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Triumph Daytona 675

Triumph: Britain Builds the World’s Best-Ever Middleweight Sports Bike

February 15, 2017

The year was 2005. It had been 21 years since John Bloor had rescued and re-launched the Triumph brand, turning it from a fading memory into a modern motorcycling force. But there was one thing that still eluded the Hinckley firm: a sports machine that could stand toe-totoe with the Japanese competition. 1997’s T595 (later renamed the 955i) had been a solid effort but was too heavy and too slow to truly compete with the likes of Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 and Yamaha’s R1. The smaller-capacity TT600 suffered from snatch delivery; while the Daytona 600/650was an in-line four, not the triple that would come to define the brand’s unique take on biking. Cue the Daytona 675.

Tony Scott ‘When I first heard about the Daytona 675, my thoughts went all the way back to the 600, which was an inline four. I had the privilege of working with GP and WSB rider Frankie Chili in the south of France, and I put him out on one of them. He said, “The motor’s not so good, but the chassis is fantastic”. And you could be pretty sure that he was bang on.’

Dave Lilley ‘When Triumph first announced they we remaking the 675 it was probably as exciting as when the 595 was first launched in 1997. We had in the region of 50 deposits for the bike straight away. And that was all based on the hype and the snippets that people had seen. When they went into production we did a Daytona 675 factory tour, putting on a coach for customers who had put down the money and even made them t-shirts to mark the event!’

Scott ‘The first time I saw the 675 I was with a friend at a dealership in Kent, and it was a cardboard cutout. And he bought it! He bought the bike based on that cardboard cutout.’

White ‘My husband and I were among the people putting down deposits when they were first announced, so we hadn’t even seen it either. When we went to Motorcycle Live at the NEC in 2005 to see one for the first time, I thought, “I don’t like it!” I thought it looked ugly. Everything in those days was round, like the old Gixxers, and it felt tiny. My husband said, “That’s just tough. We’ve paid the deposit. But I’m sure it’ll be good, because all Triumphs are great”.’

Scott ‘The minute I saw a completed model at the factory I was excited. The most interesting thing was that Triumph had found a niche. Ducati make twins, the Japanese make fours and now Triumph make triples. The overall size of the bike struck me; they’d produced this ultra thin, ultra lightweight, torque and ride able bike.’

White ‘Once we got the bike home I realized that the small size was exactly what I’d love about the Triumph 675. I had an R1 and the Yamaha felt horrible to ride on the road in comparison. The Daytona was so light, yet powerful too, but you didn’t feel intimidated by the riding experience. Triumph had sorted out the aerodynamics and the ergonomics, and you didn’t have to be an absolute idiot to go out on the road and enjoy the ride.’

Lilley ‘From a dealer point of view it was incredibly exciting for something that was so cutting edge to come from Triumph, and to beat the competition straight out of the blocks.’

Scott ‘In those days I’d see a number of 600s out on the road, and the reason why people pushed themselves towards 1000s was because they wanted the grunt, they wanted the torque of the bigger engine – a lazy ride. What the 675 did was bring that torque and easy riding to the super sports class. That was the most important thing it did. Thereafter it’s all history in terms of what the Triumph’s done on the track. I still say it’s one of the best 600 road bikes you can buy. You can ride a 600, whereas a 1000 will probably ride you.’

Lilley ‘I used to ride our demo fleet quite a lot in the early days. I absolutely loved the Daytona; it was a far better bike than I am a rider that’s for sure!’

White ‘We’re already on the third generation Daytona and they’ve got better every time. It really boosted my enthusiasm for biking and I don’t think I’m alone. We’ve ended up replacing them quite frequently (I’ve even got a certificate from Triumph proving that I’ve owned more than anyone else) because we’ve got one that my son races, and I’ve also got one just for track days. I just love them. Nothing else will do.’

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At only eighteen years of age David is the most respected mechanic in ERIC & SON’S garage. He demonstrates expertise and the will to work on big machines.

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