The Triumph Tiger 660 is a refined sport tourer powered by a liquid-cooled, 660cc inline-three-cylinder engine.
The Tiger 660 stocks a suite of electronic rider support, including different riding modes, adjustable traction control, and ABS.
One of my best friends has a 2023 Tiger 660, and he loves it, but no machine is perfect.
This article explores the most common problems with the Triumph Tiger 660, as noted by real-life owners.
Table of Contents
1. Cold Start Issues
One of the problems Tiger 660 owners report is that their bike is hard to start when it’s cold out, often due to worn spark plugs or a weak battery. Electrical ignition components require more current when it’s cold out. If they’re already weak when it’s warm, they’ll fail to start when it’s cold.
“I picked up my Tiger Sport 660 a couple of months ago. For the most part, it wouldn’t happily start while cold – after waiting for the fuel pump to hit the starter, the bike would just crank for 5-10 seconds before firing… -Triumphrat.net
- Check your Tiger’s fuel pump. A faulty fuel pump can cause starting issues when it’s cold out. Replace it if necessary.
- Check the battery. If your Tiger’s battery is weak, it may struggle in colder temperatures.
- Inspect the spark plugs. Fouled or worn spark plugs can cause cold starting issues on a Tiger 660.
2. Inaccurate ECU Data Causes Stalling While Riding
Triumph Tiger 660s manufactured between 2021 and 20214 sometimes experience starting problems due to the bike’s sensor sensors sending inaccurate information to the engine control unit (ECU). Owners report that the manifold absolute pressure hose can get blocked, causing misreadings.
“[my Tiger 660] often idled rough or just stalled… a friend of mine in Sydney has pretty much the same problem and has been chasing the issue with his dealer..” -Triumphrat.net
The issue resulted in a safety recall on over 7,500 660s, including the Tiger Sport 660. If you’re 2021-2024, Tiger 660 is experiencing stalling issues that seem ECU-related, your local dealership can run the VIN and tell you if you’re eligible for a free fix.
3. Excessive Engine Heat
The Triumph’s 660cc triple cylinder is a unique engine concept capable of producing more HP than a Harley engine nearly twice its size. That said, it’s a sealed, liquid-cooled monstrosity that generates too much heat for more particular Tiger riders.
“I’ve just bought a Tiger 660! Great bike, but I noticed that the heat coming from the engine is very high, and when I stop, the radiator fan starts after 1-2 minutes. The display does not show high temperatures (like 3 bars out of 5 or 6), and the air temperature here is about 28/30 C. By “very high,” I really mean it; I’ve never experienced something like this before. I’m worried about the cooling system not working properly.” -Reddit.
It’s typical for a powerhouse of an engine like the Tiger’s 660 to generate heat while running, especially in hot weather.
However, if you feel that the heat is more intense than usual, here’s what to look for:
- Check your Tiger’s coolant level. If the coolant level is low, it can cause your Tiger’s engine to overheat.
- Inspect the radiator. A damaged or blocked radiator won’t cool the engine like it should.
- Check the thermostat. A faulty thermostat can cause your Tiger’s engine to overheat.
- Inspect the fan: Ensure your Triumph Tiger’s radiator fan works correctly.
4. Suspension Isn’t Fully Adjustable
While the Tiger’s rear mono shock is adjustable, some riders find it challenging to balance the suspension for the ideal ratio of comfort to handling. Furthermore, some riders claim the bike only feels balanced if the bike’s tour pack is loaded with gear.
More than a few Tiger owners note there’s no reason why Triumph couldn’t have equipped the bike with a fully adjustable front and rear suspension package.
“I find that riding the bike without luggage is uncomfortable and a bit skittish in that it seems to bounce off road imperfections rather than absorbing them, so it feels slightly unstable at the rear on less-than-perfect surfaces. On a recent trip with full panniers and top box, it was less noticeable and seemed to handle better than when unloaded…” -tiger660.com
“The damping is too strong, especially for solo use with no luggage, and the OEM shock is nonadjustable. Therefore, I am tempted to get an aftermarket shock with a spring rate tailored to my requirements and adjustable damping.” – tiger660.com
- If adjusting the suspension settings does not resolve the issue, you may consider upgrading the suspension system.
- An aftermarket shock with adjustable damping may be a good option.
5. Wind Screen Comes Loose While Riding
Triumph Tiger 660 owners complain the windscreen on the bike is too short to block the wind effectively while they ride. That said, larger upgrade windscreens available are easily knocked loose by bumps in the road.
