When I got the chance to ride the new Triumph Daytona 675 for a few weeks, you could say I was more than just a little excited. Finally, I'd be the guy rolling down the street in style sporting my new Dainese leathers and waving to all the lovely ladies who would surely be taking notice.
Oh yes, I was looking forward to this and was going to soak it for all it's worth. Ride it to the mail box at the end of the parking lot a few times a day just incase any important new coupons had arrived. Maybe start it up three or four times a day just to make sure the battery didn't go bad from sitting too long. It's been a while since I've had anything this pretty sitting in my garage and I was going to flaunt it!
'Taking a first look at the brand-new Triumph revealed its striking beauty.'
When the manufacturers rolled out their latest weapons this season, few bikes had me as feverish as the brand-new Triumph 675. Now for a guy who rarely rides middleweight bikes and has never owned a Triumph this may seem a little odd. But one quick observation of the first three-cylinder supersport middleweight reveals this Triumph was destined to be like none other.
Taking a first look at the brand-new Triumph revealed its striking beauty. Some of the past Triumphs have been guilty of looking a bit dated even when new. This is no longer the case as the Triumph Daytona looks remarkably modern and fresh. Attractive bodywork and frame design, undertail exhaust and beautiful paint make this bike a real looker. There was a buzz surrounding this bike and I was eager to see if Triumph had built a bike that not only looked beautiful but performed just as mental.
One look at the spec sheet on the 675 and you will see this isn't your grand pappy's Triumph. Its 675cc, water-cooled three-cylinder 12-valve power unit is extremely compact and features Keihin closed-loop fuel injection and stacked six-speed close ratio transmission. Peak power of 123bhp is delivered at 12,500rpm, with 53 foot-pounds of torque at 11,750rpm. The standard exhaust features an under seat exhaust and also utilizes a secondary valve to boost torque low down.
The Daytona 675’s aluminum frame is fabricated with open-back cast spars, which wrap over the top of the motor, accentuating further the benefits of the narrow three-cylinder design. Rake is set at 23.5mm, trail at 86.8mm with a wheelbase of 54.8in. Dry weight is 363lbs. The frame is 5.5 pounds lighter and 4.3 inches narrower than Triumph's previous 650 middleweight, proving it really isn't about size, but how you use it.
Suspension is provided by Kayaba 41mm inverted cartridge forks adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping at the front, monoshock with a piggyback reservoir adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping at the rear.
The wheels are a lightweight five-spoke design; 17 x 3.5in (front) and 17 x 5.5in (rear). Pirelli Dragon Super Corsa Pro's come fitted on the Daytona 675. Front tire size is 120/70 ZR17, the rear a 180/55 ZR17.
Also, for all of you Attention Deficit Disorder types there is no need to fear because if you start getting a little bored on track, the 675's dash comes complete with gear indicator, programmable shift lights, lap timer, as well all the usual trip functions, to keep you occupied.
My first week with the bike was scheduled for some street riding. Since most of my time on a motorcycle is spent on the track I was looking forward to getting back on the street and dodging little old ladies, import car wannabe racers and cell phone users. My first plan was to call every vixen I know and see if I could impress her with a ride on the shiny new Triumph. Seeing as I've spent the last few years wrapped in a fair bit of plaster due to some on-track incidents, the returned calls were few although I did get one taker (sucker!).
The next plan was to head up to Trabuco Canyon and do some solo riding after spending a few minutes checking for any hidden cameras on the Triumph. I mean this whole concept of complete strangers just giving me a brand-new bike to ride is still a little foreign to me. It must be some kind of a setup, possibly for a hidden camera reality show with the sole purpose of making me look like an idiot. With no camera to be found the only thing left to do was try to come back with the family jewels intact after what will surely be many a wheelie attempt.
Pulling out of the parking lot I notice the Daytona sits very high and forward. It's also very narrow in the middle thanks to the compact nature of the triple, making my personal sweetheart at home seem like quite the porker (not you honey, the GSX-R). Now I consider myself a pretty mellow rider on the street. No 80 mph wheelies, rolling stoppies or anything resembling stunt riding. I wear my pants way too high and tight with far too few tattoos to fit into the stunt crowd, but this bike had me trying to play the role. The Triumph gets the front wheel up easier than any other middleweight I've ridden and was an absolute riot on the street. Fancy a wheelie or two? Just roll on the power and instant Starboyz. I mean the bike has so much grunt it seemed almost rude not to wheelie it.
