I look in the side mirror of the new Triumph Tiger Sport 660 to ensure my bandana is tied tight around my neck. My bandana is my cape, my handkerchief, my mechanical rag, and the one thing that can make my spiky helmet hair semi-photogenic. In a silly way, I identify with this $2 piece of cloth for its versatility and multifunctional purpose, and it never lets me down.On this particular day, it will act as a sunblock for the part of my neck exposed between my jacket and helmet. It’s true to say that the Irish burn easily. I should also mention that I am on the southern coast of Portugal in a city called Faro, and I am about to test ride Triumph’s new middleweight adventure bike. You can smell the ocean from where I’m standing with the bike. The pair of us will be heading north to the mountains, so I expect a lot of changes in the senses.
In Triumph’s iconic Korosi Red with dynamic graphics, the Tiger Sport 660 radiates power and energy. I fit perfectly into a category of riders who will be attracted to this motorcycle. I need a motorcycle that is light, reliable, powerful, and has excellent stopping power. Stylish luggage compartments are an added bonus.My love for riding motorcycles began on the long twisty roads of the mountains and coastline. Now, I live in a city and ride my bike nearly every day for my daily commute. So, every once in a while, I need to remind myself that motorcycle riding is also a sport.I take long road trips hoping that my reliable everyday bike can perform under a new set of stresses, such as altitude, terrain, and weather. If you seek adventure on two wheels like me, you may find yourself pushing your motorcycle to its limits. You’ve probably shared similar moments with your bike as you observe the obstacle ahead and think or say out loud as I often do on solo trips, ‘Will we make it?’ I have had some heavy bikes on some deep sand and, although I’m a stronger rider from the experience, I will not be jumping back on the same seat to repeat it.So, I am personally in the market for a bike with no compromise. Something I can do everything on, from having a fun blast on the weekends to commuting during the week to having my friend safely on the back. I’m eager to see if the 2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660 meets these criteria.The coastal breeze wakes me up from my morning daydream. We’re getting ready to go. I check the pockets in my Alpinestars Stella Valparaiso jacket to confirm they’re closed—passport, vax cert, license, lip balm, phone, and I’m all set to ride through Portugal.When I get on the bike, the first thing I notice is its upright seating position. At 5’ 11”, my feet rest flat on the ground. I can already tell that this accessibly low seat height for an ADV bike, and narrow stand-over width, transforms the Tiger 660 sportbike into a machine ready for adventure. The wide handlebars and 32.9-inch seat height allow for easy handling and high visibility.I turn the key and am greeted by a TFT display with multifunctional instruments and switchable traction control. It’s ready for the optional My Triumph connectivity system so I can control everything I need for adventure riding, including a GoPro to capture it all.Starting the engine, I can hear and feel the distinctive triple-cylinder engine coming to life. I check my mirrors and take off.I am following another rider ahead, also on the Tiger Sport 660. We swerve in and around white villas on a small road framed by cobblestoned pathways and white walls. The seat position, the high visibility, the easy handling, and the assist and slipper clutch make this motorcycle an instantly easy ride through small city roads.It will take us around 20 minutes to get to the open road. We glide through roundabouts, and I notice the self-canceling indicators. This small feature added so much to my ride; eliminating one small step allowed me to focus on the turn ahead. The US doesn’t incorporate as many roundabouts on its roads, but if you’re familiar with them, you’ll know there can be many lane changes and directions to take. The more you can alert other drivers where you plan to go, the better.The road stretches out and, with a few upshifts and a twist of the wrist, I feel the three-cylinder power. It is central to the agility and thrilling performance of the motorcycle. I see another roundabout up ahead; we’re not completely out of the city yet.Still going at high-speed following the rider ahead, I slow down upon approaching the roundabout. The Nissin front calipers with 310mm discs and a single-piston rear caliper give me the confidence of exceptional stopping power for maximum riding safety. It hasn’t been ten miles, and I have already bonded with the Tiger’s rhythm.The road straightens out and starts to wind upward. I can see a bend ahead. One of the guys overtakes me; he is eager to tackle these turns at higher speeds. I’m happy to learn from his form and