The Indian motorcycling scene has significantly evolved in recent years, and one positive development to have emerged from this evolution is the rise of adventure motorcycles or ADVs. Whether big or small, all motorcycle manufacturers have been obsessed with producing them, as Indian consumers have exhibited an insatiable appetite for these machines.
One example of an ADV to have born out of this trend is the Moto Morini X-Cape 650X. We rode it a few months ago, but at the time, there was no real rival to pit it against, for it was in its pack of other Morini bikes. However, things are different now, for we decided to pit it against the Triumph Tiger Sport 660 to see how this new ADV from an Italian brand fares against British aristocracy.
At a Glance
When I first saw the Moto Morini from a distance, I mistook it for a Multistrada, which speaks volumes about its impressive road presence. In addition to its large shape, its body is adorned with cuts and creases that lend it an edgy appearance, which complements its long face. The bike is undeniably quite big, which is particularly noticeable when it’s placed next to the Triumph. In fact, the Tiger Sport 660 looks like a kid next to it – there is no beating the X-Cape 650X in terms of size! To put things differently, the Moto Morini looks like a ripped boxer preparing for his next fight, while the Triumph looks like a buttoned-up Englishman savouring his evening tea. Aesthetically, they are worlds apart, which means different people will have different preferences.
Now, for me, it’s the Moto Morini X-Cape 650X all the way because of its bold and brash look. The Triumph Tiger Sport 660 can blend in with other commuter motorcycles, making it less likely to turn heads. And when you are spending a significant amount of money on a motorcycle, you’d want it to be noticed. But if you are someone who likes an understated design, you’ll find the Triumph to be just perfect.
On the Saddle
While the Moto Morini’s huge size gives it an imposing presence, it hardly does it any favour in terms of rideability. Shorter riders will struggle with positioning the bike in everyday traffic. Further, its tall seat and heavy weight will make it a bit challenging to manoeuvre off-road, which is a shame, for it does have off-road credentials. However, this bike will force you to improve your riding techniques, which will help you upgrade to a larger motorcycle. In terms of comfort, the seat of the X-Cape is more comfortable than that of the Triumph, and it’s also narrower, making it easier for you to land your feet on the ground. However, the tank’s shape can make it difficult for you to grip it with your knees, which means that anchoring yourself to the motorcycle while riding can be challenging. However, it’s perfect when you are standing up though. Plus, it’s quite comfortable for touring as well.
The riding position of the Triumph is similar to that of Morini, with a relaxed upper body and slightly bent legs. Whether sitting or standing, you are always comfortable. Now, the Tiger Sport 660 is fully road-focused and not suited for off-roading, which makes it quite unlikely for you to ride it standing up. This makes it quite a comfortable, excellent machine to munch miles on the road. Additionally, the windscreen setup on the Tiger Sport is better and can be adjusted on the fly. The X-Cape 650X’s windscreen, on the other hand, requires you to stop and adjust, and it isn’t as elegant as the Triumph’s.
Flick of the Wrist
In terms of engine specifications, both the Moto Morini and Triumph have similar displacemens. The Moto Morini has a more conventional parallel-twin setup with two cylinders, while the Triumph’s three cylinders are arranged in an inline configuration. However, the Tiger is miles ahead in terms of power and torque outputs. You really need to be careful with its throttle, especially if you are riding such a machine for the first time. Its engine produces an impressive amount of torque right off the bat from low rpm, and this surge continues well into the mid-range. Even the top-end offers similar levels of power. It takes some getting used to its incredible surge of power.
In contrast, the X-Cape 650X seems more docile, with linear power delivery – in fact, you really have to push the engine to get the most out of it. The power surge comes in the top half of the rev band. Overall, it’s more friendly and good for beginners. Experienced riders, however, will love the relentless pull of the Tiger.
Both motorcycles have a 6-speed transmission, but that’s where the similarities end. The Triumph has a slick-shifting gearbox with minimal travel between the gears. Shifting is slick and responsive with just a tap or a flick of your foot. The clutch travel, however, is a bit too much, and without adjustable levers, there is nothing you can do about it. The slip-and-assist feature of the Triumph ensures that hard downshifts don’t unsettle the rear tyre and the clutch action remains light and effortless.
The Moto Morini clutch lever also has a lot of travel, but without the slip-and-assist feature, it requires a bit more effort than the Triumph’s. You do, however, get the option of adjustable levers, which make things easier. Overall, the Triumph’s gearbox feels quite snappy and fun, while the X-Cape 650X’s gearbox likes to take things easy. Triumph also offers a quick-shifter as an added accessory, but, honestly, the Tiger Sport 660 performs well even without it.
When it comes to hustling these motorcycles from one side to another, it’s a different story. As ADVs, both are tall and are not designed to set the track on fire or handle like a sport bike around corners. However, the Road 5 Michelin tyres of the Triumph do work in its favour. They offer excellent traction, and even when the bike is leaned over, they continue to adhere to the road like glue. Although it takes a bit of effort to swing the Tiger from side-to-side, quick direction changes can be executed briskly. The Triumph also impresses with its high-speed stability and braking performance.
The Moto Morini may initially seem to lag behind the Triumph in this department, but a closer examination will tell you that it’s quite a capable bike, especially in terms of off-roading. Equipped with Pirelli Scorpion block-pattern all-terrain tyres, it can enter god mode off-road, while still offering decent performance on the road – during the test, they felt squirmish even under hard braking. That said, they still don’t offer the same level of composure as the Triumph’s Road 5. Now, in terms of offering a good balance between on- and off-road performance, the Moto Morini’s tyres do a better job. Given that the Moto Morini is a big motorcycle and also feels like one, it takes a decent amount of effort to swing it from one side to another, but once you have done that, it feels stable.
Which One Should You Take Home?
Well, it’s pretty easy, really! Overall, the Triumph is more comfortable, faster, and more refined in all areas. Its build quality also feels top-notch, but all this comes at a price. The Tiger Sport 660 is already a much more expensive motorcycle than the Moto Morini X-Cape 650X, and a lot of its good bits are offered as optional extras. The Moto Morini, on the other hand, offers a lot of features, both on- and off-road capabilities, and has a lower price tag. So, if you want to tour on long open highways and don’t mind the premium that the Triumph demands, well, then, the Tiger Sport 660 is the clear choice between the two. However, if you want to go off-road as well and prefer not to be thrifty, then the Moto Morini X-Cape 650X makes a strong case for itself.
- Triumph Tiger Sport 660
- Moto Morini X-Cape 650X
Engine: 660cc / Inline-Triple / Liquid-Cooled
Power: 80bhp @ 10,250rpm
Torque: 64Nm @ 6,250rpm
Price: ₹8.95 Lakh (Ex-Showroom, Delhi)
X-Factor: Chiselled looks, torquey performance, and easy to ride!
• Torquey engine
• Smooth transmission
Engine: 649cc / Parallel-Twin / Liquid-Cooled
Power: 59bhp @ 8,250rpm
Torque: 54Nm @ 7,000rpm
Price: ₹7.40 Lakh (Ex-Showroom, Delhi)
X-Factor: An ADV with an excellent combo of on- and off-road performance.
• Build quality