ImNoSaint's Tiger Explorer 1200XC Build



I’ve wanted a 1200Xc ever since I bought my 800Xc, not that I was for want of more (aren’t we all) with the first Tiger other than a little more power and stability, and I only wanted that when I was slabbing it. My Triumph Tiger 800Xc is the most capable motorcycle I’ve ever owned. I bought it to help manage the weekly 700-mile commute I was making at the time and found in those journeys that I wanted a little more, especially cruising over 80mph.

I also have a few members of my immediate family who want to or just may want to pick up the ADV habit and join me in my adventures. The 800Xc is the perfect platform to do so. That’s been enough for me to do the research and understand the Explorer platform better, all in displacement of plunking down (a lot of) my hard earned cash for the new 900Xc. I’ve never been a patient person.

I found a couple of Explorers locally, neither of which were Xcs, so I broadened my search nationally. I wanted the Explorer Xc; spoked tubeless wheels, crash bars, skid plate, hand guards, etc., and I wanted it in the same livery as my 800Xc, in Triumph’s matte khaki green. I’m OCD that way. After a month of searching, I found this one in Sanford, Florida on Cycle Trader, a 2014 with a little over 21k miles.

It had everything I wanted sans the hand warmers. I did a digital inspection with the help of Sky Powersports and decided to make the purchase. This felt a little risky having never made what to me is a large purchase of a motor vehicle sight unseen, nor had I ever considered shipping a motorbike, but the price was right and with shipping costs I was still below sourcing an Explorer locally.

Ten days after the transaction, the Explorer arrived at my home where confirmed a few add-ons that I saw online; Rox Risers, SW Motech engine guards and Givi Trekker pannier racks. I also noticed a deletion or at least a downgrade – the fog lamps were knock-off LEDs replacing the original Triumph lamps, bolted on to the aluminum frames with non stainless hardware. I didn’t realize Florida was part of the rust belt, but as I continued my inspection of the explorer anything that wasn’t aluminum or painted was rusting, as in all the DIY hardware on the bike. I’ve since replaced it all and have touched up the crash bars.

My initial shakedown ride surprised me what almost another 100 pounds will do to turn in on the same wheel base, and the fly-by-wire throttle response took some getting used to – the 800’s is immediate, always begging for more, the Explorer accelerates on what feels like its own terms. It felt a lot like my Valkyrie, which wasn’t a bad thing. I went through all the electrics, all the menus, all the traction control and ABS settings along with the cruise control, and everything worked. Phew.
A few days later I baselined the adjustable suspension and dialed it in with a 72 pound load spread out across the new Givi Trekker Outback 47l panniers, a small Givi tank bag and a pair of Givi engine guard bags. The big Tiger made it all but disappear.

Four weeks into a very cold winter I discovered a fork leak - this southern Tiger doesn't like the cold, dry air here - so I had both sides replaced along with a valve adjustment where all exhaust valves needed a shim.

This thread will chronicle the rest of the mods and preparation of the Explorer for a transcontinental trip coming up in June where my daughter will ride the Tiger 800Xc with me on this Explorer. Watch for the UTADV YouTube channel.



Getting to know this Explorer, a few needs became readily apparent in preparing it for the Pacific Northwest Tour – I needed more packing space than what I have on the Tiger 800Xc.

The first addition were the GIVI Trekker Outback 47ltr panniers fitted to the bike’s existing GIVI rack system. Both the panniers and the Explorer arrived the same day, so the easiest and most costly modification was done in the time it took to take them out of the shipping boxes.

The second addition was initially a tank bag that would take the usual items I keep on hand up front, but after a test fitting of a 25ltr Givi UT810 Tanklock bag and a 15ltr Givi XStream Tanklock bag, I realized the tank slop and the close handlebar turn in over the tank wouldn’t allow for anything of width, let alone a tank lock set-up like I have on the 800Xc. So, I ended up with Givi’s 6ltr EA106B Easy-T Tank Bag supplemented by a pair of Givi T513 Waterproof Engine Guard Bags. I ordered everything through RevZilla and they were great to work with in all the exchanges. Kudos to their customer service and quick turn-around.

The EA106B is a magnetic narrow bag that fits in the footprint of the top of the tank, yielding space on either side for complete handlebar turn in without disrupting the bag. It has two compartments, one large enough to hold gloves, glasses, a small first aid kit and a Goal Zero Sherpa and the other, smaller compartment for keys and other EDC that I’d rather go in the bag while riding. It has a map/iPhone pocket on top and the bag comes with a rain cover.

While it has two stout magnets in the wings that grip the tank, it’s secured to the bike with a strap that fits around the triple clamp. This makes it handy and much quicker that a tank lock set up when refueling. I really like this bag, though I’m not sure why both zippers aren’t of the weatherproof variety – only the smaller pocket zipper.

To supplement the displaced storage of the smaller tank bag, I attached a pair of 5ltr engine guard bags. These store extra gloves (I travel with five pair: snowmobile, winter, rain, standard and summer mesh gloves), a down layering jacket, wool layering and rain gear. These eliminated the need of an extra bag mounted atop one of the panniers used for rain gear.

The bags are a dry-bag design with a rolling, hook-and-loop opening that is secured with two buckles on each side of the bag. They’re made from black TPU nylon with heat welded seams.
There have been complaints that the welded seams don’t hold up. I guess we’ll find out in the weather extremes on the PNW ride.