Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200 vs FJR 1300

MikeMike

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Hi.
Did anybody here own both FJR 1300 and Tiger Explorer 1200? Would love to get some insight on how they compare.
 

Qship

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I have read quite a bit on where former FJR owners switch to an adventure type bike for the more utilitarian, go almost anywhere ability of an adventure bike. Kind of different bike types. One can go a lot more places than the more road orientated FJR.
 

MikeMike

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That true they designed for different missions and they look different, but to my understanding majority of ADV bikes owners use them as touring machines, as they are too expensive and too heavy to go on dirt. So is Tiger 1200 as good as FJR1300 for fast touring environment?
Also, Qship, I see you've been riding for quite a bit so from your experience are either of those two bikes suitable as a second bike after HD Sportster?
 

Qship

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I use mine for touring and have ventured down the odd dirt road. They have a lot of storage on them with the panniers. The 1200 can definitely giddy up and go and carve up a twisty bit of asphalt, maybe not as good as the FJR but that's more of a road bike. It's the upright riding position and longer travel(read plush) suspensions of adventure bikes that bring a lot of people over to them IMHO.
Another bike to possibly check is the Yamaha Super Tenere. Very reliable and lots of aftermarket available.
If your planning on exploring dirt then the tires you would require will limit the road use a little.
If you got the FJR or Tiger, the HD Sportster may end up becoming the second bikeBGRIN
 

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I use mine for touring and have ventured down the odd dirt road. They have a lot of storage on them with the panniers. The 1200 can definitely giddy up and go and carve up a twisty bit of asphalt, maybe not as good as the FJR but that's more of a road bike. It's the upright riding position and longer travel(read plush) suspensions of adventure bikes that bring a lot of people over to them IMHO.
Another bike to possibly check is the Yamaha Super Tenere. Very reliable and lots of aftermarket available.
If your planning on exploring dirt then the tires you would require will limit the road use a little.
If you got the FJR or Tiger, the HD Sportster may end up becoming the second bikeBGRIN
And probably will!! BGRIN
 

MikeMike

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If you got the FJR or Tiger, the HD Sportster may end up becoming the second bikeBGRIN - (y)
I looked also at Super Tenere, but for some reason it felt higher and top heavier than Triumph provided I'm 5'9" only .
 

MikeMike

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It wasn't the low model, but the seat was in the lower position on both motorcycles. Maybe the Super Tenere seat is wider - not sure .
 

Gary Pulcini

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I have read quite a bit on where former FJR owners switch to an adventure type bike for the more utilitarian, go almost anywhere ability of an adventure bike. Kind of different bike types. One can go a lot more places than the more road orientated FJR.
I went from an FJR to an 800 Tiger XRt actually wind coverage is about the same since I sit in the 800 more plus the hand guards. Obviously on the highway the winds affect the 800 a little more although nothing to lose sleep over, seat on 800 is terrible after about 45 minutes. I also notice the chain some vs the shaft drive on FJR. Overall happy since easier to handle and push around plus bags on 800 are better and hold more engine is slightly smoother on 800.
 

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I went from an FJR to an 800 Tiger XRt actually wind coverage is about the same since I sit in the 800 more plus the hand guards. Obviously on the highway the winds affect the 800 a little more although nothing to lose sleep over, seat on 800 is terrible after about 45 minutes. I also notice the chain some vs the shaft drive on FJR. Overall happy since easier to handle and push around plus bags on 800 are better and hold more engine is slightly smoother on 800.
I agree with you on the stock seat. I replaced the seat on my 800 XC with a Sargent seat. Much more comfortable and I go a lot of distance riding.
 

Gary Pulcini

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I agree with you on the stock seat. I replaced the seat on my 800 XC with a Sargent seat. Much more comfortable and I go a lot of distance riding.
Looking at one, as I usually do a lot of distance as well. Unfortunately their heated seat isn't a direct plug in which seems a little ridiculous. Will probably go unheated. My concern is my short legs at 5' 5" and will the Sargent, given increased width cause me to tip toe. With stock I can at least put the balls of my feet on the ground. I will just have to give it a try can always send it back.
 

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You will probably have to slide forward a bit to get the balls of your feet on the grounmd due to the increased width. I can flat foot with the stock seat. I slide forward a bit to flatfoot with the Sargent.
 

Gary Pulcini

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You will probably have to slide forward a bit to get the balls of your feet on the grounmd due to the increased width. I can flat foot with the stock seat. I slide forward a bit to flatfoot with the Sargent.
THX
 

marcofloppo

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Hi.
Did anybody here own both FJR 1300 and Tiger Explorer 1200? Would love to get some insight on how they compare.
I've had both a 2007 FJR 1300, and a 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCa. The Triumph is a vastly superior bike. The FJR may have a bit more torque and max HP, but the XCa handles at least as well (better, I think), will cruise just as fast and probably more comfortably, and will carry more when equipped with the large pans. Plus, you get all the ADV benefits with the Triumph.

