Triumph Daytona 675R
The Daytona 675R is one of four Triumph models currently emblazoned with an R suffix. The bike put in an impressive performance during our 2011 middleweight comparison and came up just a notch behind Suzuki’s then-new GSX-R600 once the scores were tallied up.
In Triumph lingo, the addition of an R to the end of a bike’s moniker almost certainly means the addition of Öhlins suspension front and rear. The 675R is no exception, and comes standard with an NIX30 fork paired with a twin-tube TTX36 shock. Additional upgrades include a quickshifter, multiple high-quality carbon fiber pieces and Brembo monobloc calipers tied to a Brembo master cylinder that looks identical to the Ducati’s externally.
As with the Ducati, the 675R runs the same engine as its standard counterpart; no outrageous valve overlap, aggressive cams or larger pistons here. When strapped to our SuperFlow dyno, our 2012 test mule produced 106 horsepower at 12,500 rpm and 48 foot-pounds of torque at 10,400 rpm.
The Öhlins NIX30 fork is superbly...
The Öhlins NIX30 fork is superbly damped, meaning it works well both on the track and for commuting. The Brembo monobloc calipers and Brembo front master cylinder utilized in last year’s transformation provide immediate — and linear — stopping power.
Ergonomics are similar to the Ducati in that they are track-oriented. A shorter reach to the clip-ons puts the rider in a less aggressive riding position, but there’s a bit less room in the saddle for taller riders to move around. Footpeg-to-seat distance is a bit cramped in comparison to the 848, and it feels like taller Triumph owners would benefit from a set of adjustable rearsets.
Fortunately, the 675R requires less effort when trudging through LA traffic thanks to a softer clutch and brake feel. Wider, unshakably steady mirrors provide a clear view of what’s behind you, and a cooler-running undertail exhaust keeps temperatures down south within reason.
Canyon riding is much less a workout on the Triumph than it is on the Ducati, a direct result of the well-damped Öhlins suspension. Feel and feedback is much improved at both ends, and the firm settings that permit aggressive riding through the tight stuff surprisingly don’t hinder long jaunts down the freeway. “You’d expect the stiffer suspension to be abusive on the superslab, but it’s really not bad at all,” confirms Kento. The narrow triple is much more nimble as well, and requires just a faint input to the clip-ons through transitions. The Ducati requires a full day’s workout in the gym by comparison.
While we expected the Ducati to outnumber the Triumph on the dyno, we didn’t expect the difference to be quite so large. It didn’t help that our 2012 675R test mule, which spun the drum to the tune of 106 horsepower, was a ghastly five horsepower down on our 2011 test bike. The 848 has a notable advantage in the torque department as well, as expected.
That lithe handling enabled the Triumph to consistently turn quicker lap times at the track, although our 2012 test bike felt a bit different than our 2011 675R. The 2012 bike was a lot less twitchy through the turn six-seven transition, and felt much more stable through the faster sections. The grabby brakes that we complained about in 2011 were noticeably less touchy when entering the tight turn two, and we were unable to upset the chassis when grabbing the binders with force. Still, despite looking identical to the Ducati’s brake setup, the Triumph’s stoppers don’t have the same power as the 848’s through the middle of the pull; a result of the smaller brake rotors, pad variations or piston diameter. Nevertheless, the Triumph outscored the Ducati in this category thanks to a lighter pull and its more linear buildup of stopping power.
The 675R runs a more refined...
The 675R runs a more refined quickshifter than the Ducati, but its footpeg-to-seat distance is a bit more cramped. The twin-tube TTX36 shock is a step above the Öhlins unit on the Ducati and provides much more linear suspension action.
The 675R’s power delivery is just as linear as that braking performance, with a flat torque curve that feels more manageable at the racetrack. Fuel injection is a step above the Ducati’s, meaning a crisper off/on throttle transition that makes it easier to get back on the throttle mid-corner. But according to Kent, the biggest advantage the Triumph holds at the track is that “it feels better at turn-in and mid-corner. There’s just more feedback from the front,” he admits. Feel is equally as strong out back, and the more linear shock action provides confidence driving out of the corner.
Triumph’s quickshifter is a step above the Ducati’s, with a more refined interruption and precise action that never once faltered. The LCD panel that flanks the analog tachometer is extremely difficult to read at a glance however, forcing us to pick the Ducati’s all-digital display as the better of the two options.
Triumph updated the Daytona...
Triumph updated the Daytona with a new analog tach and illegible LCD panel in 2011. We’d hoped the display would be replaced for 2012, but no such luck. Mirrors are unshakably steady and wider than the Ducati’s, providing a better view of what’s behind you.
In every other category, we found it hard to knock the 675R. Hell, we can’t even argue with its price; at $12,699 the up-spec model is only $1700 more than the base model, and a whopping $2300 less than the Ducati.
The run to the checkered
The Run to the Checkered
Both the Ducati 848 EVO and Triumph Daytona 675R have already proven to be contenders in AMA Pro Racing’s SportBike class. But an interesting move by the Latus Motorsports team tells about as much of the story as our testing has; in the final stages of the 2011 season, the team switched from an 848 EVO to a 675R. It’s not for a lack of performance on the Ducati’s part, after all the team won the 2011 Daytona 200 on the Duc and ran up front for the majority of the season. And the Corse SE even one-ups the standard 848 EVO. It’s just that the Triumph is an all around better package. The triple is easier to manage, with a broader range of power, flawless suspension and spectacular brakes. Quite frankly, we’re surprised more teams haven’t started looking in Triumph’s direction. SR