It all began on that fateful day when I realised that I needed to be in Rishikesh by the evening. The problem was that I had just arrived in Delhi from Jaipur on an early morning flight. So, without wasting any time, I caught a few hours of sleep and got ready to go. But what about my mode of transportation? It was to be either public transport or the Triumph Tiger Sport 660. Well, frankly, it was not even a choice, so I picked up a pair of bungee cords, strapped my backpack to the rear seat, and set off for my destination.
Once I hit the road, I found the Tiger Sport 660 can do the speed limit with extreme ease. What I loved about it was the fact that even at highway speeds, it takes little to no effort to overtake two to three trucks at once – something I really appreciated whenever traffic got a little dense. In fact, I realised that its motor has so much grunt that despite being in sixth gear, I often wanted to upshift. I soon got used to it, but a longer sixth gear would have definitely been a welcome addition to this motorcycle.
The good old gearbox is a hoot to use otherwise. The motorcycle had the quick-shifter accessory installed, but it was not activated. However, I never once felt like the need to use it, as going through the cogs is a smooth affair – smooth enough that you can do clutch-less shifts with ease, and it feels similar to the whole quick-shifter experience. The clutch is a bit of a pain though. Despite the slip-and-assist function, the lever feels a bit heavy for riding in traffic. It is also non-adjustable for reach, which doesn’t help either.
The front brake didn’t sit well with me either. It had a slight play before it would start to engage, which means that every time you want to get on the front brake, you first have to hunt for the biting point and then engage it. To avoid this problem, I ended up permanently engaging the front brake just enough so that my pads don’t touch the disc. This way, there was no need to look for that bite every time I pressed the front brake lever.
Despite all these small niggles, the Tiger Sport 660 allows you to cruise quite comfortably on the highway. In fact, I ended up completing the Delhi to Rishikesh journey in just four hours, despite stopping a few times. And mind you, I wasn't fully rested. The way this smaller Tiger is able to carry speeds on highways is really reassuring.
I was supposed to head back to Delhi, Noida to be precise, the next day but before I did that, I decided to head to the hills just above Rishikesh. The road to Tehri is new, quite smooth, and full of some of the most interesting corners I have ever seen.
Now, given that it's an ADV and all, the Triumph does require a bit of muscling around corners, but if you are willing to put in the effort, it rewards you with impressive cornering stability but only on smooth roads – small undulations in the middle of a corner can catch it unaware and disrupt the balance of the motorcycle. I found that the best way to ride the Tiger in such conditions is by not nearing its limits so that even if it does surprise you, you'll have enough time to make things right.
Now, the Michelin Road 5 tyres deserve special praise here, for they have a flat-ish profile, making them really stable on the highway. It doesn’t matter if you are giving the throttle a full twist or going hard on the brakes, the tyres never complain. Even in corners, the grip Is very predictable. The tyres clearly communicate as you approach the edge, which is quite comforting. As I rode through one corner after another on the smooth road leading to Tehri, I felt a steep gain in my confidence. The chicken strips on my tyres were close to disappearing as I neared my destination. As for my destination, it was a coffee shop on the road to Tehri, after which I had to make a hasty return to Noida.
After riding the Triumph in various conditions, I came to the conclusion that it is a very easy motorcycle to ride. The traction control steps in only when you need it, and the riding position is quite comfortable. Despite being an adventure motorcycle, its weight is quite manageable on the road. There are niggles here and there, but nothing that will, or should, deter you from buying it. You very quickly get used to them. I have ridden from Delhi to Rishikesh countless times, but I never thought riding over this route could be any more comfortable. I was wrong. Middle-weight ADVs are literally made for covering distances like these. And as far as the Triumph Tiger Sport 660 is concerned, it is perfect for munching miles.