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2013 Triumph Tiger Explorer XC: MD Ride Review

Before our readers enter into a rant about why these large, heavy adventure bikes are not sufficiently dirt worthy, I need to editorialize briefly.

For most riders, the appeal of the new, large displacement Adventure bikes has nothing to do with their off-road capability.  Zero.  These bikes are frequently viewed as superior road machines . . . superior to many competing sport tourers and full dress tourers for both commuting and touring.  They are primarily bought for this reason, not for their dirt worthiness.

Having said that, these bikes do have varying degrees of ability to travel off-road.  Many owners will never take them there, but they have the ability, nonetheless.

So if  you are shopping for a street bike in the sport tourer category, for instance, will you be better off with an adventure touring bike?  Quite possibly.  For many riders, the bolt upright seating position and relatively forward peg placement is simply more comfortable than the riding position offered by sport tourers that hang on to the pretense of sportiness with lower bars and more rearward peg placement (often with less leg room, as well).  One of the most comfortable freeway jaunts I can recall occurred while I was aboard a large displacement Adventure bike.

Which brings us to the subject of this test, the 2013 Triumph Explorer XC.  A huge machine, no doubt, with its elevated seat height (32.9 adjustable to 33.7 inches) and claimed wet weight of 586 pounds.

The XC takes the standard Explorer that we have tested previously (see Gabe’s report here, and our report from the world press launch here), and adds features to improve its dirt capabilities, including steel-spoked wheels (abandoning the cast wheels of the standard model) that are nevertheless tubeless, crash bars, under-engine bash plate, hand guards and dual 55-watt fog lamps.  The rest of the technical details are identical to those described in Gabe’s story. The headline feature is Triumph’s all-new 1215cc 3-cylinder engine.  The largest transverse triple ever created by Triumph.

The engine is fantastic.  With peak horsepower of 135 at the crank and nearly 90 foot/pounds of torque, this is an extremely fast motorcycle.  Not just fast, it pulls effortlessly with that mountain of torque.  The smooth feel and shrieking turbine-like sound are characteristic of Triumph triples.

The seating position, including the seat itself, is hard to fault.  The bars are comfortably high and close, placing your wrists at a natural angle.  The seat is firm enough to be comfortable on longer rides, and broad enough to distribute your weight well beyond your sit bones.  Wind protection was good, with minimal buffeting at the helmet level.

On-road handling initially revealed a vague feeling from the front end.  As we noted nearly a decade ago with Suzuki’s V-Strom, some adventure tourers are delivered without enough weight on the front wheel, necessitating the addition of spring preload in the shock and/or sliding the forks up a few millimeters in the triple clamps.  We did both, sliding the forks roughly 5mm.  The result was a much more confident-feeling front end and more accurate steering.

We got comfortable enough on the big Explorer XC to utilize nearly all of the very generous lean angle on the street (resulting from all that ground clearance).  The wide bars made it fun, and easy, to throw the big Tiger on its side.  Is it the most nimble Adventure bike we have ridden?  No.  The huge engine displacement and corresponding crank intertia mean it won’t change direction like a Suzuki V-Strom 650, for instance.   What it has is added straight-line stability over a smaller, nimbler mount.

The six-speed transmission offered more than enough gear choices given the extremely broad plateau of torque, but it was still nice to have an overdrive sixth gear for fuel economy on the superslab.  Speaking of which, we averaged 39 mpg while riding the bike more aggressively, no doubt, than you would in day-to-day use. The 5.3 gallon tank should get you well beyond 200 miles between fill-ups on a tour, because we are confident that you can achieve 45 mpg while cruising on the highway.  Given the engine performance on offer, not too bad.

The large dial that allows you to easily change rear spring preload without tools comes in handy.  You can not only quickly adjust weight distribution and handling with this feature, you can accommodate passengers/luggage loads.  We added 3 turns (equaling 3 clicks) of preload before escorting a relatively small female passenger to dinner one evening.

The instrumentation (described in our earlier stories) is both legible and complete, and includes a very precise fuel gauge.

Off-road the big Explorer XC is a handful.  It doesn’t like to change direction quickly on loose soil or gravel, but the suspension works to carry speed on fire roads and through more gradual corners.  I was able to comfortably travel 60 mph, or so, across the desert, with the suspension keeping things under control, on moderately rough roads.

On the street, the extra suspension travel and 19″ front wheel provide another benefit versus traditional sport tourers, i.e., better absorption of small bumps.  This is another reason why some riders now prefer adventure bikes for touring.  Honda’s big sport tourer, the ST1300, has an 18″ front wheel for similar reasons.

