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Old 08-30-2014, 07:21 PM   #1
Cdn Panzer OP
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Triumph Explorer Warranty? Don't hold your breath!

Hello all,

I've owned a few bikes - CBX550, FZ600, VF500 Interceptor, ZX-7, VFR800, R1100R, R1200GS-A, and done test rides and swaps on Wee-Strom, big V-Strom and Varadaro amongst others. So this is not my first rodeo. I also had a warranty issue with my 2006 BMW R1200GS-A (rear main seal leak) that cropped up 2500km from home which was solved quickly, effectively, and equitably by BMW in terms of reimbursement for expenses occurred due and repairs done as quickly as possible to repair a vehicle fault under warranty.

This year I decided to leave the Boxer crowd and take a chance on a new, nifty-looking, well-reviewed 2014 Triumph Explorer XC with the very nice 1200cc triple engine. I puchased it from a certain dealer in Ottawa Ontario Canada that deals Triumph, BMW, Ducati, Kawasaki. I've been dealing with this place for over 20 years, have purchased several helmets from them, had much maintenance done there, and steered many friends and motorcycle safety course students their way over the years, in addition to buying my Explorer there. In short, a trusted reliable dealer and worth the 2+ hour drive from my place to the shop. Formerly.

In June 2014, after taking delivery of my Explorer, I noticed at around the 1000km mark that it had developed a speed wobble between 40 and 60 km/h. An internet search reveals this to be a well-documented problem, which has been discussed on ADV and on other sites such as Triumphrat and the Triumph Tiger Explorer boards. In short, not an "unknown" issue. The wobble also occurred riding solo, two-up, with my SW Motech hard cases mounted or dismounted, empty or loaded - so basically it wobbled all the time. The bike also developed a squeal somewhere in the engine's lower left side, worse when cold, could be heard over engine and road noise, that was reminiscent of the sounds my ZX-7 made before it consumed its alternator belt. On a bike with less than 1000km, that I paid $18+k for. Both were annoying given the bike's age and price. For the record, the bike's 1000km service was done at another Triumph dealer located East of Toronto, Ontario

In July 2014, going down the 401 Highway at highway speeds with the flow of traffic, it suddenly developed a very large-amplitude (lane edge to lane edge) speed wobble that threw me all over the road. I gentled off the throttle, tried to relax on the bars, spoke to the Big Guy Upstairs and managed to not crash, the weaving slowed and the bike resumed straight line movement. I had to pull over to hyperventilate for a while and stop shaking. The 40-60km/h speed wobble continued. At my destination, I brought it into a Triumph dealer in Quebec City. For the $20 they charged me for a look at a warranty issue (interesting, my first time for that sort of thing), they found no fault with the front wheel, said the rear wheel had too much play but would be OK to drive back to Ontario, and then "solved" the problem by inflating the tires over spec. BtW, that didn't solve the problem.

Back to Ottawa, the dealership took it in on July 18th. They found that rear wheel play was "OK", that the engine squeal was "no big deal, just keep an eye on it" and that the front wheel was out of spec and needed to be replaced with a new assembly. Timeline as follows:

18 July - bike goes in
25 July - dealer warranty people tell me they are waiting for the wheel assembly
30 July - dealer says the assembly should be available in 8-10 business days
12 August - dealer says the assembly had been "released from backorder" and should take another 7-10 business days to arrive.
14 August - dealer says to call Triumph Customer Service to see if I could speed the process
15 August - Call Triumph Customer Service. The agent took my name and I have had no further contact with Triumph since then.
22 August - more than one month after the bike goes in - dealer tells me that the new wheel assembly had come in but was damaged and unuseable. Dealer said they would order a new one but "it is on back order so we don't have an ETA". Dealer advised that the technicians would true the front wheel so that I could pick the bike up until the new wheel came in.
I dont' think so.
22 August - I advise dealer that this is unacceptable and ask for a refund on my purchase price, given the bike is now unrideable, items like the engine squeal (which will NOT get better with age) are not being addressed, and the product is not being supported by warranty, so of absolutely no use to me.
25 August - staff say they will "forward my message to the powers that be". Nothing further heard since then.

So the official word from Triumph is that it "should be OK" to ride a brand new, nearly $20k motorcycle, with an out-of-specification wheel that had nearly caused me to crash once already while waiting for a replacement part to arrive at some unknown time. And that despite having less than than 5000km on it, an engine squeal (that popped up in the first 1000km of riding) is not a big deal that warrants fixing.

So this $18+k brand new motorcycle has been off road for more than a month, during which time I've paid insurance on an empty space in my driveway, and been without my summer primary mode of transport. With no resolution in sight.

