Summary of my Tiger 1200 Explorer Ownership

Best features
  • A New Design - It gives me a buzz to have a new bike.  The Tiger Explorer was fully loaded with features - If I had
    bought a Tiger 800 in 2012 on every ride I would have wondered if I had done the right thing.  
  • Triumph Build Quality - I had ridden 50,000 miles on 2 my previous Tigers and I have not had any issues. My Explorer
    was recalled for a new cylinderhead, new ECU, new centrestand and new sidestand pivot bolt.  I did not experience
    any issues before or after the recalls.
  • When riding with other Adventure bikes the Explorer had plenty of power in hand.  Top gear overtakes are easy and I
    could ride up any inclined road at 3,000 revs in top.
  • There were  plenty of aftermarket upgrades available to personalise and improve the stock Tiger Explorer.
  • Amazing triple engine sound  - Giving all the big Triumphs a special character, smooth torque with extra power from
    1200cc.  Everyone I rode with complimented the triple engine note under hard acceleration.
  • Fuelling - I found the fuelling to be perfectly smooth.  I did some trail riding in Wales and Scotland, the Explorer was
    virtually impossible to stall.  The Explorer could be ridden one gear higher than my 1050, standing on the pegs in
    small roads there is no driveline snatch even down to 1,000 revs because the fuelling was better than the 1050.  It
    takes a while to become accustomed to the light throttle.
  • Fuel consumption - I usually averaged over 50mpg which is slightly better than my Tiger 1050.  e.g. 200 miles on 18
    litres.  I had been concerned that the Explorer would be heavier on fuel but this is not the case. On my trip to Norway
    and Sweden I averaged 63.4 mpg.
  • Manageable - Much slimmer than my Tiger 1050 to sit on, I'm short at 5'8" with a 30" inseam yet I preferred to use the
    higher seat setting on the Explorer.  I could still reach the ground, u-turns on full lock are easier than the 1050
    because of the narrow seat,  the pegs are further forward which helps me get my feet down at junctions   I recently sat
    on a Tiger 955i which now feels really high, wide and awkward after the 1200.
  • Comfortable - The seat is comfortable and there is plenty of space to move around which is vital on long trips.  The
    seat to peg distance on the Explorer is good.
  • Neutral - Good low speed balance with the wide bars and narrow tyres.  I found the Explorer easier to ride in town and
    on small tight roads than my Tiger 1050 which needed more counter steering due to the wide tyres
  • The suspension is firm and sporty, yet compliant - When ridding my Explorer the suspension seemed taut and firm,
    but never harsh.  This gives plenty of feedback and a sporty feel.  When I measured my fork travel I have used 160mm
    of travel and thats on real UK roads at normal speeds.  In comparison my Tiger 1050 used 120mm of movement on
    the same roads.  So the suspension is soaking up big impacts but without feeling soft.   When I swapped with my
    friends GS1200 Adventure we both agreed the GS felt soft and wallowy. I prefer the Triumph.
  • The best standard screen I have experienced - Much better than my previous Tigers.  The screen is adjustable, I set
    my screen 2 or 3 notches up from the lowest setting which at 70 mph deflected all the air over my helmet, In this
    position if I ducked down behind the screen it made no difference proving that I was getting full protection while sitting
    upright.  What more could I want? Maybe a wider screen for long tours.  
  • Great Headlights - At night my Explorer lit up the road as well as a car.  The best lights I have ever used on a bike.  
    This setup is a huge improvement on the Tiger 1050, GS1200, KTM 990 and any other bike with a single dip beam
  • Traction Control - I tested Triumphs Traction Control (TC) off road.  On a gravel path I could open the throttle wide in
    any gear and just like a car the TC takes over so no wheel spinning, the Explorer just pulled smoothly and the traction
    light flashes.  I ride extensively off road and the Tiger Explorer was just so much easier and safer to ride on gravel
    roads or in slippery conditions.  On Tarmac TC will stop the rear wheel spinning.
