I have just been for a ride on the back of the Triumph Tiger Explorer, Andrew’s other choice of bike in the running to replace the Ducati. Andrew took me out to give the pillion seat a little test. You can read here what I thought of the Honda Crosstourer, and what I look for in a pillion seat.
The Triumph had a head start over the Honda because today is an absolutely beautiful day, blue skies, sunshine… bike weather Maybe I would have loved being on any bike today!
I’m still a Honda girl, I can’t deny how much I liked riding on the back of the Crosstourer. But, I’m also a patriotic sort of girl. I like to buy British, except for my staunch loyalty to a certain brand of Japanese bike. I’ve always wanted to like Triumph, but the only one which has even made me a little bit excited is Rhi’s most beautiful Daytona 675. Whilst it is not a motorcycle I can ever see me daring to ride (too big and manly!), as a Pillion, the Explorer may have just made me a very happy lady!
The seat is stepped, so you are raised up from the rider, offering a great over the shoulder view. At times I could even see properly over either shoulder (normally I can only see over Andrew’s left shoulder). Oddly, I felt closer to Andrew on the Explorer than the Crosstourer, there was definitely not such a big gap between Helmets. For most Pillions, I can’t imagine that this is a huge problem!
The footpegs are also in a sensible position and at a comfortable height. The grab rails are also really great, your hands even in bulky motorcycle gloves fit comfortably in the gap and you don’t have to sit with shoulders hunched to hold on properly.
Lookswise, the test model is the lovely Graphite colour which I think is best, and it even has a black and sparkly frame. So whilst it won’t win any beauty competitions (we decided it looked like a Transformer) it does have some girly features!
Even sat on the back you can tell the Triumph has more punch than the Honda. I love that reliability, the predictability, the knowing that the bike is going to do that a Honda (any Honda, it seems) has. The Explorer is more exciting, but in a steady “Come on, you can trust me ” sort of way. You know that you can trust the bike, but you can also feel that it’s more exciting for the rider and you get more out of the bike on the back as a result.
Dipping into corners on Andrew’s Ducati makes me feel a little unstable. If you’re going round a large roundabout, for example, it tips you so far over that it gives you the uneasy sensation of being inches away from rubbing your shoulder on the tarmac. On the back of his GS Andrew managed to dig his foot pegs in on a roundabout without me even flinching, so it’s not like I’m a total girl about these things- the Honda has that same solid feeling as the BMW did.
The Triumph? Well, Andrew’s description of it “swooping” through a corner is just about right- the shift of gravity is enough to give you a bit of a thrill and be part of the ride, but as it comes through the corner the Triumph pulls you back from the edge and safely back into the seat. The Honda is a protective big brother for a pillion- the Triumph is a mischievous older cousin who wants to make sure you have a good time without getting you into trouble!
Frankly, I wouldn’t mind sitting as a Pillion on either of these bikes (lets face it, neither of them are that blooming Ducati), but if you were really going to push me into a decision… I think the Triumph may just have the edge! (sorry Honda! )