Triumph Tiger 850 Sport


Ollie Rooke takes to the city to examine the Triumph Tiger 850 Sport’s urban riding credentials

After spending the past couple of years living in sleepy suburbia, I finally found myself missing city life enough to make the move to Coventry.

I know, it’s hardly Paris, but there’s something about traffic noise and regular sirens in the distance that speaks to my soul (I did grow up in London after all). The move has taught me a few things.

Firstly, I’m a hoarder biologically incapable of throwing away a single piece of camping or biking gear. Secondly, there’s a wheeler-dealer in me that loves trawling Facebook marketplace for cut-price furniture.

But it’s on my daily commute that I learnt the biggest lesson of all. With my journey now taking in the city streets of Coventry, it’s been a chance to test the filtering and low-speed abilities of the long-term bikes in the ABR fleet. And sadly, one of them has struggled more than the others.

If you’ve read my previous long-term updates about life with the Triumph Tiger 850 Sport, you’ll know I’ve been hugely impressed with it. The base-spec Tiger is a nippy, responsive, and fun adventure bike that you can own for a very competitive price indeed. It particularly excelled on my old commute which involving a stretch of motorway, a few fast A-roads, and some twisting country lanes.

But there’s another side to that coin, and it’s the behaviour of the Tiger at low speeds. That feisty character that makes it so much fun to ride on faster roads also results in a bike that feels snatchy around town and requires a fair bit of feathering of the clutch to crawl along in a line of traffic.


Price: From £9,300
Engine: Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder
Power: 84bhp at 8,500rpm
Torque: 82Nm at 6,500rpm
Suspension: Front: Marzocchi 45mm upside down forks. Rear: Marzocchi rear suspension unit, manual preload adjustment
Brakes: Front: Twin 320mm floating discs, Brembo Stylema four piston monoblock callipers. Rear: Marzocchi rear suspension unit, manual preload adjustment
Weight: 192kg (dry)
Tank capacity: 20l
Seat height: 810-830mm

In an effort to calm things down a touch, I have taken to using the rain mode when riding in busy traffic. While it’s impressive to see a base-spec bike equipped with two riding modes as standard, in practice the difference between the two is pretty minimal, it’s hard to tell which one you’re in.

Sure, it removes a bit of the jerkiness, but I’d like it to smooth out the throttle even more to make slow-speed riding around town a more relaxed affair.

But despite learning that the 850 Sport isn’t at home with my new life as a city slicker, once I leave the bright lights of Coventry behind and hit the open road, the Triumph is back in its element and is a joy to ride.

As a do-it-all machine that’ll even handle a few light trails, it’s a thoroughly capable motorcycle which represents great value for money. I’ve ridden across country on motorways, and I’ve tackled some mountain passes on it, and the Tiger has taken it all in its stride.

But no bike is perfect, and it’s taken a house move to find out that the Tiger doesn’t like being caged in the city. But should I be surprised? It is made for adventure after all.