Motorcycle Reviews

Triumph Tiger 850 Sport Review

Triumph Tiger 850 Sport

Early in 2020, Triumph Motorcycles upgraded its popular 800 lineup by introducing the Tiger 900, Tiger 900 GT / GT Pro, and Tiger 900 Rally / Rally Pro. But a year later, the Tiger 900 was replaced with another motorcycle – the Tiger 850 Sport. It can look like a tricky move because, for most people, it looked like a “cheaper” bike rather than a widespread and well-welcomed 900 lineup. However, many people don’t get the right image for that bike. So, let’s dive deeper and see why this bike is one of the most overlooked all-rounders.

Triumph Tiger 850 Sport Review by Sergey Vikultsev

Triumph Tiger 850 Sport Review

First, let’s see what is similar and different for the Triumph 850 vs 900 GT/Rally/Pro lineup. One of the most significant differences is the electronics setup. 850 doesn’t have cruise control or connectivity. With it, some other functions are limited as well. For instance, you cannot install heated seats but heated grips are available. Mechanically, the bike is still the same chassis, engine, and frame as every other motorcycle in this lineup. If you wish to watch a completed detailed comparison, you can watch the respective video on my YouTube channel.

Why did Triumph create this bike with such limitations? Or should we consider that as a limitation? My guess is the targeted audience. Triumph wanted to give access to the adventure world to someone who has yet to have any specific preference or understanding of what they want from the bike. At this point, there is no “accessible” motorcycle in this category for Triumph.

If we speak about BMW, there is the F750GS, a more accessible variant of the F850GS. Tiger 850 is a typical crossover; it is versatile, does what is needed, and has no extras you might not want to pay for. If we compare with the car world, say, the Toyota Rav4 will be the same proposition for those who don’t need a Toyota Land Cruiser.

Also, this motorcycle has a sports badge on it. The same badge is available for the smaller sibling – Tiger 660 Sport. These two motorbikes offer great value and functionality, whereas 900 and 1200 platforms have more of a “pro approach”. Most people don’t need 4-5 ride modes, fully adjustable suspension, or an advanced electronics suit. You only sometimes use them if you are a Pro user or frequent traveller. And that’s the goal of Tiger 850 Sport, to offer things you need to start the engine and go anywhere you want with no headache.

Triumph Tiger 850 Sport in Durmitor National Park

Triumph Tiger 850 Sport / Durmitor National Park

So, what does this bike offer? It offers access to the same experience as the Tiger 900 platform. It’s the same full-size adventure-style motorcycle, which can do both paved and gravel roads. Motorcycles can be used in the city, but they can also travel miles on intercity highways. The bike can attack twisties and go for a long trip carrying as much luggage as you need for any journey. It is comfortable for two up rides.

Panniers and top case can be added to the bike for better luggage capacity.  It has a 20L tank that provides excellent mileage on one refill. It gives a premium feel and experience, has two ride modes for most scenarios on the road (Rain and Road), a super comfy suspension setup, and high-profile Brembo brakes. Again, the great thing about this bike is that it has access to the same parts widely available for every Tiger 900 model.

Triumph Tiger 850 Sport Review by Sergey Vikultsev

Triumph Tiger 850 Sport in the Mountains of Montenegro

So, what can be an alternative for this motorcycle? Say the BMW F750GS (or new 800GS) is a smaller bike and only provides the same package as the box unless you specify it with all extras. But in that case, the price difference will be significant. The Suzuki V-Strom 800 is a real competition. It has a bulletproof, reliable engine, is a suite of electronics, and is low-priced. But design language cannot be for everyone. The Yamaha Tenere is on the off-road side, not a touring machine. Yes, it has a more robust nature and can do serious dirt, but Tiger is the most versatile offer with the premium touch if that is a goal for you.