Although it doesn’t have the widespread popularity or racing success of the other brands, Triumph has continued to make progress with its Daytona 675. Year after year this British-made sportbike continues to evolve and the latest ‘R’ version as tested in the 2011 Triumph Daytona 675R First Ride
is its best effort yet.
At the heart of the Daytona is its cleverly-engineered 675cc Inline-Three. In essence the motor is a cross between the peaky top-end power characteristics of an Inline-Four and the immediate low rpm thrust of a V-Twin, but with a soul and character all its own. Bury the throttle even at low revs and the Triumph shoots forward with a sense of urgency that the other bikes don’t seem to have (aside from the GSX-R750).
While it doesn’t have the same slap-you-in-the-face torque curve as the Ducati on the dyno, behind the windscreen it feels every bit as fast. Mid-range performance is strong with peak torque arriving at 10,500 rpm with 49.02 lb-ft available at the back tire. That’s four to five lb-ft more than the 600s but six down on the GSX-R750 and almost 14 down on the 848 EVO. Keep on revving the engine and you’ll be
rewarded with spunky top-end power that arrives without any sort of hit. At 13,100 the Triumph delivers almost 111 horsepower, which puts it third-highest next to the Suzuki 750 and Ducati. Another 600 rpm of over-rev is available and while it isn’t as far reach as the Inlines it gives the rider just enough leeway when deciding whether to shift or hold the gear.
“It’s got a great motor,” notes Atlas. “It makes easy-to-use power across a wide spread of rpms. The Inline-Triple engine is very enticing, making a combination of V-Twin-like torque in the mid-range and high-revving Inline-Four-esque power up top. The sound is equally as appealing, a mix of an almost raspy low-end grumble coming off the corners with a mechanical top-end whine.”
“This bike was a big, BIG surprise,” exclaims Neuer. “First off, it has so many cool, trick parts on it and when I first threw my leg over it I thought I was hoping on a new race bike. On track you can’t help but notice that the 675 has some serious torque. Bottom to top, the motor has so much more torque than its competition.”
Adding to its thrilling acceleration is a new standard electronic quick-shifter, which allows for full throttle acceleration during up-shifts thereby making it feel like you’re riding in one constant, never ending gear. Though, it’s worth noting that the quick-shifter doesn’t function quite as quickly as an aftermarket unit. This feature boosted its score in the drivetrain category allowing it to tie the Yamaha, even though it doesn’t feature a slipper clutch.
Coming out of Turn 10, the R-spec Daytona curiously recorded the third-lowest maximum acceleration force (0.56g). Top speed at the end of the straightaway however was second-highest only 0.9 mph off the GSX-R750. Once again, a sub-par acceleration force measurement of 0.51g was recorded off Turn 13 though top speed was again second-fastest at 114.4 mph—1.1 mph behind the R6.
A compliant and well-sorted chassis complement its phenomenal engine performance, which resulted in fast laps without a whole lot of effort. Lean the Triumph into the corner and while it doesn’t charge into turns with the voracity of the Yamaha or Honda it is still plenty maneuverable. With a fully fueled curb weight of 423 pounds the Daytona is the third-heaviest bike in this test and 12 pounds heavier than the class-leading CBR.
Its side-to-side flick rate wasn’t all that impressive through Turns 8/9/10 (53.3 degrees/second) nor was it through the faster Turn 11/12 chicane (65 degrees/second). Again this could be explained due to the Triumph’s chassis handling so well that it rider didn’t have to throw it from side-to-side that hard to make it through those corners.
“The thing that I first noticed was how light it felt,” mentions Rapp. “It felt really flick-able side-to-side and it seemed like it took the least amount of effort to turn. Occasionally, I’d oversteer the bike because it handled so well.”
The Triumph also performed well when leaned over on the side of the tire as evident by its above average corner speeds through Turn 4 (66.2 mph – tying the Ducati for second-highest and 1.0 mph slower than the Honda) and Turn 13 (72.8 mph – third fastest). Through the final series of turns (16/17) it posted the second-fastest speed of 53.9 mph – 0.5 mph off the GSX-R750. Both the Ohlins fork and shock were rated highly with the front suspension rated second only to the Honda and the shock taking the top honors as being the best.
“The suspension was perfect for me. Not one adjustment,” notes Neuer. “I just rode, rode, and rode. This bike was one of the easier bikes to ride and it was really hard to find any faults with its handling. Triumph definitely did their homework with this one.”
Despite the riding position feeling a bit more stretched out as compared to the Japanese bikes (like the Ducati) our testers were generally pleased with the way they interacted with the motorcycle’s controls. Everyone loved how skinny the bike felt between the rider’s legs and the bend of the handlebars and position of the footpegs facilitated a high-level of bike control.
In terms of braking it was almost unanimous that the Triumph had the best set of brakes. Although they appear identical to the monobloc set-up used on the Ducati they delivered just a bit more feedback through the lever. And considering how well dialed-in the suspension was we expected the Triumph to register higher braking g-forces then it did. Into Turn 1 we measured -0.95g, which put it in fourth-place behind the Kawasaki, Yamaha and Ducati. Into Turn 8 it again registered -0.95g, superior to only the Suzuki 750 and Honda CBR.
“The Daytona was so smooth in all aspects,” summarizes Ross. “It felt nimble turning into corners, it accelerated and down-shifted like butter, and had all the perfect power delivery
- Strong engine performance--everywhere!
- Sharp, stable handling
- Great brakes and quick-shifter
- No slipper clutch
- Ergos are a bit of a stretch
when I twisted the throttle. The only minor nuisance I experienced was a little bit of a play in the front brake lever, yet even still it was my top pick.”
In Superpole the Triumph recorded the fastest outright lap time which proves how effective it is around the racetrack. That along with a number of top scores in subjective rider and performance score sheets allowed the Triumph to win this year’s shootout in a dominant fashion. Meet the 2011 Supersport Shootout winner—Triumph’s Daytona 675R!