Tiger Sport


The Tiger Sport is what it says... it's a sports bike... it's not a long distance tourer... the confusion for me is its Tiger badge!

So it's goodbye Tiger Sport....

I’m sad to report after just 4 months and 5000 miles I’m parting company with my Tiger Sport. And after owning five previous Tigers over the past 10 years, no one is more disappointed than me. Somehow I’ve just not bonded with this model. I suppose I’m paying the price for buying a bike I’d not test-ridden or even seen until I collected mine from the showroom. But I’d waited and waited for the Tiger Sport launch, forgoing any attention to the birth of the 1200 Explorer, staying faithful, knowing the new TS would be the bike for me….

It all started going wrong the day I rode my 1050 to the trade-in, immediately I sat on the new Sport it felt wrong. I felt perched on top of the seat and didn’t feel part of the bike as with previous models. Coupled with that, the stock seat was extremely uncomfortable – after 50 miles on my way home I really needed to get off. Previously I could ride a bike to the tank range no bother. My wife who occasionally rides pillion also commented on how uncomfortable the rear seat was. I set about trying to solve this issue with adjustments to the suspension and the addition of Triumph’s expensive comfort seat which rendered an improvement but not a solution. I think the narrower seat shape coupled with the lower /flatter bars creates a rider posture which for some reason doesn’t suit my 6 foot frame. It feels like there is less leg room to the pegs. All these subtle differences began to niggle me – and if you can’t get comfortable then it just doesn’t matter how good the rest of the bike is.

Another big disappointment came when I added the Triumph panniers and how they spoiled the look of the bike. The boxes cantilever way beyond the bike creating an overall width of nearly 1100mm – that’s 3’-7” in old money! A lot wider than anything I’ve ever seen, including Ewan’s over-sized GS aluminium adventure boxes. Filtering would now literally take on a whole new dimension. Granted, the brackets are a work of art but why the huge waste of space between the boxes and the bike? The shape of the panniers are not designed to complement the TS and have obviously been lifted from another model in the Triumph range. The end result looks clumsy and style-less whilst on tour. Chevronned Wide Load stickers come to mind and would not be out of place! I also found the panniers are prone to roll over onto their outer painted face when off the bike, and when opened from upright the lower edges of the gloss finished doors are levered into the ground. Not good when they cost close on a hundreds of pounds!

Still maybe it’s me?, so I persevered with the excessive width and inadequate comfort and took the bike on a 3000 mile trip around the Alps – nothing I haven’t done several times on previous Tigers, but towards the end this turned out to be a real endurance test. I became more frustrated and uncomfortable with the fuelling when tackling hairpin bends. On the apex and just for a milli-second it always felt like the engine had cut out leaving you stranded and without any cornering confidence, before abruptly picking up again. (the TOR tune on my 1050 was far more forgiving and compliant). Do everyone’s foot pegs and bar ends buzz like mine? By this stage, as you can tell, I was focussing on any and every small irritation compounding my overall feeling of dissatisfaction with the bike. Some rational, and some not.

On top of all this, whilst sitting in stationary traffic on a main road, the van in front decided to reverse – yes reverse into my new Tiger Sport, climbing up on the front wheel smashing the plastics whilst I watched helplessly on board. I know this was a random unrelated event but at this low point it served to prove I felt no love for the Tiger Sport – it was just a bike that needed repairing and.... trading-in.

I’m sure you’re wondering what I traded the TS for. None other than the Explorer 1200 ; a Tiger I didn’t expect to graduate to for at least another couple of years.  Just for the record, the width of the standard Explorer luggage is 965mm – that’s a full 5 inches less than the Sport!!

I’m also sure the Tiger Sport is a good bike but just not the bike for me, and on reflection a backward step from my standard 1050 Tiger.

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