2004 Triumph Daytona 955i

The new year brings a new look for Triumph's top-doggie sportbike, the Daytona 955i. This latest restyle is nothing too radical, just a return to true dual headlights (a la the earlier Daytona T595), plus sharper lines for the fairing and tailsection to bring the big Daytona in line with the aggressively styled Daytona 600 released last spring.

Engine. The Daytona's lusty, 955cc triple returns unchanged from last year, with the same claimed 147 horsepower and 74 foot-pounds of torque. Triumph makes up for a relative lack of aftermarket support for this model by offering three "off-road-only" exhaust-can options: stainless steel or carbon-fiber low-mounts, plus a high-mount carbon- fiber alternative.

Chassis. Triumph traditionalists can relax--the signature single-sided swingarm is still there. The company learned its lesson in 2002 when it temporarily junked the mono-arm for a lighter, stiffer two-sider, only to suffer the wrath of those who had come to love the one-armed look. The similarly distinctive tubular perimeter frame is likewise unchanged, and both the 45mm fork and rear monoshock are adjustable three ways.

Style. More defined lines and a shorter, broader fairing upper give the 955i a more aggressive appeal than last year's softer creases. Twin lights nod to the much-loved Daytona T595 design, while angular outlines around said lights jack up the sinister quotient; Triumph also claims a notable increase in aerodynamic efficiency from the new panels. Jet Black, Tornado Red or Racing Yellow (all solid) colors are available, now with color-matched air intakes and cockpit infills. Act early to lay claim to the extra-evil special-edition Jet Black bike with a textured black finish on the frame, wheels and swingarm--this would be our pick.

They Say. "Europe's most popular sportbike transformed with sleek, new, aerodynamic styling," (from the '04 Daytona 955i press information).

We Say. Well, we're guessing Triumph means Europe's most popular three-cylinder sportbike, but it didn't provide any numbers to back up the claim. Either way, we're happy to see a more muscular look for Triumph's most muscular sportbike. Check it out for yourself right now--the '04-model Daytona 955i was expected to hit U.S. dealerships in December, for a very reasonable $9999 MSRP.

--Aaron P. Frank