Once we hit the canyons, the Daytona once again impressed. I had never been on this particular route before so more than a few corners had me coming in a little hot but the Triumph seemed to take it all with ease. This bike is extremely flickable and the excellent brakes kept me out of trouble on a few occasions. The extra torque was especially nice when negotiating sections of the road for the first time. You could power out of a corner a gear too high and the motor would just pull you through, making you look like a pro.
'To no surprise, the motor that was so great on the street was equally as good on the track.'
My only real complaint would be the heat generated by the undertail exhaust. It's definitely noticeable. If you ride in colder climates or are moving at high speed its fine, but if it's hot and you're sitting in traffic it gets a little toasty. The mirrors, although nice and stylish, are great for a view of your own shoulders but that's about it.
After a few days on the street we took the trip up to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a Fastrack Riders track day to test it out on the track. I was entered in the race group and turned more than a few heads heading out on track riding a bike with full mirrors and lights in a group lined with race bikes. I even hit the blinker entering a few corners to really confuse the people behind me.
To no surprise, the motor that was so great on the street was equally as good on the track. Twist the throttle on the 675 and you will wonder why every company isn't building middleweight Triples. The power is very seamless and although there is an abundance of torque down low you can rev the bike out as well and it still makes useable power. The fuel injection, which was suspect on Triumphs in years past, is now spot on.
LVMS has many hard braking areas so solid brakes are essential and the Triumph did not disappoint. The Nissin radial mount brakes were excellent with great feel and stopping power. Steel braided brake lines come standard on the bike and are attached to radial-mount front calipers with a radial pump master cylinder. Front discs are 308mm while the back sports a 220mm disc. The extra engine braking that comes with a triple took a little getting used to but I soon became accustomed to it.
The Triumph falls into the corner with ease and is very precise. The suspension gave great feedback both front and back but was a little unstable mid-corner in some of the bumpy faster sections. The shock seemed on the soft side and we were searching for more rebound in the rear. One thing that was most likely not helping matters was the temperature. It was a very cold day in Vegas and I was having trouble getting enough heat in the tires to really push the bike the way I wanted to. In my third session I decided I wasn't getting heat in the tires because I wasn't riding hard enough so it was time to up the pace. Or as my riding partners said, “You need to turn up the good and turn down the suck!”
'Triumph has built a bike that is a genuine alternative to the usual suspects in the middleweight class.'
Although never professionally diagnosed with dyslexia I sometimes tend to get things a little backwards and sure enough as I went to “turn up the good” in turn 3, I mistakenly “turned up the suck.” I had a major front end push and had to stand the bike up and do a little motocross action to save it. Although I know Mr. Emery has a great sense of humor I had a feeling that somehow he would not find me torpedoing the Triumph especially side-splitting. I managed to flail around through the dirt just long enough to get the bike under control and back on track only to nearly receive a GSX-R enema coming up from behind. Disaster successfully thwarted.
After a few too many cold tire slides I decided to relax a little bit and just enjoy what the Triumph has to offer, an intoxicating motor with precise handling and killer brakes. As a track day bike you would be hard pressed to find a middleweight that is more fun to ride.
Oh, and let's not forget that distinctive sound of a triple. I don't know how many of you have been to a World Superbike race and heard the Foggy Petronas Triple but it's the most insanely sweet sounding bike I've heard. Well, this Triumph Triple has got to be one of the finest sounding street bikes on the road. The Triumph mixes the deepness of a twin with the scream of a four-cylinder, forming a roar that's all it's own.
There are many riders out there who buy their bike solely on the fact that it's unique or interesting, regardless of how the bike performs. This is understandable as bikes are emotional purchases, and your mouth should ooze a small amount of dribble every time you open that garage. But for me performance has always come first and everything else tends to come second. With the Triumph Daytona 675 the rider does not have to sacrifice performance just for the sake of having the hottest conversation piece at the local bike night. Triumph has built a bike that is a genuine alternative to the usual suspects in the middleweight class. A motorcycle that is not only different, but in many ways a bike that is superior.