follow his line. The two riders ahead of me are more experienced than I, and have either raced motorcycles or spent time on the track. No two riders are the same and, as I test this bike out to my own capabilities, I also look ahead at how a completely different rider enjoys the same motorcycle.The road meanders a little; soon, it rises, and then climbs some more. Some shrubs appear, flowers in the meadow blow in the wind, and the air feels different. It has been too long since I’ve taken a motorcycle trip like this. The pandemic halted all plans for at least a year and, after that, well, I must have forgotten the urgency to go.The hereness and nowness of things on a motorcycle is something all riders know about. You have to be present to stay alive, which in itself reminds you that you are alive.Up ahead appears an image of small white buildings shimmering slightly. On the cobblestoned sidewalk, an old lady greets us by raising her walking stick, and a little boy excitedly runs out from a small house, waving a flag at us. All six of us coasting through these little villages on the flaming red Tiger Sport 660 look like a professional team of adventure sport riders. The welcome we receive from these strangers is overwhelming. As soon as they wave us on, I am back on the empty road heading towards a canyon.The road through the canyon doesn’t straighten out. Instead, it winds upward. The Tiger and I move in angular directions into narrow devil’s gaps, then upward again. The early morning sun is blinding on some turns and stretches as it peaks through openings in the trees. I follow the distinctive LED taillight of the bike ahead of me.I am on a downward slope now; the shadows of the trees paint the road, and sharp white light unexpectedly hits my sensitive eyes. I don’t anticipate the horseshoe bend ahead; I must have lost my line of sight. A slight wave of panic comes over me as I realize I am going too fast to safely maneuver around this bend. I downshift, apply the back brake, lean hard. As I am leaning into the corner, I feel something strange happening. I quickly look down at my right foot, thinking that the footpeg is scraping the ground. It isn’t.As I safely make it around the bend and straighten up, I realize the vibration coming from my right foot must have been the ABS in action. A sigh of relief comes over me, and the bike gives back the control I need in a situation that called for it. I move on to the next set of turns and bends, knowing that the Tiger Sport 660’s rider-focused technology and high specification brakes are there to support me in every riding scenario.With every mile farther north, the mountains seem to rise around me. Little villages are sprinkled throughout our journey. I see a farmhouse, a wind turbine, a graveyard to my left. In 5th gear, the motorcycle cruises along, allowing me time to turn my head and take in the immense views. Speed bumps up ahead inform me of an upcoming village. I drop speed and stretch my legs by standing on the footpegs. The cool breeze flows straight through the vents in my Alpinestars Stella Valparaiso V3 Drystar pants.We see more bikers now. It starts with a couple who pass us; we all give the universal gesture of solidarity. As we get closer to town, our six-bike group turns into sixty. Bikes and riders are standing at every angle in this tiny village of about two stores and one roundabout. We swerve in and around the roundabout, waving our hands at the fellow bikers, and move on until we reach a coffee shop, where we all dismount and reflect on the morning’s activities.I am happy to be taking a break. Emotions were high, and the morning was pretty intense. I speak to one rider who was behind me the entire way about my little hiccup around the bend when the ABS kicked in. He initially thought that the ABS was a little too sensitive, but saw first-hand the effect it has on rider control in an emergency braking situation—which was me.We sip on strong coffee in the shade and share stories. Every one of us has a different background with varying experience levels. With 30,000 miles under my belt and as the youngest rider with zero track experience, I absorb all tips and advice I receive from these experienced and professional riders.