The extra features offered by the XC (features you could add to your standard Explorer through the Triumph accessories catelogue) do improve its dirt worthiness.  The high-speed desert travel I described would have concerned me a lot more without the engine bash plate and crash guards, and with the cast wheels found on the standard Explorer.  Visions of cast wheels collapsing in aggressive off-road riding would have been dancing in my head, otherwise.  The traditional, steel-spoked wheels on the Explorer XC look extremely stout and are undoubtedly leagues stronger.

So what we have here is a large, extremely comfortable and powerful Adventure bike that changes directions easily, and confidently, on the street, while offering the ability to take you off-road where a traditional street machine would falter.  Appropriately painted Khaki Green, the 2013 Triumph Tiger Explorer XC also looks the part.  The typical comment was “That bike looks badass”, and one could imagine that it was morphed out of something seen in Mel Gibson’s Mad Max movies.   The U.S. MSRP is $17,199.  For additional details and specifications, visit Triumph’s web site.

77 Comments

  1. GB says:

    I had the pleasure of riding the mighty Explorer on ALL types of roads, goat tracks, mule tracks, desert, and snow for nearly 3000 k’s last year in Spain & Morocco. 13 of us from all over the world did 12 days of the most extraordinary riding ever, and EVERY single one of us wanted more off road at the end! Yes, it is one big motorcycle, but it is also one VERY tough bike. Coming after 39 years of riding Aussie roads on (mostly) a certain American brand, I am convinced! Sold the over-priced over heated gutless to buy a bike that puts the smile back on your face. Isn’t that the KEY factor at the end of the day! (BTW, not ONE of us complained once about the comfort, which I found incredible)

  2. Chip says:

    Let’s see…

    Dirt bike suspension…

    Sport bike handling…

    Seating position of a GoldWing…

    Power of a Hayabusa…

    No, I can’t see why people like the big adventure-tourers either!

  3. Tijeras Dave says:

    This review reads almost exactly like a review of of a 1996 tiger. Right down to the crappy off-roadability and squishy front end. Really? twenty years later and they cant firm up the front end.

  4. Hank says:

    This is a well written and accurate review!

    I purchased a ’11 800XC for my wife in April and rode it 2700 miles home, and liked it so much I got a 1200 TEX XC for myself. I’ve put about 1600 on that so far. Both are AWESOME bikes. I still can’t decide which I like better – they both have their strong suits.

    One thing is for certain – after 30 years and ~50 bikes they share the top spot as the best bikes I’ve had the privilege of owning. Comfort, performance, off road capability, great mileage.. I love it all. And yes I do take them off road. I had my TEX stuck to the axles when I only had about 500 miles on it. Some might call that stupid, but I buy them to ride them.

  5. Carlos says:

    This article is fantastic! I’m a noob but I’ve always loved the look of the Tiger. Badass indeed. That last shot is pure awesomeness. More of this please!

  6. Chip says:

    I had a Triumph Tiger 800XC last year and I rode it over the McGruder Corridor between Idaho and Montana, 120 miles of two-track, some gnarly, rocky sections. All in all, a good long day’s ride.

    When I got back from the McGruder, I took that same bike around the United States and some of Canada, riding 8450 miles in September. The bike performed flawlessly and averaged about 50 mpg throughout the whole trip.

    This Spring, when Triumph offered the Tiger Explorer 1200XC, I immediately traded up. The reason? I love the features of having a shaft drive and an electronic cruise control.

    So far, this big beast has more than met my expectations. I just got back from a three state ride over the Memorial Day weekend, with lots of inclement weather and the bike performed excellently.

    For those of you who think that these big adventure touring bikes can’t go off-road, do some reading. BMW 1200GS machines have been ridden all over the world and this Triumph will do everything the GS will do, maybe more. They are not single-track machines, they are dirt road machines.

    As far as comfort goes; I have owned more than 25 street motorcycles, from all manner of cruisers to baggers, sport bikes and choppers. No bike I have ever ridden is more comfortable on the long haul than the Adventure Tourer. The upright seating position, the ability to stand up when needed to go over obstacles, the position of my feet, all combine to make effortless days in the saddle.

  7. TuxfromOz says:

    I don’t know what sort of licorice you guys think alloy wheel are made from! I got hit from behind, in true Liberace, style and all it did was dent the rim by about 10mm. So you would have to hit a pothole at 200mph to do that the same damage I would think. I was on a Varadero and ‘Its a Honda’. Maybe they use high tensile alloy in their licorice ;).

