Abandoned by the premier road racing series, we pitted the Suzuki GSX-R750 against the Triumph Daytona 675 for a head-to-head battle we’re billing as the Exiles Comparo.
What does the Triumph Daytona 675 and Suzuki GSX-R750 have in common with Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears? Besides that we all want to dress up in leather body suits and flog them mercilessly. Bad jokes aside: At one time or another they’ve all been the toast of the town during their heyday but now find themselves’ cast aside with no place that they truly belong. We can’t help our fallen gal-pals but we can run an intervention for the bikes. Think of this test as a sort of rehab we’ll call Asphalt Anonymous.
Twenty-two years ago the GSX-R750 defined the modern day sportbike. In the decades that followed the Gixxer seven-fifty, as it is known by true Suzuki enthusiasts, collected numerous race wins within both the amateur and professional road race ranks and tallied four AMA Superbike championships at the hands of Yoshimura Suzuki’s Mat Mladin.
Less than a half decade has passed since Superbike championship grids around the world were dominated by 750cc In-line Fours. In 2003 the 1000cc big-bores crashed the 750cc Superbike party and replaced their smaller siblings in the premier AMA and FIM World Superbike series. Fortunately for consumers, Suzuki has continued to develop this amazing platform, updating its once dominant steed even though there is no longer a top-tier professional class for it to compete in.
The Suzuki GSX-R750 is the sole survivor of that extraordinary era of racing but there is another great motorcycle that has suffered a similar fate – the Triumph Daytona 675. Only a year ago the tenacious Triple swept almost every Supersport comparison conducted in America, including our own Supersport Shootout IV, only to be left out of all but one test the following year. First it was banned from competing in Supersport competition, then it was blackballed by the media for one reason or another. Suddenly, it seems as though the Triumph has fallen from grace.
They may not be turning laps in the major road racing championships but the Suzuki GSX-R750 (right) and Triumph Daytona 675 (left) are popular and effective tools for a trackday.
Although the descent of the Daytona is not as notorious as the demotion of the Gixxer, it still represents an injustice to those who have sampled the goods and know what the bike is capable of. We are all aware of what it did against the Supersport class but how would it fare against a 750? Last year the Triumph enjoyed a displacement advantage which left the competition feeling a bit slighted when the results came in. In the interest of keeping things fair we’ve tossed it into the mix with the only legitimate 750 sportbike on the market today: The Suzuki GSX-R750. With no clear class to call their own we created one for them. Ladies and gentleman, welcome to our inaugural Exiles Comparo between the 2007 Suzuki GSX-R750 and the Triumph Daytona 675.
Although these once mighty warriors may have exiled to a purgatory of canyon rides, club races and track days there’s no reason to pity them because they are still two of the best motorcycles on the market. Infineon Raceway, in the hills of Sonoma, California, and a multitude of backroads surrounding our Southern Oregon HQ would serve as our playground while we sampled these forbidden fruit from Triumph and Suzuki. The streets around MCUSA HQ would allow us to compare their goodness as daily rides, while the 12-turn, 2.22-mile road course would be the ideal locale to see if the Hinckley, England-made Triumph has what it takes to topple its larger veteran Japanese rival in a controlled environment. To ensure a level field of play, we slung on Dunlop 208GP-A spec race tires which would enable us to extort the full knee-on-deck performance of this dynamic duo during an afternoon at the track with Pacific Track Time.