Triumph jump-started the middleweight sport segment with its innovative Inline Three-powered Daytona 675. This year marks its first major engine overhaul since its release seven years ago. The new 2013 675R ($13,499) employs a more powerful engine, updated chassis, including the latest generation of road suspension from Ohlins. The British-built bike won the last edition of our Supersport Shootout and is poised to retain its crown.
Despite its extensive upgrades the Daytona feels pretty similar to the old bike. And that’s a good thing. It’s still a narrow motorcycle but has an even shorter reach to the handlebar, making it more comfortable for both shorter and taller riders alike. The 675R is a very light-feeling bike too; its 422 pound curb-weight positions it fourth-lightest, just one pound behind the ZX-6R Ninja.
“When I jumped on this bike the thing I noticed about it first and foremost is that I loved the tank,” Pridmore recalls. “I like how skinny the tank was because I use my legs so much to steer the bike, especially under heavy braking, it really gave me some good places for my legs and knees to really hold myself back.”
) The quickshifter and all-new slipper clutch worked well and are must-have components for a serious track day rider or racer. (Center
) The new Daytona doesn’t offer a vastly different cockpit than before but it is more accommodating than ever and received nearly universal praise. (Bottom
) The Daytona recorded the most amount of lean angle through the Bowl which helps demonstrate its handling potential.
“The ergonomics are fantastic,” agrees Dunstan. “The tank is nice and narrow. I had a lot of confidence to turn it into corners. And once you commit to a corner the bike is ready to carve. It just keeps going. It almost dares you to lean further. It’s confidence inspiring and that’s the sensation you’re looking for on track.”
Hustling the Triumph through corners proved to be easy with the bike responding in a smooth and predictable manner. Sure, it wasn’t quite as quick to change directions as the class-leading CBR or the Kawasaki, but it was close. Through Turns 8/9 the Daytona recorded the third-fastest maximum flick rate behind the R6 and the Honda.
Once cranked over on the edge of the tires, the Daytona rewards the rider with an elevated level of feel. Its Ohlins suspension components aren’t necessarily that much more rigid compared to the other bikes but respond with greater accuracy to small bumps and deflections in the surface of the asphalt. It’s for this reason it was awarded maximum points in the Suspension category.
“It was very easy to increase your corner speed and keep going faster through the middle of the corner with the Triumph,” shares Zemke. “Also transitioning, especially in the slower sections, it seemed to flick left and right very easily. It’s also a very narrow bike and doesn’t feel bulky or heavy."
“Because it’s got the Ohlins suspension on it, it’s stiffer than all the other bikes,” adds Neuer.” It feels more like a racebike. It gets over the bumps differently than the other bikes in the way [that] I like. I like the stiffer feel. I don’t know how it would be for the street guy but for the track day guy, he’s going to love that motorcycle… and it’s got all the trick components. ”
Corner speed through Turn 4 and 13 was third-best and it had the highest degree of lean angle inside the Bowl. Curiously, the Daytona carried the least mph through Turn 16, even less than the awkward- handling Ducati. We’re not really sure why, since the second-to-last corner typically rewards bikes with a properly set-up fork.
“The Triumph was really fun to ride,” says Wooldridge, who wasn't completely sold on the Daytona’s handling. “But it felt a bit flighty over certain sections of the track. While it was easy to get to max lean, it also didn’t feel as planted and had less feedback than some of the other bikes. I couldn't quite feel what the front tire was doing and thus didn't feel comfortable pushing as hard.”
During braking for Turn 1 the British bike registered the second-lowest maximum braking force (-1.08g). However, in Turn 8 it had the second-highest at -1.06g, identical to that of the GSX-R750. Like the Suzukis and Ducati, the Triumph employs a pair of monobloc Brembo calipers. Although the Triumph’s felt sharper, they still weren’t rated as highly as the Tokico and Nissin set-ups on the Honda or Kawasaki.
) The Triumph offers strong mid-range performance and a decent top-end too. Over-rev is much improved too giving the rider added flexibility before up-shifting into the next gear. (Center
) The Brembo monoblocs have plenty of power and feel, no doubt, but they still aren’t as capable as the set-up on the Kawasaki or Honda. (Bottom
) The Triumph’s suspension was rated the highest due to its elevated level of feel at lean.
The three-cylinder engine inside the Triumph has always impressed us and the new and improved version continues that trend. Horsepower-wise the Triumph proved to be a little under gunned, generating the fifth-most ponies with 113.68 hp available at 13,000 rpm. This put the 675 in the ballpark of the slightly more powerful Ninja and MV, but well ahead of the Japanese 600s by between six and 13 hp. Compared to the GSX-R750 and Ducati, however, it is still down between seven and 12 ponies. Over-rev is much improved with power staying online for another 1200 revs before the limiter cuts in.
Its 49 lb-ft peak torque output placed it in third position ahead of everything except the GSX-R750 and 848 EVO. Looking at the torque graph shows how broad the engine’s torque curve is, and how flat it is too. This pays big dividends by allowing the Daytona to fly out of corners with authority. Another feature working in its favor is the electronic quickshifter that makes the Triumph feel like it has one long, never ending gear. That, along with the fitment of a slipper clutch, resulted in the Triumph receiving maximum points in the Drivetrain category.
“That thing has a lot of power—and its useable power everywhere,” admits Pridmore.” “It was one of my top-three bikes in the sense of being able to get right up to speed, fast [snaps finger]. Even when I went as fast as I did on it, I didn’t feel like I was going that quickly. It didn’t feel like it was that much effort. It’s definitely one of those [bikes] that if I was thinking about racing 600s would jump to the top of my list.”
In spite of its potent mid-range power and quickshifter the Daytona didn’t register as high of maximum acceleration force numbers as we had anticipated off Turns 10 and 13. Curiously, it also had the slowest top speed down the back straightway but had a more competitive speed upon driving off the Bowl (Turn 13).
“Although I’d like to spend more time on the Triumph to make it even more comfortable for me, I really enjoyed the bike and it quickly became one of my favorites," said Carruthers. "The power is impressive and I thought it was pretty effortless to ride at a good clip. Having that extra grunt helps when you make a mistake.”
- Strong mid-range, great over-rev
- Quickshifter aids acceleration
- Nimble chassis with excellent suspension
- Needs more top-end power
- Brakes could offer sharper feel
After riding the Triumph it’s clear that engineers didn’t stray too far from its winning formula. Due in part to its compact engine, the Daytona is highly flick-able yet stable—especially during corner entry with its new slipper clutch. An improved powerband and more logical ergos made it easy to ride but it didn’t net the lap time many had expected during Superpole. The 675 gave all the right vibes behind the handlebar but mid-pack scores in key performance categories means that it relinquishes the number one spot this year.