Triumph’s venerable Dayton 675R sees a new challenger from Italy. Will it be able to maintain its rank in this fiercely contested class? Watch the 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R Comparison Video to find out.
Year after year Triumph’s Daytona 675R ($12,699) is a perennial favorite in our Supersport Shootouts. The Brits have found the right combination of power, handling, and excitement that comes from the playful, fun-loving character of the Daytona’s howling triple-cylinder engine. But with a new adversary from Italy and a veteran from Japan, can the Triumph still maintain its rank?
For a seven-year-old machine, the Daytona is still eye catching—it’s aged gracefully due to routine series of tech updates including gold Ohlins suspension and top-shelf Brembo braking hardware. Add in a few pieces of carbon fiber and the English machine still looks appealing.
Seated at the controls the Triumph feels slimmer than both the MV and Suzuki, though the penalty is a taller seat. The Daytona also feels longer and more stretched out front-to-back, a fact confirmed by its relatively lengthy wheelbase. The way in which the seat is angled puts added pressure on the rider’s wrists making it a little less comfortable for long street rides. The foot controls are positioned logically but don’t offer adjustment a ’la the GSX-R. The windscreen is tall and offers adequate wind protection comparable to the others.
Slide into the seat the Daytona feels about the same as the other bikes weight-wise. A trip to the scale confirms its similarity, weighing 421 pounds ready to ride with its 4.6-gallon tank topped off. That places it right in the middle of the MV and Suzuki by a margin of two pounds, though it’s worth noting that the Daytona carries the most fuel (by 0.1 gallon).
The Triumph’s chassis is taunt, responsive and steers into bends with minimal input. It’s more nimble than the GSX-R and very comparable to MV’s F3. The Ohlins suspension performs fabulously absorbing the effects of broken pavement yet provides firm damping when the pace calls for it on the street or track.
(Top) Strong mid-range is a hallmark trait of the Triumph’s Triple-cylinder engine. It needs a bit more top-end however to run with the MV. (Center) The Triumph has the tallest seat and the most demanding overall riding stance. (Bottom) Our only real complaint in the drivetrain department is its lack of a racing-style slipper clutch.
“The Triumph’s handling really surprised me,” Colton comments. “It turns with not much effort and it holds its line perfectly. The suspension did what it was supposed to over bumps and never got crazy with headshake when you were really going for it. It for sure has the best suspension in the group.”
Cranked over on the side of the tire the Daytona felt the most secure. Where the F3 is loose and the Suzuki a bit vague, you know precisely where you’re at aboard the Triumph. This breeds confidence mid-corner and lets the rider explore extra lean angle. Of course, some of the credit goes to the premium, OE-fitted Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires, which amplify road feel while maintaining tremendous grip.
“The chassis really shined at the track,” explains Steeves. “As a Chuckwalla rookie, I felt comfortable right away. The bike went wherever I want and it would make mid-corner corrections without complaint. This was huge considering it took me some time to learn the lines at the track. The bike was obedient with inputs and that built a lot of trust. Overall the 675 Daytona was easiest for me to ride fast—everything just felt natural.”
The Daytona’s engine also proved to be more versatile than the MV’s. While it is missing the crazy, hard-hitting top-end of the F3, the powerband is more linear at all but three-quarter-plus engine speeds. Despite not employing any advanced electronics, including selectable throttle maps, the Triumph’s throttle calibration was equal to the Suzuki’s making it easier to control—especially through tighter corners that demand a more delicate right hand. It’s this control that helps make the Triumph’s motor so friendly in spite of it not employing any form of traction control.
Right off the bottom the Triumph’s engine generates a thicker spread of torque until the larger displacement GSX-R trumps it around 5000 revs. Although the torque curve doesn’t appear as smooth as the F3 on the dyno graph it feels that way. Peak torque arrives at 10,500 revs with just over 49 lb-ft at the rider’s disposal. That places it ahead of the MV but behind the Suzuki.
With the throttle pinned the Triumph’s engine howls to life. The engine has a fabulous intake roar but it isn’t quite as rambunctious as the whine of the F3—but it is close. Power steadily builds up until 13,100 rpm when its 110.83 maximum horsepower output is achieved. That’s more than eight ponies down on the similarly-sized MV and almost 15 less than the 750-powered Suzuki. Engine power tapers off quickly with only a small 600 rpm window of available over-rev. That horsepower deficit is notable from behind the windscreen making well-timed upshifts important. Fortunately the R-spec Daytona comes fitted from the factory with an electronic quickshifter allowing for full-throttle upshifts just like the MV. In application it worked equally as well as the MV’s set-up.
The transmission’s gear ratio between each of the six cogs isn’t as close compared to the MV which reduces
(Top) Aside from an electronic quick-shifter the Triumph doesn’t offer any other form of electronics. (Center) With its playful engine and strong mid-range it can be easy to get a little carried away on the Triumph as pro free style rider Aaron Colton demonstrates. (Bottom) Brembo monoblocs offered the most initial bite when braking.
shift lever workload at a slight cost of acceleration. Even still, in the acceleration tests the Triumph was able to ace the MV due primarily to the favorable feel and action of its clutch. A super tall first gear makes it a little more challenging to launch but it still galloped to 60 mph ahead of the F3 and slightly behind the big-bore Suzuki. Its quarter-mile performance was again between both bikes at 11.02 seconds at a speed of 129.5 mph. The slower trap speed demonstrates the Triumph’s top-end power deficiency. Like the MV, the Triumph’s clutch lacks any slipper functionality so a bit of rear wheel hop can be experienced if the rider is sloppy with downshifts.
“The Triumph definitely lacks a bit of horsepower up top compared to the other two,” comments Garcia. “But its bottom-end is decent and it’s got great mid-range. Overall it’s a really good engine. It revs quick, doesn’t have a whole lot of engine braking and it sounds the business, too. If it pulled for just a little longer and harder it would be right there with the competition.”
The Daytona uses top-shelf Brembo monobloc calipers augmented through stainless-steel brake lines. The anchors have gobs of power but lever feel wasn’t quite as friendly as the two-piece Brembo caliper set-up employed on the MV or even the monobloc-equipped Suzuki. We’re splitting hairs here because the braking systems on each of these bikes are more than adequate but in the end we preferred the overall feel of Suzuki. In the braking test, the Daytona was able to stop from a speed of 60 mph in 121.8 feet which was longer than both the MV and Suzuki.
In spite of its well-sorted chassis and smooth, steady stream of power the Daytona could only muster a Superpole time of 2’00.710—just a hundredth of a second off the Suzuki and over a second slower than the MV. Part of the reason can be attributed to air in the front brake system which gave the lever an inconsistent feel initially. While the Triumph impressed in a few key areas like Handling/Suspension it failed to illicit the same praise in others. Upon tallying the points the Triumph tied the MV for second place. But with a revamped model on the way next year the Daytona will soon have another shot at glory.