2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R vs. 2012 Suzuki GSX-R750 vs. 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R - Video

Kawasaki is back in the oddball middleweight sportbike wars

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2012 Triumph Daytona 675R

We just can’t quit the Triumph Daytona 675R. Despite objectively losing our previous shootouts, we bring it back time after time because it truly is one of the most enjoyable sportbikes to ride, no matter the displacement category. In fact, in our “Grin Factor” category, Kevin rated it as his pick of the three. “Its Triple – one of my favorite motorcycle engines of all time – is amazingly flexible for a sportbike engine of its size.”

Indeed, we’ve harped about the enticing character the 675cc inline-Triple provides before. In fact, looking at the dyno chart, under 5000 rpm the Triumph makes more torque than either the Suzuki or Kawi, a handy feature on the street, though it falls flat once the revs pass 13,000 rpm. All of us enjoyed wringing the 675’s neck around Willow’s Big Track, though Kevin was annoyed with the long throttle pull. “I’d find a quicker-turn ratio throttle if I owned the Triumph.”

2012 Triumph Daytona 675R Leaned Over

Otherwise, we’re all enamored with the Daytona’s agility, a trait helped by its 407-pound wet weight, the lightest here. The Trumpet changes direction on a whim and “its Ohlins suspension does a superb job of absorbing Willow’s many bumps while maintaining solid control,” says Duke.

Though it lacks fancy electronics like traction control or ABS (both available on the Kawasaki), when Tom says “you gotta love the quickshifter,” we can’t help but agree. The Suzuki, by contrast, is devoid of these items. Not even as options. We noted earlier the impressive performance of the Suzuki’s Brembos. The Triumph, too, features monobloc Brembos, but is partnered with steel-braided lines for consistently strong braking.

2012 Triumph Daytona 675R and 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R

On the street the 675R impresses as well, though it makes its track preference clear. On the ergonomic front, “Bar ends are nearly as low as a rider’s knees and are the lowest of the bunch,” notes Kevin. “Together with this group’s tallest seat, it yields the most uncomfortable street ergos of the group. Still, the bars are placed a bit closer to the rider than the ZX’s, so it’s not really uncomfortable for shorter trips.”

Ergos aside, the qualities we love on the track make it equally endearing off the track. “Its Triple-iscious engine is sweet on the street,” says Duke, though he did notice a slight buzz at freeway speeds. On the street a strong midrange is more important than peak power, and it’s here where the Triple really shines, producing significantly more torque than the ZX-6R between 7700 rpm and 11,000 rpm, rivaling the Suzuki in the process.

2012 Triumph Daytona 675R Action Left

If the Triumph can’t be on a track, then twisty roads are the next best thing. Thankfully, the 675 carves a canyon like Emeril carves a turkey. That’s no surprise, but Duke notes lighter riders could find the R’s spring rates a little stiff for street duties. Another gripe: the gauge cluster with white letters on black background is difficult to read.

Otherwise, it’s hard to fault the Triumph. Its engine and chassis are well balanced together, it’s the only one with a quickshifter and we’re fans of the well-placed shift lights. Oh and it’s the prettiest of the bunch, too. It does lack a little top end and places the rider rather aggressively for long distances. Thankfully, with the introduction of the 2013 Triumph Daytona 675/R neither is an issue anymore.

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