– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

MD First Ride: 2006 Triumph Daytona 675

Since Triumph decided that its middle-weight sportbike should be called the Daytona (rather than ‘TT’), Hinckley has tried three times. First came a four-cylinder model in 600cc displacement, then a four-cylinder 650cc, and now the three-cylinder 675. All good things come in threes these days for Triumph, and it has been decided in the highest places that exclusivity will be connected with the make. So has Triumph got it right this time?

Over the last three years, I have ridden both the in-line four Daytona 600 and 650 and now the 675 triple. Triumph have tried and tried, but it is no longer a game. Succeed or disappear is the challenge that the designers at Triumph have set themselves. To assert the brand’s place as a strong competitor to the Japanese manufacturers, the 675 was designed to have approximately equal performance to their 600cc sportbikes. Triumph has achieved this with a powerful triple engine, combined with very low weight. The engine reaches its 123 (claimed – presumably at the crank and not the rear wheel)peak horsepower at a low (relative to others in this class) 12,500 rpm, and has torque that is the best in its class, with a claimed 53lb-ft at 11,750rpms. None of its Japanese competitors can deliver this much torque and power at such low revs. Triumph has achieved this by designing an all-new three-cylinder 675 which is equivalent (or better) to a 600cc four-cylinder engine in performance. The larger overall displacement, as well as the bigger size of each individual cylinder, help the power come in at much lower RPM than a 600 four.

When I hold in the clutch and press the starter button it is immediately apparent that the new 675 triple has a different tone from the previous Daytona four-cylinder. At speed the engine takes on that metallic tone unique to a triple. Another box ticked for the exclusivity that a European bike should have.

The engine is the central feature around which everything else is built and designed. By 62MPH in the highest gear the dial shows 4,500rpm. From these rpm the acceleration is smooth. At 8,000rpm we start to feel the class-beating midrange, and from here it really begins to get going. The engine comes properly to life and rips through the dial right up to the redline at an indicated 14,000rpm. The fuel injection is nearly perfect and tolerates off-on throttle transitions without a jerky response. The clutch is light and precise, but the gearbox is still not up to the standard set by the rest of the running gear. The problem is that when up-shifting there is a little more resistance than you want. Instead of a progressive upward migration of the gears it feels as if there is ever so slight hindrance to your foot. A stiff feel in other words. Downshifts have good sensitivity, on a par with better gearboxes. The only reason this becomes prominent is that there is almost nothing else about the 675 to criticise.

Into the bends it feels that a little extra push on the handlebars must be made before the 675 can lean completely on the edges of its tires. As soon as it bites, the 675 is just as sure and stable in the middle of bends as the Ducati 749. The standard tyres on the Daytona 675 are the absolute best road tyre that Pirelli has, namely the Dragon Supercorsa Pro. With the launch at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia there was no point for the Pirelli technicians to take any special track tyres. The Supercorsa Pro tyres have no tread on the extreme outsides, and thus work like a racing slick at maximum lean. It is up for speculation whether Triumph chose this tire to gain an advantage in various comparison tests on the track. Regardless, you get a good set of tyres as standard. In the rain, however, these tires are no picnic, and so you had best stay as upright as you can on the wet stuff. When I was riding in the wet, there was a fair amount of grip on the treaded part of the tires, so I just tried to avoid leaning over onto the slick sidewall

The seat height is high and the foot pegs are set to a sporty height for good ground clearance. The ergonomics were not a problem for a six-footer like me, and the fuel tank is shaped to provide enough knee-grip to take the weight off my arms. The Daytona 675 is almost petite, with a slender, narrow build and underseat exhaust.

The brakes (along with the instruments) descend from last years Speed Triple. The radial Nissin brakes suit the lightweight Daytona well. The bike stops immediately and without applying much force.. The chassis is brand new, and the frame is a double oval aluminium construction that follows the lines of the 955i and S3 frame, but specially designed for the 675. The swingarm is also new, with rounded edges which are claimed to be designed for aerodynamic purposes, but have the side effect of being quite attractive. The swingarm pivot is two-position adjustable, showing that the designers had racing in mind, even though Triumph might not admit to it. Suspension is fully adjustable, and both the forks and rear shock have a rather hard standard setting. The new Daytona also packs a steering damper up front.

The fairing sides have got a clean surface with triangle shapes here and there to mirror the triple design. From the front ,the Daytona 675 looks like an aggressive shark. Finish has got a high overall quality feel to it and not much has been left untouched. Triumph definitely means business with this machine.

Triumph’s Danish marketing director, together with John Bloor, has decided that Triumph as a trademark has to appear as totally unique. That is why we have seen the launch of Rocket III and the demise of all four cylinder engines. The Daytona 675, with its three-cylinder engine, stands out as unique in a class where you previously only chose which colour you liked best. Along with Yamaha’s R6, the 675 sticks out as something special this year. The only thing left for Triumph now is to sort that bothersome gearbox to bring it up to standard with the rest of the bike. Their has been a lot of hype surrounding this bike the last few months, for a good reason – the 675 is a very exciting motorcycle.

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