TRI­UMPH TIGER SPORT WORLD FIRST TEST ‘ This ver­sa­tile all­rounder just keeps on im­prov­ing’

Con­tin­ued over

Motorcycle News (UK) - - New Bikes - By Adam Child MCN SE­NIOR ROAD TESTER

he Tiger Sport has al­ways nes­tled in the shad­ows of Tri­umph’s huge 38-model range, earn­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as an all-rounder rather than a show­stop­per – a more de­pend­able de­fender than star striker. But in the highly com­pet­i­tive field of 17in front-wheel ad­ven­ture-styled bikes, the Sport was start­ing to look and feel a lit­tle ba­sic and dated, es­pe­cially against con­sid­er­ably more ex­pen­sive bikes like Du­cati’s DVT Mul­tistrada.

So for 2016 Tri­umph have given the Tiger a new lease of life. The chas­sis re­mains pretty much as it was but they’ve heav­ily re­vised the al­ready torquey three-cylin­der en­gine with a claimed 104 changes plus a new ex­haust, air­box and fuel map­ping. Peak torque and power have only in­creased a frac­tion but the spread has changed sig­nif­i­cantly; there’s four per cent in­crease in torque at 5250rpm and a four to six per cent in­crease in power be­tween 5 and 7000rpm.

The old Tiger was lack­ing spec and rider aids, but Tri­umph have ad­dressed this is­sue by adding trac­tion con­trol as stan­dard, which is change­able via three modes: Rain, Road and Sport. Cruise con­trol (and ABS) also comes as stan­dard; there’s a new 12v power socket and a USB socket un­der the seat for charg­ing your phone. An ad­justable, tinted flip screen makes its de­but, though it’s man­u­ally not elec­tron­i­cally ad­justable. There are new clocks while hand­guards come fac­tory-fit­ted, as do wind de­flec­tors ei­ther side of the new screen. There are new graph­ics, a new seat with an em­bossed logo, and new, grip­pier pegs. Oh, and the clutch is now a claimed 48% lighter.

It’s ev­i­dent the Tri­umph team have been busy. How­ever, I’ve saved the most ex­cit­ing news un­til last, and that’s the price. At £10,300 the Tiger Sport is nearly £3000 cheaper than the Du­cati Mul­tistrada and over £2000 cheaper than BMW’S S1000XR.

TOn the road

Tri­umph claim the Tiger Sport is de­signed to ‘ex­cel at ev­ery as­pect of mo­tor­cy­cling from scratch­ing to tour­ing and more’. Luck­ily I was the first per­son out­side Tri­umph to ride the new Tiger Sport and ini­tially it felt like the old Tiger Sport, which is no bad thing. But then I no­ticed the neat new switchgear and clocks, which are in­for­ma­tive and easy to nav­i­gate. There’s a pleas­ing Tri­umph logo on the fuel cap, while those hand­guards took the morn­ing chill away from my sum­mer gloves and the screen seemed wider and taller.

De­spite be­ing Euro4 com­pli­ant there’s a lovely three-cylin­der bark from the Hinck­ley mo­tor’s new ex­haust. The clutch is two finger-light and at low speeds the fu­elling feels per­fect. As we ne­go­ti­ated small French towns the big Tiger Sport felt less me­chan­i­cal, more re­fined and in some ways softer than I re­mem­ber.

Once away from the tiny cob­bled streets and head­ing to­wards the Alps it was time to let the Tiger Sport out of its cage to see if it lives up to its ‘sport’ ti­tle. Its fully ad­justable Showa sus­pen­sion is iden­ti­cal to the old bike’s while the new Tiger Sport has gained just 2kg de­spite all of its new toys, and I couldn’t de­tect any dif­fer­ence in the way it han­dles.

The sus­pen­sion is con­trolled and the ride is sporty: the forks don’t dive ex­ces­sively when you ap­ply the Nissin Abs-as­sisted brakes, which are now stronger than be­fore due to a new ra­tio at the lever, nor does the rear sit when you ap­ply the power. Un­like the old bike you now have trac­tion con­trol to com­ple­ment the han­dling. It isn’t lean an­gle sen­si­tive, nor does it mea­sure pitch or yaw, but sim­ply mea­sures the dif­fer­ences in wheel speed, while mon­i­tor­ing gear and throt­tle po­si­tion along with en­gine speed and acts ac­cord­ingly. It’s a rather sim­ple sys­tem but it works smoothly and has an­ti­wheelie built in. You can cer­tainly make the Tiger Sport hus­tle, ground

‘There’s a lovely three-cylin­der bark from the Hinck­ley mo­tor’s new ex­haust’

