The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.9
Triumph’s Tiger 1050 triple is an invigorating, charismatic ‘adventure sports’ with Hinckley’s distinctive 1050 triple at its heart. No off-road ability (although this is increasingly common with bikes like Ducati’s Multistrada and BMW’s S1000XR) while a slight clunkiness, lack of electronics and fairly basic spec still betrays its age, though, but this is mostly compensated for by a very tempting price…
Reasons to buy
- Charismatic three-cylinder engine is a cracker
- Handling still better than most adventure-style bikes
- Tempting price
At a glance
The Tiger 1050 brings a smoothed-out fairing, new seat and wheels and so on. It’s a definite improvement but still unmistakably a Hinckley Tiger and a slightly aging one at that. ‘Sports adventure’ bikes are now all the rage and make useful and entertaining all-rounders. This is one of the first and still one of the most affordable.
The wide, one piece, tubular bars are set close to the rider and the seat is lower and narrower, too, which is a boon for shorter riders. That said, those with long legs will find the peg to seat distance on the cramped side over long distances and this is where a ‘real’ adventure bike has an advantage thanks to their excessive levels of legroom.
As a breed one of the reasons adventure bikes have become so popular is because of their versatility and this is just as true of the Tiger Sport: upright riding position is comfortable and gives a great view (although the screen isn’t adjustable); large seat is more comfortable for two than most plus it’s maneuverable and pokey. On the downside, though not as large as some, it’s still a big bike, the up-swept pipe impinges slightly on luggage capacity and its equipment is a little basic for this type of machine.
Performance & braking
The Hinckley 1050 triple, which dates back to 1996’s Daytona, may now be aging slightly but is still gloriously charismatic and flexible while airbox, exhaust and ECU tweaks have upped power to a useful 123bhp. That figure may now be outclassed by the latest adventure sport rivals (eg BMW’s S1000XR and Ducati’s latest Multistrada) but it’s still enough to have a blast with. The brakes, too, now with switchable ABS as standard, are more than enough for most.
Ride & handling
Although adventure style, riding position aside the 1050 Tiger is a pure roadster, right down to its street tyres. For this Sport incarnation Triumph lengthened the swingarm to make it more stable and confidence-inspiring in the corners. The trade-off is slightly slower steering but with a bit of effort it’s still a bike you can hustle. A stiffer rear shock also means its less bouncy than before resulting in excellent ride quality plus more support when carrying pillions or heavy luggage.
Tweaked ECU improved fuel consumption slightly but the Hinckley machines have always been more thirsty than most. As a 1050cc triple it was never going to be especially cheap to run, either, but nor is it any more so than any of its class rivals. If you end up riding it to the extent of its sports ability the Triumph will use plenty of consumables, tyres, pads and so on, but again it’s no worst than most.
they come with few faults to speak of. The only thing that crops up occasionally is criticism of the alternator. Being so old it’s also fully developed and refined with any glitches now completely ironed out, so it should hold up well. Like most bikes, though, finish and condition is everything and the Triumph isn’t immune to wear, tear and corrosion so look out for one that’s been well looked after.
Warranty & servicing
Annual service intervals are around 6,000 miles when many competitors are now up to 10-15,000 miles – so be prepared for extra outlay in this department. That said, the Tiger Sport is a fairly straightforward bike to work on while the warranty is the industry standard of two years with unlimited mileage.
Despite a fairly basic specification due to the age of the original design (so, ABS aside, there’s none of the electronic rider aids which are commonplace on more modern machines and the clocks are unsophisticated to say the least) the Sport does have Nissin radial brakes and adjustable Showa suspension. There’s also a big range of official accessories available, including panniers, top box, tank bag, a taller screen, headed grips and hand guards.
With improved comfort thanks to a lower, narrower seat, more confidence-inspiring handling and even a livelier, 10bhp boosted engine, the Tiger Sport is a big improvement over the old Tiger 1050. It may still feel old compared to the latest batch of adventure sport machines but it’s still a decent performer, has bags of character and is temptingly priced.