Test - Triumph Tiger Sport
Triumph spotted the gap and wasted no time filling it. With their more offroad models leaving the Tiger 1050 in no-man’s land, the Hinckley lads took the opportunity to add a new platform to the Speed Triple-based bike’s brood.
The touring class and adventure offshoot have a serious crossover of riders; some needing off-road ability and others, well, not so much. For the latter group, just being able to head onto unsealed roads is ‘adventury’ enough. The upside for these folk is they can have a bike whose setup is dedicated to the road. They still require the visage of adventure and the upright riding position but not adjustable seat height, a foot of suspension travel or the ability to do the Dakar on the way to work. Enter the new Triumph Tiger Sport.
The new Sport carries an air of familiarity, care of the instantly recognisable powerplant, complete with polished Allen key bolts contrasting with the blacked-out finish. The accompanying sound, although heading out via a new exhaust system, is still undeniably Triumph, keeping the customer base well and truly onside. The state of tune reflects the more sedate style the upright riding style is aimed at, adding bias to the lower and mid-zones of the power delivery, so the Tiger does feel more mellow than the Speed Triple; a feeling exaggerated by the non-adjustable fairing screen (a bit last year though, as adjustability has become the norm) and the higher centre-of-gravity that comes with the larger fuel load and sit-up stance. The overall feeling reeks of comfort and the words ‘solid’ or ‘substantial’ come to mind. The Tiger doesn’t pretend to be small, narrow or any of the other traits deemed essential for the full monty adventure models. Almost weirdly, it actually enhances its touring nature.
The new suspension on the Tiger Sport doesn’t ave to cope with ruts, the odd hard landing when asked to take the short route down a bank or even keep everything in line crossing tree roots. This avoidance of things seriously adventurous has seen a pair of smart looking gold Showa forks, tuned for all things tarseal, affixed to the front 19inch wheel via 140mm of travel. Matching it at the rear, via the much-loved single-sided swingarm, is the suitably firm yet compliant matching Showa shock, affording a decent 155mm of travel. As with Suzuki’s V-Strom we tested last month, the difference between a setup that has to cope with all things versus a dedicated road option really can’t be overstated. Without heading down the costly alternative, for those wanting to stick to the formed path, you just can’t bridge the span without a soggy compromise. Our test unit had accessory crash bars to add to the tough adventure guise but, other than a couple of gravel roads, we stuck to the Tiger’s natural environs, the road.