Why to buy it?
- Engaging performance
- Flickable and precise handling
- Comfortable high-speed touring
Why avoid it?
- High price tag
- Could get better fitment
- Has cheaper alternatives
The success of Triumph’s 660cc triple platform became evident when we rode the Trident 660 extensively in 2021. The Hinckley manufacturer had the engineering of the motor and chassis spot on, making the Trident a completely entertaining piece of machinery. And so, by combining those two into another motorcycle and giving it the characteristics and name Triumph is most comfortable with, the Tiger Sport 660 came to be.
Now, the Tiger Sport 660 is the most affordable model in the Tiger line-up. However, with a price tag that is just Rs 2.8 lakh lesser than the more capable Tiger 850 Sport, why should you put your money down for the 660? Or should you walk in and pick the Kawasaki Versys 650 or Suzuki V-Strom 650 instead? Having ridden the Tiger Sport 660 for a few days, here is why we think you should…or shouldn’t…
Styling and Quality
Before we get into its skin, allow us to tell you what to expect before you see the motorcycle in the flesh. For a 660cc motorcycle, the Tiger Sport 660 is muscular. The half fairing, which contributes to the majority of its bulk has the right lines and creases for it to look sporty. The shape of the tank when viewed from the rear and the edgy tank shrouds are similar to the full-blown Tiger 900. Although a couple of miles away from Triumph’s current range of motorcycles, its front end is inspired by the Tiger 1050 Sport but has a sleek and modern appeal with its LED lighting. Well, if reimagined, this is how the bigger Tiger 1050 Sport could look if it weren’t discontinued last year.
Overall, the Tiger Sport 660 is well put together, justifying its price. There are no visible gaps or use of substandard materials anywhere. I particularly liked the sticky handlebar grips and the standard provision to mount panniers at the rear and the useable grab rails too. However, as you move to the front and take a sneak at the cockpit area, there is a contrast from the otherwise clean styling. The clutch cable has been left loose that intrudes a clear view of the display and also while inserting the key. That said, the fitting of the Tiger Sport’s display and windscreen unit isn’t top quality. We had the entire piece rattling away over road undulations- the same as when we rode the motorcycle for a short while last year.
Ergonomics and Comfort
The Tiger Sport 660’s spec sheet reads a seat height of 835mm, but once you swing a leg over, it doesn’t feel as daunting as it sounds. I am around 5’8” and could plant my foot on the ground without extra effort. And that’s thanks to the shape of the seat that tapers towards the tank. It also offers adequate support while not being overly wide either.
However, the Tiger Sport does feel like a big motorcycle and the seat height does have you perched up high. The wide handlebar and slightly rear-set footpegs make for an open yet relaxed riding triangle. After a good 200kms of riding, these ergonomics continued to feel spot on. Add to that, the tall windscreen and comfy seat kept fatigue further at bay.
This windscreen can be manually adjusted. And even though it takes some time to get used to adjusting it, it buffets winds well in the lowest setting too. As for the seat, it feels well cushioned- at the start and even after two to three hours of riding.
Performance and handling
Now, the suspension tune-up has been done keeping in mind the bike’s evident sport-touring nature. But even still, the Tiger Sport manages to offer a pretty comfy ride. While the feedback from potholes, road joints and rumblers at around 80kmph is prominent, as speeds increase, the Tiger Sport manages to mask these well. Out on the highways which present several bumps, crests and undulations, the setup at both ends feels right at home and pleasant.
And even though it is a tall, somewhat imposing motorcycle, it handles quite the opposite. The Tiger Sport is extremely flickable and agile at slow speeds making my commutes something that I looked forward to. And at higher speeds, it handles intuitively at every input in an assuring manner. Adding to the Tiger Sport 660’s handling abilities are the brilliantly sticky Michelin Road 5 tyres that performed well in wet conditions. So, if you chance on some twisties, the Tiger Sport will indulge you in an extremely stable and effortless ride.
The host of the party though is the 660cc, inline-three cylinder mill- the same as on the Trident 660 with both offering 80bhp and 64Nm. Now, these numbers are way more than its parallel-twin adversaries- the Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT and the Kawasaki Versys 650 which offer 70bhp and 65bhp each. Triumph has not only cleared its performance-focused intention with the output figures but also how the Tiger Sport puts down its power. It offers bursts of performance all through the rev range. It feels enthusiastic and wont’t mind being on its toes all day long.
The engine is at its strongest from 4000rpm to 7000rpm. And while it does hit a flat spot at the top-end, it manages to push the speedo to read 200kmph easily. While the performance is surely engaging, what I found endearing is the tractability and practicality the Tiger Sport presents. Slot it in sixth gear and it can tread at 35kmph without breaking a sweat, quickly gaining momentum as you open the throttle. Speaking of gear shifts, the unit we tested was fitted with the optional quick-shifter that works like a dream. What is even more impressive is the braking hardware. The Nissin-sourced setup offers ample bite and feedback and never faded even after extensive use.
But with that said, the 660cc engine on the Tiger Sport and Trident isn’t the most refined inline-three to come roll out from Hinckley. Some vibrations creep up from 3000rpm up to 5000rpm that sit on the handlebar as well as on the seat and can get quite buzzy if revved harder. The other gripe was the way it dissipates heat. Unlike the Trident, the Tiger Sport seems to get much hotter with the heat felt at the rider’s ankles and thrown straight at the pillion footrest.
Features and Technology
Triumph has packed in decent features for the Tiger Sport 660. You are offered full-LED lighting with auto-cancelling indicators (that can get a bit annoying at times). There also is a TFT screen which is the same as the one on the Trident, only fitted in a slightly bigger casing. This colour display can be connected to your smartphone only if the optional Bluetooth module has been purchased. It then gives access to call and text alerts as well.
As for electronic aids, the Tiger Sport features two ride modes- Road and Rain that alter throttle and traction control as well as ABS. And as additional equipment over the Trident, heated grips are part of the package.
Should you buy it?
The Tiger Sport 660 is an impressive sports tourer and serves its purpose to the T. It has comfy seating, as well as sporty and precise handling. What is commendable though is the engine. Not only is it responsively and exhilarating when you twist the throttle, it is also equally calm and useable when needed. The motor makes the Tiger Sport even more welcoming to riders upgrading to 600cc motorcycles. The motorcycle also looks the part if you like sleek and nimble designs. And when compared to the Trident, the Tiger Sport feels even more useable with a comfier ride. It is also much more stable at high speeds thanks to the fairing and windscreen.
But when it comes to pricing, the Tiger Sport 660 seems a tad farfetched. At Rs 9.08 lakh, ex-showroom, the motorcycle is just Rs 3.28 lakh cheaper than the Tiger 850 Sport that brings its mild off-roading abilities, a bigger engine and a larger fuel tank to the table. Moreover, when compared to its rivals, the Tiger Sport is expensive too. To put things in perspective, the Kawasaki Versys 650, except for performance, offers everything the Tiger Sport does at Rs 7.36 lakh, ex-showroom. It also comes with adjustable suspension for a more precise riding experience. On the other hand, the V-Strom 650 brings its dual-personality with knobbies and spoke wheels at Rs 8.88 lakh, ex-showroom.
So, should you buy the Triumph Tiger Sport 660? Yes, if you are looking for a comfy and fast, road-focused motorcycle to tour on and wouldn’t mind spending the significantly extra bucks. If not, you are already spoilt with choice by the Japanese…
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi