Triumph Daytona 675

Staffers' rides

Ringleader: Ari Henning
MSRP (2009): $9799
Miles: 3147-5897
Average Fuel Mileage: 36 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: Catalyst Reaction suspension, Triumph accessory quick-shifter, Michelin Power Pure tires, Sebimoto carbon-fiber fender

Riding at the limit quickly reveals a bike's strengths and weaknesses, which is why I hauled the Daytona to NorCal for an AFM club race at Infineon Raceway. First the Trumpet's strengths: The triple's abundant low-end torque slingshots it out of tight turns, the brakes are amazing and the sharp-handling chassis inhales chicanes like the Brits do fish 'n' chips. Now for the bad: The stock suspension is way off-base, causing front-end slides, mid-corner nervousness and unpredictable trajectory at corner exits.

Even with the bike trying to eject me in the Carousel and other high-speed sections, the Triumph's assets were strong enough to land me in the top 10 in the Production 750 and Formula 1 classes. I'd installed the Triumph accessory quick-shifter ($399.99) for the occasion, which helped overcome the somewhat sticky gearbox and hasten travel down the straights. The transmission has improved considerably over time, as has the engine's appetite for oil. It was burning nearly a quart every 1000 miles until it hit the 4500-mile mark, after which it dropped to about 1/4-quart per 1000 miles.

Some of the 675's high-speed handling woes are inherent to the bike's geometry, but a lot of the trouble comes from improper spring rates and damping ranges. So I sent the fork and shock to Dave Moss of Catalyst Reaction Suspension _( _ to be rebuilt to suit my needs. Dave raced a Daytona for three years and happens to be British, so he was the obvious choice. Re-valving the fork and changing the spring and shim stacks on the shock cost $1020 plus shipping, but it was worth every penny. I've never had a bike's suspension professionally tuned to suit my weight and riding style before, and the improvement was dramatic. In back-to-back before/after track days at Buttonwillow Raceway with The Track Club, the bike felt more stable, tracked better and had lost much of its mid-corner twitchiness. Perceptions aside, nothing says improved like hard data, and from one weekend to the next my lap times dropped a full 3 seconds. The Daytona's chassis isn't completely dialed-in, but it's getting there.

The stock Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires are superb in all conditions on the street, and work pretty well at the track, too. I put the buns through about 1500 street miles and several track days before they began to resemble slicks, after which I replaced them with a set of Michelin's new lightweight Power Pure radials ($436; Traction is great and the bike's handling is noticeably quicker thanks to the Michelins' reduced rotational mass, but the front tire's long tread grooves and thin carcass (hence the weight reduction) make it follow pavement seams and squirm under heavy braking. Running the pressures a tad higher than the recommended 32 psi front/34 psi rear helped firm up the feel.

Speaking of tires, the Triumph's front fender doesn't dig Dunlops. I threw on a set of D211 take-offs for one track outing and ended up burning a hole through the plastic. I'd noticed clearance was tight with the stock Pirellis, and evidently the pointy Dunlops were too tall. Replacing the OE shouldered fender bolts with straight bolts would boost clearance to a workable level, but because my fender was already trashed, I replaced it with a Sebimoto carbon-fiber unit from Yoyodyne _ At $195, the aftermarket fender is $100 cheaper than a stock replacement, weighs 1/4-pound less and has ample tire clearance. It also looks trick. I think I'll complement it with a few carbon pieces from the Triumph accessories catalog in the near future.

Limited fender clearance was a silly oversight on Triumph's part. So was wiring the ignition and headlights to the same fuse: Disconnecting the bulbs for a track day requires removing the weather covers.
The Daytona's wiring harness comes pre-wired to accept Triumph's accessory quick-shifter, so it's literally a plug-and-play piece. You do have to pull the seat and lift the tank, but that only takes 5 minutes.