Triumph recently launched its new adventure sports tourer, the Tiger Sport 660. It’s based on the Trident 660 naked roadster, which has been on sale in India since last year, but with some changes to make it better suited to the long haul. While it doesn’t have a direct rival in the form of a triple cylinder adventure tourer, its closest competition comes from the twin-cylinder Kawasaki Versys 650, which has done reasonably well for itself in India. So, let's take a look at how the two stack up against each other.
Triumph Tiger Sport 660 vs Kawasaki Versys 650: design and features
The Tiger Sport 660 made its global debut recently, sporting a rather neat and slender adventure tourer design. Unlike the company’s bug-eyed naked models (and even its larger Tigers) that can have somewhat polarising designs, this Tiger Sport gets a more universally acceptable and traditionally pretty appearance. While the Versys 650 has been updated overseas with Kawasaki’s latest design language, the Indian model continues to soldier on with the earlier look, which might not be such a bad thing. Where it does lose out, though, is in the instrumentation department, missing out on the updated bike’s TFT screen and settling for a basic digi-analogue design instead. The Triumph ups the ante with a fully digital layout that even includes a small TFT display and optional Bluetooth connectivity. Both bikes get adjustable windscreens, but the Tiger’s LED headlights trump the Versys’ halogen units.
Triumph Tiger Sport 660 vs Kawasaki Versys 650: engine and gearbox
|Engine and gearbox|
|Triumph Tiger Sport 660||Kawasaki Versys 650|
|Engine||660cc inline 3-cylinder||649cc Parallel Twin|
|Power||81hp at 10,250rpm||66hp at 8500rpm|
|Torque||64Nm at 6250rpm||61Nm at 7000rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed gearbox||6-speed gearbox|
While both bikes are quite evenly matched on displacement, the Tiger boasts an extra cylinder, which contributes to it being the higher-revving engine of the too. The Street Triple-derived unit has a clear power and torque advantage, but peak power comes in a good deal higher up the rev range, north of 10,000rpm, meaning you do have to work the motor harder to access it.
The difference in torque is much smaller, and the two bikes are almost neck and neck. In this case, it’s the Kawasaki that produces its peak figure slightly higher up the tachometer. It’s also worth noting that in addition to being down on displacement and power, the Kawasaki’s motor has to haul around slightly more weight as well. The Triumph also boasts switchable traction control which the Versys doesn’t get, and while neither bike gets a quickshifter as standard fitment, the Tiger can be fitted with one as an option, while the Kawasaki doesn’t offer you that luxury.
Triumph Tiger Sport 660 vs Kawasaki Versys 650: underpinnings
|Triumph Tiger Sport 660||Kawasaki Versys 650|
|Wheelbase||1418 mm||1415 mm|
|Fuel Capacity||17.2 litres||21 litres|
|Seat Height||835 mm||840 mm|
|Brakes (f)||Twin 310mm discs||Twin 300 mm discs|
|Brakes (r)||Single 255mm disc||Single 250 mm disc|
|Kerb weight||206 kg||218 kg|
It’s clear even on the spec sheet that these are both distinctly road-focused motorcycles, with 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in street-focused rubber. Heck, the Triumph’s tyres are even called Michelin Road 5! We find these to be considerably better than the Dunlops that the Kawasaki comes shod with.
What gives both bikes some touring credibility is that they offer a little more suspension travel and ground clearance than their naked counterparts, and both bikes are quite evenly matched on these two parameters. But where the Kawasaki edges ahead is by offering preload and rebound damping adjustability on its USD front fork, in addition to the rear preload adjustability that both bikes get. The Versys also has a considerably larger fuel tank, which combined with what should be a more fuel efficient engine, will help it go longer between fill-ups.
Pros for the Tiger include a slightly lower seat height and 12kg lower kerb weight, both of which should make it a slightly more manageable motorcycle than the Versys. It also sports a chunkier rear tyre and larger front brake discs, and all things considered, it should have an upper hand when it comes to dynamics and handling.
Triumph Tiger Sport 660 vs Kawasaki Versys 650: price and verdict
If you’ve been reading the article carefully so far, it should come as no surprise to you that the Triumph Tiger Sport 660 is the more expensive motorcycle. But just how much more expensive, may come as a bit of a surprise.
At Rs 8.95 lakh (Rs 13,000 more if you want it in red), the Triumph is close to Rs 2 lakh more expensive than the Rs 7.15 lakh Versys 650. And while it does offer a good deal of extra performance and features over the Kawi, some people may find it difficult to justify that premium. Perhaps, once you throw in the premium perception associated with the Triumph badge, you might be able to, but it’s also worth noting that there will be premium maintenance and running costs to go with that luxury as well.
Have your say! Is the Triumph worth the extra it charges over the Versys? Let us know in the comments below.