Taking It To The Next Level
Once adapted to the steering characteristics of the bike, everything else felt strangely familiar to the standard model. Although, being a few inches taller than DiSalvo I did have to adapt to the cramped cockpit-the three-inch foam block attached to the rear cowl puts him in the perfect tuck down the straight, but places my elbows beside my knees instead of ahead of them. More importantly, the power was deceivingly similar to the stock bike's. That is, until I saw my surroundings whirring past me at a much greater velocity. But that's what makes this bike, and presumably this class, so fun to ride. With the ParkinGO Daytona 675 you have the standard 675 raised to the next level. Each turn of the wrist applies ferocious forward motivation compared to the streetbike, yet it's much more manageable than that of its Superbike stable mates. Having ridden a host of the latest literbikes for our literbike comparo in the last issue, the Daytona's power didn't blow me away. What did was what Jason thought of it. "This is definitely the most powerful middleweight bike I've ever ridden. I'd put it up with the 750 Superstock bike I rode in '02." Get out of line, however, and the five-way adjustable traction control (adjustable on the fly) will keep the wheels in order based on a number of parameters like individual wheel speed, throttle position and engine speed, just to name a few. I chose to keep the traction control on the third, middle setting to establish a baseline feel. The Marelli ECU allows considerable rear wheel spin before the slightest bit of intervention; mainly from retarding the ignition timing, followed by cutting spark altogether if needed.
The left switchgrip controls traction control (green button for more intervention, red for less), while blue and yellow buttons toggle between different fuel maps. The black button controls the pit lane speed. Note also the dial to adjust brake lever slack on the fly. The right switchgrip is much like a standard bike, red button powers the ignition (and acts as a killswitch) and green button starts the engine.
Bitubo components lie inside...
Bitubo components lie inside the standard fork tubes, while Discacciati 310mm discs sit up front. Standard Nissin calipers house sintered pads that clamp on those discs with a soft initial bite, but monstrous power the harder you squeeze. Stock Daytona wheels are wrapped in spec Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tires.
DiSalvo's bike features a reverse shift pattern fitted with an electronic quick-shifter. Both of which are nothing new, but to accommodate his relatively small feet the shift lever is brought in close to the peg, placing it perfectly in line with his toes, but completely off base for my rather large (size 11.5) boots. That minor issue made itself known while braking for Valencia's turn one, which comes at the end of a quarter-mile straight entered at the top of sixth gear. After grabbing a handful of brakes, my foot would constantly overshoot the distance to the shifter, causing just slightly more stress as I reposition my foot, downshift and navigate the track.
Speaking of braking, Italian manufacturer Discacciati partners with the ParkinGO team and supplies the 310mm floating front discs, while calipers remain stock Nissin units. These units have a soft initial bite, but progressively ramp up as more pressure is applied to the lever. Seeing as how DiSalvo prefers to trailbrake until the last possible moment, the long stroke of the lever provides plenty of feedback. Trailing right down to the apex, knee down, was cause for little drama.
Bitubo rear shock includes...
Bitubo rear shock includes both high- and low-speed compression damping circuits and provides greater adjustability than the stock unit. The wires coming up from the shock measure the suspension travel and report it back to the Marelli ECU.
As per the rules, front fork tubes must remain standard units, but internals are allowed to be changed. Bitubo handles the suspension duties with revised internals for the fork and an upgraded shock. Strict chassis rules force the linkage rate to remain the same. Unfortunately, the Valencia circuit isn't particularly bumpy, but as it stood the damping rates felt more like the standard model and the 675 wasn't nearly as stiff as other racebikes I've ridden. Again, the similarities to the road bike are surprising.
With only a handful of laps it was hard to truly experiment with the bike and find its limitations. Nevermind the fact that DiSalvo would literally jump on the bike right after my stint and begin his testing regimen for the day and the thoughts of keeping it up on two outweighed any ideas I had of auditioning for the team. What I did glean based on talking to the riders, watching the races on TV and riding the bike for myself is that the Triumph Daytona 675 when tuned correctly, like the ParkinGO team has done, is definitely a force to be reckoned with.