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Demand for Adventure tourers has started to rise in our country. Triumph’s behemoth, the Tiger 1200 Explorer XC (cross-country) is the latest to join the fray. Now, this is a motorcycle that has been around since 2014; we miss out on the updated 2016 version, and the 2017 version isn't here yet. So, it may sound like this bike is a bit under-equipped in terms of features and electronics.
On the outside
The Tiger Explorer is certainly not the prettiest tourer - its menacing front facade with those large, dual headlights exudes a sense of purpose that an adventure motorcycle should. The upswept, rugged jawline makes it look almost like a predator. It gets a tall, manually adjustable windscreen that is a bit difficult to operate. To adjust the height of the bike there are two knobs on either side of the fairing that need to be loosened; so adjusting the screen on the go is pretty much impossible. It also gets these shrouded foglamps that sit below the fairing that are very useful when riding in the night, especially off-road.
The LCD instrument cluster uses handlebar-mounted thumb switches with the up/down scroll facility. They also feature two trip meters displaying distance covered, journey time, average speed, average fuel consumption, instant fuel consumption and range to empty. Although, navigating through this menu is a bit of a complicated affair – you’re better off adjusting your settings at a standstill.
The seat is nice and comfortable and shouldn’t bother its rider when covering massive distances. It is two-stage adjustable from 837mm to 857mm. Adjusting it involves sliding the front seat off and slotting it into one of the two available grooves. Although still on the taller side, for a large adventure motorcycle, this is a rather inviting seat height, and moving the motorcycle during parking drills shouldn't be too much of an issue. The pillion seat is well-cushioned and wide, which should also be rather comfortable, should you choose to take a pillion along.
The upswept silencer on the Explorer is absolutely humungous, which could have been the broadsword of a giant in another universe. It gets a simple, sort of a rectangular shape, devoid of any drama. The minimalistic tail end houses nice, thick grab-rails and culminates in just a vertical, twin-strip LED tail light. The aggressive radiator shrouds flow into an angular well-chiselled 20-litre tank.
As mentioned earlier, this 2014 version of the Explorer is a bit dated in terms of features and equipment when compared to the likes of other prime adventure tourers like the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro and the BMW R1200 GS Adventure. If you're someone who prefers your bikes old school, this could definitely work in your favour. It comes with three-stage traction control (off, 1 and 2) and switchable ABS, but that's about it. It misses out on more advanced electronics like power modes, a TFT screen and electronically-adjustable suspension. The tourer rides on a 19-inch wheel at the front and a 17-inch one at the rear.
The heart and soul of this Tiger, however, is its motor. The 137hp of peak power and 121Nm of torque ensures extremely sharp throttle responses that are great for the road. But couple this up with the absence of power modes and it can complicate things a bit when riding in the dirt.
It gets dual 305mm discs at the front and a 282mm one at the rear. The brakes feel strong and the ABS kicks in cleanly and doesn't jerk like most other ABS systems.
From the saddle
Even though it looks large, once you get astride this beast, it's really not that intimidating. Once you get a move on, the seat feels extremely comfortable and well cushioned. The wide handlebars do feel like a bit of a stretch thanks to the long tank. But once you get accustomed to this, you could go on riding for hours at triple-digit speeds. The tall, adjustable front windscreen shields you well from the wind. Torque is spread well amongst the rev range and pulling away from speeds as low as 25kph in third gear means you don't have to work through the six-speed gearbox too much.
Despite the Explorer being an absolutely brilliant companion for the highway, its off-road credentials are a bit more subdued. First, the handlebar tends to feel a bit low when in the standing position. Second, the throttle feels way too sharp for off-roading, although the traction control does iron this out considerably. Finally, this motorcycle weighs a whopping 259kg, and this weight certainly makes itself quite unsubtly apparent when out on the dirt. The motorcycle is happiest out on wide open stretches.
Is it worth the money?
The Tiger 1200 Explorer XC is a genuinely likeable, rider-friendly motorcycle. It will get you across massive distances in utmost comfort. But, it falls woefully short in terms of equipment - it just isn't as capable as its counterparts are. And for an asking price of ₹18.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), we would certainly have hoped for more.
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