  8. juan says:

    Tiger 800xc. Is the bike

  9. Ed Chambers says:

    You know I was originally going to comment solely on how ugly this thing is and thought better of it “if you cant say something nice” etc. Then I saw one up close and believe it or not it’s even uglier in real life.I know Triumph can build good looking and practical motorcycles what are they thinking here?

    • thoppa says:

      Yep, completely agree, and with so many surfaces and no rear bodywork, it’d be a major pain, oops, I mean adventure, to clean too.

    • Starmag says:

      Ed, good for you. I like hearing all sides, not just the yummy rainbows side. This bike, while undoubtably great functionally, would never make me turn around as I walk away from it.I think that’s really important to ownership. I just wonder if great function and beauty can get married. I’d be happy to throw rice for that. I’m sure the manufacturers who read the comments aren’t so insecure they can’t take some constructive feedback.I would think your comment is worth more to them than 40 ” I love this” comments.

  10. Terry M. says:

    I will keep my 955i Tiger, thank you. Most versatile and comfy bike I have ever owned, and it’s paid for!!!

  11. Michael H says:

    Buying an adventure bike does not obligate the owner to take an actual ‘adventure’, how ever that concept is defined. Adventure bikes are usually more about comfort and utility that they are about trips through harsh wilderness. Comfort and utility are good things in a motorcycle!

    More often than not, the day’s ‘adventure’ is simply navigating horrible freeways, highways and urban streets. Like it’s competitors, this Triumph excels in the daily ‘adventure’ ride.

    • Lenz says:

      From an ergonomics, rider comfort and varied road surface capability point of view this genre of motorcycle design undoubtedly occupies a positive and practical niche. Increasing motorcycle mass, complexity, dependence on electronic circuitry and it’s specialist technical support are undesirable “evolutionary” pathways from my point of view.

      Viewing relatively normal variations of usage on freeways, highways and urban streets as an “adventure” could be seen by some as just a tad of overstatement – but I guess in the words of “Old Mate” Bert Einstein, “It’s all just a matter of relativity”

      Whatever floats yer boat mate

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Viewing relatively normal variations of usage on freeways, highways and urban streets as an “adventure” could be seen by some as just a tad of overstatement”

        somebody’s never ridden through NYC or ‘Frisco.

        • Gary says:

          Not to mention the quality of surface streets in the San Fran area. They are a lot like motocross tracks in many areas.

          • Norm G. says:

            it’s a jungle out there.

          • iliketoeat says:

            Ha ha if you’re complaining about the quality of streets in the Bay Area, then you haven’t ridden (or driven) in NYC. I recently moved from NYC to SF, and the roads here are way, way better than in NYC. Especially outside of city center. Highways in NYC are a lunar landscape full of craters. SF highways are table-smooth by comparison. Lack of freezing weather here keeps roads in a better shape.

  12. Lenz says:

    I have rejected the entire suite of large capacity, technology-centric, near impossible to repair in the field “adventure” touring motorcycles. The very low mileage 1999 Yamaha TT350 I have adapted to fit a highly versatile touring role weighs less than 135kg, has more than adequate suspension, handles lightly with great stability, has no electronics to fail in the middle of nowhere, accelerates hard up to it’s top speed of ~ 155kph plus it’s fuel burn rate is ~ 4.5lt/100km to 5.5lt/100.

    I’ve upgraded the electrical output, lights and engine somewhat but my point is that more complexity, more vehicle mass etc etc does not mean greater reliability, better handling or a broader range of operational capability – simple, light, very tough, high power to weight, fuel efficient – these are the qualities that are important to me in a bike that will take me to the middle of nowhere and BACK.

  13. Dave says:

    I am finding our current state funding in the tristate area is creating a horrible road network and am looking for some better suspension for eating up miles. I ran up to the Adirondacks last weekend and broke something in one of my tubes on my Buell CR. I think it may be necessity that gets me to an adventure touring bike?

  14. Joe Bogusheimer says:

    The only thing I really can’t see is any reason to buy this rather than the standard version. I guess if you’re planning to take on some really rough roads or, god forbid, actually take this thing off road, the wire wheels and bash plate might make it worthwhile. If I bought one it would basically just to be use as a sport tourer with some dirt road ability, so the standard model would suffice for me. Probably still too spendy for me, though…

  15. Vrooom says:

    This is pretty appealing. Having owned (3) V-Stroms, a KTM 950, multiple GS’, a KLR etc. I actually use these things off road. The 5.3 gal tank is a bit small for my liking, 5.8 gives you a more comfortable 220 mile range. Otherwise it’s a nice package.