“Act as if there is a pool cue stuck from the top of your head to the bottom of the bike and keep it straight.” “Lean more with the bike.” “Don’t be afraid to stay off the seat—stand on the balls of your feet.”I feel the presence of the mountains even though we talk about other things, and I’m eager to get back on the bike. We all agree it feels better to travel than to arrive.We’re on the road again, which twists and turns. My confidence only grows on this bike. I keep up with the guys ahead and, when I see a sharp turn, I drop down a gear. My rear end is off the seat onto the side where I’m leaning, and the Tiger floats into the space I want it to go. Unbelievable.Another twist up ahead, I’m ready—up a gear, speed up, down a gear, balls of feet on footpegs, knee out. I’m around the bend at a faster rate than ever before, but this time in complete control. Now I am having the real fun. The Tiger Sport 660 has exceeded my expectations in every way.I am gliding through these roads at the same pace as the riders ahead. We are in sync now with the mountains. The rider in front of me flows through these twists and turns with such grace and elegance. It is beautiful to watch. The sense of presence is overwhelming. The whole world turns into a euphoric blur, and I am in the scene. I trust myself and the two wheels carrying me through space and time. There is a feeling now that was not here before. It penetrates the surface to the core of my being. This is why I ride motorcycles.We reach the top of the climb and stop, overlooking a vast valley in the Portuguese mountains. My cheeks are sore from smiling. I take off my helmet, and I still can’t get the smile off my face. Another rider parks up beside me and, as he takes off his helmet, I see his face mirrors mine. He is beaming and, with a huge smile, gives me a fist pump and says, “OMG, what a transformation! You looked like you had so much fun, and I am smiling for you.” I compare this feeling to the one I felt after jumping out of an aeroplane—sheer and utter joy.Sitting in the shade against a tree, I look at the Tiger Sport 660. I look at the shapes of steel, and I see ideas and concepts. With a striking adventure sport stance, uncluttered cockpit, and sculpted high-tech screen, the Tiger Sport 660 is sporty and refined yet robust and versatile. Every component and function of this motorcycle has been carefully designed and configured to produce the ultimate middleweight machine for road adventure.The main point I want to make about the Tiger Sport 660 is that it has reminded me of my initial drive and passion for motorcycle riding. If you are a new rider growing out of your first bike, or an experienced rider who has become complacent with the same mount, the thrill and excitement of motorcycle riding can disintegrate.For daily commutes, I need something reliable, safe, comfortable, and responsive to all seasons. For weekend adventure trips, I want speed, agility, state-of-the-art braking and suspension systems, and a lightweight chassis that can be pushed to its limits. I have found it difficult to get the best of both worlds—until now.The Tiger Sport 660 is the ultimate adventure sport motorcycle for somebody like me in the middleweight category. I want a bike that I can ride in and around the city during the week and take up the mountains or down the coast on the weekends, all the while being constantly reminded of the thrill and excitement of riding motorcycles and the adventurous journeys that come from it.I untie the bandana from around my neck and wipe my forehead as I gaze out into the Portuguese valley. Just like my bandana, I identify with the 2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660 because it is more than it appears to be. Its versatility and class-leading power, all at a low cost, reaffirm my view of how a life of adventure and freedom should be lived.Photography by Gareth Harford, Chippy Wood, and Laura FitzpatrickRIDING STYLE
Our first segment introduces you to the new Arch 1s. This latest, slightly more sporting American V-twin, adds to the original KRGT1 coming from the boutique manufacturer based in Hawthorne, Southern California. Senior Editor Nic de Sena rode through Malibu with Gard Hollinger, who co-founded Arch Motorcycle with his friend, Keanu Reeves. The 1s is a unique ride for sure, and Nic explains what makes the bike really stand out.
For the entertaining story behind Arch Motorcycle from Gard Hollinger himself, you must listen to his podcast episode on Motos & Friends HERE
The guest segment of Motos and Friends is brought to you by the faster and most technologically advanced, 2023 Suzuki Hayabusa—visit your local dealer or suzukicycles.com to learn more.
In our second segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with multiple Emmy award-winning writer, Producer, Director, and actor, Thom Beers. the former Chairman & CEO of Fremantle Media North America, responsible for American Idol and America’s Got Talent.
Thom’s fertile imagination led to most of the really big reality TV shows such as ‘Deadliest Catch’ (now in its 17th season!), and many others. Of course for us in the motorcycle world, you’ll be interested to hear the genesis and story of how he started the first real fabrication reality show ‘Monster Garage’, that showcased Jesse James, and then how that led to ‘Biker Build Off’ and the ‘Zombie Choppers’ movie.
You’d imagine that most of Thom’s time is spent sitting behind a desk and on his phone. Not so. His intense stories of capturing much of the content for these shows make for some hair-raising listening.