The Triumph Tiger 850 Sport Breaks Cover

Photo credit: Triumph UK

It’s silly season for the introduction of new, or tweaked, models from the world’s motorcycle manufacturers. Triumph have always been particularly good at leveraging a number of variants from a base model—just look at their vast range of Bonneville-based modern classics. Now enter the Tiger range.

Triumph understands that many adventure bikes will never put a wheel in the dirt, but that their ergonomics hold huge appeal to a broad spectrum of riders. Not everyone needs, or can afford, the power or dirt ability of a Tiger 900 Rally Pro. So why not build a more accessible, asphalt-biased adventure bike?

Photo credit: Triumph UK

That’s precisely what they’ve done, with the new Triumph Tiger 850 Sport.

The 850 Sport’s styling is Tiger through and through, but with some svelte street clothing. It’s a stylish, yet practical option for road riding, sports touring, and maybe a little light off-roading. The Tiger 900’s 888 cc crossplane triple has been reworked to put out a punchy 82 Nm of torque at a reasonable 6,500 rpm, and 85 ponies at 8,500 rpm.

Photo credit: Triumph UK

Twin response low down, with triple hit up top, is what this motor is all about—along with the unique crossplane triple soundtrack. 16,000 km service intervals suggest that this is a bike that is meant to be really ridden!

Photo credit: Triumph UK

Specifications are generous, given that this, as the least expensive Tiger, is meant to be a serious value proposition. Brakes are ABS-enabled Brembo Stylemas, with 320 mm dual discs up front, and a single 255 mm rotor out back.

Photo credit: Triumph UK

45mm USD Marzocchi cartridge forks offer 180 mm of travel up front, with a gas-filled, preload adjustable, rear shock providing 170 mm.

Photo credit: Triumph UK

Wheels are a 150/70×17” rear and a versatile 100/90×19” in front. All of this promises the characteristically good handling and road manners that we have come to expect from the British manufacturer.

Photo credit: Triumph UK

The electronics package is comprehensive, with ride info served up on a 5” TFT display (smaller than the Tiger 900’s 7” unit). The 850 Sport only comes with ‘road’ and ‘rain’ rider modes, but it does have LED lights with a daytime running light as standard. And it has a 12V socket too… nice!

Photo credit: Triumph UK

You also get a slipper and assisted clutch to make light work of whipping through the 6-speed gearbox.

Photo credit: Triumph UK

What we have here appears to be a competent, handsome, dynamic and oh-so-rideable thinking man’s sports tourer. A twenty litre fuel tank, plus a host of factory touring accessories, developed in collaboration with Givi, make the 850 Sport really versatile. Fully fuelled, the Tiger will weigh in at around the 215 kg mark. The seat height is adjustable from 810 to 830 mm, accommodating a wide range of riders, and the screen is height-adjustable.

Photo credit: Triumph UK

Available in two colour variants, Graphite and Diablo Red and Graphite and Caspian Blue, with striking 850 graphics, the Tiger is certainly a head turner. There’s no word on whether we’ll be getting the Tiger 850 Sport in South Africa, but in the UK it’s priced from £9,300. That puts it well below the £13,100 Rally Pro.

Photo credit: Triumph UK

Triumph seem to have done it again—this is no parts bin special, but rather a carefully considered and decently specc’ed package. It can take you to and from work, blast down a country road, then take you and your significant other on a cross country tour in comfort. Honda’s Crossrunner, Yamaha’s Tracer, BMW’s F 900 XR and Ducati’s Multistrada 950 now have some serious British competition.

My name is Dave Cilliers. I consider cars as four wheeled shopping baskets and only worth using as a last resort! For years bikes have been my primary transport. Racing, touring, commuting or just kicking up dust on African tracks, I have owned over 270 motorcycles and ridden millions of kilometres. I am happiest when sharing my passion for motorcycles with like minded people whilst traversing Africa in search of adventure.