For 2009 Triumph made some changes both to the 675cc motor and the bike wrapped around it. Not having ridden the 2008 Daytona 675 I can\'t comment on the changes and how well they improved it in the real world so I\'ll just tell you what Triumph says is improved and then we\'ll move on. According to Triumph they installed a new fully adjustable front and rear suspension with separately adjustable high and low speed compression damping on the 2009 Daytona. They also claim a 3bhp increase (total 126bhp at the rear wheel) and a 7 pound reduction in overall weight. Add in a lighter rear wheel to reduce inertia and you should have a bike that is quicker to accelerate and handle than its predecessor.
Since all go and no whoa makes for a potentially messy ride, Triumph put new monobloc radial calipers and a radial master cylinder to bring you to a quick controlled stop; more on the brakes later.
Because we are Two Wheel Freaks, and we have to be different, we didn\'t take the Daytona 675 to the track. Why? Whenever a motorcycle magazine gets a sportbike to test it immediately heads to the track and proceeds to thrash the poor bike beyond all recognition by people who spend almost as much time on the track as actual racers do. Heck, sometimes it is actual racers doing the test! Once they are done they then proceed to tell you (in great detail) that if you ride this bike at a hair-on-fire pace on the track you are going to feel a little bit of wiggle here, and a little fade there, and a squishy motion when cornering over there. And sometimes when the sun is in the 3rd house and the tires are exactly approximately hot, you\'ll get a squishy-squashy-bumpy-yo-yo feeling out of the front end when under hard braking entering turn 97 at Superfast Superspeedway in the Mountainous Desert. Oh yeah and here is a paragraph where we rode it 5 blocks on the street.
That is all well and good if you were going to buy a bike like the Daytona 675, put race bodywork on it, and only run track days with it in the expert class, but you\'re not going to do that now are you. Nope. You are going to buy the Daytona, commute on it, cruise to bike nights on it, do the occasional track day and play on Sunday mornings. So we decided at 2WF.com that we would focus our entire review on the street and fore-go our own desire to thrash around the track. Besides, there are plenty of riders in WERA, CCS, etc.. that have proven, and are proving, the Daytona 675 to be a very dangerous track weapon in the hands of a good rider. It is amazing what can be accomplished by privateers when they aren\'t racing against full factory teams with virtually unlimited budgets (hint to Triumph about fielding an actual factory team).
Riding the bike on the street brings out a few flaws that would be a non-issue on the track but that can make commuting more of a chore than it should be. So let\'s start at the very front of the bike and work our way back to see both the high and low points. Oh, and remember, please keep your arms and legs inside the tram at all times and keep your children seated next to you. Thank you.
At the very front is the front tire (there is also another tire at the very rear that is wider than the front tire.....let\'s call that one the "rear tire") and what a front tire it is. Triumph installs Pirelli Diablo Super Corsas as stock OEM tires. Just by looking at those tires you to begin to understand where the flaws on the bike will be when using it as a daily/weekly street ride. While the tires warm-up quickly and provide prodigious grip, the lack of tread doesn\'t engender a great deal of confidence in the rain. Maybe my testosterone levels are getting low but just the thought of riding what are almost slicks hard in the rain makes my man-parts head for the hills.
Our next stop on this magical mystery tour are the brakes. Triumph mounted twin 308mm floating discs squeezed by 4 piston radial calipers with stop juice supplied by a radial master cylinder. I found the brakes to be very, very good with plenty of stopping power and great feel at the lever. Even when I took the bike out to specifically thrash it around and find the brake\'s weaknesses I couldn\'t. Modulation always felt spot-on and even over bumps or braking on surfaces that offered less than stellar traction I always knew exactly what the brakes were up to. Chalk up points for great brakes for the street.