Triumph is attempting to take on BMW and definitely has a similar product to the GS (when running, the TEx is quite capable and fun) with a "premium price point" hitting the pocketbook. Unfortunately, the dealer support is not there. While I do not blame the dealer for this as their hands are a bit tied by Triumph Canada and Triumph North America, I'm the one paying for poor service here, which doesn't seem right to me.

I have asked the dealer to take the bike back and refund my purchase price. I will still lose money on the situation, but view it as an expensive lesson. Updates to follow as this develops.

I regret buying this bike and am extremely disappointed in Triumph. Worse than the bike's issues (these things happen) is the company's apparently complete disinterest in making things right or even trying to meet a consumer halfway to resolve a bike that's been in the shop for nearly half of the Canadian prime riding season.

My advice now to anyone who asks is to buy a BMW GS or KTM Adventure if they want the king of the heap, buy a V-Strom or Super Tenere or Varadero for "pretty darn good", but to avoid Triumph. They have slick marketing, a high price point, but very disappointing warranty support.

I just want my money back and to be rid of this burden.

My Triumph experience? More trouble than it's worth.

Cdn Panzer screwed with this post 08-30-2014 at 07:36 PM
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:45 PM   #2
Venteuri
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Sorry to hear that.

And .... I'm buying a new bike and have chosen the TEX XC as the finalist. It seems it's a reliable bike.

The GSA is what I want, but got scared of reading so many problems with latest BMWs!

Edit: does your bike has the Tire pressure sensor?
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Old Yesterday, 07:45 AM   #3
Kawidad
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Doesn't Ontario have a "lemon law"?

In many US states if the bike is in the shop for more than 30 days for any given problem, then you can file for a refund. Of course, that refund is minus mileage and does not include sales tax and doc fees, etc.

So, why are you pissed at the dealer? It sounds like the dealer has their hands tied by Triumph.

Good luck
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Old Yesterday, 08:35 AM   #4
Gone14s
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I have had my 2014 XC in once and the dealer replace the ICM while I waited, took them 30 min to do.
I also had a wheel wobble after I put on a new set of tires, but had no problem with the stock set. It came down to the new tires being the problem.

I found that if a dealership can not answer my questions I go straight to the maker of the bike.

Most posts I read here sound more like to me that most dealerships do not have a trained Mech. for these new bikes.
I have a good dealer here in town and these folks are up to date on any recall's and or small problems that have come up over the last couple of years.
I live in a large city and we have dealerships that are more informed and have better trained mech's. In smaller towns some folks may be taking there bikes to a Honda or Yamaha dealer.

Most complaints we read here are from riders that are never happy with any bike they have owned. Or they are riding them out side the range they where built for. Your never going to make all the people happy all the time.

Anyone that rides one make of bike for a few years and learns all of it's quirks is going to have a bias opinion on something new to them.

It comes down to the way we ride and what we want to spend......

Kurt J
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Old Yesterday, 09:47 AM   #5
Venteuri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gone14s View Post
I have had my 2014 XC in once and the dealer replace the ICM while I waited, took them 30 min to do.
I also had a wheel wobble after I put on a new set of tires, but had no problem with the stock set. It came down to the new tires being the problem.

I found that if a dealership can not answer my questions I go straight to the maker of the bike.

...


Kurt J
Which tires are these?
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Old Yesterday, 10:54 AM   #6
ARiderX
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@OP

Let me start off by saying I don't have a triumph explorer. I did however get very close to buying one, but at that point the season was almost over and I knew I wouldn't have much time to ride afterwards due to work and vacation, so I decided against it, keeping my 990 adv a bit longer.

However, I've been a member here since early this year, and have been reading about all sorts of ADV bikes, out of interest and to gather information on possibly a purchase.

To be honest, from my perspective, triumph is really not the worst when it comes to going to extra mile in terms of warranty and customer support, far from it.

This topic, NEW Tiger 800 xc DEAD for 3+ months (now resolved), has an interesting story about a guy with a 800xc suffering from severe electrical gremlins. I don't remember the specifics but it had something to do with not being able to start the engine randomly. He had to push a little, but in the end he ended up with a new 800xc. There was another guy with the same problem, don't know how he ended up eventually. But I urge anyone to go through it. Especially this post by Bueller.

I don't know, but it seems to me that triumph knows very well they're the underdog here, with much lower volumes than bmw. So it seems to me they're really trying with their relations to customers.

Sadly, that doesn't change what you went through. However bad it was (and by the sound of it, pretty disappointing experience I'd say), you should allow for the fact that it is own of those unfortunate exceptions. A combination of bad luck piling up. In what you describe, it seems like both the dealer and triumph USA screwed up (but customer service more than the dealer imo).

I often find that, even though the dealer does everything by the book and that you typically can't fault them on process, they miss this extra little push to really go after the matter. To put pressure and keep waiting times to a minimum. It also doesn't seem logical to me that a customer should go around a dealers back and contact the regional HQ to get things done. This should simply not be required, the dealer should do everything possible on his end, he is the direct line of contact with HQ. When as a customer you need to start going after HQ, then is when things get messy.

