Like most modern Triumphs, the defining characteristic of the Explorer is its character-rich inline-triple powerplant. This latest-generation, 1215cc triple, a version of which also powers the Trophy SE sport-tourer, seems tailor-made for adventure touring, producing a claimed 135 horsepower and 89 lb.-ft. of torque. Ride-by-wire throttle activation permits multi-mode traction control—including a setting that allows a slight amount of wheel spin for off-road use—though, unlike many of the other bikes, these settings are not easy to change on the fly.
With a claimed curb weight of 570 pounds, the Explorer is no lightweight, and the inline-triple raises the center of gravity slightly compared to other bikes like the Ducati or BMW. Moreover, the Explorer is a large motorcycle, with a tall seat and a long reach to wide handlebars.
Where the other European machines use the latest electronic suspension technology, the Explorer makes due with conventional KYB componentry—a 46mm inverted fork with adjustable spring preload up front and a single shock adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping. ABS is standard, operating capable Nissin four-piston calipers at the front. Overall, the Explorer’s chassis is competent but hardly cutting edge, which allows Triumph to be competitively priced at $15,699. Triumph also offers an XC version that adds spoked wheels, nylon hand guards, a 3mm-thick aluminum bash plate, halogen driving lights, and tubular steel engine case guards, for $17,199.