Next up are the 41mm USD forks with adjustable preload, rebound and compression damping. I couldn\'t get the bike to settle down in corners when I first picked it up which had me scratching my head wondering if it was me or the bike. Every mid-corner bump or throttle position change would get the front end to shake, shimmy, and wiggle like some deranged Saturday morning children\'s show. After getting the factory baseline suspension settings emailed to me the reason became clear; an Orangutan set-up the front end. Wait that might be an insult to Orangutans so let\'s not say that. Turned out that every single setting other than preload was at a different adjustment on each fork. Rebound was 10 clicks out on one side and 7 clicks on the other. Compression damping was 7 turns out on one side and 3 on the other, etc.. Once I set these values at their firmest baseline setting almost all the wiggles went away unless you chopped the throttle mid-corner. Doing that would see a quick shimmy out of the bike that got your attention but didn\'t upset things too terribly. I\'m sure that with the proper effort I could eliminate that all together but it honestly didn\'t bother me enough to spend the time fine-tuning the front forks (and rear shock) as I\'d rather be riding. Setting the suspension on the firmest factory recommended baseline setting also returned a quite livable ride quality on the straight and bumpy. More points in the Daytona\'s favor for a suspension set-up that works well on the street.
We are going up top next to the instrument cluster. This is the same design used on quite a few Triumphs and overall it is a good design. You get all the normal idiot and warning lights plus those pretty sequential lights that act somewhat like a shift light to tell your speed addled brain when to click another gear off. There is also a lap timer, avg. speed display, fuel mileage display, top speed display, and two trip-meters along with the odometer. Oh and there is also a gear indicator too; how nice is that. The biggest gripe with the set-up is that you have to push two buttons and hold them in for about 3 seconds to get the trip-meter to reset. And they aren\'t in a convenient place either. I did find out that you can change the display of the blue shift lights plus the RPMs when they will start to illuminate. I found this neat trick out by accident after I held down the wrong buttons trying to get the trip-meter reset. Oops. Then the trick was trying to figure out how to reset it back to normal. The points are almost a wash in this case as all the points gained by having a very informative instrument cluster are lost by the ridiculous contortions needed to reset the trip meter(s).
If you\'ll look out to your left you\'ll see that the clip-ons are mounted low and swept back at an angle that takes it\'s toll on your wrists after a little while. On the track they would be great but they need a little more forward sweep to be comfortable for every day riding. Maybe an adjustable set would do the trick. Deduct points for clip-ons that are too track oriented for everyday use.
The fuel tank is very narrow, thanks to the 3 cylinder engine mounted below, and holds 4.6 gal of fuel. I was averaging right at 40 mpg even with the total lack of self control that this bike basically forces upon you. The engine is very smooth right up to about 8k rpms where it starts to get a little buzzy. This matters not though as that is also right where the bike becomes really fun to ride so you tend to ignore the vibes. Fuel injection is spot on. Really. Maybe the best F.I. set-up on any bike I\'ve ridden. Lugging at low rpms, screaming at high rpms, or right in the middle didn\'t seem to phase the F.I. system at all; twist the throttle and the Daytona 675 just moves along. Helping in this is a very track biased 6spd gearbox. Run 1st gear to the redline and you\'ll see 84mph on the digital speedo. Shift to second and run to redline and you\'ll see 104. I missed very few shifts and the shift action was snickety-smooth most of the time. I\'m a little torn over the gearing as I feel there is a lot of fun factor left on the table for street riding due to the tall first gear but it comes in handy when you are taking those slow speed, 90 degree, 1st gear corners. Combined with the super-smooth F.I. system, the gearing makes those type corners a non-event with no lurching or surging. Overall though I\'d probably change the rear sprocket size were I to have a Daytona 675 in my garage. We\'ll call it another wash on the gearing as there are plus and minus points to it (although I really want to deduct points for it so maybe I will).
