When the covers were pulled off the 2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660, the first question that came to mind was: Why? In an increasingly cluttered adventure bike landscape, why introduce a model without off-road capability? Why challenge the category-defining Kawasaki Versys 650? Just two months after posing those questions, Triumph marque invited us to find out firsthand at the Tiger Sport 660’s global launch in Portugal.
Adventure-inspired styling may tether the Tiger to the ADV world, but under that cladding, the Sport 660 shares a lot with Triumph’s new Trident 660 platform. From the 17-inch wheels to the Nissin braking system, from the Michelin Road 5 tires to the electronics suite, Hinckley leverages much of the Trident’s core components for the new adventure sports model. Even the liquid-cooled, 12-valve, 660cc inline-Triple remains unchanged, producing 80 horsepower at 10,250 rpm and 47.2 lb-ft of torque at 6,250 rpm (claimed, at the crank).
Despite the family resemblance, the Tiger Sport 660 is more than a naked bike in adventure clothing. Triumph still employs a tubular-steel perimeter frame but steepens the rake to 23.1 degrees. The longer and sturdier subframe accommodates optional panniers and a top box while the long-travel suspension promotes comfort and two-up touring. To the naked eye, the adventure-adjacent aesthetics set the Tiger apart, but the facelift is equal parts form and function.
Of course, the new front fairing provides more wind protection but a one-hand, height-adjustable windscreen allows riders to reduce buffeting on long road trips or amplify airflow in congested urban environs. In the lowest position, oncoming air flowed past my chest while wind danced around my helmet’s chinbar in the high setting. Results will vary for shorter and taller riders, but at 5 feet, 10 inches, the top position suited my frame best.
Helmet: Bell Eliminator
Jacket: Alpinestars GP Plus R v3 Jacket
Gloves: Alpinestars Mustang v2 Gloves
Pants: Pando Moto Robby Arm 01 Jeans
Boots: Dainese Persepolis Air Shoes
Triumph enhances that comfort with taller handlebars and extra distance between the seat and footpegs. Thanks to the neutral position and generously padded seat, the Sport 660 encourages all-day riding. The lengthened subframe also provides extra space in the cockpit, enabling users to scoot forward or rearward for an optimal rider triangle. Throughout the 154-mile ride aboard the Tiger, not once did my back, wrists, or knees ache, and larger riders in the group echoed those sentiments.
While I’d classify the ergos as relaxed, the handling lives up to the Sport moniker. The upright position places the rider’s knees flush against the fuel tank, providing an ideal anchor point before tip-in. That’s when the Tiger is at its best. Side-to-side transitions are swift and fluid. Steering is precise and direct. Couple that with grippy Michelin Road 5 tires and the Sport 660’s handling borders on telepathic.
Due to the 23.1-degree rake, the Sport 660 stays light on its feet, ready to dive into the next corner. On the other hand, the longer, 55.8-inch wheelbase helps maintain stability at lean. That nimble nature allows the rider to put the Tiger anywhere on the road. While the non-adjustable Showa 41mm fork and preload-adjustable Showa shock favor comfort with 5.9 inches of travel at both ends, the setup delivers sufficient support and feedback for spirit riding as well.
The suspension’s only blemish is the fork’s soft spring, but only heavy braking exposes that minor shortcoming. In a straight line, the dual 2-piston Nissin calipers and 310mm discs up front bring the 454-pound tiger to a rapid halt. Equally unexpected, the axial master cylinder yields surprising feel and feedback when trail braking into a bend. Dual-channel ABS also increases confidence while Rain mode (in addition to the default Road mode) and switchable traction control act as safety nets for less-than-ideal conditions or technique.
Triumph adds such rider aids to favor newer riders, but the ultra-tractable 660cc inline-Triple is innately user-friendly. With 80 ponies and 47 lb-ft of torque on tap, the retrofitted 675 triple is equal parts thrill and chill. Away from a stop, the mill delivers 90% of its torque between 3,600-9,750 rpm. The linear powerband may benefit novice riders, but it doesn’t stop experienced pilots from exploiting the power potential at the top of the rev limiter.
However, most riders won’t need to push the Sport 660 to those limits, especially when engine vibrations course through the footpegs at 8,500 rpm. Luckily, in 6th gear at 70 mph, the Tiger trots along at around 5,000 rpm. That mild-mannered quality caters to tourers, but the engine remains manageable even when the pace picks up. With usable power accessible throughout the rev range, the middleweight ADV also helps compensate for rider mistakes.
On several instances during the ride, I forgot to drop a gear – or two – going into a corner. Fortunately, the readily available torque helped pull the Tiger through the exit. Despite its accommodating demeanor, the Triple also wails up to its 10,500-rpm redline. It’s that combination of performance and practicality that makes the Sport 660 such a versatile bike. Those looking for the utmost performance can add on a bi-directional quickshifter from Triumph’s accessories catalog, but the standard unit offers smooth transitions and reliable gear engagement out of the box.
The Tiger Sport 660 may not feature a fire-breathing engine, trick suspension, top-tier brakes, or state-of-the-art electronics, but that doesn’t stop it from becoming one of the most balanced packages on the market. Each component contributes to the 660’s end goal. The electronics enhance safety without adding complexity. The inline-Triple produces enough power for seasoned vets without scaring beginners. The suspension and brakes complement the Tiger’s mild and wild side.
I may have doubted Triumph when it introduced the new cub in its Tiger line, but after spending a full day with the Sport 660, I’m a firm believer in its worth. Whether you label it a sport-tourer, an ADV, or none of the above, the Tiger Sport 660 is undeniably well-rounded. From commuting to canyon carving to touring, Hinckley’s latest middleweight practically does it all. That’s why Triumph believes the new adventure sports model can make an impact in an increasingly cluttered adventure bike landscape – and now, I do too.
2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660 Specs
Base Price: $9,295
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, inline triple, DOHC w/ 4 vpc.
Bore x Stroke: 74 x 57.7mm
Horsepower: 80 hp @ 8,750 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Torque: 47.2 lb-ft @ 6,250 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch
Final Drive: X-ring chain
Wheelbase: 55.8 in.
Rake/Trail: 23.7 degrees/3.8 in.
Seat Height: 32.8 in.
Wet Weight: 454 lbs. (claimed)
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gals.