In my mind, bikes like the Triumph Tiger Explorer are for us old guys. It’s a mature machine for mature riders—a sensible road burner with a seating position kind to brittle old bones, shredded cartilage, and persistent sciatica. It has an air of sophistication, a mien of “I can do what you can, just choose not to.” Call it the pins-and-plaster defense.
I’m fairly sure the Explorer is not meant as a plaything for young punks with funny hair cuts. (Did I just sound like someone’s dad right there?)
Imagine my surprise when our two youngest staffers, Road Test Editor Ari Henning and Associate Editor Zack Courts (neither of which has seen 30 yet), both appear in my office doorway, singing the Explorer’s praises. Fairly pie-eyed, at that. “Turn off the TC and it’ll do excellent wheelies,” says Ari. “Yeah, and turn off the ABS and you can hack it into corners all day long,” continues Zack.
I wondered if their appreciation went beyond the gravity-defying antics these two coaxed out of a near-600-pound machine. “Yeah,” says Ari. “It’s really great. Super comfortable, and a great motor. I really love triples.” Zack, too, saw the goodness in the machine beyond what it can do to attract law enforcement. “I was wondering,” he said, offering up that I’ve-been-a-good-boy look, “if we’ll have it for awhile. I have a long trip that it would be perfect for.” Ah, he gets it!
For two young pups who get a thrill out of dragging elbows at the track, their appreciation of the Explorer really surprised me. I suppose that means a couple of things: First, a fairly fast motorcycle with great character cuts across generations—for a true moto enthusiast, what the machine does is as important as how it looks, or what image it conveys.
And, second, you never can tell what kids will like.