    • Tom R says:

      Well, since you have sampled quite a few biggish adventure bikes, can you state whether or not they can actually be ridden on dirt?

      I’m not necessarily trying re-start the controversy, but your perspective would be interesting.

      • joe says:

        i have had 2 955i tigers and own a 650 vstrom.
        i took my 2002 tiger off road a couple of times
        and it was heavy. fire roads and gravel are fine
        but if you want to single tack look elsewhere.

      • Gary says:

        The question is not whether the Tiger can be ridden in the dirt. It certainly can. The real question is if it is more capable off-road than, say, a Speed Triple. I doubt one would have much of an advantage over the other. In fact, since the Speed Triple is lighter, you could probably lever some knobbies onto its rims and have a better dirt bike.

        • iliketoeat says:

          They did just that in the first Mission Impossible movie. There is a scene on the beach I think (or wherever; at any rate, there is sand), and the Speed Triple Tom Cruise is riding has knobbies on it.

          I’m guessing that the Tiger would have some advantage in wheel size, ground clearance, and maybe a bit more suspension travel. And with these fat crash bars, it wouldn’t be crazy expensive if you drop it. But in general, yeah, not a huge difference.

        • Tom says:

          I have the Tiger 800XC and I just did the AMA Berkshire Big Adventure Ride last weekend. A BMW 1200GS rider and myself did all but one hero section. These were wet rocky trails and mud sections that required great balance and careful line choice but allowed you to always have both wheels on the ground. No wheelies over obstacles required as you’d be outside the flight envelope with those tactics for us non stunt gods. As the article mentions the riding position has a lot to do with comfort in slower speeds that you often find when you take these excursions off road. When pushed the big bikes let you know about Newtons second law. Hang on and laugh about how you made it through a trail that a trail bike would hardly notice.

          I also have a KTM 350 EXC-F that could have been used on this BBA Ride. I would have been bored out of my mind and uncomfortable on it after the first hero section ended. The Tiger 800XC made for a fun day of exploring dirt roads that have long fell into disrepair. I then headed for home on the same bike comfortably. The 1200 is what the USA craves… More of everything.
          I’ll just stick to the lighter 800XC version.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “can you state whether or not they can actually be ridden on dirt?”

        anything can be ridden on dirt. hell, i’ve ridden sportbikes on dirt (ie. scenic/unpaved roads) for extended periods. not that it’s a good idea, but it can be done, so i believe the question really comes down to does one have the SKILL LEVEL for the task…?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiJnRAKFowY

  16. Bologna says:

    I rode the base explorer last year and while I loved the bike, the only thing that stopped me from buying it was some weird harmonics from the engine at certain speeds, may not affect everyone the same way but it really bothered me, kind of like being in the dentist chair and them drilling on your teeth and some of the vibrations that cause strange sensations.. Mentioned this to the dealer when I got back and he said “oh, thats normal, all the Triumph triples do that” and I said “Glad to know that, I wont be buying a Triumph then”.

  17. James says:

    My 2005 Tiger was the best motorcycle I’ve ever had in a lot of ways, for touring, scooting,etc. It was quick as heck,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,. Great bikes.

  18. bazuki says:

    Hey Dirck, I really appreciate the good side view photos that show how the bike sits. I am always interested to know how a rider fits on a bike, forward lean, leg room, etc. Photos that show this critical criterion in the buying decision are surprisingly absent from most competing motorcycle websites; instead, most websites just show advertising style action photos, and omit clear side-views of how the rider fits on the bike when doing straight line droning. I think most experienced real riders are very interested in this, and other websites do not show the same maturity in the consideration of photos to display, despite most reader’s interest in this. Thanks, at least one website addresses my interest in the rider fit issue.

  19. PeterC says:

    Khaki is not green. It is tan. The color on the machine is olive drab. I know because I wore it for three years.

  20. Home Skillet says:

    Welded on sub frame is a no no on any bike.

    • Tom R says:

      Why?

      • John B says:

        A minor fall with loaded panniers can tweak the frame due to the leverage. In Australia, the Insurers would write the bike off for this, it makes more sense to have a bolt on section for the rear – e.g. BMW GS to avoid having to replace the entire frame over a minor off.

        Cheers John

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Welded on sub frame is a no no on any bike.”

