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Archive for January, 2014

KTM 1190 Adventure R Test

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Motorcycle Adventure Dirtbike TV test the KTM 1190 Adventure R featuring Trail Zone Magazine test rider Reeksy.

Dualsport Australia Navigation DVD Vol. 1

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Let’s face it. The most valuable currency in dual sports riding is routes. There are a few individuals out there that have done the work but sharing routes takes even more work.
Well now some of the best routes are available and Martyn Blake has published his first DVD on his New South Wales Great Divide routes. From Moonan Flats north of the Hunter district all the way to Woodenbong just south of the Queensland border Martyn has mapped out 2000 kilometres of roads.

The DVD includes maps and GPS data plus nav box compatible, turn-by-turn route sheets for those who aren’t that technically inclined. Google map links, food, fuel and accommodation information plus some of the data is smartphone compatible. In addition to that Martyn gives you an idea of what to expect by including stories and images to get you motivated to take on the ride.

Vince Strang Motorcycles has been a big supporter of compiling these routes so you know that these routes will be pretty good. The disk is PC compatible but a reasonable tech savvy individual with a Mac will be able to find the data they need. Needless to say Martyn provides contact details for technical support. For only $29.95 it’s an absolute bargain.

Web: dualsportaustralia.com.au
Contact: dualsportaustralia@gmail.com
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2013 Triumph Explorer 1200

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

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Heavy Artillery

We test Triumphs second-generation big bore Explorer and chewing up big miles has never been so easy.

Photos by Clubby & Russ

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Back in 2012 we got to experience the new Triumph Explorer 1200 in the best possible conditions. The long haul from Ayers Rock to Adelaide along the Oodnadatta Track is a ride that often fills a line on many a bucket list, and to experience it on the Explore? Well, it doesn’t get better than that.

As for Triumphs adventure heritage, if you dig deep enough images can be found online of old Triumph Scramblers in the 60’s conquering tough European conditions. While Triumph waived from the adventure bike market after the twin headlight, fat tanked Tiger from the late ‘90’s it returned with a vengeance with the Tiger 800XC. Little did we know is that Triumph was planning the design of a class leading adventure motorcycle that would take the fight to BMW and unsettle the iconic 1200 GS from it’s long held stronghold.

What is It?

Triumphs original brief was to build a class leading adventure bike and they delivered. Triumph designed a new signature three cylinder 1200 that is the centre to a fully equipped dual sport tourer that is as comfortable in an urban environment as it is in unforgiving landscapes like the Australian outback. The inline triple-cylinder 1215cc capacity engine of has a minimum 130PS, single-sided shaft drive, ride-by-wire technology, cruise control as standard, and a high output generator to power plenty of adventure bike accessories. Starting in 2006 Triumph invested heavily in developing the Explorer and tested the market to make sure they had the right styling and electronic features. Production finally began in July 2011 and just two years later the Explorer is edging closer to the class crown.

What Do You Get For The Money?

Let’s start with the impressive 1215cc triple-cylinder engine that has a bore and stroke of 85 x 71.4mm powers the Explorer. It has a claimed maximum power is 137PS at 9,000rpm with a maximum torque is 121Nm at 6,400rpm. Engine management is via a ride-by-wire system with dual Hall-effect sensors in the twist grip and a ECU with twin processors that deliver a light throttle action, optimal emissions and fuel efficiency and is a part of the sophisticated cruise control and traction control functions. The six-speed gearbox drives through a hydraulically operated wet clutch and engine service intervals are a generous 16,000km. Air induction channels through a large capacity air box above the motor, under the fuel tank which runs a paper filter element as standard, while the exhaust exits through triple header pipes that wrap down below the engine and exit in a single muffler on the right side of the bike. Behind the cylinder head resides a massive 950w alternator that offers enough power to run any number of adventure accessories.

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With so much power Triumph has designed a new shaft drive system to handle the Explorer’s copious power and torque output and get it to he ground efficiently. Long-term durability has been a priority and it shows with supplying maximum ride quality by reducing transmission vibration and minimising the squat and lift effects typical of many shaft-drive rear ends.

If there was one thing that was lacking from the 1200 Explorer it was spoke wheels and on the new model Triumph wasted no time in delivering an upgrade. The cast 19/17 inch aluminium wheels have been replaced with 32-spoke wheels. They feature anodized-aluminium rims with twin spoke flanges where the fixed ends hook through and the threaded nipple rides on the hub side, which is a similar setup to the Yamaha Super Ténéré.

