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The new Triumph Tiger Sport ABS is the evolution of the old Tiger 1050. It is an adventure-style street bike. Let’s cut to the chase and take a close look at the new Tiger.

Compared to the older Triumph, the chassis has been strengthened and the suspension has been upgraded to tackle harsher corners. The Tiger Sport is much more agile and comfortable.

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And please do not mistaken this bike for a sports bike just because it is called “Tiger Sports”. It is an all-rounder – a great road bike great for daily commuting and an excellent touring machine. To avoid the confusion they could have named it maybe Tiger Tourer or maybe even Tiger Sports Tourer.

The 1050cc three-cylinder engine that powers the Tiger Sport has been upgraded with improved gas flow, a new air box, better breathing and a new Tiger sound. This all results in improved acceleration and, combined with gearbox revisions, provides lighter, more responsive gear changes.

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The throttle response is generally good, smooth at low speed and throttle openings. With its new exhaust, air filter and fuel mapping, power is up 10bhp to 123bhp at 9,400rpm compared to the outgoing Tiger.

Compared to an in-line four, the three-cylinder seems to have more oomph. It could be because I am experiencing the smoothness of a four and the springiness of a twin. The bottom line is, love the performance – 123bhp and a vigourous 104Nm of torque, yum!

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My take is the Tiger’s fourth gear is the best for most of the riding part. Pay attention to the engine’s ability where the three cylinders effortlessly and smoothly punches out from 2,000rpm and low-speed corners without the twitchy throttle sensitivity of lower gears.

On few occasions I slowed down the engine speed to 2,000rpm at 50kmph through quaint villages, and then easily got it chewing the tarmac at 195km/h. The engine was fine and dandy, only wanting to give me more.

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While knitting through the twisties and open roads on a Sunday morning, my 200 km plus journey was filled with fun and confidence. Furthermore, the long-travel suspension cushioned the impact of every bumps and potholes with assurance allowing me to enjoy every kilometre on this unassuming British make.

The agility of the bike allowed me to weave in and out of city traffic without breaking a sweat. At a traffic light, while waiting for green at Jalan 222, Petaling Jaya; a middle aged man next to me in his ‘kap chai’ actually told me that I was handling it like a bicycle.

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The agility of the bike was made possible partly thanks to the well designed handle bars which are closer to the rider and the foot pegs are mounted further forward. The rider’s seat is narrower at the front, substantially improving reach to the ground. The seat is also longer to create more space for taller riders like me. On a long journey this is bliss. Meanwhile a lower pillion position and new grab handles will make any pillion’s life easier.

With its longer swing arm, the Tiger Sport takes the corners with ease and it’s more stable in fast bends. Even though the bike weighs 235kg (wet weight), I am able to flick the bike at each twistiness without any hesitation. You can forget that it is a 235kg machine. A firmer rear shock and revised damping settings front and rear should keep things more stable, especially when there is a pillion rider.

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The Tiger Sport has Nissin radial brakes – four-piston radial-mount calipers gripping twin 320mm discs up front and a two-piston Nissin caliper on a 255mm disc at the rear, which did a splendid job especially when I was taking the twisties and commuting during a heavy downpour, plus adjustable Showa suspension and ABS as standard. Not to forget all the goodies you need for touring – there’s a big range of official accessories available including panniers, top box, tank bag, a taller screen and hand guards.

Aesthetically the Tiger Sport has nice design, such as handsomely sculpted footrests, red coloured seat stitching, detailed styling of the new fork yokes and engine side casings. Even the handlebar end caps are designed to look good, while under the seat there is a storage space for U-lock and a glove compartment too.

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But one thing that saddens me is that, this machine is missing the identity of a Triumph compared to the other Triumph models like the Speed Triple, Bonneville, Tiger Explorer and Scrambler. You can stick any Japanese bike badge on to this fella and nobody will know the difference. The folks at Triumph must do something about this!

The Tiger Sports has very minimum electronic aids for a rider. It does not have the luxury of giving a rider to choose the ride mode, ABS/ASC setting etc. What the Tiger Sports promises is raw power with loads of fun and adventure. Is that enough? With more bike manufacturers engaging more electronic goodies on their machines, can Tiger Sport resist that temptation since it is an in thing now? Let’s wait and see.

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This is one great bike to commute and whiz through any traffic challenge plus a very reliable toured. A comfortable bike, be it on a solo journey or with a pillion. It will not be too much to say that the Triumph Tiger Sport has the characteristics of Jackyl & Hyde – the manners of a gentleman and the image of a bad boy, all at your command.

THE HARD FACTS

Triumph Tiger Sport ABS
Tested: 1050cc, liquid cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, three cylinder, six-speed gearbox
Price: RM85,900
Power/torque: 125hp at 9,400rpm, 104 Nm at 4,300rpm
Range: 20 litres – 300-350 km (estimated)
Distributor: Fast Bikes 03-79609007