I will say that as an owner of (way) more than 100 bikes over the last 56 years, the Triumph is firmly tied for first place with one other bike as my all-time favorite. I must admit, though, that I am not at all enamored with Triumph's attitude toward their customers or their service quality here in the US of A.

And, having said all of that, I must readily admit that the XCa has its own few examples of goofy engineering decisions. (To the good side- I've found nothing on it saying, "Lucas".)
 

MikeMike

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I've had both a 2007 FJR 1300, and a 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCa. The Triumph is a vastly superior bike. The FJR may have a bit more torque and max HP, but the XCa handles at least as well (better, I think), will cruise just as fast and probably more comfortably, and will carry more when equipped with the large pans. Plus, you get all the ADV benefits with the Triumph.

I will say that as an owner of (way) more than 100 bikes over the last 56 years, the Triumph is firmly tied for first place with one other bike as my all-time favorite. I must admit, though, that I am not at all enamored with Triumph's attitude toward their customers or their service quality here in the US of A.

And, having said all of that, I must readily admit that the XCa has its own few examples of goofy engineering decisions. (To the good side- I've found nothing on it saying, "Lucas".)
Thank you for sharing. What's you opinion on Super Tenere that was discussed earlier?
 

mcchoc

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Having done many miles on fully-faired 'old school' sports tourers (Yamaha FJ1200, BMW K1200RS and K1300S) and on GS1200s (a bike with similar ergos to the Tiger), the one ace the old sports-tourer holds is the ability to annihilate big miles on fast smooth roads, especially in bad weather. For me, the Tiger is a much better choice as it outscores the sports-tourer in all other departments.
 

xBandit

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Hi.
Did anybody here own both FJR 1300 and Tiger Explorer 1200? Would love to get some insight on how they compare.
I wish I would have seen this earlier. I have had a 2013 FJR1300 since April 2013. I have 62K kms on it now. Have ridden it from Edmonton to southern U.S. each year for 5 years, and numerous other trips in Western Canada.

About two years ago I decided I wanted to be able to explore some of the many great looking unpaved roads I have seen on my travels and began shopping adventure bikes. My goal was to get something as close to the FJR as possible that can go off-road. I tried pretty well every adventure bike over 800cc and it was down to the BMW GS and the Tiger 1200. The BMW didn't impress me any more than the tiger, had a blast of wind that comes up through the forks hole onto my chest, and cost many thousands of dollars more, so I bought a 2018 Tiger 1200 XRT demo bike with 1500 kms on it in April 2019. It currently is in storage in Las Vegas with 11K kms on it. I'll be riding it back home in Spring.

I took an off-road riding course on the Tiger shortly after getting it. I learned a few things.

1) having never ridden off-road before, I found that it was very difficult for me and also that I truly do hate off-road riding. Normal un-paved roads are OK for me but trails, mud, deep gravel, sand, etc. - I just hate them. And I have learned a big part of that is because I am on a big, heavy bike that, to make matters worse, is quite top-heavy.

2) When a Tiger falls down, it lays completely flat on its side (and that's with the full crash bars installed). Combining that with being top-heavy, and it's nearly impossible for one person to pick it up. Even the instructor of the course was surprised when he couldn't pick it up without help. The other bikes on the course, mostly BMWs, were easy to pick up because they did not lie flat, thus the grab points were a good 10+ inches off the ground, making it an easy process.

3) The BMW R1200GS, with it's much lower centre of gravity and a few other tricks, is much easier to ride and handle off-road, and is probably what I should have bought instead - IF I was to do off-roading.

4) The stock tires on the 1200 XRT are noisy on pavement and useless off pavement. Really good 70/30 (mostly road but good off-road too) tires I installed are still not good for anything off-road that is wet, loose, or on a slope. You need the real knobbies for that stuff, but those will drive you nuts on a long pavement trip.

So, for off-road, all those reviews I read in magazines and online were correct: The 1200 Tiger is never the first choice, and rarely even the second or third.

Now, ON pavement, the Tiger is really great. Except, of course, at very low speeds it is very top heavy and difficult to handle. Be careful in the parking lots! Other than that, it is powerful, comfortable (I get about 7 hours before pain - same as the FJR), and fun. With the Puig touring windscreen, I get a relatively nice 'bubble' of calm on the highway - almost as good as the FJR with touring screen except on the Tiger there's turbulence on my arms.

What I LOVE on the Tiger is the quick-shifter, backlit switches, keyless ignition, heated seats, and a few other of the tech and luxury features you can't get on the FJR.

