November 10, 2011 - One of the biggest news items of the 2011 EICMA show was the official release of the 2012 Triumph Tiger Explorer.
The Explorer was described in the Triumph Tiger Explorer press release a couple of weeks ago, along with some studio photos, but this is the first time it appeared in public.
The big news is the new 1200 cc engine, the 950W alternator (yikes!) and the shaft drive. I have a feeling this will be one honkin' beast and, as nice as the BMW R 1200 GS is, it could use some competition.
The shaft drive will make the Explorer immediately interesting to GS owners and, I'm sure, will steal some sales. So BMW better hurry up with the water-cooled version; they're going to need something to one-up the competition. That's what competition is all about, right? In the end, the customer wins!
Triumph has been very good about developing accessories and they even have an excellent line of clothing.
BMW paved the way on all this, of course, and I'm sure there's a bit of consternation in Berlin HQ about this upstart company taking a page or two (or a chapter) out of the BMW Motorrad strategies and tactics guidebook.
The accessories developed for the Tiger Explorer's launch include hard and soft luggage, low and high seat options and a wide range of heated and electrical accessories which again will have no problems getting juice, thanks to that massive 950-Watt alternator output.
Triumph released some press info also on the Tiger Explorer. Here's an edited version:
Powered by an all-new 1215cc three-cylinder engine producing a class-leading 135 bhp with 89 lb-ft. of torque, the Tiger Explorer sports a high specification that will see it set a new benchmark in the adventure touring class.
The thoroughly modern powerplant utilizes a new ride-by-wire electronic throttle system, allowing Triumph engineers to endow the Tiger Explorer with a number of high-tech rider aids for added rider safety and comfort.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Cruise control, switchable traction control and switchable ABS are all standard fitment on the Tiger Explorer.
A tough shaft drive system has been developed for the Tiger Explorer, allowing virtually maintenance-free touring, and the latest Triumph has been designed to go 10,000 miles between servicing -- ideal for long distance adventures.
The rider position is highly adjustable, with a tall and commanding 33.7" seat height to a low 31.6" (with low accessory seat fitted), with both the screen and handlebars adjustable to suit the individual rider preferences. The passenger hasn’t been forgotten about either, with a wide and comfortable seat equipped with large grab handles for comfort and security.
Triumph's reputation for delivering best-in-class handling continues with the Tiger Explorer, which offers a combination of excellent low-speed balance and composed high speed capability.
The strong tubular steel trellis frame bears a strong visual resemblance to other models in the Triumph family, while the single-sided rear swingarm showcases the 17" 10-spoke rear wheel.
Adjustable 46 mm front forks allow the rider to tailor the Tiger Explorer to their individual needs and riding conditions, with the long-travel suspension and 19" front wheel giving the Tiger Explorer the capability to cope with unpaved roads.
All-new instrumentation and switchgear is both comprehensive and intuitive. The LCD instrument pack is thumb operated via switches on the handlebars and features a comprehensive onboard computer, including an ambient air temperature indicator with ice warning.
The instrumentation also comes pre-configured for Triumph’s tire pressure monitoring system, available as an optional accessory.
A comprehensive range of accessories is headlined by a high quality luggage range.
The two-box pannier system provides 60 liters of luggage space, while the top box offers a further 35 liters of capacity, enough for a full-face helmet.
A best-in-class 950w generator has been fitted to the Tiger Explorer to facilitate the simultaneous running of multiple electrical accessories.
Among the official accessories available are heated rider and pillion seats, heated grips, high-power fog lights and a top box with integrated power supply for charging on the move. The bike also comes fitted with a power socket situated close to the ignition, which can be used to power a GPS unit or items of heated clothing.
The Explorer looks quite different than a GS...well, maybe not so different. After all, they both have that adventure-touring, two-wheel SUV look.
The Explorer has a few sharper lines but, to be honest, there's a bit of copycat here and not all that much original design or style.
On the other hand, if you're building a Big Boy adventure-tourer, the formula is pretty much set, so there just isn't a lot of room for expressive design. They all look pretty much alike ("they" being the GS, the Explorer, the Super Tenere, et al.).
Sit on the Explorer and close your eyes and you'll never know you're not on a GS -- at least from my quick on and off.
The seat, bars, seating position, leg room and pegs all feel identical between the two bikes, as far as I can tell. I'd guess Triumph figures they're going to capture quite a few GS owners wanting to pay homage to the Queen.
OK, here are some photos of a gray version and a nice blue version, along with a walk-around video. There's a close-up of the shaft drive in the video also.
I was able to capture these early in the morning before the crowds arrived, but the lighting -- as always in these shows -- was a real challenge.
► Triumph Tiger Explorer Photos and Video ◄
Publication Date: November 10, 2011