  • ABS - The ABS worked really well and it was not intrusive so I could still brake hard.  I rode some steep,wet, slippery,
    muddy, icy roads and I never had reason to disable the ABS.
  • Cruise Control - It takes a while to get used to CC on a bike, in my view a test ride is not sufficient.  After several
    hundred miles I became more familiar and I found that CC works very well, I have had cruise in cars for 10 years and
    the Triumph set up is equally as good.  CC is a little difficult to engage but that is a good thing, there is no way it can
    be switched on accidentally because it takes a deliberate long stretch with the right thumb.  CC was a real licence
    saver enabling me to hold a steady speed to avoid speed cameras.  I had the luxury of holding a steady speed on
    long trips and relaxing my right arm or taking both hands off the grips briefly to adjust my gloves.
  • Tyre Pressure Monitor - Brilliant, at 385 miles I was riding my new Explorer and ran over something going into a bend.
    The red tyre warning light came on in the speedo and the instrument panel reading Rear 37 psi....36 psi ... 35 psi...  
    This gave me a clear warning my rear tyre was deflating fast. I reached a garage to check the air pressure and reflate
    my tyre.  I had about 3 minutes to limp to another garage and I could monitor my tyre on the way.  I used the Triumph
    RAC call-out, they came and plugged the tyre.  I was able to get home safely, it might have been different.
  • Shaft Drive - This is the eighth bike I have owned with a shaft drive. The shaft on the Tiger is so well designed I
    completely forgot it was there.  Handling is unaffected by the shaft.  No chain goo to clean.
  • Gear Indicator - Perfect, every bike should have one
  • Self Cancelling Indicators - Like all riders I occasionally forget to cancel the indicators which is dangerous.  Not any
    more as they click off after 8 secs (I think they also go off first gear change after pulling away from standstill).
  • High alternator output - I was able to power my heated grips, Klan heated jacket, GPS etc with plenty in hand
  • Reasonable space under the rear passenger seat so I could carry extra tools and tyre plugging kit.
  • Clever Electrics - Turn the ignition on and the dipped lights do not come on until the engine is started.  This saves the
    worry of running the battery down when working on the Explorer. Also both the accessory sockets are live with the
    ignition off. So I could charge my Adventure battery via the socket or use it to charge my phone while when I am off the
    bike.
Negatives
  • My Explorer was recalled to fit a new cylinderhead I was not happy that Triumph did not contact me and I had
         to do all the chasing myself.  
  • My big moan is poor quality fasteners, after 3 months my Explorer suffered more corrosion than my Tiger 1050 in 5
    years.  I use Motrax 645 and AHF50 to coat the bike during the winter, I never ride in the winter unless the sun is out
    and I wash any salt off the bike afterwards.  My wheel nuts, radiator fastenings, bodywork fixings and anti lock rota's
    were badly corroded and I was not happy. What happened to the stainless steel fixings of old?  I also found that the
    dark grey satin finish on the wheels made them attract dirt far too easily, polishing the rims made no difference.
  • Weight - The Tiger is heavy at 259kg fully fueled.  I would prefer the Explorer to be lighter. US magazines actually
    weigh their test bikes and they have measured the fully fueled weight of a BMW GS1100 at 258kg and the standard
    GS1200 at 247kg (heavier than BMW claim). So in comparison the Explorer is not too bad, but nevertheless it is a
    heavy bike - See  Adventure Rider Weights
  • Price - In the UK the price was £11,199, the Tiger is well specified and compares favourably with the new watercooled
    GS Adventure, Ducati Multistrada and KTM 1190 Adventure which can all cost over £16k when fully specified.  
    Adventure bikes are getting too expensive.
Adrian's Triumph Tiger 1200 Explorer Summary - Page 1
If you would like to contact me please email adrianmol@yahoo.com  
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