VFM-est Triumph Tiger - New 850 Sport!

The tempting price tag for this simpler, entry-level Tiger will make you reassess your needs and wants carefully.

Meet Triumph’s Tiger 850 Sport, or as it should be thought of, the Tiger VFM. Why so? When the Sport is launched in India in February 2021, it is likely (as calculated by the Zigputer) to be cheaper than the entry level, for India, Tiger 900 GT by Rs 2.2 lakh! In other parts of the world the arrival of the Triumph Tiger 850 Sport will result in a much lower price drop as they have the base Tiger 900 on offer, which never made it to India. But does a lower price tag also mean a lesser experience. And where exactly is it lesser?

The BMW connection
To simplify, the Tiger 850 Sport is trying to emulate the entry level GS’ success, where the BMW F 750 GS’s popularity is outstripping the more serious and premium F 850 GS. First time big bike buyers, as identified by the folks at Hinckley, want something more manageable and accessible. Which implies, a motorcycle need not have the highest specification, the peakiest performance or the heftiest price tag. So what does it mean for the rider?

Is the motor lesser?
Triumph said the changes to the motor are intended to make the Tiger Sport easier to ride. On paper there is a drop of 10PS and 5Nm in peak figures. While we can’t imagine that making an adventure motorcycle significantly easier to ride, it surely makes it much easier for Triumph to position the 850 Sport lower down in the Tiger lineup. But why look a gift horse in the mouth we say. After all the 85PS of peak power is still plenty healthy and is made at a marginally lower 8500rpm compared to the 900’s 95PS at 8750rpm. But the peak torque of 82Nm is made at a much lower 6500rpm compared to 87Nm at 7250rpm, and promises easier drivability.

How exactly has this change of tune been created? Simple: software. Which means the core Tiger 900 DNA is still in place. Three cylinders, check. 888cc of displacement like on the Tiger 900, check. Rumbling exhaust note experienced on the Tiger 900, check. So, the T-plane crank? Obvio! The 16,000km service intervals are not to be scoffed at either. 

Less Tiger?
Nope. The Sport is absolutely on par with the Tiger 900. The alloy rims are wrapped with the same tyre sizes - 100/90 x 19” up front and 150/70 x 17” at the back. Swapping the front to a 17” rim wasn’t considered for the Sport because it is still meant to be an adventure motorcycle that can bang over rough roads with ease. The Michelin Anakee Adventure tyres, which despite being road-biased look likely to offer credible off-road performance, build on this argument. To that effect the 180mm of suspension travel from the 45mm USD fork and the 170mm of travel from the preload-adjustable monoshock at the rear are still the same. Marzocchi’s responsibility remains unchanged here, as does Brembo Stylema’s to help shed pace on this motorcycle. Which also means taming this Tiger isn’t going to be any easier as seat height (810 - 830mm) isn’t lower and weight (192kg) hasn’t dropped either. Tourers will be happy to note that the 50mm hand-adjustable windscreen is available here and Triumph will sell you a whole range of touring accessories ranging from luggage and protection to lighting and comfort parts. 

Sport? How?
The chassis geometry is the same as the Tiger 900 GT and given the same rim and tyre sizes, it should be just as fun around a winding road as the 900 GT. That name is a bit of a feint, unless, the LED turn indicators and LED DRLs’ flashiness satisfies your sport quotient. But buyers in India will note that opting for the Sport will mean missing out on cornering ABS, and rebound adjustability for the suspension at both ends when compared to the 900 GT. The 5” display won’t quite have the same sparkle as the GT’s 7” colour display and having two ride modes (Rain and Road) instead of four (Rain, Road, Off-road, Sport) might make you question whether saving the cash is really worth it.

So the Tiger 850 Sport promises plenty of the Tiger 900’s punch and excitement at a much lower price point. The inclusion of full LED lighting should step up its appeal too making it quite a tempting package on a budget. However, buyers looking at the 900s will find stepping down to the Sport a bit too much of a step down. But it’s only when Triumph announces prices in February 2021 that a lot of the 850 Sport’s promise and appeal will flesh out. So until its VFM tag is verified, hold on. In the meantime, remember, don’t take the Sport tag seriously.

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