2013 Triumph Daytona 675R | First Ride

Better Than Ever

By Ari Henning, Photography by Matteo Cavadini, Alessio Barbanti

They say: "It's even better than before."
We say: "So true, and thank goodness!"

I fell in love with the Daytona 675 after attending the international press launch for the then-updated 2009 bike in Cartagena, Spain. Shortly after, I got a Daytona as a long-term testbike and relished its flexible and soulful motor, excellent street manners, and incredible track performance. Then I rode the 2012 675R and was blown away by how much better it handled than my long-termer, even after I had spent a year refining it.

Fresh off the press launch for the 2013 Daytona 675R at the same Cartagena circuit, I'm again impressed, but the strongest emotion I felt on the return trip to the states was relief. The previous 675R was so good-it's won every comparison test we've put it in-that I had a hard time imagining how Triumph would be able to make improvements without undermining the bike's performance and poise or sacrificing charisma.

Thankfully, the Hinckley folks are bigger visionaries and better engineers than I gave them credit for. They didn't just update the Daytona, they completely rebuilt it, giving it more power, honing chassis balance, and cutting weight in the process. After spending a full day aboard the new 675R, I'm pleased to say that my fears were unfounded: The new Daytona 675R is better than ever.

The inline-triple engine is new, with a 2mm bigger bore and 2.7mm shorter stroke, revised valve train, larger airbox, secondary showerhead fuel injectors, and a new slipper clutch, among other things. The engine's shorter stroke and lighter intake and exhaust valves allowed engineers to raise the redline from 13,900 rpm to 14,400 rpm. Higher engine speeds mean more peak power, but a more efficient cylinder head and more precise fueling mean there's more torque, too. The midrange feels as robust as ever, and while short-shifting is still an advisable strategy, the new motor has more usable over-rev than before, addressing what was one of a very limited number of complaints I had about the Triumph's engine.

The new low-mount exhaust may alarm those fond of the previous bike's undertail setup, but the new system is key to centralizing the Daytona's mass, which benefits all aspects of sport riding. Other moves made to concentrate weight include a lighter rear wheel, rear brake assembly, fairing stay, and headlight assembly. The R-model I rode comes with a quickshifter with updated ignition cuts, allowing even smoother full-throttle, clutchless upshifts. All U.S.-bound Daytonas will come with switchable ABS, and even with the addition of a 3.3-pound Nissin ABS unit, Triumph says that overall the new bike is 2.2 lbs. lighter than the outgoing model, with a claimed curb weight of just 405 lbs.

Alterations to the Triumph’s already excellent engine are just the start. This year the Daytona gets a new frame and swingarm combination that puts more weight on the front end, shortens the wheelbase, steepens the head angle, and reduces trail. As a result, the 675R has shockingly aggressive geometry—rake is just 22.9 degrees, trail a mere 3.4 in.—and extremely quick steering. You’d expect a bike with numbers this committed to tank-slap like crazy and twitch madly while making transitions, but the Daytona hasn’t lost a lick of composure, which is to say it’s nearly imperturbable. The new clutch pays dividends immediately, allowing the back end to stay planted even when banging downshifts while banked over. Cartagena is a challenging 15-turn, 2.2-mile circuit that demands committed trail braking and rewards fast side-to-side transitions. In that realm, the Triumph performed perfectly. Shorter final gearing, a lighter crankshaft, and more power mean the engine revs faster—and sounds even better because of it. The new exhaust has a little less bass at idle, but more induction snarl escapes from the larger intake opening on the Triumph’s nose.

The Brembos gain ABS this year, though the front brake lever has more travel than expected, requiring you to calibrate to the system's characteristics. But there's plenty of stopping power, and incredible feel and control while trail braking-all this on the stock Pirelli tires. In Circuit mode, ABS engaged just once during maximum deceleration from 130 mph for Turn 1, while the one lap I turned in Standard mode found the system intervening frequently. (In this mode, allowable front/rear wheel speed differential is limited for maximum stability on the street.) Higher bars fitted this year make it a little harder to hunker down over the front end at the track, but should make the bike quite a bit more comfortable on the street.

