If it gets here equipped with ABS, cruise/traction control and a centerstand, the basic Ex
Carrying on in the illustrious English tradition of Scott, Hillary, Stanley and Livingstone, Triumph is heading for terra incognita in a big way with its 2012 Explorer. Though it bears a predictably striking resemblance to last year’s superb Tiger 800, Hinckley’s dive into the deep end of the adventure-bike pool is powered by a DOHC, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected triple displacing something north of 1200cc. Moving beyond super-ficial resemblances to the mid-size Tiger, Triumph’s most threatening shot across the collective bow of bikes like BMW’s all-conquering R1200GS and the Yamaha Super Ténéré breaks new ground in more ways than one.
Though we expected it to break cover in the Trophy sport-tourer spied here last month, Triumph’s XL all-surface triple looks to be a fresh piece of work, inheriting few part numbers, if any, from its 1050cc pre- decessor. Home office PR boss Paul Taylor says the Explorer’s all-new engine was designed specifically for global adventures. That tells us to expect something more than the current GS-spec Boxer’s rated 110 horses, sent earthward via shaft final-drive through a new single-sided aluminum swingarm, complete with what appears to be a parallelogram-type link to keep all that torque from bullying the single-shock rear suspension. An equally new electronic ride-by-wire throttle will debut on the Explorer as well, blessed with standard cruise control for the freeway and traction control for everywhere else. A stout, 950-watt generator provides electrical impetus for all of the above. Beyond that, the biggest British triple appears to share a good deal of its basic architecture with the 799cc Tiger, starting with two cams and a dozen valves upstairs. Oil is carried in a wet sump, below stacked gearbox shafts and a gear-driven balance shaft ahead of the crank.
Cast-aluminum wheels will limit Triumph’s Explorer to relatively benign dirt excursions. W
As with the Tiger, the Explorer’s heart bolts into a curvaceous steel-tube skeleton—heavier than aluminum, but tougher and easier to weld on some icy Saturday afternoon in Chickaloon, Alaska—with its rear subframe welded in place. Initial photos show cast nine-spoke aluminum wheels shod with the latest Metzeler Tourance EXP radials: a 110/80R-19 front and 150/70R-17 rear. Triumph-badged four-pot Nissin front calipers and floating rotors supply most of the stopping power, followed by a two-piston Nissin caliper and rotor out back. ABS will be standard equipment.
No word yet as to whether there’s a more dirt-worthy Explorer XC in the works, but bet on something with tougher wire-spoke wheels and longer-travel suspension to break cover soon. The rest of the Explorer’s vital statistics, including when you can buy one and how much it costs, will be available shortly.