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2011 Triumph Daytona 675R First Ride

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The middleweight sportbike wars just got a little more interesting when the new 2011 Triumph Daytona 675R kicked in the doors of the pub and proclaimed itself the new flagship sportbike of the legendary British brand. It features the venerable 675 Triple engine, the basic chassis dimensions and appearance as the original but with a few very important upgrades. The 675R is equipped with Ohlins suspension, 4-piston Brembo monoblock calipers, Brembo master cylinder and a quick-shifter all for just $400 more than its most expensive Japanese rival.

2011 Triumph Daytona 675R
A 43mm Ohlins fork & four-piston
Brembos are now standard on the 
Daytona 675R. 
Triumph enlisted the help of the suspension gurus at Ohlins as it addressed one of the few weaknesses on an otherwise excellent motorcycle. Up front a 43mm fully-adjustable NIX30 fork utilizes Ohlins’ proprietary technology, separating rebound on the right fork leg and compression adjustments on the left. Damping, rebound and pre-load adjusters are now located on the top of the fork as well, alleviating the need to crawl around under the fork to make adjustments.

Out back a fully-adjustable Ohlins TTX36 shock, which was developed over the past few years in MotoGP, brings true racing technology to the real world. Adjustments are all easily made on the side of the shock but our baseline set-up proved to be perfect during our day at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. This combination of NIX30 fork and TTX36 shock gives a much improved range of adjustability to the 675R and changes the Daytona’s race track disposition for the better compared to the base model 675.

Front brakes received an upgrade in the form of the radial-mount Brembo monoblock calipers while the 308mm rotors are carried over from the base Daytona 675, as are the steel braided lines. Besides the Ohlins and Brembo hardware the Daytona 675R also features Triumph’s first factory-installed electronic quick-shifter and a slightly revised gearbox that features roller, rather than plain, bearings. First and second gears are now closer together as well.

2011 Triumph Daytona 675R2011 Triumph Daytona 675R2011 Triumph Daytona 675R
The Triumph Daytona 675R comes in one color: Crystal White. It features a red powder-coated subframe and matching red pin-striping on the wheels. The belly pan is black for a racy appearance and both the clutch and generator covers have been restyled. The image on the right shows the 675R with the accessory Arrow exhaust and adjustable rear-sets from the Triumph Catalog.
Aesthetically the Daytona 675R also receives some treatments including a carbon fiber front fender, rear hugger and wrap around heat shield on the silencer. The bodywork is Crystal White and the rear sub-frames is now red. The wheels feature red pinstripes which are a nice touch to the racer-replica look.

If you haven’t put it all together yet, let me do it for you now. The Daytona 675R is Triumph’s new premier sportbike. It has been geared-up for success on the track, so now the only thing left for us to do is ride the damn thing and let you know what we thought.

2011 Triumph Daytona 675R
The 2011 Triumph Daytona 675R is an aggressive sportbike.
Our two-day press introduction included a street ride through the Mt. San Jacinto State Wilderness on Highway 243 between Banning and Idyllwild. From there we pushed on down Highway 74 to Palm Desert. You can check out the Palm Desert Loop street ride in our Ride Guide if you want to ride the same roads. We rode over the mountains on roads cluttered with gravel as the California Department of Transportation tried in vain to keep us in check. Snow lined the highways past Idyllwild but the scenic vistas were on display so noone complained about spending the afternoon riding on some of Southern California’s finest sportbike roads.

Out here in the real world the Daytona 675R is strung a little tight. The Ohlins suspension is geared for the track so it’s tall in the back and pretty stiff for street use up front. When we got on the cleaner roads outside of Palm Desert it became less of an issue as speeds picked up. I imagine that it would be pretty brutal around town on beat up surface streets, but for anyone intending to ride the bike on the street it would be necessary to adjust the suspension to suit their needs and I’m certain the Ohlins combination could be tuned down a bit.

Otherwise the engine, brakes and riding position are very familiar. On the road the new Brembo weren’t really put to the
2011 Triumph Daytona 675R
The Daytona dash is nifty & the LCD has lots of info but no fuel gauge, just a light.
test but the engine is on full display. The Triple is right at home a gear high, which eliminates most of the buzz from running it at over 10-grand and it always seems ready to accelerate. The clip-ons are low and the pegs are high so it still feels too cramped for my needs on the street and even though temperatures were cool I could feel the underseat exhaust. The instrument cluster is now white nomenclature on a black background and the fuel gauge is forgone for a low-fuel light. It still has a speedo, tach, clock on the little LCD dash along with the blue LED-looking shift warning lights across the top of the housing.

