knew I was in for an amazing ride; compliments of Tracey and Johann at East Coast Motorcycles.
The folks at Triumph in the land of UK have conceived, designed and built to deliver the ultimate go anywhere, do anything transcontinental adventure motorcycle for every adventure rider, wherever they ride.
The new Triumph Explorer range is divided into two distinct model variants - the XR series, designed and optimised to deliver the ultimate on-road ride, and the XC series is designed to excel off-road. Both the XR and XC models are more than capable of performing in either environment. The range-topping Explorer XCa and Explorer XRt models offer an amazing array of equipment and technology to provide a motorcycle completely prepared for any adventure – no matter the distance or destination.
All models feature a 1215cc triple engine, unique in the large capacity adventure segment, delivering its power through a final shaft drive. The triple engine’s power is delivered smoothly and progressively across the rev and speed ranges through its linear torque curve. A torque-assisted clutch makes the clutch action incredibly light, in turn making both long distances and stop-start urban riding less demanding on the rider. The engine performance is also enhanced through a new exhaust system, with a distinctive resonant note.
The new Tiger Explorer features a host of technological upgrades with a particular emphasis on state-of-the-art active technology to ensure superb stability and control.
These features include:
- Triumph Semi-active Suspension
- Corner optimised switchable ABS and Traction Control
- The introduction of Rider Modes, including a rider programmable mode
- Hill Hold control
The new electronically adjustable White Power (WP) suspension positions for Comfort, Road and Sport is entry but then Triumph added the Semi-Active Suspension (TSAS) damping that pretty much adjusts the ride to everyone’s taste. Needless to say, there was not an ounce of doubt in the 2016’s superior technology advances; especially the rear suspension’s electronic self-levelling function. Essentially a linear distance sensor measures suspension travel and electronically adjusts preload to suit. In other words, load up the Explorer with passenger and luggage or just ride solo, the XCa automatically adjusts the ride height so it always remains the same.
There’s more! The engine output, throttle response, traction control and ABS are also computer controlled, the Explorer offering Sport, Road, Rain, Off-road and Rider modes. The Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) adjusts the anti-lock brakes and traction control indifference to lean angle and acceleration. Brilliant!
The Explorer models all feature an Inertial Measurement Unit that, through a series of strategically positioned sensors, monitors and responds to the bike’s movement status, calculates the lean angle of the bikes and uses this measurement to ensure greater stability by optimising the performance of the ABS and traction control systems.
Add to this the choice of up to five different Rider Modes, and the new Hill Hold Control feature prevents the motorcycle rolling back when attempting to move off on a steep incline – particularly beneficial when the motorcycle is fully-loaded or carrying a passenger. I found this very handy in some difficult situations during my dirt travels, needless to say, I tested this feature at different angles and not once was I disappointed with a stall or run-back. Truly remarkable!
Some might say the Explorer is boring or lack the wow factor. Let me help you here: quit the nag on how 139 horsepower is boring; more and more it would seem that you are unable to thoroughly control such a powerful machine. Indeed, the big Triumph has virtually not much more horsepower than the previous model, but when the engine is on, there’s more than ample juice to play with. The throttle response is so smooth and everything you’d expect from a hi-tech Triumph.
No, I’m not saying that it’s not powerful. It may not be as overwhelming as the 160 or so horses KTM and Ducati boast about, but the Explorer’s 139 horses is still way more than enough to accelerate one 258 kg motorcycle, my big ass, my passenger and luggage. If you need more, just stop whining and buy a sport bike.
Additionally, all models introduce a first-in-class electrically adjustable screen that allows the rider to constantly tailor aero protection and comfort whilst riding. That said, comfort is still the Explorer’s strong suit. The wind protection is decent, the lack of turbulence off the screen even better. The seating position is very comfortable and heated. Nice! The rear seat is elevated allowing the passenger a view other than the back of my helmet.
Allow me to zoom in on a few key features:
At the heart of the Explorer is a unique 2 valve, 1215cc in-line three cylinder unit that generates incredible linear torque (123Nm @ 6200rpm) and power (139ps @ 9300rpm) from the largest capacity engine in the adventure segment. To make the best use of its power, the new Tiger Explorer uses a hydraulic torque assist clutch to reduce lever effort and prolonged rider fatigue. All Tiger Explorer models feature a long top gear to make long distances both easy and fuel efficient.
The chassis has been designed to add an improved level of adventure riding dynamics. The trendsetting adjustable suspension provides an enviable balance of comfort and control, and more enhanced by the Semi-Active Suspension system or TSAS. This advanced technology includes Brembo monobloc calipers, focussed on agility control and performance in every aspect of the chassis, suspension and braking systems.
Triumph's impressive Riding Mode technology offer a choice of up to five Riding Modes, four which are pre-set (Road, Rain, Off-Road, Sport), and one which can be programmed by the rider, in essence altering to suit your riding style, road and weather conditions. Each mode changes the engine map, the levels of ABS and Traction Control, and where the damping set-up of the TSAS system and power.
In the end, the Explorer’s only little speed hump are those 258 kg’s; it’s a heavy beast. As if I care! I enjoyed every second on it, and not once was I intimidated by weight or size. There will always be the one or two bikes you can’t handle, but with the right set of skills the wow factor is created and explored.
Here are the range models:
(for more information, contact East Coast Motorcycles on 031 5663024)