Here’s what one of my best buddies had to say about his windscreen coming loose while he rides:
“The windshield on my 2023 Tiger 660 is secured by a simple sliding mechanism that does not lock. If you want a bigger screen, be prepared to keep it on its lowest setting. Any bump will knock a heavy screen down a few pegs.”
To be clear, my friend loves his Tiger and wouldn’t trade it for anything. But every bike has issues; we’re here to find solutions.
- One possible solution to the issue of your Tiger’s windscreen coming loose while you ride is to install an aftermarket windshield designed to attach with a more secure mechanism.
- You can adjust the windshield to its lowest setting to minimize movement while riding.
6. Hard to Shift with Boots On
One of the most commonly reported problems with the Tiger 660 is its short clearance between the shifter and footpeg, which makes the bike hard to shift with boots on.
“I had the [Tiger 660’s] shifter problem. Two-part solution: filed off a small area of the plastic trim where the lever fouled and replaced the gear ‘peg’ with a smaller diameter one – cut the old one off, drilled & tapped the lever to M8, and fitted a machined aluminum peg with adhesive heat-shrink cover using M8 bolt. This also removes the ‘sponginess’ of the OEM rubber grip with a more direct feel during shifts.” -tiger660.com
“It’s hard to get under [my Tiger 660’s] shifter without pointing my foot down, which is uncomfortable. It’s fine with old boots or casual ones.” -tiger660.com
“I tried adjusting it higher, and it then fouls the plastic trim again. I suppose I could lower the peg, but I cannot be the only one wearing boots with a thick toe area.” -tiger660.com
- Start by attempting to adjust the shifter height, which allows for a slight increase in the area.
- If adjusting the shifter isn’t enough, consider lowering the peg — consult your Triumph dealership for options.
7. Handlebar Vibrations Cause Numbness in Hands
More than a few Tiger 660 owners have reported high-frequency vibrations running through their handlebars when they ride. Tiger riders note that on long highway rides, the vibration starts to cause discomfort in their throttle hand.
“Okay. I now have about 2,500 miles on the new [Tiger 660]. Love it. But… There is something about the bike that is beginning to drive me insane, and that is the handlebar vibration – specifically, its effect on my throttle hand. Note that I am no stranger to vibration. My other bikes are v-twins or derivatives, and those bikes are perhaps *the iconic examples of vibrating lumps of iron.
This is different – the frequency of the vibration results in my throttle hand going to sleep – it usually only takes about 10-15 minutes for this effect to start – and I *always* wind up having to stop numerous times during a ride just to let my right hand come off the throttle and recover. Please also note that I am well aware of the need to use my core to grip the bike. I don’t ‘hang on for dear life’ to the grips, and part of what I love about motorcycle riding in general is the core workout that comes along with spirited riding.”
I asked that Tiger-riding Texan I know about this issue, and he confirmed it’s a problem.
“When exploring the power of my 2023 Tiger, the high end leads to some numbness in the fingers and hands. Its short gears have plenty of get up and go, and you don’t need to ring it out to hit cruising speeds.”
- Install grip covers that are designed to dampen handlebar vibration. Grip covers can help reduce vibration frequency, relieving discomfort and numbness in your hands, arms, and shoulders.
- Adjust the handlebar position until it’s more comfortable on your arms. This will boost your tolerance to the vibration while you ride.
- Install handlebar weights. Handlebar weights counterbalance vibration to reduce the frequency causing numbness.
As with all other problems on the list, we suggest consulting your locally authorized Triumph technicians for long-term solutions if discomfort in your hands persists.
Triumph dealership mechanics can access Triumph and aftermarket catalogs full of parts designed to work with your specific year model Tiger.
Most of the issues covered in this article are problems for some riders but not for others.
A Triumph-literate mechanic can help you customize and accessorize your Tiger to suit your needs, making you more comfortable and secure. At the same time, you ride one of the most unique motorcycles on the market.
- Powerful Engine
- Comfortable Riding Position
- Adjustable Suspension
- Riding Modes
- Lots of Features at an Affordable Price
- Superb Handling
- Reliable, Well-Built, and Efficiently Designed by Triumph’s Class-Leading Engineers
- Cold Start Issues
- Inaccurate ECU Data Causes Stalling While Riding
- Excessive Engine Heat
- Suspension Isn’t Fully Adjustable
- Insufficient Wind Protection
- Hard to Shift with Boots On
- Handlebar Vibrations Cause Numbness in Hands
What’s the Resale Value of the Triumph Tiger 660?
|Used Listing Price
What Are Some Alternative Models?
|Triumph Tiger Sport 660
|Yamaha Tracer 7
|Kawasaki Versys 650