Wind protection is good in full tuck but there’s not much there when riding upright. The airflow maintains a steady stream aimed right at your helmet and doesn’t buffet the rider too much. The mirrors are decent, too. Not a lot of engine vibes come through to the end of the stalks so the rear view is pretty clear and my stubby arms didn’t obstruct the view. My first impression is that the Daytona 675R feels like a harder Daytona 675 with race-suspension set-up and low and behold, that’s exactly what it is.

2011 Triumph Daytona 675R
The Daytona 675R engine gets pretty good drives off the corner & it sounds oh so sweet.
Day two took place on the supersport-friendly confines of Chuckwalla Valley Raceway which is located three hours east of Los Angeles, three hours south of Las Vegas and three hours west of Phoenix. So if you are anywhere near the area, make sure to sign up for an afternoon of apex strafing with So Cal Trackdays on the region’s newest track. But let’s get on with the track impression, shall we?

Right away the Daytona 675R feels at home on the track. After warming up the stock Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tires for a few laps it was time to push the R and see what she could do. Of course the engine is great but the first thing that comes into play is the quick-shifter. In the past the Daytona has had a notchy transmission so the new internals and quick-shifter is a big improvement. Click through a few gears and the familiar Inline Triple exhaust note and intake honk really makes it hard to stay off the throttle.

The engine makes great power (104 hp at 12,100 rpm) and has solid mid-range punch evidenced by the class leading 47 lb-ft of torque at 10,400 the bike produced in all of our previous tests. It falls off on top but the mid-range makes it an excellent track bike and an even better street bike. The Daytona is very forgiving if you’re not trying to win Superpole during your favorite track day. When it comes to the engine and transmission about the only thing that we would like to see is a slipper clutch, although that would certainly ratchet up the price tag.

What Triumph did address is the finicky suspension that has been a staple of the Daytona 675 since it entered the
2011 Triumph Daytona 675R
The Ohlins fork and TTX shock are a welcome addition to a motorcycle that has been one of our favorites for a few years now.
market back in 2006. The bike always tended to push the front, run wide and cause suspension techs to beat their heads trying to come up with a set-up that works perfectly. Our previous shootout results confirmed as much but it is important to remember that it wasn’t bad enough to keep it from winning our ’06 Supersport Shootout along with a host of accolades over the past half-decade from magazines around the globe. Race track success was more difficult to come by and that’s where Ohlins comes in. With so much effort to get this top-shelf suspension on the Daytona 675R we felt the benefits would be best explained by someone with intimate knowledge of the components, so we let the Ohlins team explain the back story in their own words.

“It’s pretty impressive for Triumph to step up like this,” explains Ohlins’ Matt Sage. “First of all they equip a Supersport class bike with a complete Ohlins Road & Track fork that integrates our 30mm NIX cartridge that is run at the AMA level by many teams. So right out of the box this bike is taking advantage of some impressive technology that people are only used to seeing on liter-class bikes. It’s a big step for Triumph to put this in the public’s hands. Inside the fork, for the first time is what’s really impressive, rather than use four 25mm pistons, two rebound, two compression, we use our NIX racing technology which separates compression and rebound so right hand leg is rebound, left is compression both of which are only 30mm pistons.

“The shock technology was developed in Formula 1, winning races in MotoGP in early 2000s and made available to the public for the first time to an exclusive number of racers in ’06,” continues Sage. “For this to make it to production level equipment is pretty impressive. TTX, or Twin Tube Technology is completely different than the shimmed-piston designs that pretty much every other manufacturer uses on OEM level equipment. The advantage of TTX technology is that all the changes you make on a TTX shock are 100% isolated from each other. If you make a compression change it's only compression, if you make a rebound change, it’s only rebound. Whereas in shim-piston technology, like most manufacturers use, that rebound adjustment at the bottom of the shock actually is a common bleed that affects both sides. So it actually allows us to get a much wider range of adjustability.”