      2 words… planned obsolescence. triumph knows this, but then what “improvements” would they have to offer you 4 years from now when the model is updated…? triumph are no mugs, you can be sure this design iteration was already done when the bike was completed.

  21. iliketoeat says:

    The best thing about these bikes is the seat height. For some reason, manufacturers seem to think that only short people are interested in traditional tourers (or sport tourers), and talk about low seat height as if it’s a good thing. I sat on the VFR (the current one), and it had a super low seat and high footpegs (for ground clearance), resulting in a tiny amount of leg room, and me folding up like a pretzel. I like that the “adventure” bikes are reversing that low-seat trend.

    • Dave says:

      +100! The dual-purpose bikes are the only ones that fit my 6′ 3″, 33″ inseam right out of the box (even if most of them still need better seats or suspension to be acceptable). The best route would be to have both seat height and handlebar placement adjustable enough to accommodate persons of any height (changing foot peg position decreases lean angles/ground clearance, necessitates changing brake/shifter linkages, costs too much for a minimal gain) – you know, kind of like bicycles or automobiles.

    • Tim says:

      It’s much easier to raise a low seat than it is to lower a high seat.

  22. XC Rider says:

    I’ve owened a 1200 XC for just over 3 weeks. She currenly has just over 2300 miles on the odo. All I can to the naysayers is, “Unless you’ve ridden one, zip it..” She pulls like a freight train (“Big Twin” HDs wish they had this king of torque). She goes around corners better than my former 1050 Tiger, but not as well as my former 1050 Sprint ST. She’ll log hundreds of miles on the superslab w/o a hiccup. It really is a helluva m/c.

    As discussed in multiple Triumph forums, there are issues with the spokes. Disappointing, but not a show stopper as long as Triumph comes to the rescue. (I expected better for the kind of money I paid.)

    Overall, I’m more than pleased with the bike. I never thought I’d come off the 1050 Tiger, but a 100-mile demo ride on an Explorer told me otherwise.

    Ride one, then you’ll know.

  23. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    I still do not see why there aren’t more scaled-down versions of these on the market…didnt the Wee-strom prove that market?

  24. Ron Gordon says:

    Yamaha TDM 850-Most versitle bike I ever owned. You could spend half of your Pacific Northwest tour on the logging roads and the rest on the 2 lanes, or even freeways with comfort. I can definitely understand the appeal of these newer, SUMs.

    • The Other Tim says:

      I completely agree Rob. I have a 1992 TDM that is a real workhorse. I’m amazed these types of bikes didn’t catch on earlier in the USA, but am glad to know they are quickly gaining groud. To see the Japanese brands creating these (Versys, V-Strom, Super Tenere) makes me happy that buyers are stuck with only Euro brands.

    • GuyLR says:

      I love my ’92 TDM. Comfort, character and 125+mph. They were misunderstood when they came out but quickly became a cult bike when they stopped selling them in North America. The rest of the world continued to get them with updates like the 270 degree crank and later the 900cc version with 6 speeds and an alloy frame. Great bike.

  25. Eric says:

    It’s a nice bike, and gets check marks in most of my ‘Good Job’ columns.. The only think I scratch my bald head about, is why they went with the (BMW-ish) single sided swing arm.. Having a nice, solid double arm piece would have made the whole package for me. Also – any word on whether they will be using that wonderful engine in a large-human-sized standard bike? Like, say the Honda CB1300?

    • Tom R says:

      A single-sided swing arm is a GOOD thing. And they are well proven…all cars have them, in effect.

      Why do you object to concept?

      • hipsabad says:

        Actually, from an engineering standpoint they’re not such a great thing. To provide the same strength and stiffness as that of a standard swingarm arrangement they end up being heavier. It’s more difficult to rid them of flex. This is the reason they are not seen on motocross or MotoGP bikes where competition inevitably weeds out inefficient design.

        • Dave says:

          Despite the extra difficulty, Ducati has managed numerous WSBK championships against conventionally configured bikes. I think they even admitted to the shortcomings but found that they simply could not sell their top of the line products without the SS swing.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “I think they even admitted to the shortcomings”

            shortcomings that they later found were totally surmountable by simply going back to the drawing board and pening a clean sheet design. see entry for fabbro’s design brief on the 1098. he seems to have captured lightning in a bottle for the 2nd time on the pani.

          • Norm G. says:

            btw, speaking of BMW and SSSA’s, MD you have to run the story and throw up some hi-res pics of the Concept 90. the boxer just became “bitchin”.

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: “The only think I scratch my bald head about, is why they went with the (BMW-ish) single sided swing arm(?)”

