Britain’s got talent, that’s what the motorcycle media were touting, way before you could even see or touch the T595 Daytona. In 1996 it arrived into a world of sports bike confusion. The Honda Fireblade was still the benchmark, but its crown was starting to slip, four years after it had ripped the rule book up. Suzuki still went for the ‘you can’t beat cubes’ angle with their GSX-R1100 water cooled model. The Thunderace would be the Yamaha flag bearer for another few years and Kawasaki stuck with their ‘built for comfort and speed’ ZX-9R C model. Meanwhile, the Ducati 916 was proving to be the thinking man’s sports bike. Triumph needed a piece of the action and the headlines, pre-launch hype ensured there would be punters for the all new three cylinder sports bike.
So what was all the fuss about?
Any plans to blunt the Blade’s sales were short lived. It weighed 20kg more and had a cylinder less, but there’s often a positive lurking within a negative, you just have to look for it. The Daytona does have presence, the single sided swing arm probably did its bit. It added some kilos but does look smart. On the road the T595 shone brighter than the metallic yellow finish of the launch bikes, as that three cylinder engine delivers plenty of real world grunt. It also sounds lovely.
Twenty years later and these once darlings of the Triumph range can be bought for buttons, two grand secures you a stunner and you can work backwards for bikes that have had a hard life. Being an ‘all new’ bike there were issues. Early bikes came with polished frames; these were recalled and changed after a reported incident involving a demonstrator bike cracked its frame after an incident. Later bikes came with a lacquer finish over that lovely shiny alloy.
It’s worth noting that the unfaired Speed Triple version was unveiled at the same time, debuting Triumph’s famous twin bug eye headlamps and featuring a slightly smaller and less powerful engine in the same basic chassis. Like the Daytona, the 885cc Speed Triple was originally marketed using its factory development code, T509, although this was soon dropped. The T595 was soon renamed the 955i to reflect the engine capacity. Apparently many customers were put off after thinking that the 595 referred to the engine capacity!
What’s it like to ride?
From the moment you approach it you are aware that the T595 is a big bike, they don’t make them like this anymore. Hopping on, you’re greeted by a clean office in the depths of that fairing. The screen is quite low, a pointer to its sporty side. It feels wide too and the alloy frame does look posh. Once away you can’t help but enjoy the soundtrack supplied by that engine. It’s quite agricultural when it’s at work, although many owners refer to this as character! It hides its weight pretty well and you never feel like you’re riding the ‘90s cheap seats of sports bikes. Brakes are good, four pot calipers bite on 320mm discs up front and the forks bear more than a passing resemblance to early Fireblade ones. The water cooled engine is fed by fuel injection from French company SAGEM. This was cutting edge technology and a real novelty in 1996, although the later 955i Daytona had an updated system fitted.
We spoke to Vinny Styles whose the sales manager at Wheels Motorcycles in Peterborough about what to look for if you fancy buying a T595. “Service history is always a good sign as bikes without it are often poorly maintained. The engine is pretty sturdy, some bikes leak oil from the engine cover, but it’s an easy fix. The biggest thing to look for is a dodgy starter clutch. Many bikes will have been modified over the years, but if it doesn’t engage cleanly when you hit the starter, walk away and find another one. The finish is pretty good but tanks are plastic, if left for long periods of time with old fuel they can swell out of shape.”
What parts are in demand?
We called up Chris Tombleson at Grumpy 1260. “This isn’t a bike we see that often. When we’ve broken them we usually do ok with selling the forks and the rear end. They are a popular modification for our customers building projects. Engine parts don’t really sell, but if we get a decent motor from a running bike, it usually sells pretty sharpish. The seat unit assembly used to be popular with street fighter builders, though I think that those days are now over.”
Get Carole Nash to insure your Trimuph Daytona today, online or over the phone!