2011 Triumph Daytona 675R
2011 Triumph Daytona 675R First Ride Gear Bag:
ICON Alliance Helmet: Head Hunter Edition
ICON Kangaroo Leather Suit (You can't buy one, sorry!)
Alpinestars GP Pro Gloves & Super Tech R Vented Boots.
I have to admit I am not going as hard as some of our more advanced racer-journalists out there but I found the Ohlins setup to be a huge leap forward compared to the base Daytona 675. Riding the two bikes back-to-back confirmed my suspicions as the up-spec suspension keeps the bike more stable and seems to offer a much improved front-end feel. That’s saying something considering I really had fun on the base 675, too.

However, I wasn’t blown away by the Brembo brakes. That’s because the four-pot Nissin binders on the 675 are pretty good. The logical train of thought is that the Brembos should be head & shoulders better than them but instead, they just aren’t that different at the speeds I was riding. The Brembo calipers feel good and are a standard upgrade on many race bikes these days. They offer very good feel as a braking system and are plenty powerful so don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice upgrade for sure. But in the end I’m sure it was easier for Triumph to just bolt on the Brembos to the Ohlins fork and promote the upgrade as the two systems often go hand-in-hand with each other, rather than try to keep the Nissin units.

2011 Triumph Daytona 675R
Triumph Daytona 675R: Coming Soon to a Supersport Shootout near you!
When you take a step back and soak in all that the 2011 Daytona 675R has to offer though, it’s difficult not to be impressed. This is a European sportbike that is unique and entertaining to ride. It’s fast, fun and now equipped with top-shelf suspension, brakes and a bunch of carbon goodies. It looks every bit the part of a race bike with mirrors and lights plus it is light at 407 pounds ready to ride and at $11,999 has an MSRP that puts it right in line with the competition.

It all adds up to yet another contender for our annual Supersport Shootout. With the re-emergence of the Daytona plus the revamped Japanese and Italian contenders during the past year, this is shaping up to be a throwback slugfest on par with some of our original shootouts. The upcoming 2011 Supersport Shootout will feature seven of the most advanced middleweight sportbikes on the planet and we can’t wait to see how the Daytona 675R will stack up against them.
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Triumph Daytona 675R Highs & Lows
  • Ohlins Suspension is Excellent
  • Looks Like a Race Replica
  • Great Sportbike Value w/Tasty Hardware
  • Slipper Clutch Would Be Nice
  • No Fuel Gauge? C'Mon Man!
  • Underseat Exhaust is Still Hot
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First Ride of the Base 2011 Daytona 675
2011 Triumph Daytona 675R
2011 Triumph Daytona 675
Since 2006 the Daytona 675 has received only minor upgrades. The recipe for success was a hit right out of the gate with its combination of light weight, sexy lines and ripping fast Three-Cylinder engine which made the Daytona one of our favorite middleweight sportbikes during the last half decade. One major knock against the Trumpet was that it never received a full re-do in the same manner as the Japanese motorbikes go through every four years. The big changes were limited to minor improvements including a slight modification to the engine and chassis in ‘09 and bold new graphics.

For 2011 the base model Daytona 675 gets more of the same. It now comes in three color variations, Diablo Red, Caspian Blue and the John Player-esque Phantom Black & Gold. If you were hoping for more, this little factoid should cheer you up. For $10,499 you can now pick-up a Daytona 675, our ‘06 Supersport Shootout champion and the very same motorcycle that has been praised by motorcycle magazines around the globe as one of the best sportbikes of our time.

If you are buying a middleweight motorcycle and working on a tight budget then the Daytona 675 should be on your radar. Considering how well it stacks up against the high-end Japanese bikes it is safe to say it should be one of the best bangs for the buck in the class.

We spun a few laps aboard the black and gold beauty during our afternoon intro at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway and it reminded us just how impressive the Daytona 675 is. The bike feels much more-plush on the track than the racier Daytona 675R. The fork and shock provide a much smoother ride at slower speeds than the Ohlins units. Although this comes at a price of wallowing a bit as you push it hard.

When ridden at a nice track-day pace the highlights of the 675 include the wonderful engine which is exactly the same specs as the Daytona 675R. It has better low-end and mid-range punch than the Japanese Inline Fours which makes it more forgiving as you wobble around the track in the wrong gears and spend too much time trying to get your knee down for the photo than you should. Keep the bike on the pipe and you are rewarded with that familiar Three-Cylinder melody we have come to enjoy over the years. Lap after lap all I could think of is how great a track day bike the Daytona 675 still is.

