If Little Red Riding Hood had a Tiger Explorer XC, she would have had an easier time getting to grandma’s house. She could have ridden through the woods instead of parking out at the road and walking in. I wonder how that would have changed her experience. One thing is for certain, when the road gets bumpy, the 2015 Triumph Tiger Explorer XC is at its best. With a combination of on-road rider comforts and offroad capabilities, the Tiger Explorer XC is quite a nice adventure bike. Features like the sump guard, engine protection bars and hand guards let you know you can go off road with confidence. The 55W dual fog lights make sure you can see-and-be-seen even in poor visibility conditions.

Continue for my review of the 2015 Tiger Explorer XC.

  • 2015 Triumph Tiger Explorer XC
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Displacement:
    1215 cc
  • Price:


2015 Triumph Tiger Explorer XC Exterior
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The handlebars are wide, giving the impression at first of swinging a barn door, but the control they give you is desirable for those off-road forays, and after all, this is an adventure bike, so high-speed tight cornering is not in the repertoire. The riding position is high and dominant, almost giving you the feeling of being a gargoyle on an elevated perch overlooking your domain.

The riding position is high and dominant, almost giving you the feeling of being a gargoyle on an elevated perch overlooking your domain.

Even with the accessory Low Seat that lends the impression of riding in the bike instead of on it, you still have that feeling of overlooking everything around you. Your passenger, as well, has a good vantage point on a comfortable seat with large grab handles on each side of the pillion for her clutching pleasure.

Add your own GPS or plug your heated clothing into the 12V power outlet. The 950W alternator handles your plug-in accessories as well as the standard and accessory electronics on your Explorer XC. With traction control, you can navigate rough terrain and less than ideal road conditions. Cruise control eases your fatigue over long distances on the highway. Both features come standard.

With an adjustable windscreen and a large-character LCD display that gives you such information as ambient temperature, odometer, two trip meters, journey time, average speed, average fuel consumption, real-time fuel consumption and range to empty, you can monitor your trip using handlebar-mounted thumb switches while on the go. With a payload of 489 pounds, add accessory luggage for up at 22 gallons of storage and pack for a long weekend on — or off — the road.


2015 Triumph Tiger Explorer XC Exterior
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The XC is built to take on well-finished highways, offroad trails and everything in between. While frame construction is of typical Triumph style, the designers beefed it up a bit to handle heavy loads and rough conditions, and they didn’t stop there; the suspension components also reflect the designed purpose of the bike.

Suspension travel at both ends of the bike gets into tour bike/dirt bike territory with an average of 7.5 inches – plenty for long rides on pothole-riddled streets as well as cross-country treks.

Big, inverted 46 mm Kayaba forks add strength and rigidity to the front end, while the rear Kayaba monoshock comes with a handy, remotely mounted preload and rebound damping adjuster. I say handy because Triumph tucked the shock away out of sight and easy reach, and it is nice to be able to tweak your ride without getting your knees dirty.

Suspension travel at both ends of the bike gets into tour bike/dirt bike territory with an average of 7.5 inches – plenty for long rides on pothole-riddled streets as well as cross-country treks. An advanced, switchable anti-lock brake system works with the four-pot front and dual-pot rear calipers to bind the dual, 305 mm front discs and single 282 mm rear disc.

Vanity is definitely my favorite sin, so the steel-laced aluminum rims — 19-inch up front and 17-inch in rear — are right up my alley. Sure, we can argue whether there might be a slight loss of wheel stiffness; but for me, cast wheels are typically as unsexy as a mud fence. At least you can tweak laced wheels back into shape if necessary.


2015 Triumph Tiger Explorer XC Interior Exterior
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Pulling a big bike up hills takes some power, especially when heavily laden with a passenger and cargo – a fact that was not lost on the designers. Triumph used its big, 1215 cc ’triple’ to give this Tiger some teeth.

Triumph used its big, 1215 cc 'triple' to give this Tiger some teeth.

The liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC engine delivers 137 horsepower and 89 pound-feet of torque to meet the needs of even the most demanding riders and terrain. Best of all, the torque ’comes on’ early in the rpm range to deal with hill starts and provide excellent holeshots, all with a respectable fuel-consumption rate of 68 mpg at a steady 56 mph.

While I am not a huge fan of ride-by-wire technology, Triumph’s system seems to tolerate bumps and jostles better than most, without the dips and surges in rpm sometimes associated with this sensitive throttle-control method. Engine power flows smoothly through a six-speed gearbox to the rear wheel via a quiet and low-maintenance shaft drive system, leaving one with less time spent wrenching and more time riding.


2015 Triumph Tiger Explorer XC Exterior
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MSRP on the Tiger Explorer XC is $17,499 for your pick of Graphite or Matt Khaki Green. Triumph provides a two-year unlimited mileage warranty on your bike and Triumph accessories, plus you have a12-month unlimited mileage warranty on replacement parts.

He Said

My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says ,"Not a bad-looking bike, but a bit typical of the brand. I’m not sure I would want to go offroad with her – too many crunchable body panels for my skillset. At first I didn’t like the wide handlebars either, but quickly realized that you need that leverage to coax her into the corners without every sweep turning into a wrestling match. Long trips on the highway or on bumpy backroads is where this ride really comes alive. The ample storage afforded by the accessory luggage and long suspension travel makes her an ideal platform for all sorts of weekend shenanigannery."

She Said

The Explorer XC is the perfect bike to join Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman for your own "Long Way Down" or "Long Way Round" journey. I’m not crazy about the sound from the standard exhaust. Maybe I miss the nice rumble of a V-twin. That aside, the Explorer EC has smooth power delivery. Height-challenged folks are going to ride pillion since even with the seat as low as it goes, seat height is over 32 inches. That isn’t a surprise, though, since off-road bikes have more ground clearance."


Engine type: Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line three-cylinder
Displacement: 1215 cc
Bore: 85 mm
Stroke: 71.4 mm
Max power: 137 horsepower at 9,300 rpm
Max torque: 89 pound-feet at 6,400 rpm
Fuel system: Ride by wire, fuel injection
Exhaust: Stainless steel 3 into 1, side mounted stainless steel silencer
Final drive: Shaft
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Gearbox: Six-speed
Oil capacity: 1.1 Gallon
Frame: Tubular steel trellis frame
Swingarm: Single-sided, cast aluminum alloy with shaft drive
Front Wheels: 32-spoke 19 x 2.5 inches, aluminum rim
Rear Wheels: 32-spoke 17 x 4.0 inches, aluminum rim
Front Tires: 110/80 R 19
Rear Tires: 150/70 R 17
Front Suspension: Kayaba 46 mm upside down forks, adjustable preload, 7.5 inches travel
Rear Suspension: Kayaba monoshock with remote oil reservoir, hydraulically adjustable preload, rebound damping adjustment, 7.6 inches rear wheel travel
Brakes front: Twin 305 mm floating discs, Nissin four-piston calipers, Switchable ABS
Brakes rear: Single 282 mm disc, Nissin two-piston sliding caliper, Switchable ABS
Length: 88.5 inches
Width handlebars: 34.8 inches
Height without mirror: 55.5 inches
Seat height: 32.9 inches or 33.7 inches
Wheelbase: 60.2 inches
Rake: 23.9 degrees
Trail: 4.2 inches
Instrument Display and Functions: LCD instrument pack with digital speedometer, analogue tachometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, range to empty, service indicator, clock, air temperature, frost warning, hazard warning lights, trip computer, Tire pressure monitoring system
Tank capacity: 5.3 Gallons
Wet weight: 587.5 Pounds
Dry weight: 519.2 Pounds
Payload: 489.4 Pounds
Color options: Graphite, Matt Khaki Green
Price: $17,499
What do you think?
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