Quality Kayab suspension is fitted at both ends, with 46mm USD forks up front providing adjustable preload and the single shock rear end has adjustable preload and rebound damping. The end result is that the suspension on the Explorer is very firm especially with my 74kg frame so the bike will carry a sizeable load straight out of the box with little complaint with a healthy 190/194mm wheel travel is front/rear.

Complete instrumentation displaying speed, revs, gear selection, time, odometer, trip meters, fuel range, fuel economy and indicates the ABS and traction control settings, amongst a myriad of other features is easy to read and other fittings include an adjustable screen, quick adjust headlight, adjustable bars and an auxiliary (DIN4165) power socket.
Other features are a high capacity 18aH battery, 20 litre fuel tank with four litre reserve which gave us about forty clicks and coded key immobiliser. The adjustable seat can be set to a height of 840 or 860mm with allows a smaller frame rider to plant his feet on the ground and a taller rider to feel not so cramped.

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The under-seat storage pocket has plenty of space for the standard tool kit and some more while the centrestand makes tyre repair easier. Other features include a forged aluminium sidestand, removable cast aluminium pillion pegs, rear carry rack and pillion grab handles making it a perfect choice for two up adventures.

The Explorer has a wheelbase of 1530mm, weighs in at 259kg full of fuel which isn’t that noticeable once you’re underway and best of all it has a 24 month, unlimited kilometre warranty.

Who’s Buying It?

The great thing about this end of the market is there are a great variety of bikes starting with the boxer engine BMW R1200GS, the high performance Ducati Multistrada, the off-road bred KTM 1190 Adventure or the legendary Yamaha Super Ténéré twin. While all are more off-road orientated than the Ducati, the Explorer falls right in the middle with all round appeal. While it suits a larger frame rider, like my mate Big Pete who loves his Explorer, it feels very manageable in lose conditions. Regardless, if you’re taking on the big miles on open roads and want to cover extensive distances comfortably then the Explorer is high on anybodies list.

Where Did We Ride It?

We headed north-west to the vineyards of Mudgee in New South Wales. I don’t remember much after that. Just kidding.

We hit the highway and headed west over the mountains to Lithgow and then speared off to Mudgee where we got to make good use of the Triumphs electronic cruise control. On the way back we detoured through the forests of Sunny Corner before joining back onto the highway back into Sydney.

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What’s To Like?

Like other bikes in its class it has a formidable stance when it’s growling at you in the showroom. But once you throw your leg over it’s well behaved and will obey every tweak of the controls. It hides its weight well and it’s profile has you at ease either standing or seated. The screen gives plenty of protection from the elements and I feel less stretched than I do on the Tiger 800.

Twisting the throttle let’s you know quickly that there is an abundance of power that, quickly reminded me of my ‘sphincter says no’ moment in the Flinders Ranges. There’s no time for brain fade on this bike and that makes it a whole lot more appealing.

The electronic aids like Traction Control and ABS is, I have to say reluctantly, a good idea as this is a monster that can catch you out with its power and mass. Fortunately you can choose to turn it off once you’re feeling confident and there is a lack of cattle fences to plough through.

Overall the bike has gobs of power, very comfortable, sounds awesome and has a great range of accessories that you make your Explorer adventure ready straight out of the showroom. I can’t overstate the difference the spoke wheels make to the look of the bike and for adventure riders this will make the deal much sweeter. At $21,790 plus ORC* the price includes switchable ABS (on or off) and traction control (mode 1, mode 2 or off), plus cruise control. Not bad.

What’s Not To Like?

Our biggest beef with the original Explorer were the cast alloy rims which didn’t react well to outback potholes at high speed but that problem no longer exists. The only gripe that I have is that the ABS and Traction controls aren’t intuitive enough without a review of the owners manual.

The Final Word?

This is basically the XC version of the Explorer we’ve been waiting for and in the short term there is almost nothing you can fault on this bike. What about the long term? Well the good news is that this Triumph Explorer 1200 became an ORE project bike so if you’re thinking that a 1200 adventure bike may be on your radar then check out our upgrades.

*Price is AUD when story was originally published.

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2014 Triumph Explorer 1200

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

We test Triumphs second-generation big bore Explorer and chewing up big miles has never been so easy.

Back in 2012 we got to experience the new Triumph Explorer 1200 in the best possible conditions. The long haul from Ayers Rock to Adelaide along the Oodnadatta Track is a ride that often fills a line on many a bucket list, and to experience it on the Explore? Well, it doesn’t get better than that.

Smooth effortless power, ABS, electronic cruise control.

Heavy in tight conditions, doesn’t like getting airborne.

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