I was worried that Triumph would compromise the Daytona’s broadband performance, but with more power, less weight, better handling, unobtrusive ABS, a great new clutch, and smoother quickshifter, this is irrefutably a better bike. I didn’t get to ride the base model bike, but that machine is equally new for 2013. It gets the same engine, and its own suspension and brake updates.

As with all supersports, the price of admission is climbing. The base model Daytona will retail for $11,599, while the 675R is $13,499. That $1900 premium represents quite an upgrade, however, as the R-bike comes with quite a bit of bling. The new 675R is certainly in the running for best middleweight on the market, but we’ll have to pit it against a certain lime-green supersport to find out if it really is the best. I can’t wait!

Triumph Daytona 675R

Not Just An Update—An All-New Bike

Engine

Triumph was adamant that the new Daytona have more power, but the goal required an all-new engine because the old design couldn’t be tuned to Triumph’s satisfaction. The new three cylinder mill has a bore of 76mm and a stroke of 49.6mm, allowing for a higher redline of 14,400 rpm, up 500 rpm. The valve train was lightened by way of titanium intake valves and smaller exhaust valves, which shrank from 25.5mm to 24.2mm. Increased valve lift, a smoother transition on the backside of the intake valves, and less “shrouding” around the exhaust valve—where gas flow is hindered by the proximity of the valve to the cylinder wall—improve flow through the head.

Cam timing was tuned to match the new engine architecture, and secondary showerhead injectors were added at the top of the intake funnels, providing more precise fueling. A new, separate cylinder block is used in place of the previous one-piece block/upper crankcase design. This new block features liner-less construction to accommodate the wider bores without changing bore centers or increasing the width of the engine. New pistons provide a 13.0:1 compression ratio, up from 12.7:1. The crankshaft and alternator rotor are lighter to allow the engine to spin up faster, while the connecting rod big-end bearings are bigger and the wrist pins are now nitride-coated for better durability.

A new FCC “assist and slip” clutch provides a lighter clutch pull and excellent rear-wheel control during rapid downshifts. Also helping with shift action are revised shifter parts that offer smoother, lighter movement. To aid acceleration, the countershaft sprocket is one tooth smaller. Triumph claims the new motor is up 2 horsepower for a peak output of 126 bhp at 12,500, while torque is up 2 lb.-ft. for a maximum of 55 lb.-ft. at 11,900 rpm. Adding the accessory Arrow exhaust shown here adds a claimed 4 bhp and cuts 8 lbs.

Chassis & Suspension

Triumph wanted the new bike to handle better, so it used the concept of mass centralization and an all-new frame with more aggressive geometry to achieve it. The headlight assembly, fairing stay, rear caliper, rear disc, rear wheel, and fork on the base-model bike are lighter, cutting pounds from the bike's perimeter. The new under-engine exhaust plays a huge role, as all of its bulk resides close to the bike's center of mass. The engine was moved back and the headstock moved forward in the new eight-piece frame to allow the fork angle to be decreased from 23.9 degrees to a truly sharp 22.9 degrees. Trail was trimmed from 89.1mm to just 87.2mm (3.4 in.), giving the Daytona the most aggressive chassis geometry in its class.

A new swingarm is more rigid than before and 15mm shorter, reducing the wheelbase to 54.1 inches. A new cast-aluminum subframe abbreviates the tail via better component packaging and also serves to reduce the seat height by 10mm, though this reduction is offset on the 675R by its longer shock. The clip-ons were raised 5mm for more comfort on the street. Less weight over the rear wheel called for softer springs and revised damping on the base bike's new Kayaba shock and the R-model's Öhlins TTX unit. This year, the base model Daytona gets a new Kayaba "center-fixed cartridge" fork that's lighter and offers better damping response than the previous unit. The 675R's Öhlins NIX30 fork has 10mm more travel for better control during hard braking and is longer overall.


Wheels & Brakes

New wheels have slimmer spokes with a sharper swirl. The rear wheel is indeed lighter, having shed a pound in the redesign. Pirelli’s latest Diablo Supercorsa SP Hypersport tires are fitted, providing track-worthy performance right off the showroom floor. All Daytonas will come with ABS in the states, with a Nissin ABS module tucked in front of the shock, as close to the bike’s center of mass as possible. The system features a Circuit setting with late intervention and programming that allows up to a 40 percent speed differential between the front and rear wheels, permitting riders to drift the back tire upon corner entry. The R-bike’s rotors have grown from 308mm to 310mm and have been widened from 4mm to 4.5mm to combat fade during extreme use. As before, the 675R uses Brembo’s monstrous Monoblock brakes and a Brembo master cylinder, while the base model bike gets Nissin’s new monoblock-style calipers and a Nissin master.


Electronics

The Daytona doesn’t come with traction control, and Triumph says it doesn’t need it. Fair enough. Rather than develop an electronic anti-wheelspin system, the Hinckley team focused on developing a functional ABS, better quickshifter (on the R-model), and more refined fueling by way of dual injectors per cylinder. The dash has the same appearance as before, but a gas gauge now resides along the right edge of the display and there are added features that correspond to the ABS system. Updated ECU software was created to work with the Daytona’s twin injectors. The 675R’s “Intellishift” quickshifter now takes into account engine speed and throttle position to select the best ignition-cut duration and a soft reinstatement strategy restores spark to each cylinder over a period of 60 to 120 milliseconds for even smoother upshifts.


Bodywork & Styling

Triumph has always been conservative with updates to its bike's aesthetics, but change must come. The 2013 bodywork is all new, redesigned with the aim of giving the Daytona a sleeker, sharper, more sophisticated appearance. Immediately evident is the disappearance of the undertail exhaust and the larger, more bulbous headlights. The tank was mildly reshaped and plastic panels added to the lower edge. A new central marker light frames the upper edge of the intake opening, and the sharper tail terminates in a new LED light cluster. The fairing now has larger cutouts that reveal more of the frame and engine, and is secured with new machined fasteners. The view from the cockpit finds new mirrors and infill panels that completely cover the dash area, presenting the rider with a sea of rich carbon fiber on the R-model. The base model bike is available in white/blue, black, and red, while the R-model is only offered in white.

Tech Spec

Evolution
Debuting in 2006, Triumph's three-cylinder middleweight underwent a comprehensive update in 2009 and is all-new for 2013.

Rivals
Honda CBR600RR, Ducati 848 Evo, Kawasaki ZX-6R, Suzuki GSX-R750, Yamaha YZF-R6

Tech
Price $13,499
Engine type l-c inline-triple
Valve train DOHC, 12v
Displacement 675cc
Bore x stroke 76.0 x 49.6mm
Compression 13.0:1
Fuel system EFI
Clutch Wet, multi-plate slipper
Transmission 6-speed
Claimed horsepower 126.0 bhp @ 12,500 rpm
Claimed torque 55.0 lb.-ft. @ 11,900 rpm
Frame Aluminum twin-spar
Front suspension Öhlins 43mm NIX30 fork with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension Öhlins TTX36 shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Front brake Dual Brembo four-piston calipers, 310mm discs with ABS
Rear brake Brembo single-piston caliper, 220mm disc with ABS
Front tire 120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP
Rear tire 180/55ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP
Rake/trail 22.9/3.4 in.
Seat height 32.7 in.
Wheelbase 54.1 in.
Fuel capacity 4.6 gal.
Claimed curb weight 405 lbs.
Colors Crystal White/Phantom Black
Available Now
Warranty 24 mo., unlimited mi.
Contact Triumph Motorcycles of America, Ltd
385 Walt Sanders Memorial Dr. #100
Newnan, GA 30265
678.854.2010
www.triumphmotorcycles.com
Verdict 5 out of 5 stars
An even better version of what was already a powerful, flexible, capable, and charismatic machine.

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