Also, although generally the Tiger has been good for its first 11k kms, I did have a few little problems. The exhaust has a known issue of not being held tight enough at the lower clamp, and the entire rear part of the exhaust system keeps slipping backward. That also moves with it a bracket that the centre stand rests against via rubber pad, resulting in the rubber pad breaking off and the centre stand rubbing against the drive shaft housing. It's clear that it will eventually either wear through or crack the housing if not fixed. I'm on my fourth rubber pad and now have used a bunch of lockwire to tie up the exhast to prevent it sliding back. So far, Triumph has not mentioned anything about a permanent fix or update for this problem. They have, so far, been supplying me with replacement rubber pads under warranty. This will be a significant issue when I bring it in for its first service at 16K kms. There have been one or two other little bugs. To put it in perspective, in six years and 62K kms I have have had absolutely zero problems with the FJR. NONE! Not a rattle or annoyance. It's been perfect. As is normal for Gen 3 FJRs.

Later in summer (having not been able to sell the FJR yet because, it seems, many others with FJRs are also switching to adventure bikes and now the market is flooded with used FJRs for which there is no market for) I hopped back on my FJR for a little boot and was instantly saying to myself "Why the hell did I leave this???". I made a decision.

The FJR is stuck in 2013, having almost no changes or updates other than adding a 6th gear (just base market standard now) and an electronic suspension that makes almost zero noticeable difference. With 2018 and 2019 FJRs still sitting in dealer showrooms, Yamaha has to either update it or drop it. I decided that if if the FJR gets an update in 2020 with some things that are now standard on most other bikes in its price range like keyless ignition, TFT dash, quick-shifter, etc., I would definitely buy the new FJR and sell the Tiger, taking a bath on it, and continue trying to sell the old FJR. Sadly, the 2020 FJR came out with absolutely not one single update or improvement. Again! And there's many clues that this is the final year for the bike.

One other thing: I really, really miss the FJRs panniers. The Triumph has the aluminum panniers (which are actually made by Givi) which are skinnier, no hope of holding a helmet, and more awkward.

Much to my surprise, two weeks ago I was at a show and saw the new 2020 Tiger 900! It seems to be as light and nimble as the 800, but has almost everything the 1200 has including quick-shifter, keyless ignition, TFT dash, heated seats, cruise, electric windscreen, etc. The only thing that didn't tick my boxes was it is chain drive. I might, maybe, trade in my 1200 for this 900 if i decide to stick with an adventure bike. The 900's lighter weight and lower centre of gravity should greatly reduce my difficulties off-road.

So, the FJR1300 first of all, is a fantastic bike which is absolutely trouble-free. It's not good off pavement for more than a few kms of relatively flat road though, and if you drop it, it will cost you dearly. The Tiger 1200 (2018 and up) is much better equipped than an FJR but is a beast to handle off-road. I would not recommend switching from an FJR to a Tiger 1200. Instead, switch to a BMW GS, KTM Super Adventure, or maybe something else. Or better yet, stick with the FJR as long as you can stand not having the modern conveniences everyone else has, and just find those smaller paved roads instead of going off-road.

I hope that helps.

- Geoff
 
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Qship

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Great write up Geoff. Glad you were able to give first hand accounts of both bikes.
Although I cannot speak on the FJR handling at low speeds I do not find the 1200 Tiger or Explorer a handful at all at low speeds on pavement. Off road, yes, it can be a challenge. I came from big heavy cruisers so maybe that's why. Any big adventure bike will be a handful off road but if you want off road ability I believe the KING of that category will be the 1200 BMW GS like you mentioned.
 

xBandit

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Yeah, actually on pavement at low speeds it's not all that bad unless I get it on some uneven bit, like a curb. The FJR is much lower to the ground and, to me, it feels much smaller and lighter than the Tiger when I get on it - although it definitely is not lighter, and yeah, you can much easier transition your weight onto the pegs on the Tiger to maneuver around.

I just had a discussion with a guy who got to ride the new Tiger 900 after the bike show a couple weeks ago and he said it feels very similar in power to the 1200, at least under 100 km/h (he was only able to go around the block). I think that might be the ultimate bike for me (unless Yammy actually does update the FJR).

FJR1300s are absolutely fantastic! They really are. Just not an adventure bike. And Yamaha's attempt at a big adventure bike, the Super Tenere 1200, just isn't quite there either.
 

CarlS

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Riding an adventure bike is different than riding a touring bike. They handle differently and perform differently. Riding off road is different yet. It requires new skills and it requires that you become one with the bike. Many of us older guys started out riding off road and we brought those skills to the pavement. If you are just starting out to to ride off pavement, you just need practice and experience,
 
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