One of the most eagerly awaited sportsbikes of recent times, the Triumph Daytona 675 is a motorbike which ticks all the boxes; lightweight, torquey mid-size motor, great styling and yes – hurrah – it’s British!
Now in years gone by, that would have prompted Japanese sportbike owners to offer some sarcastic remarks about sluggish diesels, crunchy gearboxes and lardy looking old buses fit for old men etc. But the good news is that the 675 delivers the goods.
Alastair Walker spent a week getting to know this beautiful new bike.
I never thought I would live to see a British made motorcycle outperform the very best that Japan could produce on two wheels, but the new Daytona 675 does exactly that.
Where a Honda CBR600RR, or R6, need revving to about 11,000 rpm to get them seriously moving, the Daytona lunges forwards with a visceral kick from 5,000 revs. Where a ZX6R goes light and starts flapping its handlebars coming out of bumpy corners, the Daytona is that bit more stable, more confidence-building to ride hard.
The Daytona feels like a scaled down GSXR1000 K5, which is a beautiful place to be in the pecking order of sportsbikes as far as I am concerned. The Triumph has poise, agility in the turns, a superb throttle response, a reasonable amount of comfort and outstanding brakes. It also howls like some demented Goth-metal band member when accelerating hard – the induction roar from the airbox is louder than the exhaust note I reckon – but that´s a good thing as well.
The Daytona 675 is an all-round winner in every department – so good, I can´t quite believe that it´s been produced by the same factory which gave us the spluttering TT600, the roomy but slow Daytona 600 and a frame tube the size of a drainpipe for the Tiger 900.
Triumph are on a roll at the moment, with the brilliant Rocket III making a distinctive statement to all cruiser riders bored with Harleys – and Harley wannabe bikes – plus the razor sharp Sprint 1050, and funky new Speed Triple all tickling people´s fancies.
Let´s hope they keep it up and the Daytona 675 is the first of anew generation of great mid-sized three cylinder bikes; Supermoto, sports-tourer, Adventure tourer – they could even do a retro `Slippery Sam´ retro racer Trident model – how cool would that be?
But I´m getting carried away, let´s start with some basics on the Daytona 675.
The unique selling point with this bike has to be that triple cylinder engine. It´s a high compression motor, making a claimed 123bhp at 12,500rpm and features a Nimonic nickel based material for the exhaust vales, plus a low friction coating to the top piston ring.
As you´d expect, it´s liquid cooled, DOHC and the cylinders are canted forwards in the frame to help the overall balance of the bike.
The engine runs remarkably quietly at idle, but has a meaty, gruff bark to it once you´re underway and going up through the gears.
The most impressive feature about the motor is the mid range pull it produces from as little as 5,000 rpm. This makes the Triumph much easier to ride in traffic than most 600cc sportsbikes and the fuel injection system is pretty much faultless, which also helps. There´s useful pull from just above tickover, so you can glide effortlessly through queues of traffic, without attracting too much attention or making drivers think you are revving the hell out of your bike to try and intimidate them out of the way.
The only area where the Triumph does have a tiny weakness is in the gearbox, which occasionally feels a little stiffer in its operation, especially in the lower gears, than say a GSXR600 or Honda CBR600RR. It´s still the best Triumph gearbox Hinckley have produced I reckon, but not quite silky smooth.
Of course choosing a triple allows Triumph to have a narrow chassis and as the aluminium alloy frame rails loop over the motor, instead of around the sides, the Triumph is ultra compact – you feel that Kate Moss skinniness as soon as you sit on the bike. The saddle is narrow at the front too, so it´s easy to get your feet down at red traffic lights.
I really like the subframe, the way the spindly rails support the seat and hold that compact little exhaust, with its three exit holes, neatly in place. There´s a kind of `bacofoil´ arrangement under there to prevent heat from cooking the occasional pillion passenger, or your panniers. Mostly it works, but you have to be very careful about bungeeing any soft luggage into position.
The swingarm has a substantial brace on it and the mandatory monoshock, with piggy back gas reservoir. It had a little bit too much firmness for me, but the standard settings at the back and at the front forks would probably be perfect for track use. Two clicks softer makes regular road riding a bit easier on the spinal column.
But what the upside down forks and the shock give you is plenty of feedback from the road surface. You feel a sense of trust building rapidly when you start chucking the bike into corners, as the steering is light, fairly quick and the firm ride quality keeps you alert, concentrating on the business of making good progress.
The wheelbase is pretty short, at 1392mm, the forks are set at a 23.5 degree angle too – this is a bike designed to handle rapid changes of direction – and it does. But it has an impressive stability above 90mph too, and it felt a lot like the GSXR600 in that regard I thought.
At the front end you´ll find two 308mm discs, and coupled with a lightweight wheel, they allow you to brake deep into corners, without the bike wanting to protest too much. The bike is very light overall, but it carries what mass it has very well, you never feel like the front end is loading up too much and unsettling the 675 going into corners – that´s where midrange sportbikes really score over the 1000cc stuff.
As I didn´t ride the 675 at the track, I can´t really say if it handles with the same mix of grace and devastating ease that the GSXR750 has, but on the road, the Daytona had no problem at all sticking with a couple of geezers on big litre sportbikes near the Ponderosa in North Wales.
It´s a bike which lets you push your luck a little bit and still not feel like you´re close to the danger point. It has plenty of even, useful power, brakes with real finesse and the chassis is never overwhelmed by the power – in the way that the R1 or ZX-10R can sometimes feel.
Perfectly balanced. A simple cliche, but true in the Triumph´s case.
A FUTURE CLASSIC?
I reckon the 675 Daytona will become a classic bike one, it really is a defining moment for the small British company – at last they´re on level terms with the market leaders in the supersports 600 category.
At £7300 on the road, the Triumph is decent value and you can bet that the bike will hold a good residual value for about two years, until some other mad rocketship becomes flavour of the moment, or Triumph update the 675 with a few tweaks here and there. It will be hard to make this baby better though!
More importantly, the Daytona 675 offers respectable performance, especially for `real´ roads riders and comfort for middle-aged men to fit onto the bike. That´s the core market for sports motorbikes as far as I can tell, so Triumph have done the right thing on nearly every front to give the new bike a wide appeal.
The Tornado Red colour is my fave, but apparently the silver grey model is the hot choice at present. Get yourself a test ride soon. Bike British!
Get Triumph motorbike insurance for the triumph daytona 675.
Engine……….12 valve, three cylinder, DOHC, liquid cooled, four stroke.
Bore and Stroke……….74mm X 52.3mm
Compression ratio……….12.6: 1
Fuelling……….Digital fuel injection
Estimated peak power……….125bhp @ 12,500rpm
Frame……….Aluminium twin spar
Forks……….41mm usd, multi-adjustable
Rear suspension……….Monoshock, multi-adjustable
Brakes……….Twin 308mm front discs, 4 piston callipers, single 220mm rear disc, single piston calliper
Wheels/Tyres……….120/70 ZR17 front, 180/55 ZR17 rear
Fuel capacity……….17.4 litres
Colours……….Scorched Yellow, Tornado Red, Graphite
Current price……….£7,300 OTR, June 2006