Is triumph’s base-spec tiger a diamond in the rough? Ollie Rooke reckons so
As a Crystal Palace fan, I’m used to watching abject performances on the grassy turf of Selhurst Park. While it’s borne little to no fruit in the pursuit of watching a team win any silverware, I’m certain the experience of supporting a ‘lesser’ team has helped me develop a few valuable qualities.
One of these qualities is that I’ve got pretty good at spotting promise in young, up and coming players. Their promise and potential tend to shine brightly amongst their mediocre teammates, like diamonds in the rough. And I reckon I’ve discovered another of these, although this one comes with two wheels rather than two legs.
I’m, of course, talking about the Triumph Tiger 850 Sport. This is a bike that I’m convinced is under-rated amongst the current abundant crop of mid-capacity adventure bikes on the market today. That’s not to say that it’s the best bike around, but if you are willing to stump up the very reasonable £9,400 that Triumph is asking for, then rest assured you’ll be getting a bargain, and here’s why.
But, to begin with, I’d like to address a question I’m asked a lot. Why does it have the word ‘Sport’ in its name? After all, the 850 is powered by the same 888cc engine found in the Tiger 900 range, but which has been detuned to make 84bhp, that’s 10 less bhp than its bigger brothers.
This is a move that seems a little at odds with tacking the word ‘Sport’ on the resulting bike. I imagine it’s a marketing move to stop the 850 Sport from being viewed simply as a base-spec Tiger 900, but I’m pleased to report that there is more than a hint of sportiness about the 850 model.
The triple-cylinder engine powering the bike is perky, responsive, and downright fun to ride. And, while it doesn’t have the gut-wrenching punch of more powerful bikes, it never fails to put a smile on my face, even after six months in the saddle.
During this time, I’ve commuted at least twice a week along A-roads, country lanes, and a few congested town centre streets, and the Tiger 850 Sport has proved reliable and fun
to ride throughout, while providing a decent amount of weather protection.
And, wheeling the medium-sized Tiger out of my garage and using it on my ride to work somehow seems far less faff than doing the same on some of the larger, more powerful bikes in the ABR long-term fleet, which can feel a bit of a cumbersome overkill for a short 20-minute blast to work.
In fact, I can’t think of too many bikes better suited to the task. And when we look again at that £9,400 price tag, it makes even more sense. This is especially true when you consider I’ve had heated grips and a full set of aluminium luggage fitted which, if you do the same, will still give you change from £10,000. With a little bit of polish, this diamond starts to shine even brighter.