2007 Triumph Daytona 675

  • MSRP: $8,999
  • Weight: 391 lbs (Fuel empty)
  • MPG: 24 MPG (Track) / 36 MPG (Street)

Cheers, the name’s Triumph Daytona 675 and frankly I could care less about your bloody rules.

That was the type of brazen attitude which made the Daytona such a success when it burst on the scene as an all-new-model last year. The British answer to the cookie-cutter congruency of Japanese 600cc Supersport machinery enjoyed enthusiastic praise from the media. 2006 was a good year indeed for the 675. It racked up accolades from a variety of different magazines and swept both street and track segments of MotorcycleUSA’s Supersport shootout IV, as well as our pick for Best New Streetbike of 2006. Unfortunately its outright marketability has been impaired due to its unique 675cc inline three-cylinder engine configuration which disqualifies it from the AMA 600cc Supersport class as well as the globe-trotting FIM World Supersport series. That’s fine with Triumph, apparently, because the bad-ass Brit is back and unchanged for this year.

Upon first glance, the Triumph shares some design similarities with the current generation of Japanese machinery: Radial-mount brakes, inverted fork and aerodynamic bodywork give it all the necessary ingredients to challenge the Supersport machines on paper. But the Triumph stands out from the sea of 600s in almost every other way. With its 675cc Triple, tubular steel frame and aggressive stance, as well as the legible yet quirky instrument cluster, the bike just oozes character.

Slinging a leg over the English-built motorbike, you instantly feel the narrowness of the three-cylinder machine. It’s far more compact than the 750, which feels bulbous by comparison, but the seat is harder and you can feel both the gas tank and frame contact points inside your legs more so than on the GSX-R. The relatively high 32.5-inch seat height combines with the low, forward reaching bars and high footpegs to offer up an aggressive, track-oriented riding position that situates the rider high in the cockpit, looking over the front end. This serves riders well on the track but gets old quick on the street. Die-hard Triumph fans will dismiss such a statement, but the fact remains that it loads the rider’s wrists and that sucks after a couple hours in the saddle. Around town, especially in stop-and-go traffic, the tidy underseat exhaust puts out a lot of heat. On the track, these complaints don’t hold quite as much merit because the bike is constantly moving and this helps draw the hot air away.

Steering geometry is just as uncompromising as the riding position, with 23.5 degrees of rake and 87mm of trail. Although these figures are not entirely responsible for the more nervous nature of the 675, it does point out the goal of the design. It is intended to be ridden fast and offers up the agility one expects from a middleweight contender. The Daytona’s 54.8-inch wheelbase is right in line with the Gixxer’s 55.1-incher, as are its premium Kayaba suspension components. The Daytona features a 41mm preload, compression, and rebound adjustable inverted fork and a fully adjustable rear shock. Although a little stiff initially, this was easy to dial out and afterward it got along very well with the Infineon layout.

The Triple features a Nissin radial-pump master cylinder pushing four-piston radial-mount calipers which are similar to the Suzuki. They’re powerful and offer up a level of feel that pushes the bitchin’ binders of the GSX-R, but don’t feel quite as potent. The 675 is equipped with steel-braided brake lines fore and aft and we experienced zero brake fade. We judged these stoppers as some of the best we’ve ever sampled in Supersport Shootout IV and still feel the same way.

Thumb the starter button on the 675 and the triple-cylinder engine comes to life with a unique throaty exhaust rumble; a refreshing deviation from the standard sewing machine like purr of your typical four-cylinder. Crack the throttle open and the howl it emits is audible ecstasy. Sure, it’s an in-line motor but there is no mistaking that it’s a Triple. It begs you to stroke it just so you can feel it purr.

On the track it was immediately apparent that the prodigious amounts of torque that the Daytona churns out on the street equates to an equally thrilling ride on the track. Upon opening the throttle, the Daytona builds revs slower than the GSX-R yet motors forward in a manner more akin to that of a good-running Twin. The 675 engine likes to be kept in the meat of the power by short shifting ahead of its 14,000 redline, which is where the 675 prefers to be ridden. Around 10,000 rpm the bike is most rewarding, but the problem arises when it comes time to try to make a pass on the GSX-R. While the more powerful 750 affords a bit of leeway when it comes to getting a good drive, the Triumph requires spot-on gear selection and throttle control to ensure it is on the boil. That might sound like a knock on the bike, but the fact is that it’s capable of making the pass – it just requires more effort than it does on the Suzuki. It is after all, giving up 75cc of displacement and 17 horsepower. How do you like it when the tables are turned Triumph?