All the upgrades to the '09 Daytona 675 definitely made a difference at the track, with the Triumph showing much better ratings from our testers to go along with its near-quickest lap time. As expected, the inline-triple's torquey, midrange-strong engine excelled at corner exits and easily garnered the highest scores for power delivery; "Every time I twist the throttle, I just smile," wrote Olsen. And its top-end power increase complemented by a higher rev-limit only sweetens the deal. "The extra 500 or so rpm on top with the new Triumph makes a huge difference in its performance on the track," wrote Kunitsugu, adding that, "the higher overrev allows the new 675 to avoid the extra shifts necessary from the old model. And there's no doubt this year's Daytona is stronger than before."
Triumph didn't make any claims on suspension changes other than the additional high-speed compression damping adjusters, but we think otherwise. The '09 model was much more composed over Buttonwillow's many bumps, with less of the overly-stiff spring/weird damping reaction of the previous model that would cause the bike to become unruly. Suspension compliance overall was much better, enabling the slim and flickable 675 to carry much better speed through the faster turns.
Yet despite extensive fiddling, there was still some harshness remaining that prevented the Triumph from really showing its true potential, and its tail-high chassis attitude often compromised aggressive braking because of the massive weight transfer that would inevitably occur. Compounding this issue are brakes that, while offering excellent initial bite and power, tended to lose feel towards the limit (although nowhere near as bad as the R6). Even though the three-cylinder engine's flywheel effect negated the need for a slipper clutch, "braking deep into corners on the Triumph is hard work, because the tall rear ride height wants to throw you over the bars," wrote El Jefe, "and the brakes demand a lot of concentration due to their numbness at the limit."
Triumph Daytona 675
Stronger engine, higher rev limit
Suspension still not right
High seat compromises braking
Closer but still no cigar
|SUGGESTED SUSPENSION SETTINGS
||spring preload: 4 lines showing;
rebound damping: 6 clicks out from
full stiff; high-speed compression
damping: 3.75 turns out from full
stiff; low-speed compression damping:
8 clicks out from full stiff; ride height:
5mm from triple clamp to fork tube cap top
||spring preload: 7mm thread showing;
rebound damping: 3 clicks out from full
stiff; high-speed compression damping:
4 turns out from full stiff; low-speed
compression damping: 8 clicks out from full stiff
Another victim of the stricter noise emission laws, the CBR600RR's definite lack of top-end power showed in its lap times, where the Honda finished an uncharacteristic dead last. All of the same superb handling and suspension characteristics that put the Honda on top of our past two comparison tests were there, but the CBR's comparatively weak 100-horsepower output won't cut it no matter how you slice it in today's middleweight company. "A slight disappointment," said Olsen, while Mikolas lamented, "I hoped and expected more."
Nonetheless, there's no overlooking all of the Honda's numerous good aspects that resulted in its comparatively high scores from our testers. "Feels friendly immediately," wrote O'Connor about the CBR's amiable character, with Young concurring, "the Honda was very predictable and never startled me." There were some complaints with the CBR's ergos, with a couple of testers wishing for a bit more ground clearance from the footpegs, and the majority of testers felt that the Honda's lack of a slipper clutch was a glaring omission in this high performance group ("I find it odd that Honda felt it's OK to add 22 pounds with C-ABS, but not a few pounds with a slipper clutch," complained El Jefe). But other than those gripes, there was little else to single out with the CBR, and its low scores in the power department were more than offset by high scores everywhere else. For instance, the Honda carded the usual high ratings for its stable yet agile chassis manners and sharp steering characteristics, and all our testers loved the brakes—"Nice, crisp feel, with good power and modulation," wrote El Jefe. And although the top end was lacking, the CBR's impressive torque for an inline four was still present in spades that made for strong corner exit drives. "Makes you feel like you're setting hero lap times," said Kunitsugu, with the added caveat, "well, at least until you see the lap sheet at the end of the day."
Light, agile handling
Linear, user-friendly power
Less power than '08
Still no slipper clutch
Needing an engine upgrade
|SUGGESTED SUSPENSION SETTINGS
||spring preload: 10 turns out from
full stiff; rebound damping: 0.75
turns out from full stiff; compression
damping: 2 turns out from full stiff;
ride height: 7mm from triple clamp
to fork tube cap top
||spring preload: position 6 out of 10;
rebound damping: 2 turns out from
full stiff; compression damping: 10
clicks out from full stiff