Despite what its name might suggest, the Triumph Tiger Sport 660 is strictly a road bike.
This is Triumph’s latest motorcycle for India, and it has a very familiar name – the Tiger Sport 660 – but this Tiger is unlike any other the company has launched in India to date.
The Tiger Sport name is something Triumph has used in the past for a road-focused ADV-style bike that was sold overseas. However, the new Tiger Sport 660 is the first such bike to be sold in India and in this case it is based on Triumph’s latest and smallest machine, the Trident 660. To make matters even more confusing, this bike is also completely unrelated to the Tiger 850 Sport currently available in India – the 850 produces similar horsepower to the 660, but is based on the same platform as the larger, more all-around capable Tiger 900. ground.
Triumph Tiger Sport 660: design, features and quality
The biggest difference between the new Tiger Sport 660 and its sibling, the Trident 660, is evident in what you see – it’s a much bigger bike. With its larger fairing, 17-litre fuel tank and extra height, the Tiger Sport attracts the kind of attention the compact Trident can only dream of.
It looks sharp from the front, with a triangular face and sleek LED headlights that would be easy to mistake for a Japanese motorcycle. The rear section is more familiar to the Trident, but this bike gets a longer subframe, which results in a much roomier rider seat.
The passenger seat, however, isn’t as big as some might expect, given this is a sports tourer, but there are neatly integrated pannier mounting slots in the tail. However, the engine skid and engine guards you see on this bike are both optional extras.
With its huge handlebar risers, the Tiger Sport’s riding position is upright, open and spacious. The windshield worked well for me in its low position, although we had to spend more time at highway speeds to be sure. With a saddle height of 835mm it’s a bit tall, but the bike doesn’t feel as tall or heavy as a Kawasaki Versys 650. At 206kg, the Tiger Sport is also the lightest bike in its class.
The Tiger gets a color TFT screen similar to that of the Trident 660.
The display layout is a bit different from the Trident 660, but the actual screens are very similar. Triumph’s website lists it as a TFT display, but it’s a fairly simple unit that’s mostly black and white, with only a bit of color visible here and there. This bike also has the optional Bluetooth connectivity module, which enables functions such as music control and navigation aids.
Feature-wise, it’s a similar story to the Trident, with auto-cancelling gauges, two ride modes (road and rain) and a switchable traction control system.
Quality levels are acceptable for the price, although the windshield does tend to vibrate a bit when riding on rough roads.
The Tiger Sport certainly feels more premium than the Trident, but there are a few issues. For one thing, the “intake” between the headlights is fake, and I don’t know what I think about fake air intakes on a sportbike. Then there’s the push-and-pull windshield adjustment mechanism that feels a little fiddly to use, and it’s certainly not easy to slot into the exact spot you want. A little further back, the clutch cable is routed just above where your hand would normally go to find the ignition key. There’s also the fact that even at this price, the clutch lever isn’t adjustable, and I found it to stick out a bit too much. And finally there is the seat cover which does not fit the pilot’s seat but is stretched in the air above.
Triumph Tiger Sport 660: engine and performance
With that out of the way, let’s get to what is arguably this bike’s biggest draw—its engine. The 660cc three-cylinder engine is taken directly from the Trident and has exactly the same power and torque and even the same gearing. That’s actually a good thing because when we rode the Trident, we liked its powerful midrange and easy handling at any speed. That character really suits a bike like this.
Compared to its 650cc rivals, it not only produces more power, but also a bit more torque. And it’s the sheer handling of this engine that you’ll appreciate the most. Throttle response at low speeds is quite smooth and low-to-midrange performance is superb – you can really cruise at the highest gear you want. We often found ourselves in sixth gear at 35mph or even climbing some of the hilly stretches around Dehradun and Mussoorie with the engine in fourth or fifth gear the whole time. Our bike had an optional quickshifter fitted (again, at this price it should have been standard) which only added to the feeling of ease and fun
We spent the whole day in the hills, where the Tiger’s short gear ratio was a joy. However, if you plan to spend a lot of time at high speeds on the highway, you might want to consider changing the sprocket size, as I suspect the revs could get quite high at fast cruising speeds.
Nevertheless, this maneuverability makes the Tiger Sport easy and effortless to ride in most situations. It’s also a great sound engine; its sporty exhaust sound will be one of the bike’s great assets.
The Tiger has the same gearing as the Trident 660.
However, like the Trident, the motor hums as you go over 6,000 rpm and there’s quite a bit of vibration in the handlebars and pegs. The engine also produces a noticeable amount of heat and the clutch lever is rather heavy.
All in all, this little triple is definitely not as smooth and loose as the Street Triple 765’s engine. Thankfully, the wonderful midrange means you really won’t be revving it too much most of the time.
Triumph Tiger Sport 660: chassis, comfort and handling
The Tiger Sport chassis is quite similar to the Trident, but it has slightly sharper steering geometry, a longer wheelbase and a different swingarm. The change that will mean the most to customers, however, is that the suspension is different. This bike has more travel and it also has a very handy remote preload adjuster. Now, with that extra suspension, one would expect this bike to be a nice plus, something like the Versys 650 which is one of its rivals. And to a certain extent, it is. But it’s not as good as we hoped.
With 150mm of suspension travel at both ends, the Tiger Sport has a similar setup to the Versys 650. And on slick roads, it has a nice soft, floaty feel that many will love and expect from their touring machine. . Unfortunately, it doesn’t handle big bumps and potholes as well as we’d like, and it tends to crawl through rather than absorb. It’s not horribly uncomfortable by any means, and the bike has enough ground clearance to get you through rough, rough roads without stress, but it’s just not as impressive as the Versys 650 in this area. The suspension also has no adjustments except for preload in the rear.
With its 17-inch wheels and wide superbike tires, it’s not an all-terrain machine, but when it comes to handling, there’s plenty of potential for fun. The bike is easy, encouraging and ready to make changes in direction without much effort. You can push it pretty hard and have a great time, but if you’re the kind of rider who likes to ride aggressively and push the bike to the limit, this isn’t the bike for you. That’s when the soft suspension starts to bounce back, reminding you that this is a bike that prefers to go fast rather than as fast as possible.
A special mention should be given to the excellent Michelin Road 5 tires which give you so much feeling and confidence that you can keep pushing even when the suspension starts to destabilize.
As for the brakes, they reflect the character of the bike. They’re not very crisp or immediate, but once you pull the lever further there’s a fair amount of power and feel available.
Triumph Tiger Sport 660: Should you buy it?
Ultimately, the Tiger Sport 660 is a comfortable yet engaging sports tourer, but it feels a bit overpriced, especially considering the suspension is good, but not “Tiger good”. At a launch price of just under Rs 9 lakh (ex-showroom), it already costs more than the Kawasaki Z900 and is currently just Rs 20,000 less than the Triumph Street Triple R. Yes, both are naked bikes, but they are also much more capable, better equipped and produce around 40 more horsepower.
This bike is a bit more expensive than we expected. Again, it fits nicely in the market, about Rs 2 lakh above the Kawasaki Versys 650 and about the same amount below the BMW F900XR, both of which are road-focused ADV style tourers.
At a similar price, you could also have Suzuki’s excellent (and, unfortunately, also very expensive) V-Strom 650, but that bike has a 19-inch front wheel and it’s more of an adventure bike. The Tiger Sport is strictly a road bike and it’s all about the three-cylinder engine and the looks it has to offer.
Video test of the Triumph Tiger 660