Sure, Triumph knows where the improvements needed to be made, stepped up and gave us the 675R. But the venerable 675 is still a great bike.
Radial-mount four-piston Nissin calipers and 308mm rotors still slow the bike down with authority. Suspension is also very good. The base-model fork and shock are not as easy to dial in as we learned over the years and faster riders will push the limits of the 675 front-end right away. The bike tends to run wide, an issue that the company addressed with the R model fork, but again this is only a real issue for the fastest riders among us.

On the street the base Daytona 675 is easier on my 40-year old joints than the 675R. The suspension is soft, under-sprung and absorbs the many road imperfections on our street ride more so than the Ohlins-equipped R. The riding position is the same but the ass-end of the 675R sits high in the stroke so it puts more weight on your wrists. Sure, you can dial some of that out but then you sacrifice some track prowess in the process.

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Taybesemer   January 2, 2012 09:35 PM
I have to hand it to you guys; this is a great review. The writing, the photography, and of course whoever is hauling ass on that 675R. Not too many times do I take the trouble to register for a website, but I would feel guilty about reading such a rest review and not saying thanks. On another note, you know your reviewing a sweet bike when all you can list for cons is lack of a slipper clutch and fuel gauge.
Hutchy   April 11, 2011 08:33 AM
Wisconsin...Yep, ICON built me a suit because our two companies are both based out of Oregon and they wanted to support the family! Maybe some day they'll build them for the public but so far its one-off.

Slipper Clutch: Yep, the slipper clutch would've made the 675R are real best of a supersport. As it is the bike is pretty dang good though. That was one of my questions as well. However the bike will be OK without it...for now!
jng1226   April 10, 2011 07:53 PM
Kudos to Motorcycle-USA for being the first I've found to give a ride report of the 675R. I've been very interested in this motorcycle since it was first announced. Great write-up! Frankly, I wish Triumph would have included a track-quality slipper clutch. It seems to be the only thing missing from this admittedly track-focused version of the 675. I think the only other Supersport-category bike that the 675R competes with is the Ducati 848 Evo and with the slipper clutch the Triumph would have been a steal at say, $12,499?
TriDuc   April 9, 2011 11:46 AM
Thanks for the great write up on the new 675R! I ordered one in January after seeing it at the IMS show in Long Beach, CA. Still waiting for the bike - delivery scheduled for sometime in May - just in time for track days in the Midwest. The Triumph dealers I've spoke with in SoCal and in the Midwest say only a few 675R's will be available in the US, and not every dealer will have one to sell.
Wisconsinrr   April 8, 2011 03:05 PM
Is that an Icon suit?
MotoFreak   April 7, 2011 10:23 PM
Sorry Hutch, you are the man of course. I think you probably should go with the R spec bike for the shoot out. I think the Triumph will do well with the upgraded parts. I can't wait, keep up the great work.
Superlight   April 7, 2011 05:43 PM
Good question. Best bet: Bring both the base model and R Triumph 675s and do the R in a sidebar.
Hutchy   April 7, 2011 11:52 AM
Freak: Yeah buddy I hae one of these as my wall-paper too! Brian J Nelson and Tom Riles are two of the best in the business. But hey, no love for the pilot or what man? Its hard to suck in your gut right atthe very moment they are snapping off those shots!

Superlight: Nice explanation of the close ratio gears. It is a track feature more than anything. I agree the Triple isn't in dire need of this but it works pretty dang good.

So, does everyone think the 675R should be the bike to go head-to-head with the rest of the Supersports or should it be the base model 675? Remeber the base model is $1500 less than the 675R and the base would be the cheapest bike in the test at $500 less than the cheap (And bad-ass) Ninja ZX-6R.
MotoFreak   April 7, 2011 04:45 AM
To the staff photographer: These are amazing photos, thank you for some great wallpapers for my computer. To Triumph: Awesome
Superlight   April 6, 2011 05:37 PM
Close ratio gears work well on engines with narrow torque bands, as the close ratios allow the engine to stay in the meat of the torque curve after every shift (less RPM drop between shifts). This makes more sense on peaky 600 4s than this Triumph triple, but it works here as well. Wide ratio transmissions are suited to engines with very flat torque curves, like many cruisers.
ferrix   April 6, 2011 03:09 PM
Slightly off topic, but could someone enlighten me why is everyone always fawning over close ratio gears? It seems to me the whole purpose of gears is to SPREAD the access to torque over the range of speeds, otherwise we could just have one gear and be done with it... The only explanation I can see is that this is something suitable toracing, because it sure doesn't seem like something I want in the road conditions where I ride.