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"Fast Bikes", April 1, 2013

TRIUMPH DAYTONA 675R

After its Jerez launch, the Triumph Daytona 675R heads back to the home of its birth...

WORDS BY: SIMON ‘ROOTSY’ ROOTS

Greatness is about to be thrust on the Triumph Daytona 675R

PIC BY: DOM ROMNEY

Who better than Rootsy, who stuck 6,000 miles on his 2011 Triumph Daytona 675R longtermer, to cast judgement on the new model. Given the snow, we only had a small window to cast judgement, but we can still stick in the miles – if only for a day or two. So we set Rootsy a challenge, to ride 675 miles in two days, taking in a dyno, the drag strip and anything else he can fit in between.

0 – 0 miles. Hinkley

You can learn a lot from a bike stood still. It is clearly the same as before – but kinda different. As Paul, Triumph’s press fleet tech, wheels the bike out from its winter hibernation, the 675R lines of old dominate, but with some subtle changes. It definitely looks more Japanese – whatever that looks like – and the move to the side mounted exhaust cleans up the bike’s rear end. The front of the bike looks lush – its lines sweep back behind its two beady headlights as the fairing envelops the new motor with real panache. I’d like to see the indicators incorporated into the mirrors to give a surgically clean look, but who am I to cast judgement on a bike with such clear beauty?

I’m on van duty today, so I fire it up and run it into the back of the Sprinter. It certainly sounds different, but given the new dimensions of the motor, with its wider bore and shorter stroke, as well as the new exhaust, the aural change was inevitable. Like the rest of the bike, it’s a subtle change.

Strapping it in, I can no longer use the open spaces of the subframe to fix it down, another sign of completeness, and I’d swear that the sidestand has been made shorter as it seems to sit at a shallower angle than before. I must get out more...

0 - 63.4 miles. Bath to Home

That’s the ride home sorted then, a mix of town riding, motorway, A-roads, B-roads – all in the dark with shit all over the roads. Nice.

The fuelling is exquisite. What with the softer pick-up from the triple motor there are no surprises lurking, no matter how ham fisted you are. The clutch is a little heavy and, what with the swept back bars, your left hand can ache after a while engaging and disengaging the clutch, but once you head out of town the quickshifter makes this action unnecessary.

It sits at speed as well as it ever does, sipping away at its fuel frugally until you really bury the throttle. Weather protection isn’t a forte, but thanks to low slung pegs the riding position isn’t too cramped. It would be easy for designers to force a rider to perch on a bike like this, but a happy medium is played out; you don’t feel completely on top of the bike, nor do you feel engulfed by it.

63.4 – 159.3 miles. Home – Bruntingthorpe

We were planning to do a trackday on the bike, but thanks to the weather and a complete absence of dates available at this time of year, we’ve put that to one side. Besides, check out issue 272 where Al’s launch at a clement Jerez tells you everything you need to know about hustling this new machine round a track.

Instead, I head to Bruntingthope, the ideal place to let the 675R off the leash. I’ll employ the old gag again, where the ride up saw some typical Iraqi weather – Sunni and Shiite. Riding along in the rain, I’m reminded again at how flexible the Pirelli Supercorsa tyres are. OK, so they’re not the final word in track performance, but they’re more than handy; even with the temperature struggling to climb above freezing they still offer dependable grip. Other mundane thoughts revolve around the relatively impressive fuel range (that pushes towards 180-miles on a steady run), the great array of info that’s displayed on the clocks, and the assurance I now feel knowing that the new ABS system is there to protect me should the erratically driven Vauxhall Insignia that I’m following suddenly stamp on the anchors.

I’m off the motorway before I know it and on familiar roads heading towards the former RAF base. The roads are wet and cold, but I know my braking markers and turn-in points on these roads after 11 years of visiting, and the Triumph is daintily picking its way round each turn. Of course, there’s loads of lean to go, but given the conditions this is as sure-footed as things get.

The suspension set-up is, of course, excellent. This all boils down to the fact that the Öhlins suits the supersport chassis. It’s not trying to force an issue here. It deals with its 184 kilos with aplomb, while the different geometry and weight distribution combines to make extracting a decent ride on the Speed Triple R much more difficult – its extra 30 kilos also hampering the matter.

I arrive with a filthy bike, but thanks to the cleaner lines, it aptly becomes easier to clean, ready to take on both the snapper and the two mile runway stretching out before me.

159.3 – 161.4 miles. Bruntingthorpe’s runway

The next two miles are nerve wracking. With a massive crosswind after a mile, I set myself on the lefthand side of the runway, ready to be blown across to the right as soon as I leave the comfort of Bruntingthorpe’s wind blocking trees. Up to this point, all is going to plan. The easy clutch action and connectivity get me off the somewhat damp line in a flash and then it all becomes about the quickshifter. The old model’s shifter seemed agricultural at times, but this seems smoother, and it bangs in six gears almost instantaneously. Speed grows, and although inline triples always seem to be shy of speed, the needle is showing 164mph and the tacho is banging off the limiter. This translates to a real 158mph. It’s fast enough, but just shows why no-one is doing any winning with the Trumpet at the Isle of Man.