Just to give another example about Triumphs, imo, exemplary commitment to deliver a quality product, is that whole issue with the cylinder heads. Everyone knows the story, all relevant forums are full of it. (Valve guides were manufactured from inadequate materials, and the play would eventually become bad enough to basically destroy the engine). I don't think a single engine has been taken down by this problem, as all cylinder heads were replaced in due time, preventively, at no cost whatsoever and with extended warranty to the engine. I will admit it should not have happened, but it did, mistakes happen and they were sorted out correctly. In Europe, bikes are still accepted to have this fix performed and everyone was informed and invited to schedule the fix with their dealers.

KTM and bmw could learn a thing or two from this. KTM is still scrambling to get a grip on whatever is wrong with their 1190 adventure (I don't even want to know, glad I avoided that disaster), and bmw has only now started to act responsibly towards their customers with the whole 2014 RT debacle. So there is hope.

I had a K1300S, with plenty of issues. All of them known to every K1300 rider out there, but NEVER officially acknowledged by bmw. (except I didn't know before purchase, or I wouldn't have, but it would have been impossible to guess this very specific issue without any knowledge of the bike. Just google "K1300S+stalling", you'll see). In the end I was dealt with correctly, but I had my bike in the shop for 3 out of the 6 months I owned it, incurred a lot of expenses on an already expensive bike, and took a hit when I got rid of it. So as you see, I think many of us have horror stories to tell about almost every brand.

Btw, I don't work for Triumph and don't have any special interest whatsoever. Just trying to provide a little context. Also, if you're on the receiving end, it tends to skew your perspective (it is only natural, believe me, I feel your pain! Having to park your bike during your limited number of good weather months sucks big time )

All of this is of course to be set against the bigger background of what is currently happening in the motorcycle industry. It's a boring argument, and I have written it down elsewhere, so I won't repeat it here again. It is a very dodgy trend these days, that most major brands are pushing these luxury bikes of the assembly line every year, bringing new tech and developments way to fast to market just to get the edge on the competition. While I would normally applaud that behaviour, it seems that it is at the expense of durable and well tested quality products. And that is where I get of the hype train, because ownership is just as an import part of the whole process as owning the latest in motorcycling. It seems like bmw/triumph/ktm keep building your bike right up in your garage after delivery. I don't know, to each their own, but right now, the DL 1000 is for me the most attractive motorcycle in the market, because of the above reasons.

And the most expensive luxury "SUV" motorcycles seem to suffer from it the most. I like riding as much as the next guy on here, I love it. But I'm sick of paying through the nose for unfinished, below par products with at times questionable engineering. 20000+ dollar for motorcycles, very expensive maintenance, parts, dealer attitude.... We are at a point where motorcycle ownership and maintenance is easily twice as expensive as a car. Time for the industry to get their act together.
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Old Yesterday, 01:09 PM   #7
Seacoast-Rob
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That's a sad tale my friend. I feel bad - not just for your experience, but for Triumph's reputation. I have 23k miles on my launch-model Explorer and it's never wobbled. I ran it through the oem metzler tourances, and have just about used up my Pilot Road 3 Trails. I think the bike is absolutely amazing. So it makes me sad to hear about a situation like yours and the dealer and Triumph aren't taking care of you.

I have found my dealer and Triumph to be outstanding in taking care of things. In fact, my experience with the dealer and Triumph NA is the complete opposite of yours. I couldn't recommend them more.

It's unfortunate you bought such an excellent bike, had it suffer from essentially a catastrophic failure and you have been left hanging, waiting. Do you have a lemon law up there? Hopefully you won't have to go to litigation for a resolution - but I certainly hope they get you sorted.
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Old Today, 07:06 AM   #8
Cdn Panzer OP
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Hi folks,

Great discussion here, unfortunately on a topic that shouldn't be happening. Unfortunately, the province of Ontario has no "lemon law" so it's "buyer beware."

For Kawidad, I realize the dealer has had their hands tied by Triumph, and as I said I have been dealing with this place for more than 20 years. That being said, my issues with the dealer are:

1. Lack of communications unless pressed.
2. The "it's OK, not a big deal" attitude to the engine squeal and speed wobble.
3. The attitude of "whatever, it's Triumph" to the situation vs trying to find a solution, any solution to the problem.

For Seacoast Rob, you are right on the money about the bike. It is an excellent bike. It has one of the best engines I've ever encountered on a bike (record holder is still Aprilia RSV-Mille, but the Triumph Triple 1200 knocked the K1200S off the box in my mental "awesome engine" list).

But no matter how excellent the bike is, when it's off the road due to a manufacturer's fault, and no one seems to want to help it, then it's a big chunk of MY change that's sitting and doing nothing for me.