      A: because it’s BMW-ish.

    • Gary says:

      If you ever had to wrestle the back wheel off of a bike whilst parked on the side of the road, you might appreciate the single-sided approach.

  26. Jeremy in TX says:

    I am officially tired of these large, stratospherically-priced Adventure bikes, nice as they are, from all the mfgs. And I even own one. Honda’s new strategy of simplicity, novelty and value is very refreshing. I hope it catches on with buyers so that other mfgs start following suit.

    • blackcayman says:

      “strategy of simplicity, novelty and value”….

      Triumph does manufacture the Bonneville, T100, Scrambler & Thruxton

      …I’m just saying

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Pretty good bikes for the money, I agree. Most of Triumph’s bikes are for that matter. But from the $6K 500s (in sport, standard and ADV bike flavors) to the $10K CB1100 retro all of which are pretty fresh designs, I think Honda is really taking this to the next level.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Honda’s new strategy of simplicity, novelty and value is very refreshing.”

      albeit not very profitable for those concerned.

      re: “I hope it catches on with buyers so that other mfgs start following suit.”

      do you know how MUCH it would have to catch on…? it would have to catch on like a 2nd world or 3rd world country. we’re 1st world so it ain’t gonna happen. wait, i take that back, if some enterprising individual could figure out how to text and “ride” like one can do in a car…? honda’s thai production would be taxed to it’s outer limits.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        “albeit not very profitable for those concerned”

        Perhaps not on a per-unit basis (though I suspect the newest Hondas are even pretty profitable in that regard). I am pretty sure Honda had global mass production in mind when they came to the conclusion that this strategy would make them some money.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Honda had global mass production in mind when they came to the conclusion that this strategy would make them some money.”

          correct, THEM some money. them and nobody else.

  27. ducatidon says:

    I suppose that , even after purchasing hard bags, the Explorer XC would still come in a bit less money than the Trophy touring bike. I’d have to forgo some interesting equipment though. As a substitute tourer, the standard Explorer @$15,700 might make a better starting point – as long as you admit to yourself that you’re not really going to be leaving the pavement on your trip anyway.

  28. Jake says:

    I think you’re correct in your editorial — I have riding friends who tour 2-up and choose giant-trailies for that. They say the main advantage is the roominess 2-up and the ability to carry alot of stuff.
    You said: “The largest triple ever created by Triumph.” What about the Rocket-3..?
    You also talked about: “cast wheels collapsing” and “steel-spoked wheels…are undoubtedly leagues stronger.”
    I’d appreciate (and would like to see) some data to support that.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      “Transverse triple” clarifies things. Cast wheels are too rigid. They can be lighter, but you don’t see them on off-road bikes because traditional spokes can survive the pounding. Every motocross bike manufactured, for example, features traditional steel spokes for this reason. Yamaha’s Super Tenere has a front wheel almost identical to the XC.

      • DaveA says:

        I’m pretty sure the added value for spokes is that when you pound and tweak them off-road, you can re-true the wheel via the spokes. Strength doesn’t really enter into it.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I’d appreciate (and would like to see) some data to support that.”

      go on to the adventure forum and post an open question how many GS owners that chose the cast ally option instead of the spokes ended up with bent rims. same was known decades ago in mountain bike and BMX world. lace ups are the way to go.

      • HotDog says:

        Ok, tell me about the where to look to find out about the catastrophic failures of cast wheels vs spoke wheels. I’d like to know the stats on wheel failure by “Adventure Poseurs” who drive down a gravel road to “water the horse”. Speak, Mein kampf.

        • hipsabad says:

          If you’re going to use the phrase, you should know that mein Kampf ((lower case ‘m’, upper case ‘k’ [German noun]) means ‘my struggle’. “Speak, my struggle.”…? As Norm G. suggested, a good place to look is on a forum on ADVrider. KTM, for example, uses spoked rims on its 990 Adventure which is the most off-road capable bike of all the big ones offered.

      • Azi says:

        Agree with Norm. Looking at the bicycle world is a great way to put wheel strength in context. Well built spoked wheels can have extremely high strength:weight ratios, and can be tailored according to the expected stresses from riding. They can also have some degree of tuned flex which isn’t possible on cast wheels. I suspect cast wheels only caught on because they are cheaper to make. High performance alloys are generally modular construction with forged rims, and a good spoker can still be competitive with the latest technology.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “I suspect cast wheels only caught on because they are cheaper to make.”

          YAAAHHHTZZEEE…!