Bruno Tagli­a­ferri

BIKE (UK) - - TRIUMPH’S TRIUMPHS -

I’VE GOT A real soft spot for the Tiger be­cause I was at Tri­umph when the first one came out in 1993. It was the seventh new model, af­ter the Tro­phy 1200 and 900, the two Day­tonas and the two Tri­dents, and it’s been in the range ever since. How many other bikes have been sell­ing for that long? Orig­i­nally it was con­ceived as what we used to call a cross­coun­try bike, and it did re­ally well, es­pe­cially in Ger­many and Italy. It was a char­ac­ter bike – it was bul­bous and top heavy with a high cen­tre of grav­ity, but it had charisma and peo­ple liked that. Over the years it evolved. For ex­am­ple it started off as a 900cc triple, but when the T509 fuel in­jected Speed Triple came out, the Tiger adopted that en­gine – that was 1997. And then when we got the 1050 en­gine that pow­ered the Sprint and Speed Triple, that went into the Tiger in 2005. And the loy­alty to­wards it is amaz­ing. We’ve got a lot of peo­ple on their fourth or fifth Tiger at the fac­tory. There’s a lad in war­ranties who’s on his sixth – he says it’s a great bike to get to work on, and then him and his mis­sus use it to head down to the West Coun­try on a Fri­day night for week­ends away. Is the Tiger Sport over­looked in the cur­rent range? Well, I re­mem­ber read­ing some­where that it wasn’t a star striker but a re­ally pol­ished de­fender, and that seems about right to me. It doesn’t grab the head­lines like the lat­est Speed Triples, but the Tiger Sport has be­come an ex­cel­lent sports tourer, tak­ing over where the Sprint left off. De­spite the new Tigers, there’s still a place for the Tiger Sport. Don’t for­get that the top of the range Tiger 1200 is £19,017 and the Tiger Sport is £10,900 and with that price dif­fer­ence peo­ple will sac­ri­fice hav­ing the lat­est elec­tronic sus­pen­sion, shift as­sist, or TFT screen be­cause in to­day’s mar­ket it’s a good buy. And not ev­ery­one wants the lat­est high-spec bike. I’m of the school that doesn’t want the lat­est iphone 10 – I just want some­thing to make calls on, text and get on the in­ter­net. Some­times we un­der­es­ti­mate the fact that some bikes with high spec­i­fi­ca­tion are in­tim­i­dat­ing. There are no plans to drop it, though of course mar­kets change so you never know – the Sprint ST was dropped be­cause of that. Since day one we’ve sold just un­der 50,000 Tigers glob­ally and about 12,000 in Bri­tain. At the mo­ment we’re sell­ing about 400 Tiger Sports a year in the UK, which doesn’t sound much, but re­mem­ber there’s only ten big bikes here that sell more than 1000 a year. And it’s pop­u­lar in Europe and Aus­trala­sia. It’s been a good bike for us. It helped make Tri­umph what we are to­day.

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