The seat is actually pretty comfy for a sportbike and Triumph also offers an accessory gel seat if you want more "comfiness". I\'m 6\'0" tall with a 32" inseam and I found the seat to peg relationship to be plenty comfortable. Of course I may have been distracted by the less than comfortable seat to bar relationship but I don\'t think so. The Daytona 675 is definitely biased more towards the track than the street when it comes to ergonomics but that is to be expected, I guess. Honda always made one of the most comfortable 600cc class bikes for the street and even they went to a more track oriented design as that it was consumers want. Triumph is no different and relized that if you are going to sell a supersport bike you\'d better make it look and feel like what the customer thinks a supersport bike should be. Passenger accommodations are typical sportbike which means your passenger will probably be young and too enthralled with the bike\'s speed and looks to care about being folded in half. Some will find the accommodations to be uncomfortable while some will find them to be spot on. I personally expect some discomfort when riding a bike such as this so I\'m going to plead the 5th and keep mum. Moving along.....
The Daytona 675 has a monoshock rear suspension with a piggy back reservoir that is adjustable for preload, rebound and compression damping.. I had to stiffen-up the rebound and compression settings on the rear shock when I adjusted the forks but once that was done the rear-end stayed planted and tracked nicely even over mid-corner bumps. Again this falls under the suspension working well on the street so no additional points added here as I\'m stingy that way.
This brings us to the part of our tour where I get to tell you about the weakest part of the bike for street use; the exhaust. Triumph put an undertail exhaust on the Daytona 675 because, well, it\'s the style I guess. The routing of the pipe causes not only your butt to get hot but also the inside of your right thigh, and your man (or woman) bits, and sometimes when the wind is just right your left thigh as well. Riding the bike in 90+ degree heat can quickly become uncomfortable if you run the rpms above 4k; add in traffic and you have a downright painful experience. The seat gets hot, there is heat blowing out from under the seat onto your legs and the frame that sits next to the exhaust pipe gets hot enough to almost burn you through your jeans. Worse part is your leg (either one) is almost guaranteed to touch that part of the frame every time you have to put your foot down. Arrow makes an exhaust for the Street Triple R that is a low mount system and I would definitely be adding something like that to the bike as quickly as I could get my credit card out of my wallet; even if I had to make some mods to the bodywork to do it. Definite points deductions for Triumph choosing form over function in this department.
Finally we have come to the motor and the reason why anything written above (except for the exhaust heat) becomes almost a non-issue. First time you whack open the throttle you\'ll have a perma-grin that won\'t go away for hours (if the grin does not subside after 4 hours of finishing your ride don\'t see your doctor as this is normal). This truly is a motor that proves that it isn\'t size that matters it\'s how you use it. With 126 hp at 12,600 rpms and 53 ft pounds of torque at 11,750 rpms the motor is very competitive in the HP category, owns the torque category, and weighs in nicely against the Big 4 offerings in overall weight (although Triumph only lists dry weight in their specs where as the Big 4 now list wet/curb weight). It truly comes down to how the motor produces the power that makes the Triumph stand out from the supersport crowd; something that needs to be experienced for yourself to truly understand. Usuable power is on tap when and where you want it but with the tall gearing don\'t expect truly fun amounts of power until you spool past 8k rpms.
So is the 2009 Triumph Daytona 675 a good street bike or is it a one trick track pony? Well by using the Super-Computer 6500 and this nifty slide-rule that my assistant just handed me and crunching the numbers.....I come up with "11.5". What? Wait a second this isn\'t a slide rule it\'s one of those things that they use to measure your feet!
OK so forgetting the point system I guess the best way to put it is like this; If you commute everyday, do long rides where mileage is the goal, or are older and no longer as flexible then you may be better off looking at the Street Triple R. If you never ride the caffeinated version of the 675cc motor then the decaf version won\'t disapoint.
However, if doing Sunday morning blasts and track days are where you will spend your time, you would be hard pressed to find a better more willing companion than the 2009 Daytona 675. If for no other reason than the motor.
Me? Well since compromise has never been my style I\'ll laugh in the face of the factory, take a Daytona 675, give it the full blown street-fighter treatment, add teeth to the rear sprocket, remove a tooth from the front sprocket and be happier than a pig in.......well you get the idea. When the moutain won\'t come to me I\'ll design my own perfect bike and go ride all over the mountain. Now how can I convince Triumph that they don\'t need the bike back so that I can put my devious master plan into action........