Roughly a few months ago Triumph surprised us with a new upcoming model in its popular Tiger adventure motorcycle line up. For many of us it was kind of a confusing move since the Tiger 900 already had five models that ranged from the Tiger 900 Base to the top tier Tiger 900 Rally Pro. However, Triumph decided to cut the production of the Tiger 900 Base in favor of a new model that was cheaper and a little bit more of a true beginner’s adventure motorcycle. What ended up emerging from Hinckley was the new 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport.
Coming in at just under $12,000 dollars the Tiger 850 Sport is very attractive from a financial stand point. At this price point the 850 Sport is perfect for someone who is interested in adventure riding but doesn’t really want to spend the money that the Tiger 900 GT Pro ($16,200) and Rally Pro ($17,100) come in at. While it doesn’t come equipped with some of the higher end features such as heated grips, cruise control, and adjustable suspension the Tiger 850 Sport still manages to deliver quite a bit.
Diving in, the Tiger 850 Sport comes equipped with a 5 inch TFT dash which is similar to the one that was found in the 900 Base and the previous generation Tiger 800 XCA. The TFT dash has the same displays of the 900 models and has the ability to select two riding modes, rain or road. Rain limits the power and torque outputs to the rear wheel to keep things safer when its wet out and the road mode is your normal run of the mill riding mode. While only having two riding modes maybe a turn off to some keep in mind this a budget friendly adventure bike.
As for the brakes and suspension the 850 Sport has the same Brembo Stylema four piston brake set up as the entire Tiger 900 line up along with ABS. The suspension has 45mm inverted forks and a manual preload adjusted rear shock. Surprisingly, the suspension was fairly good in my opinion and while it was soft under my weight of 215 pounds it had no issues at all. Keeping the bike planted to the ground is a 19/17 cast wheel combo which are the same wheel’s as the Tiger 900 GT that are shod with Michelin Anakee Adventure tires. I really was impressed with Triumph’s decision to use the Anakee Adventure Tires because it really shows that while the 850 Sport is road oriented it can still handle some light off road riding.
When I first saw the Tiger 850 Sport, I fell in love with its two-color schemes which in my opinion are a lot more vibrant than what the Tiger 900’s have. Looking at the bike on the side stand it still has the beautiful lines of the Tiger 900 and it should since it’s kind of like its little brother. The similarities between the two are present and while the 850 Sport is the cheaper option it still carries over some nice features from the 900’s such as the Brembo brakes, TFT dash, adjustable windshield, and the venerable 888cc T-Plane Triple engine. One thing that stood out to me with the 850 Sport were the similarities that it shared with the previous generation Tiger 800 ABS. From 2011 to 2014 Triumph produced the Tiger 800 ABS as a bare bones sport touring adventure bike compared to the more expensive but off-road oriented Tiger 800 XC. Having previously owned an 800 ABS the 850 Sport is kind of a throwback to the basic adventure styled bike that can be used as a sport tourer or a gravel road discoverer. Both bikes essentially are the cheaper less equipped option in their respected line ups and in the 850 Sport’s case it’s a little more modernized.
The Tiger 850 Sport has a similar ride to the Tiger 900’s both on and off the pavement…Tiger 900 Rally Pro excluded. On the road I didn’t feel the loss of 10 horsepower from the detuned engine and suspension wise it rode very well. As a road focused adventure bike, the Tiger 850 Sport can definitely chew up some highway miles with no issues. My time off pavement with the 850 Sport was limited to some gravel and dirt roads and it was fine. The Michelin Anakee Adventure Tires had no issues getting traction and while the suspension was soft it was very manageable. While the Tiger 850 Sport is marketed as a road-oriented adventure bike it would have no trouble riding down gravel farm roads or dirt fire roads.
Closing things up, the 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport is a great entry level adventure bike. With a very affordable price it’s perfect for a rider that’s interested in adventure motorcycling but can’t or doesn’t want to spend the money on a Tiger 900 or a similar sized bike. It’s also a great bike for a rider that wants to use it as a daily commuter and then get away on weekend trips either on or off road. While the Tiger 900 has been a great success for those looking for a more off road oriented adventure bike the new Tiger 850 Sport is a bike that should help bridge the road oriented and off pavement focused Triumph Tiger lineup for those who are on a budget.
Before I really end this entry I’d like to thank Marin Speed Shop in San Rafael, California and Charleston Triumph here in Charleston, South Carolina for giving me the opportunity to spend some time with the new 2021 Tiger 850 Sport. They were great at answering questions and they love to grow the adventure motorcycling community, if your ever interested in picking up a bike I’d highly recommend visiting them. I would also like to thank Maya Fox for taking the time to provide some amazing photos of this new bike and I highly recommend that you give her a follow on Instagram to check out her amazing motorcycle photography. Finally I’d like to thank Steve Kamrad for showing the world that road oriented Tigers can do some amazing thing off road, I highly recommend his off road focused review on the Tiger 850 Sport on his YouTube channel.