Triumph Tiger 850 Sport offers middle road to affordable motorcycling
It just does not make sense to buy a small motorcycle when the recent certificate of entitlement (COE) premium costs $8,701.
Buying a big-bore motorcycle will hurt you financially too as you will have to factor in the additional registration fee.
The middleweight adventure tourers such as the Honda NC750X, Yamaha Tenere 700 or Triumph Tiger 850 Sport offer viable options without shredding your wallet to bits.
But does cheaper mean less capable?
We recently got our hands on the 850 Sport, an entry point into the world of adventure touring.
At a glance, the 888cc, in-line three cylinder adventurer has big bike presence - without the steep price tag.
It costs about $24,600 before COE and insurance.
It gives a commanding view of the road ahead while allowing both your feet to stay planted at traffic stops.
While it has the same engine as the 2020 900 GT, the 850 Sport is detuned, resulting in a slight drop in power and torque. It churns out 84bhp and 81Nm, but on the road, the six-speed bike does not feel sluggish.
The Euro 5-compliant 850 Sport revs with much gusto from as low as 3,500rpm to about 9,000rpm.
While it accelerates responsively, the Triumph lacks top speed.
While in flight, its exhaust note sounds strangely like a twin cylinder growl rather than the usual three-cylinder wail, thanks to its T-plane crank design.
And of course, the cheaper Triumph has fewer features.
It has a smaller 5-inch TFT light-sensitive instrument panel compared with the 900 GT Low.
It has only two ride modes - rain and road - and non- adjustable 45mm Marzocchi upside down forks.
At the rear, it has a pre-load adjuster in case you carry baggage or have someone ride pillion.
Still, the ride is plush for everyday road use. Its semi-off-road tyres, which have more road bias, allow it to tackle bends like a street bike.
You could go off-road but you will tire easily given its limited suspension adjustments.
But if you care more about looks and price, then having all the bells and whistles is secondary.
What matters is the Triumph is capable of daily commutes and fuss-free, long-distance adventures.
With a fuel efficiency of about 20km to a litre of petrol, its 20 litre fuel tank will take you far before it is time for a fuel stop.
Despite the basic set-up, it still has vital electronic aids to ensure your riding safety.
The 850 Sport is armed with traction control and anti-lock brakes, courtesy of twin Brembo Stylema radial calipers.
These may lack initial bite but offer good progressive braking prowess.
From the savings you get off the 850 Sport, there will be spare change for extras like touring bags or crash bars.