Sus­pen­sion set­tings are the same as the pre­vi­ous model, even the same springs and weight. This means you have a fully ad­justable Showa 43mm up­side-down fork up front, and on the rear is a sin­gle Showa rear shock ad­justable for preload and re­bound damp­ing. Tri­umph claim 104 in­ter­nal changes to the en­gine and gear­box, which in­clude a new cylin­der head with new in­let ports and pis­ton de­sign. There are new in­jec­tors, a new ex­haust de­sign and si­lencer, ECU and the in­tro­duc­tion of rideby-wire. The ride-by-wire sys­tem al­lows cruise con­trol, trac­tion con­trol, anti-wheelie and the use of three throt­tle maps, Rain, Road and Sport. Each mode changes the throt­tle re­sponse, en­gine out­put (rain mode) and al­ters the level of trac­tion con­trol in­ter­ven­tion. The Tiger’s screen is now ad­justable and can be done on the move with one hand. There’s ad­di­tional ‘Aero Dif­fusers’ ei­ther side of the screen to de­flect the wind blast fur­ther. Hand guards also come as stan­dard and are great at keep­ing the chilly breeze off your pinkies.

The trac­tion con­trol is change­able on the move via the modes, but there are only two op­tions. You can de-ac­ti­vate the TC but only at a stand­still, and you can’t re­set the TC once on the move if you’ve opted to dis­en­gage it. The TC will re­set to ac­tive ev­ery time the bike is turned on. The new Tiger gets re­designed badges and graph­ics, while Tri­umph have im­proved the over­all level of de­tail­ing. Wheel spin­dles have a bil­let alu­minium fin­ish and the mir­rors get an em­bossed logo. There are two colour choices avail­able: black with neon, or sil­ver with red. There are 38 of­fi­cial Tri­umph ac­ces­sories for this model, from per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing items like an Ar­row ex­haust, to com­fort-im­prov­ing ex­tras like heated grips. And of course there’s lots of lug­gage; box pan­niers, tail packs, tank bags and more. clear­ance is im­pres­sive for this type of bike and would only be­come an is­sue on track or when fully loaded two up.

The er­gonomics – bars, foot­pegs and seat po­si­tion – are as per the old bike: up­right and com­fort­able, while the fuel tank stays at 20 litres. Tri­umph claim the re­vised mo­tor is eight per cent more fru­gal and good for 54mpg. I man­aged to av­er­age 49mpg but was mak­ing the most of smooth mo­tor up the stun­ning Alpine roads.

The three en­gine maps are change­able from the mode but­ton on the dash. Once you’ve cho­sen your spe­cific mode you sim­ply close the throt­tle and pull the clutch in to ac­ti­vate it. It’s an id­iot­proof sys­tem but I’d pre­fer to have the mode but­ton on the bar not on the clock, like the new Tri­umph Ex­plorer, es­pe­cially as it’s a lit­tle awk­ward reach­ing over the bars to the dash.

Once you’ve switched the mode there’s a no­tice­able change in power and en­gine char­ac­ter­is­tics. I spent most of the day in the stan­dard Road mode, but if you want that ex­tra dol­lop of power then opt for the sports mode, which gives the Tiger Sport a kick up the arse with­out dis­turb­ing its smooth fu­elling. Switch­ing be­tween the modes changes the trac­tion con­trol’s in­ter­ven­tion level au­to­mat­i­cally, most no­tice­ably in Rain mode (which also lim­its peak power to 100bhp).

The re­vised mo­tor is even smoother than be­fore, and dur­ing our long ride in south­ern France I never felt the need for more power. I ini­tially used the gear­box and revs far too much but quickly learnt to ex­ploit the triple’s ex­cel­lent spread of torque in­stead. Once you click with the Tiger Sport’s char­ac­ter, us­ing its great han­dling to carry mo­men­tum and play­ing in the en­gine’s midrange, you can re­ally start to have fun, cut­ting up moun­tain roads with­out rid­ing or act­ing like a hooli­gan.

Usu­ally the end of a long test ride leaves me tired and look­ing for­ward to the ho­tel bar, but af­ter a full-on blast on the Tiger Sport I could have eas­ily taken on more. I would have hap­pily taken on the test route through the stun­ning French Alps again or plonked a pil­lion on the back and taken a trip down the coast to Monaco for an evening meal. I could have even rid­den home to the UK if Tri­umph hadn’t needed the bike back. From the south of France to the Tri­umph fac­tory in Hinck­ley in two days? No prob­lem. Not many bikes are so ver­sa­tile, es­pe­cially those you can secure for just over £10,000.

Tiger’s now avail­able in this strik­ing-but-stealthy black and neon colourscheme

A plush ride Left hand M-but­ton tog­gles the mode, but it’s hard to reach Ma­jor changes to the mo­tor Ex­haust isn’t pretty but it cer­tainly sounds good Tiger goes techno Neat in­di­ca­tors sit above restyled graph­ics Screen star Pro­tec­tive hand­guards come as s

Rider aids Look­ing good Giv­ing you ex­tra One-piece seat is comfy for pil­lions too Tiger treads the per­fect line be­tween sport and com­fort Nissin calipers give Tiger’s brakes bite

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