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Triumph Triumph Tiger 850 Sport review | 400-mile two day mini-tour

Triumph Tiger 850 Sport thumb

To really get to grips with the new Triumph Tiger 850 Sport, we set off for a Welsh tour and some adventure riding at the Triumph Adventure Experience

Details
Manufacturer:
Triumph
Category:
Adventure
Price:
£ 9300
Overall
Not rated


Triumph Tiger 850 Sport | £9,300 | 84bhp | 192kg (dry)

THE Triumph Tiger 850 Sport was announced in November last year, and it’s fair to say that the reception from some riders was lukewarm. While the name conjured up images of the massively popular 1050 Sport that is sadly now departed.

For some though, the lower-spec denomination of the new 850 seemed like an odd move, when for just £2,100 more you could bag yourself the higher-spec, more powerful, and more advanced Tiger 900 GT.

To find out if the views of readers were valid, I set a course for the Triumph Adventure Experience in Wales. But instead of going direct, I sent myself and a well-stocked Tiger on an anticlockwise loop, taking in some of the best roads in mid-Wales and a fair chunk of motorway cruising.

Triumph Tiger 850 Sport video review

New Triumph Tiger 850 Sport 2021 Review and Tiger 900 Rally Pro Review | Visordown.com

Triumph Tiger 850 Sport Price, colours, and availability

As mentioned above, the new bike is priced at £9,300 on the road. Internal model cross-over aside, it does make it one of the more premium bikes in the budget sports touring segment. And no, I didn’t just make that up! The bikes I pitch the 850 against are motorcycles like the Yamaha Tracer 7 (£8,202), Suzuki V-Strom 650 (£8,299), and Kawasaki Versys 650 (£7,549). Looking at this pool of bikes the Triumph is by far the sportiest and probably best equipped and with the highest level of finish and detail, with the Tracer 7 snapping close at its heels.

The bike is available in two colour schemes, Graphite and Caspian Blue, as ridden, and Graphite Diablo Red. The Tiger 850 Sport is already in UK dealerships.

Engine

Nestling within the frame of the bike is an engine that shares all the same 888cc engine as the rest of the current Tiger range. The 850 name tag did confuse some at launch, although Triumph’s reps were quick to point out the bike is graced with a specific ‘850-tune’.

On that note, the bike gets slightly less power than the Tiger 900s, 84bhp as opposed to 94bhp. Torque is also down, but only marginally, and with the 850 producing its peak 60lb-ft at 6,500rpm – that’s 750rpm lower in the rev range than its sibling.

The result is that on the road at least you never really notice any of the loss in power. The T-plane crank engine of the 850 feels gutsy, raucous, and is backed by that wickedly rasping exhaust note. The quickshifter-less gearbox is slick and accurate, and clutchless shifting up the six-speed box rewards you with acceleration that would leave the rivals noted above gasping in your wake.

Chassis, suspension, and handling

Suspending the Triumph Tiger 850 Sport is a Marzzochi set-up front and rear, with non-adjustable 45mm USD forks, and a pre-load adjustable rear shock. With only rear pre-load on offer, Triumph has to be careful with the settings of the entry level Tiger, and with the word ‘Sport’ adorning the bikes fuel tank, a wallowing and underdamped bike simply won’t do.

After an overnight stop off in the pretty town Rhayader, I point the nose of the Tiger 850 south and head for the stunning Brecon Beacons. The roads that lead south to the Triumph Adventure Experience are a scratchers delight, and with lockdown still keeping traffic to a minimum, I had them all pretty much to myself.

Hammering through the flowing valleys the 850’s suspension really is all things to all riders. The comfortable and compliant set up is just as happy being thrown fast turns as it is navigating the narrow and cobbled roads that crisscross some of the local villages.

The bike is fitted with a two-channel ABS system, not the cornering ABS that graces the other models in the range, although it’s not like you’ll ever notice it working. The Brembo Stylema stoppers are anything but budget and have all the bite and feel of a top-spec machine. Inaccurate braking is not on the Tiger 850’s agenda.

Comfort

After spending two heft days in the saddle of the Tiger 850 Sport, I was extremely impressed by the comfort. The riding position is relaxed, with heavily raked back bars that sweep to meet you and a plush and comfortable seat pad. The lower body ergonomics are just as good. As with much of the rest of the Tiger 850’s components, the screen is borrowed from the current 900 range of bikes. That means you get adjustability which is just about manageable while on the move. On its tallest setting, I’m sat just in the bubble, although taller rider may be wanting to opt for a slightly taller opt for the optional aero diffuser for extra comfort.

Equipment

As the base model in the Triumph Tiger range, the main differentiation between the other bikes and 850 comes in the form of technology and equipment. The 850 doesn’t have a quickshifter, heated grips of even cruise control – which was a bit of a bummer. It does though get the previous generation TFT from the Tiger 800, two riding modes (Rain and Road), and Traction control that can be turned off in the menus.

While the lack of tech will have some millennial motorcyclists hiding behind their free-range latte, I actually revelled in the simplicity of it all. I’m not a full-on luddite either, and I know that you don’t actually have to change settings even if you have them all, but the ‘just get on and ride’ mentality kicks in when you’re given a bike like this. It’s a refreshing change.

Things we liked about the Triumph Tiger 850 sport

  • The T-plane engine is still a gem in the middleweight adventure sector
  • Comfort is class-leading
  • The simplicity of the bike is refreshing

Things we didn’t

  • Cruise control would be nice
  • Taller riders may find the standard screen a bit small

Triumph Tiger 850 Sport verdict

Reflecting on my two-day mini-tour of Wales, it quickly became apparent that really the only issue with the Tiger 850 sport is people’s perception of it. It’s much more than a ‘poor’ man’s Tiger 900, but I can see why some social media experts see it as such. For one thing, calling the bike the 850 Sport and giving it less power was always going to raise eyebrows, and to the untrained eye, it does look identical to the rest of the bikes in the Tiger range. Would a restyle to differentiate the model have helped? Almost certainly, but in this budget-sensitive area of the market doing so could have negatively impacted sales.

In my mind the Tiger does deliver on Triumph’s promises, it engaging to ride, comfortable, quick, and eminently capable. For those that aren’t looking for the continent-crossing ability of the GT Pro, or the dirt riding prowess of the Rally Pro, the new Triumph Tiger 850 Sport provides a great middle-ground, and with the addition of the A2 throttle sensor, its perfect for less experienced adventurists too.

For more information head to: www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk