Review: 2017 Triumph Explorer XCa

We are not professional riders, nor professional reviewers. We just like to ride motorcycles. A lot. In all kind of conditions, on all kind of streets. We bring you real-life reviews, so you can imagine best how the bike behaves, feels, and rides. Oh, and we like emotions. The soul of the bike. Yeah, that kind of stuff. No technical stories here (we are noobs anyways), just our honest feedback! By the way, the bikes on the photos are dirty. Because we actually ride them. A lot.


I have owned a Triumph Explorer XC since the very first moment it came out. The 2013 model has taken me all over Europe, seen all kinds of terrain, been through the worst weather possible, and has clocked around 75’000kms by now. Absolutely love that bike. When the update was announced for 2016, I was thinking that Triumph could not improve his bike much further, besides adding some gimmicks. I have never been more wrong.

Full review under the pics!


The bike looks edgier than the previous model. More lines, more modern. It would not misfit in the next Transformers misfit. Larger than before windscreen, more logos all over the bike. Smaller turn signals (thanks God!), silver frame (versus black on the ’13 model). Black tapered handlebar and a clean cockpit interface with 2 digital screens and one analog version. First impression? This could be a hell of a lot of fun.


What’s the first thing you do when you are riding a new bike? Exactly, you try things out. So while riding, started playing with the electronically (and on the fly) adjustable windscreen. I was convinced this was the most useless feature of the entire bike. Little did I know… After already a few kilometers, it was clear to me that this thing is actually fantastic! At lower speeds, you take it down a bit to enjoy the air flow. While hitting the freeway, put that thing all the way up and you are 100% out of the wind. Wow! With the high temperatures we rode in, I absolutely loved being able to control the airflow!

Then on to the next great feature: the electronically adjustable suspension. Boy is this a neat feature to have! You’ll never experience a smoother ride than the Explorer on “comfy” mode; it is like riding on a cushion. Any bump is almost entirely smoothened out. The “sport” setting however makes sure you have 100% direct feedback of the surface below you, and the bike barely pulls back when accelerating, nor does it dive into the front suspension while braking. For those moments that you ride in your own home-mountains, an absolute gem to have.

The last very positive surprise came from the braking system itself. Yes, the entire package with (cornering) ABS and all that – but the front and rear brake are actually linked together too, a feature which we did not see on the website of Triumph. You can feel the rear brake work (in certain riding modes) if you hit that front brake only. Neat.

The bike is packed with electronics (riding modes? Check) and tons of other gimmicks (heated grips? Check. Hill hold control? Check). This bike feels complete, very complete. After paying a considerate amount of money, you at least feel that you did get the full package; and you know that you have a loaded bike.


Riding the Triumph Tiger Explorer, you know that you are riding on something special. You feel like you are ready to take on the world, especially when combined with the fantastic OEM Triumph panniers and top case. This is a rock-solid package that will get you anywhere. The smooth triple cylinder engine kicks out plenty of torque and power, with a nice boost at 6000RPM. You can definitely ride it at very sporty levels. Wouldn’t be the first time I can easily keep up with those sportsbikes in the mountains… It is a big bike for sure, but it feels just right. The bike is just so comfortable and has you covered for the long rides too. Trust me, you will never want to buy a bike without cruise control anymore!


There is not all to like. The biggest disadvantage is the distribution of the engine heat, or actually more the too efficient wind protection. Triumph added a new wind deflector compared to the old models (the light grey plastic part where it mentions “Explorer XCa”, just under the regular logo) – which is working extremely well. So well, that you barely have any riding wind coming up which is fantastic What is less fantastic, that the engine heat still does come straight up and is heating your legs. No problem for the colder days (actually very comfy…), but since we rode it in 30 degrees Celsius and more too, it becomes quite an overkill.

Secondly: the display. A clear update from the previous model, but it already looks outdated compared to some of the high-res TFT screens you see on other models already (such as the new KTMs, the just released TFT screen for BMW, or even as seen on Triumph’s own Street Triple RS). The display is extremely functional and shows you everything you need – but if you are buying the top of the line model, you expect a bit more nowadays.
Other luxury problem: I really don’t know where to mount my GPS if I want to have it above the dials, especially since he windshield is moving up and down…

Besides that, the bike is still very heavy. That makes sense if you see what you get, but it is a heavy bike. You’ll notice that when you try to maneuver it without the engine’s assistance… But don’t worry, as soon as you are rolling, it feels like the weight has evaporated. Don’t expect to do some really heavy off road with this bike though. It will get you through a lot, but it simply ain’t made for the real heavy duty off road.


Triumph has managed to make an already great bike even better. A worthy competitor in the wild field of nowadays adventure bikes. The XCa is top of the line and comes with an extremely complete package; and it all works together very, very well. This bike is ready to take you around the world, if you want. The level of comfort however will also make this a perfect bike for your daily commute. The level of power will make it a great bike for your daily adrenaline needs too. If you’re looking for a bike that does it all, look no further.

What we like, a lot:
– The looks. Just pure awesomeness.
– Great engine, smooth powerrr!
– Brakes do a great job (linked braking system!)
– TSAS (Triumph Semi Active Suspension)
– Electronic windshield (surprisingly handy)
– Hill hold control
– Heated grips
– Loaded with tons of nice-to-haves (such as cruise control)

What we don’t like, a lot not:
– Distribution of engine heat
– Display looks already outdated
– Where to mount my GPS “in” the cockpit?

What this bike is excellent for:
– Everything. EVERYTHING (ok, except heavy off-road)

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