Triumph just took the wraps off a new Tiger, but it’s not really a true adventure bike. It’s more of an “adventure-styled” bike.
Just a few days back, Triumph began teasing a new Tiger 850 Sport, with video but no real details on the new bike. With today’s launch, we get the whole story: The Tiger 850 is basically a de-tuned Tiger 900, aimed for street riding only. It has less horsepower, and if you watch the promo video above, you’ll note there’s no footage of wild offroading. The marketeers only talk about its adventure styling, and say the new Tiger is suited for commuting, touring, and two-wheeled fun on the weekend.
MSRP for the new Tiger 850 Sport is $11,995 in the US, $13,595 in Canada.
The Tiger 850 Sport has the same basic three-cylinder, liquid-cooled 888 cc engine as the Tiger 900 models, but Triumph says it’s tuned like an 850. What does that mean? It means max out put is 84 crank horsepower, at 8,500 rpm, with 60 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. In contrast, the Tiger 900 makes 94 horsepower at 8,750 rpm, although torque is almost the same, with 64 pound-feet of torque at 7,250 rpm. It’s still got a DOHC, 12-valve top end; compression is 11.27:1. Slip/assist clutch is standard, and the Tiger comes with a six-speed gearbox.
Obviously, the new bike is lower-revving, with less power. Why would Triumph do that? There are two possibilities. First, it could just be due to some cost-cutting measures, as Triumph seems keen to bring in lower-priced models. Or, it could possibly be part of a plan to introduce a learner-friendly Tiger. Supposedly, a dealer can take the new 850 and make it A2-friendly, which would help Triumph grab some first-time bike-buying sales.
The new engine has a stainless steel exhaust system, and assist/slipper clutch. It ships with two riding modes: Road, and Rain (with softened output, for safety). There’s also a two-level traction control system, which you can independently switch between Road and Rain modes, or switch off.
Triumph says the re-tuned engine has the torque of a twin down low (again, a learner-friendly feature), with the usual vigour of a three-cylinder once the revs pick up.
Like the Tiger 900, the Tiger 850 Sport uses a tubular steel frame, with bolt-on subframe (less of a bonus on a street-oriented bike, of course). The swingarm is cast aluminum, as you’d expect.
For suspension, Triumph went with 45mm USD forks and shock, both sourced from Marzocchi. You can adjust the shock for preload, but it seems the the forks are non-adjustable. Front wheel travel is 180 mm, rear wheel travel is 170 mm.
There’s a set of dual 320mm floating brake discs up front, with four-pot Brembo monobloc calipers and radial front master cylinder. In back, there’s a single 255mm disc, with a Brembo single-piston sliding caliper. Dual-channel ABS is standard; it’s now required in the Euro market, but you’d expect it at this price point anyway.
The wheels are cast alloy; the front rim is 19 x 2.5 inches, the rear is 17 x 4.25 inches. Again, those wheels are aimed at street use, and the tires in the photos are none too knobby-looking. There’s a two-position adjustable seat (810mm or 830 mm) and the windshield and handlebars are also adjustable.
The rest of the bike
The Tiger 850 Sport comes with a 5-inch TFT dash, controlled by the left-hand switchgear (that’s also how you change the riding mode settings). Riders can select from four different options for their TFT display. There’s a 12-volt charger on the bike as standard, to keep your mobile device batteries charged.
The headlight, taillight and signals are all LED, where legal. For 2021, Triumph’s selling the bike in Graphite and Diablo Red or Graphite and Caspian Blue. As always, there’s a comprehensive range of accessories available from the factory, to customize your look or expand the bike’s capabilities. Triumph offers a centrestand, an Arrow muffler, and Givi luggage (Trekker side-opening panniers with 52-litre two-helmet top box, or Expedition top-opening aluminum panniers with 42-litre top box). Triumph currently has 60 factory accessories for the Tiger 850, which all carry a two-year unlimited mileage warranty, just like the bike itself.
So what’s Triumph at here? When the rest of the market is building up-spec’d bikes (see also: KTM 890 Adventure R, BMW GS Adventure, etc.), why is Triumph building a slightly wimpier version of its adventure bike?
Easy: Triumph is finally setting its sights on a market segment it’s ignored for years. Triumph has been focusing on premium motorcycles for years, with little available at the lower end of the price range. About a decade ago, there was a 250 platform in the working, but that skunk works project was canceled once the bigwigs realized it would be obsolete by the time it arrived on the market. Other than that, Triumph’s been playing up its T100 series and 675 street bikes as lower-priced models, but they’re still pricey.
Now, we have the new 660 Trident roadster taking aim at the middleweight 650-750 market, and Triumph’s obviously realizing there’s room to grow elsewhere, too. The new Tiger 850 isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s the lowest-priced Tiger in the lineup. Don’t be shocked if we see more machines along these lines in the months to come. That long-awaited Indian manufacturing project should be coming online one of these days …