Triumph’s Tiger line has long been a dominant force in the ADV-bike world, but the factory focused its efforts on 800 cc models and up. All that changes for MY2022 with the release of the new Tiger Sport 660. Built as a street-centric adventure machine, the “Sport” extends the Tiger lineup deep into the mid-range to appeal to a wider range of rider.
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, Triumph’s designs land in somewhat stodgy territory. However, that is decidedly not the case with this newest addition to the Tiger family, the Tiger Sport 660. A blend of subtle curves and hard angles lend this particular Trumpet a certain je ne sais quoi that is unmatched by its siblings to give it a sporty finish befitting its moniker. In fact, given just a glance at the profile, you could be forgiven for thinking this was a straight-up sportbike; but no cigar, the adventuresome spirit is baked right into its DNA.
The sporty-goodness is apparent right out of the gate in the engineered front fender. The fender doubles as a spoiler for the front forks to encourage the slipstream into something close to laminar flow and small cheek fairings double as radiator shrouds. A blunt entry splits the wind with an almost rally-style windscreen that has a scoop top to extend the rider’s pocket upwards just a skosh. It comes vented to relieve the low pressure behind the glass and mitigate the head-buffet effect somewhat. The windscreen is adjustable as well. You can drop it as low as 51.77 inches off the deck or jack it up as high as 55.04 inches tall to cover a spread of rider body types.
Angled headlight recesses add character to the Tiger Sport’s mug with LED projectors that really throw the lumens downrange for effective two-way visibility. Behind the glass, a color TFT screen bundles all of the instrumentation in one spot. If you spring for the accessory My Triumph Connectivity System, it will wirelessly network with your smartphone to unlock the phonecall and navigation goodness along with GoPro control.
There’s a bit of rise and pullback in the handlebar and its clamp to push your hands up and back toward your trunk for a nice, relaxed upright riding posture that will be kind on your back over the long run. A 4.5-gallon fuel tank dominates the flyline ahead of a deep dive to the pilot’s seat that slings your butt at 32.87 inches high. The pillion pad gives your passengers stadium seating to complete the deep swale that pulls the rider down and into the bike for good rider-machine integration, and positive pilot containment.
All of the rearward lighting rides either in the tip of the tail, which is nice and clean looking, or on the lick ’em-stick ’em rear mudguard. The way the tail tapers and the void between subframe and rear wheel gives the Tiger Sport an all-up-front visual balance to further deepen its sportbike ties. A swingarm-mount hugger completes the fling containment out back and finishes out the look.
For the Tiger Sport 660, Triumph goes straight to tubular steel material for the perimeter-style frame members for the strength they bring to the table. As is normal nowadays, it still relies on the engine as a stressed member to reach its final rigidity. A gull-wing swingarm completes the bones with even more steel yummygoodness and an engineered shape that minimizes unsprung weight at the rear axle.
Rake is dead-short at only 23.1 degrees from the vertical, as is the trail figure that comes in at only 3.82-inches long. This gives the Tiger Sport a sporty attitude and an absolute willingness to dive into the turns with authority, though this is a trade off that will make it a tad touchy at interstate speeds and in crosswinds.
The factory switched to cast aluminum for its symmetrical 17-inch rims lined with Michelin Road 5 hoops in a 120/70 ahead of a 180/55, all in a top-tier “Z” speed rating. Nissin supplies the brake hardware with twin-piston front anchors that bite 310 mm discs, while out back, a single-pot caliper and and 255 mm disc take care of business.
In the stems, Showa makes out like a bandit with a set of its inverted, 41 mm forks that separate the damping and support duties between the two forks to the benefit of both efforts. Out back, a Showa monoshock floats the rear end with remote hydraulic preload adjustment that lets you dial in for your current load. Suspension travel is fairly generous at 5.9-inches front and rear, so it’ll take the punishment from the grittiest of urban jungles.
Twin-piston engines are generally the usual go-to for this displacement bracket, but Triumph does things a little differently on the Tiger Sport 600. The factory plugged in a 660 cc triple instead. This three-banger mill runs a 74.04 mm bore and 51.1 mm stroke with a spicy 11.95-to-1 compression ratio that’ll demand top hook road swill to prevent knock/ping/dieseling and its associated internal engine damage.
Dual over-head cams time the 12-valve head – that’s four poppets per bore – for efficient aspiration. A ride-by-wire throttle control sends rider demand to the system, which in turn actuates the butterflies in the throttle bodies and enables a number of electronic ride-quality features. The Sport rocks a stock traction control that can be switched off if you decide to get a little jiggy with it. Additionally, a pair of Riding Modes let you quickly dial in for wet or dry riding conditions on the fly.
Power flows from the engine to the six-speed transmission through a slip-and-assist clutch that provides an extra layer of protection for the rear contact patch with its anti-hop feature and delivers a light pull weight at the lever. While it doesn’t come stock, the Sport does come ready to receive an accessory quickshifter that’ll let you quickly bang your way through the gears without having to roll off the throttle or even touch the clutch.
As for power, Triumph claims an 80-horsepower top end at 10,250 rpm, backed up by 47.2 pound-feet of torque that comes on fully at 6,250 rpm, with a top speed of 140 mph. If you live in a region with a tiered licensing system, this machine can be made A2 compliant to meet your needs, then tuned back up when you’re ready to take the training wheels off.
Triumph lets loose of its new Tiger Sport 660 for a debut price of $9,295. Pick from a trio of two-tone paint packages with Lucerne Blue over Sapphire Black, Korosi Red over Graphite, and Graphite over Black on the palette.
Triumph might be new to the mid-range ADV bike game, but its competition is not, and the Versys 650 ABS from Kawasaki looks like a good fit for my head-to-head, so let’s get to it.
Kawi rolls out a newly-refreshed package with new bodywork that, to be fair, seems to gravitate toward the sport sector in much the same way as the Tiger. No, not exactly alike, but close enough to appeal to the same sort of buyer I’ll wager.
Both rides benefit from TFT technology in the instrumentation, and credit where it’s due, Kawi throws on a wireless smartphone connection with the standard equipment package to enable its infotainment features.
The parallel-twin engine in the Versys displaces 649 cc against the Trumpet’s 660 cc, and that shortfall is accompanied by a slight grunt deficit with only 44.8 pounds o’ grunt against 47.2 pound-feet from the Tiger. That’s barely enough to register on the real dyno, let alone the ol’ heinie dyno, but there it is.
Kawi picks up a slim advantage at the checkout with its $8,899 base price for significant savings at this price point.
Read our full review of the Kawasaki Versys 650.
“The evolution of the ADV bike continues, and even though this isn’t a proper dual-surface machine, its refined street chops make up for it to make this bike a pavement-specialist. I like the sporty body style as well, certainly more than models that were available just one or two model-generations or so ago, and think that this will definitely rope in some riders that may have been put off by the early ADV designs.”
My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The Tiger Sport 660 is a really nice value-priced middleweight adventure bike. It’s an adventurized Trident 660 platform so comfort is improved for long-distance touring but it retains the sporty handling and thrilling-performance nature.”