2011 Middleweight Sportbike Shootout - Street [Video]

Ducati 848 EVO vs. Suzuki GSX-R750 vs. Triumph Daytona 675R

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2011 Triumph Daytona 675R $11,999

“In relation to the others, the 675R is a veritable scalpel, able to turn quicker than perhaps even any 600,” says Kevin. “The middleweight sportbike from Triumph offers handling obedience that continues even while trail-braking, retaining its set lean angle.” The 675R’s lightest curb weight and twitchy-by-comparison chassis dimensions give the Triumph one of its greatest assets: quick, effortless steering.

Sweetening the pot is Öhlins suspension front and rear. However nice the fully adjustable inverted fork and desirable TTX36 shock is, for our weights and riding abilities (that is to say, we’re not mid-pack or higher AMA racers), this suspension package and its stiff springs were almost overkill. As delivered, both the fork and shock were unbearably stiff, requiring numerous adjustments that allowed the suspension to use more travel, thereby better absorbing road imperfections.

2011 Middleweight Sportbike Shootout - Street

But once adjusted to suit our tastes, the Brit’s bike’s Swedish-made suspenders seemed like they possessed ideal damping without allowing the bike to wallow or wander when ridden aggressively. And, the gold stuff simply looks trick on a streetbike.

Kevin states that the “675R’s close-ratio tranny has a significantly taller first gear than the non-R, requiring greater clutch work during stoplight getaways.” While this an accurate assessment, it’s still the Ducati that requires the most clutch/throttle finessing.

2011 Middleweight Sportbike Shootout - Street

In addition to premium suspension and Brembo monoblocs, the 675R also comes with an electronic quickshifter as standard. At first this feature seemed less an advantage on the street than it might on the fast-paced environment of a racetrack, but once we accustomed ourselves to it, we noted that it functioned seamlessly and transparently. It was only when using moderate throttle openings when its shifts would be more abrupt than using the clutch.

Like the Ducati’s narrow waist, the Daytona’s similarly slim profile was also appealing to Troy, as it allowed him room to adjust his body position while droning down the freeway. Kevin, on the other hand, discovered that for him, the Triumph’s “thin seat, low bars and lack of upper-body wind protection gets old.” He also reports that the 675R engine “emits noticeable vibes at highway speeds.” The Tri also takes honors for Highest Seat Height, with its 32.7-inch distance to the ground, 0.1 inches higher than the Duc’s lofty bum carrier.

2011 Middleweight Sportbike Shootout - Street

Another caveat Kevin points out from his many freeway miles is that “a rider's right leg gets slow-roasted by the 675's exhaust pipe when cruising around town.” He caught this peccadillo during 70-degree weather here in SoCal, so expect exhaust heat to become a bigger issue in the hot summer months.

The 675R’s instrument cluster is similar in layout to the GSX-R, in that it has an analog tach and LCD readout combo. But Triumph’s odd choice to display white characters/figures onto the LCD’s black background meant that during daytime the display was often challenging to see clearly. The 848’s all LCD, MotoGP-derived instrument panel that offers a bar-graph tach readout was just fine with me, but Kevin and Troy found it only a little less bothersome to view than the 675’s clocks.

“Of the three, the Triumph is to me the most exciting and fun bike here for the street,” enthuses Troy. “It’s got loads of character, it sounds great, has linear, useable power, flicks from side to side almost telepathically, and it just downright looks awesome.” Although Kevin has an appreciation for the black bike, he, too was wooed like a sailor to the rocks by the 675R’s siren’s call.

“The 675R is easily the most attractive in this group. As much as I dig the aggressive appearance of the finely tailored 848, it's the Triumph that is sexiest to my eyes,” he says. Guess that makes me the lone hold out for the 848 EVO’s simple but devilish good looks. However, like a college freshman, I could change my opinion of who’s hottest looking depending on what kind of light the 675R is in.

Like the tremendous value the GSX-R750 brings to the table, so, too, does the up-spec R version when set side-by-side to its nearly identical twin, the standard Daytona 675. For the sum of $1500 more on top of the 675’s $10,499, you can enjoy Öhlins front and rear, Brembo radial-mount monoblocs, an electronic quickshifter and various carbon-fiber bits. With all that, who wouldn’t leap at the Daytona 675R?

2011 Middleweight Sportbike Shootout - Street

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