The Daytona 675 won us over during our street test with its sweet-sounding Triple. Out on the track, the cherry red British beast topped our timesheets, as well as our scoresheets.
Howling at Convention
Point Totals: First Place – 88.2%
Rank Totals: First (7/30)
We were mightily impressed with the little Daytona during the street segment of our testing, so much so that it handily won the comparo thanks largely to its mile-wide powerband and sexy howl from its three-cylinder engine.
Well, if our experience at the track is anything to go by, the FIM would be wise to keep the ballsy Daytona out of the Supersport class. It topped the time charts for each rider except Ken, and Roberti’s best lap on it was a full half-second quicker than anything else.
“Any doubts I had about the Triumph working well on the track were quickly answered on my first couple of sessions aboard the 675,” Chamberlain relates. “At the end of the test I had logged my fastest time aboard the Triumph, and I was able to do it more consistently without pushing quite as hard in the corners.”
The Daytona approximates the stellar handling characteristics of the R6, being both nimble and stable. But it’s the bottomless well of power that is churned out by the middleweight Triple that impresses most.
“The motor is what really separates this bike from the crowd,” Hutchison rhapsodizes. “Its strong low-end and midrange makes the bike very forgiving and easy to ride fast.”
“Compared to the four-cylinder bikes, this thing pulls like crazy,” Becklin enthuses, “especially in the midrange.”
“The Pahrump track has several corners that require a good drive coming out,” BC explains, “and the Triumph was easily able to give you the drive, even if you didn’t take the corner just right. It’s all about driving out of the corners, and the Triumph did it better than anything else.”
There’s more to an exemplary track bike than just acceleration, but the Daytona has all the bases covered. Not only predictable and settled in higher-speed corners, the Trumpet is nearly untouchable in the world of curlicue-shaped tarmac.
“It’s in the esses and chicane where the thin frame and lightest weight really pay off,” Kenny offers. “It’s very easy and predictable through active turns, and that is one of the reasons the 675 is making me a fan.”
“It flicks from side to side very quickly,” Roberti concurs. “And it makes tighter turns than all the other bikes.”
How much does Becklin like the Daytona? Enough to put one in his garage! “Absolutely awesome motor,” he says. “It pulls on the bottom, mid-range and up top too. Hard to ask for much more.” Indeed.
With fairly radical steering geometry and a torquey power delivery, the Daytona is ripe for a trip into Tankslapper City, but its standard steering damper ensures that the only wag you’ll be experiencing is from your dog’s tail when you return home safely from the track.
Becklin noted its slight lack of stability during aggressive steering transitions, but he also praised the amount of feedback offered from the front end.
“You get a good sense of the level of traction you were playing with nearly all the time,” he gushed. “That front-tire feel invites you to carry a bunch of speed into the corners, and its strong, torquey motor would pull you out at nearly any rpm: The best of both worlds.”
If not for its ass-up/hands-down riding position, the 675 might’ve scored highest in the Ergonomics/Instrumentation category. Its pegs only ever touched the ground at dizzying angles of lean, and the riding triangle that places a rider over the front of the bike worked quite well on the track.
Its gauge pack is probably our favorite, providing easily assimilated information within a handsome display. And, proving our maturity level, we all loved the multiple blue LED shift indicators that light progressively as the redline approaches. “They’re so damn cool I can’t even tell you,” Kenny bubbles. Even Becklin wasn’t immune to they’re charm. “It’s like something you see in F1 car racing,” he adds.
Braking is yet another area in which the Triumph excels. The fronts have the requisite radial master cylinder and calipers, but they stand alone with the Ducati’s as having the only braided-steel brake lines. It’s hard to understand why the Japanese factories are reluctant to take advantage of the additional performance from braided hoses, leaving the door open for the Daytona to take top honors in this section.
The 675’s suspension and transmission also received marks near the top of the pack, the latter somewhat surprising due to its lack of a slipper clutch. Triumph’s are not known for producing class-leading gearboxes, so this surprise is a pleasant one.
There is perhaps no more important category in our scorecard for sportbikes than our Grin Factor classification. After all, if you’re not having fun on one of these machines you’re doing it wrong. Producing the most grins by a large margin was the remarkable bike from Britain.
Aggressive ergos, which allowed for mind-altering lean angles, produced the hottest laps of our track sessions. It was the Triumph’s grin inducing effects, however, which pushed it over the top in our shootout.
“The 675 has emerged as an unbeatable option for a track bike,” drools Kenny. “If you plan on riding a lot on the track, not racing, this bike is a no-brainer. Get one.”
We’re usually pretty stingy about handing out perfect 10 scores, but the extraordinary Triumph broke our yearly budget. It received no less than 12 of them from among our five testers.
“What’s left to say about this thing?” BC rhetorically asks. “It does everything exceptionally well. It has the best motor in the test, the best brakes, handles as well as anything else and gets around the track faster with less effort.”
“It’s really hard to find fault with the Triumph,” says Becklin, a guy who found so few faults that he recently bought a Daytona of his own. “Yeah, if you’re racing in the 600 class, it won’t work for you. But for real-world riders, this thing is a winner.”
Wait till Donny B finds out his Daytona is eligible to race in WERA’s C Superstock class against up-to-650cc four-cylinders.
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