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AMCN Adventure Test – TRIUMPH EXPLORER XCA | Bike Tests | Latest Tests | Top Sellers in Australia

"Thats your bike over there, the Triumph Explorer,” Editor Dobie said. I was stoked. The bike looked tough.

I’m known to pack a lot on a trip away, and luckily for me the Triumph had the most storage of all the bikes. With two massive luggage expedition panniers I was able to fit everything, including the kitchen sink. There was just one small problem – when I went to get on I found it almost impossible to swing my leg over the panniers. I had to do the old grab the foot and
lift it over the seat trick.

Once I’d mounted the Explorer we were off, and it was luxury. The heated grips, comfy seat, cruise control and adjustable screen gave me one of the most comfortable road rides ever. As we headed from Melbourne out through Yea and across to Mansfield I tested out the different engine and suspension maps, and found all to be effective and very user friendly. If I could change one thing I would have liked a bit more power to get that rush everyone chases while overtaking a car 20km/h under the speed limit.

The self-cancelling indicators were very useful and should probably be standard on all bikes, especially for those people like me with a memory like a goldfish who forgets to turn them off after each turn. More importantly, the bike had great handling, nice riding position, good Brembo brakes and the Metzeler Karoo 3 tyres fitted to this bike had reasonable feel.

As we turned into Stump Hill I had no idea what to expect, but it was amazing! Our 70-year-old host, Dick, owned the sheep farm with his family.  He was one of those guys you could write a book on, and after the introductions we let loose on his beautiful 3000-acre property and were like kids in a lolly shop.

I had some fun on the Triumph around the dirt flat track by turning the traction control and ABS off. The bike felt good off road, the only issue was the tyres had next to no grip on the wet grass. We decided to go have a bit more of a look around and found some small jumps and really rocky sections, but the Triumph was just too heavy for these conditions and wanted to spear off into the scrub. Not nice. On the open dirt roads, the bike handled well and the electronics took good care of any stupid decisions.

For some reason the guys thought it would be a good idea to do some river crossings, and of course I had visions of falling off and drowning, stuck under the 263kg bike. But all was good and the Explorer handled it nicely, even leaving a wave that you could wakeboard on! Then it was time to head back to camp, set up the swag and stand around the open fire that Dick got going for us earlier. What a day.

I liked

The best part about the Explorer would have to be its comfort – it’s smooth, handles well, has a nice seating position, and for such a heavy motorcycle it has good braking power. I would have no hesitation riding around Australia on this bike.

Not so keen on

Over loose rocks and slippery surfaces the handling wasn’t so good and the weight could be a hindrance. Every time I had to push the bike around I’d have to sit down for a 10-minute rest. And getting my leg over the seat with the panniers on was never an easy task.

If I had my time again

If I owned an Explorer I would change the tyres. The Karoo 3’s road bias was evident in the gnarliest sections and if I’m owning an adventure bike, I’m making it gnarly. And on a few occasions I felt I could get myself out of those tricky situations if I could get more rear drive.

By Craig Coxhell