That's my issue, and all I want now is my money back.

CdnPz
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Old Today, 08:13 AM   #9
TriTi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARiderX View Post
@OP

All of this is of course to be set against the bigger background of what is currently happening in the motorcycle industry. It's a boring argument, and I have written it down elsewhere, so I won't repeat it here again. It is a very dodgy trend these days, that most major brands are pushing these luxury bikes of the assembly line every year, bringing new tech and developments way to fast to market just to get the edge on the competition. While I would normally applaud that behaviour, it seems that it is at the expense of durable and well tested quality products. And that is where I get of the hype train, because ownership is just as an import part of the whole process as owning the latest in motorcycling. It seems like bmw/triumph/ktm keep building your bike right up in your garage after delivery. I don't know, to each their own, but right now, the DL 1000 is for me the most attractive motorcycle in the market, because of the above reasons.

And the most expensive luxury "SUV" motorcycles seem to suffer from it the most. I like riding as much as the next guy on here, I love it. But I'm sick of paying through the nose for unfinished, below par products with at times questionable engineering. 20000+ dollar for motorcycles, very expensive maintenance, parts, dealer attitude.... We are at a point where motorcycle ownership and maintenance is easily twice as expensive as a car. Time for the industry to get their act together.

Great point...

And to add, my local Triumph dealer in Atlanta had many many dealings with Triumph corporate about the cylinder head issue before Triumph started replacing all the heads on the Explorers. They went the extra mile for multiple people in the RAT pack and we all really appreciated that. It sounds to me like this fellow has an average dealer with a bit of a lemon bike. Which sucks, but in all my dealings with Triumph, they will eventually make it right, it may just depend on how long it takes by the willingness of your dealer to really fight for you.
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Old Today, 08:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriTi View Post
It sounds to me like this fellow has an average dealer with a bit of a lemon bike. Which sucks, but in all my dealings with Triumph, they will eventually make it right, it may just depend on how long it takes by the willingness of your dealer to really fight for you.
I would agree also with the above.

I had my dealer (GP Bikes in Canada) go to bat for me on engine damage that could easily been attributed to 'user error'. As a result Triumph (after a VERY lengthy back-and-forth photo exchange with Triumph UK) stepped up to replace 3/4 of a blown engine on an XC - 23 days out of warranty! The dealer played an immeasurable role in securing the support of corporate and as a result both parties (GP and Triumph) have my business for time to come. Your dealer is crucial in the degree of support you get from the manufacturer.

Sorry to hear about your luck and hope everything works out.
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Old Today, 09:34 AM   #11
Cdn Panzer OP
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I had my 1000k service done at GP Bikes and was very impressed with them. Unfortunately I thought that a dealer I'd had a longer relationship with, where I'd purchased the bike, would have stepped up harder for the consumer.

I think the "average dealer, lemon bike" mentioned above might be apt. But it's my money tied up in this issue and my riding season that's been burgled, through nothing I've done except buy the wrong bike.

I know the dealers say "the parts come from Triumph, there's nothing we can do", however I wonder how far I'd get if I held back payment for a month and a half saying "the payment for this bike comes from Royal Bank, there's nothing I can do..."
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Old Today, 09:49 AM   #12
Fasttrak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kawidad View Post
Doesn't Ontario have a "lemon law"?

In many US states if the bike is in the shop for more than 30 days for any given problem, then you can file for a refund. Of course, that refund is minus mileage and does not include sales tax and doc fees, etc.

So, why are you pissed at the dealer? It sounds like the dealer has their hands tied by Triumph.

Good luck
The dealer has everything to do with warranty work and how the communication goes between the three parties. Good dealers get the pertinent info to the mfg and keep the customer in the loop, the poor ones use lines like, "that is how they sound", "that is normal for this model", "they all do that", generalizations that do not even deal with the facts before them.

As a counter-point to your Triumph experience, mine was in for service outside the two year warranty.Because of a deer strike shortly after purchasing my Explorer I spent the next two years working my way back to walking and riding. I had very few miles on the bike and really never had the chance to get my bike in for warranty work or any of the recalls\tech bulletins. My original dealership was much like yours, not really willing to go the extra mile to make me happy and do the right thing.

I found a dealer that was closer to me and over the phone made me happier then the dealer I bought from. So I drive the bike up to this new dealer, he goes over the bike and writes up a full service to replace the head, valves and all assorted top ends parts plus a few other items. Still waiting on a few parts from Triumph but he has most the kit in place and waiting for a full rebuild and I was out of warranty by several months and yet Triumph UK didn't balk at the parts or labor to get the bike right.

I think it is time for you to find a dealer that is going to fight for you, they are out there and will become your advocate even if the dealer you bought from is not.
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