2009 Triumph Daytona 675

Three's Still A Charm

By Ari Henning, Photography by Jason Critchell, Paul Barshon

Triumph hit a home run with the 2006 Daytona 675, creating a machine that has remained afloat amidst a rising tide of high-performance Japanese middleweights. Obliterating the 600cc competition, the British firm's lean triple won Motorcyclist's Motorcycle of the Year award in its debut season, upsetting the four-cylinder status quo. Yet just five months after the Daytona's initial release, the Triumph team set to work on the '09 model. After smoldering (no pun intended) in the Hinckley workshop for three years, how would the revised Daytona emerge?

Now that we've met the new bike at its press intro on the outskirts of Murcia on Spain's southern coast, we're pleased to say that the in-house designers haven't muddled with the Daytona's sleek lines. Like Monica Bellucci, the 675 has aged well and looks damn good the way it is. Aesthetic changes are subtle and limited. Narrower headlight openings, stylized projector-beam shrouds and a bridged air intake add a tad more aggression to its face. Thin arrowhead turnsignals, new fairing graphics and some black powdercoating on the engine cases round out the cosmetic updates.

The engineers were similarly sure of their engine and chassis designs. "We were very happy with the bike and didn't want to make unnecessary changes, so we decided only to refine it," remarked Simon Warburton, Triumph's Product Manager. To that end, they made minor improvements to every aspect of the machine's performance, from reducing weight to raising the redline.

Attention paid to the exhaust side of things has added a claimed 3 horsepower and 1 lb.-ft. of torque while elevating redline by 400 rpm. New cam profiles, lighter valve buckets and massaged ports allow the mill to breath easier and spin faster. Thinner tubing on the headers and silencer in conjunction with other lightened components helped shave 6.5 pounds. New Nissin monoblock calipers and redesigned rotors are said to increase braking power by 15 percent, and both front and rear Kayaba suspension units are now adjustable for both high- and low-speed compression damping.

To get a feel for the mechanical upgrades, we spent a day at Cartegena Raceway, a tight, 2-mile circuit frequented by European race teams looking to escape the winter cold. Thumb the Daytona's starter button and the inline-triple jumps to life, whirring with an electric urgency that exits the under-tail exhaust in an enthralling note. Point the bike down track, and the engine impresses with potent, linear thrust from idle to its 13,900-rpm redline. Three cylinders make for the perfect hybrid, marrying the low-end pull of a 650cc twin to the propensity for revs and top-end power of a 600cc four. Cartegena's condensed layout, with a half-dozen short straights interrupted by sharp, 90- and 180-degree turns, was a great place to demonstrate the triple's broad spread of power and light handling.

The 675's abundant torque, largely available at just 4000 rpm, catapults you off the apex, with a potent top-end rush above 10,000. Shifting is precise and Swiss-watch smooth, shifter forks benefitting from a new super-hard molybdenum coating. Suspension setup was spot-on for the track, with firm settings that helped the bike initiate and finish turns cleanly. The rear wheel and sprocket carrier have been pared down by 2 pounds, and both wheels are now equipped with race-spec Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa radials with a tall, round profile that aids turn-in and full-lean stability.

As the day progressed and speeds increased, the 675 never lost its composure. Like a Labrador retriever, it remained complacent regardless of provocation. Despite heavy throttle at corner exits, there wasn't more than a hint of wheelspin. And though the front end got light on occasion, the steering damper subdued all headshake.

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