They say the secret to a happy life is a happy wife, and that’s all well and good, but how does one make their wife, or partner in my case, happy? I had proposed that she, Naomi, came a long with me on my tour of the Scottish Highlands, but after freezing her butt off on the back of the KTM 1190 in October, she wasn’t overly enthusiastic. Nonetheless, despite the promise of colder weather on this tour, she still agreed to come along and take some pictures for the mag.
A quick look at the forecast revealed that we’d be unlikely to see temperatures much higher than freezing, and the beautiful backdrop of snowy mountains would only take her mind off the numbing cold for a certain amount of time, so I had to think fast.
Fortunately, my knight in shining armour came in the form of my friend Dave, and his long term test bike, the Triumph Explorer XCA. I’d read with keen interest his experiences of the bike over the past year or so, and the promise of comfort, performance and, most importantly, a pillion perch that would keep Naomi happy had me saying yes before he’d even asked if I wanted to borrow it for the weekend.
Breaking the news of heated seats to Naomi was like telling your child that you’d bought them a puppy (I don’t have kids, but I’ve seen the movies), and it’s safe to say that the thought of a warm bum got her looking forward to the ride with a bit more enthusiasm.
In the past I’ve always scoffed at the idea of heated seats, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t equally as thankful for the bum warming properties of the Explorer, especially after Dave had explained to me that they warm more than just the arse by preserving core body temperature.
Anyway, the ride went off without a hitch. Over 800 miles across three days in temperatures barely above freezing, and I really get the feeling that this is exactly what the Explorer was made for. It has the power and ability to make it fun to ride solo, but stick a pillion and a full set of luggage on the back and it turns into a comfortable, reassuring tourer that’ll eat up the motorway miles (thank God for cruise control).
One thing that I did expect to be slightly better was the fuel range, given the type of riding that the Explorer seems to excel at. I averaged 150 miles per tank, and while that’s not tragic, I’d love it if Triumph increased the 20-litres fuel capacity on the next iteration of the machine.