Road Test Editor
BEST LAP: 1:36.26
Triumph Daytona 675R
Weight: 177 lbs.
Inseam: 33 in.
When news broke of the new F3, I was floored. Triumph’s Daytona is one of my favorite bikes, and it looked like the MV would deliver more of everything that makes the Daytona great. If only! Either MV is delusional, or its engineers never actually acquired a Daytona 675 to test alongside their bike. It simply doesn’t compare. The electronics are a hindrance, the engine is peaky, and the chassis was a total pain to set up. The only thing the bike has going for it is gorgeous looks, and the Daytona is no ugly bird. The Daytona 675R is just outstanding in every way. I’ve recommended it to numerous riders, and wouldn’t be disappointed if it was the only sportbike I owned.
BEST LAP: 1:36.94
Triumph Daytona 675R
Weight: 185 lbs.
Inseam: 34 in.
The F3 sure looks the part (I dig that stubby hot-rod triple-tipped exhaust), but it simply does not walk the walk. All of those electronics turned out to be almost completely useless. The motor feels like a bi-polar terrier on the end of a leash; half-asleep one minute and a snarling ball of teeth the next. Then there’s the punishing seat and hot air blowing on your legs in traffic. Everything the F3 does pales in comparison to the 675R, which is a terrific bike from top to bottom. It’s finished beautifully, with high-end components that make it a joy on the track and the street. In my mind it is alongside the BMW S1000RR as the perfect sportbike. I want one.
When Good Electronics Go Bad
The more advanced on-board computers become, the more motorcycle manufacturers struggle to provide an interface that is functional and understandable. Interacting with all of the F3’s electronics is done through a somewhat dated dashboard. The F3 tachometer is a familiar sci-fi job from the 1980s with bars that move from left to right across the top of the screen until the shift light illuminates. Speed is shown digitally, but other information can be toggled via two familiar MV rubber-shrouded buttons to show trip meters, a lap-timer, and power maps/engine modes (we’ll get to that).
The F3’s eight levels of TC are clearly shown by a ring of bars encircling a “TC” logo—four bars for level four of TC, and so on. Power modes are marked by a letter—”S” for sport, etc—near the gear indicator, which is strangely confusing. As it happens, a digital S on the MV’s dash (for Sport) looks exactly like the number 5 indicating fifth gear, and the same goes for Neutral/Normal, so a quick glance down can cause a double take depending what mode the bike is in.
Beyond traction control the F3 has four power modes: Normal, Rain, Sport, and Custom, the latter offering adjustability of engine dynamics while modifying TC settings independently. This is where it gets tricky.
The “Gas Sensitivity” menu, which we take to mean throttle response, offers three options: Normal, Rain, and Sport, with the latter offering the hardest hit of power. We settled on the Normal setting as it seemed to offer the best engine dynamic for riding on track, delivering the high-rpm shot of power slightly later in the revs but much more evenly. We learned that the “Max Torque” mode was best left in Sport, and the same was found for “Engine Response,” which was better off in Fast rather than Slow.
The F3’s quick-shifter is helpful but not perfect, as it requires a firm jab from your boot that doesn’t always yield a change in gear, and one miss means an unforgiving rev-limiter yanking back on the reins. The shift light is clear but not prominent, and is adjustable via the “RPM Limiter” menu in the Custom power mode. However, we found it only made the shift light come on a few hundred rpm sooner rather than change the dynamic of the rev-limiter. In other words, when the F3’s mill starts to spool up, you better get your foot under that shifter!
If you’re thinking to yourself that this seems unnecessarily complicated, imagine pouring over this information in 90-degree heat with only two rubbery buttons, an imprecise dash, and in full leathers.