I nail it a second time and then buzz round the damp track trying to find grip, seeing what the slipper clutch is doing, and doing a few legal wheelies. I also grab hold of the front brake as hard as I dare, and the ABS reacts well. There are small pulses, but this is a refined system, much better than the Speed Triple R’s version, and should suit track work well.

214 – 303 miles. Bruntingthorpe - Home

After doing some pictures, I’m homeward bound. This time I go down the A5 to avoid the motorway to take in a few roundabouts to try out the slipper clutch. When I get to Towcester I head to Silverstone and use the back road to Bicester. It’s not the greatest road in the world, but it exposes a bike to the reality of B-road Britain.

The ride remains almost unflappable, and I’m only out of my seat once, when the choice was between one pothole – or an even bigger one. It’s dark by now, and the headlights are OK, but braking shows how much resistance there is in the fork as the light barely pitches back as its snout opposes its natural downward path.

I get home, easily steer the bike down my side entrance at home and stick her in the shed.

303 – 675 miles. Home – Home

The aim of this test is to stick 675 miles on the bike, and with just 303 miles done to date – and the bike due back tomorrow – today is a day for biting the bullet. I lop 70 off going to JHS Racing to see what the 675R does on the dyno, and with 373.9 miles on the trip, James straps it on for the all important test.

379.9 – 379.9 miles. JHS Racing

To be honest, we weren’t expecting that much. There’s nothing James doesn’t know about the old block, and he wasn’t expecting to see it surpass the 115bhp figure of the MV F3 we ran before Christmas. But with the bigger bore, new exhaust, bigger air intake, upped compression ratio and higher rev ceiling, this 675R managed 117bhp – impressive stuff.

“This would make a 140bhp engine in British superstock no problem,” reckoned James, with a smile on his face. “It holds its power really well, unlike the MV. It’ll be interesting to take them both apart and see what’s going on with the airbox and throttle bodies. To me, the MV isn’t a strong engine, but it pushes its air in well, but the Triumph is inherently strong and doesn’t need that shove.” Elsewhere, James was also encouraged. “It’s a big investment to go down the dry liner route for the motor, and it’ll be interesting to take one apart to have a look at the con rods, balancer shaft and crank. But you just look around it to see that it’s a good bike. The suspension is good stuff – that’s a genuine 30mm Öhlins kit in the fork. The old pipe was designed in the days when underseat exhausts were fashionable, but this one will change the engine’s characteristics – and Arrow will be doing a proper pipe for it too with all the data they’ll have. Then the weight of it will now be lower slung, so it’s going to be quicker to turn and more stable in a corner, too. Mind you, they still use stupidly long bolts for bits like the shock linkage.”

I left James both happy and excited at the prospect of tuning the new bike, to face up with having to knock another 300 miles off to reach my goal. Determined not to use the motorway, I headed to the best road in the west – Chedder Gorge – only to find it shut... So I stayed in the area, having fun in the Mendips, before heading to some roads I happened to drive along over summer.

I rode down the A38 to Taunton and headed across the hills on the B3227 (good in places) before turning off to Barnstaple for a pasty stop. Then it was down the A377 to Crediton (excellent throughout) before turning back up to A3072 to Tiverton (a great ride) before cutting across country to home. It was gone 2pm by now, but the sun was out, the roads quiet and the Triumph ready. It may have only been 6 degrees all day, but boy was this a blast.

Beneath me, the 675 did everything I needed it to. Conditions were treacherous in places, but whatever the situation, whatever the gear, whatever the brake pressure required to avoid a gravel covered corner, the bike responded calmly and with complete assurance.

At 419 miles I didn’t wish that I’d done this in kilometres. At 599 miles there was no desire to be on a Japanese inline four – nor 37 miles later on a new ZX-6R. By 675 miles, however, I was done.

During the ride back home I concluded that this bike is nothing short of epic. If it can deliver in such emphatic fashion in these conditions, and then be simply euphoric on track as Al described at the launch, then there is nothing standing in its way to greatness, except for one thing – the original 675R.

For all of this bike’s greatness, the old machine is still fabulous. Would I trade in my old 675R for a new one? Nah. Newer is better, but the original is so massively capable that the stratospheric limits of the new bike can only be reached by the Felix Baumgartners of the riding world – and do you know what, after a day in the cold, my balls just aren’t big enough...

TECHNICAL TRIUMPH DAYTONA 675R

ENGINE

Type | 675cc, 12V, inline-triple

Bore x Stroke | 76 x 49.58mm

Compression | 13.1:1

Fuelling | EFI

Tested Power | 115bhp@12,800rpm

Tested Torque | 68Nm@10,100rpm

CHASSIS

Frame | Aluminium twin-spar

Front Suspension | Öhlins 43mm NIX fork, fully adj’

Rear Suspension | Öhlins TTX36 shock, fully adj’

Front Brakes | Four-piston Brembo calipers, 310mm discs

Rear Brakes | Single-piston caliper, 220mm disc

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase | 1,375mm

Seat Height | 830mm

Kerb Weight | 184kg

Fuel Capacity | 17.4L

PRICE

Price | £10,599

From | Triumph UK www.triumph.co.uk 01455 251700

Verdict 10/10

After 675 miles in the saddle no chinks in the Triumph’s armour have been found...

+ POWER, POISE, PANACHE

- IT’S JUST GOT 10 OUT OF 10 HASN’T IT?

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