2013 Triumph Daytona 675R | First Ride

Better Than Ever

Fresh off the press launch for the 2013 Daytona 675R at Circuito Cartagena in Spain, I'm relieved to report that Triumph didn't screw up. The previous 675R was so good-it's dominated 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, poise, and charisma.

Thankfully, the Hinckley folks are bigger visionaries and better engineers than I assumed. 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.

Numerous engine changes (most notably a greater bore and shorter stroke) give the new Daytona a higher redline (14,400 rpm instead of 13,900 rpm) and more peak power. 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. All U.S.-bound Daytonas will come with switchable ABS, with an unobtrusive Circuit mode that lets you skate the rear tire during corner entry.

Refined quickshifter programming makes upshifting seamless at high and low engine speeds, and with the addition of an "assist and slip" clutch (as on the Kawasaki ZX-6R and Ninja 300) downshifts are now as effortless and drama-free as upshifts. Bang a double-downshift while braking into a bend, and the back end wags once and then falls in line. There's no chatter or slide to distract you from nailing your apex and getting back on the gas.

The chassis was overhauled as well. The wheelbase is shorter, the head angle is steeper, and there's less trail, giving the 675R shockingly aggressive geometry (rake is just 22.9 degrees, trail a mere 3.4 inches) and extremely quick steering. Yet the machine hasn't lost any of its composure, which is to say it's nearly imperturbable-making it incredibly accommodating and confidence-inspiring to ride. A focus on mass-centralization finds the muffler relocated under the engine, while lighter wheels, a lighter rear brake setup, headlight assembly, and fairing stay reduce weight near the bike's perimeter and help it change direction faster and with less effort. Cartagena's many tight transitions made that characteristic wonderfully evident, while the motor's linear power delivery and distinct three-cylinder howl make it endlessly exciting to hammer.

I was worried that Triumph would mine the Daytona's midrange to bolster its peak power or otherwise compromise the 675R's character, but the bike hasn't lost a bit of charm and is even easier and more satisfying to ride. 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. I can't wait to get one of these on the street back home in the states.

Manufacturers usually spoon on race rubber for track events, but we stuck with the Daytona's original-equipment Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SPs, and they stuck great. This latest version of the "special production" tires use new rubber compounds and have a "single element" tread pattern that puts more rubber on the road at full lean. We have zero complaints regarding their grip and handling.
Bigger (310mm instead of 308mm) and thicker (4.5mm instead of 4.0mm) front discs from Brembo provide more stopping power and greater resistance to fade and warping. A Nissin ABS unit mounted in front of the shock modulates brake pressure at the threshold of lock-up. The carbon fiber front fender is the only piece of bodywork carried over from the 2012 675R.
A cast-aluminum subframe permits tighter component packaging for a slimmer tail and also lowers the base bike's seat height by 10mm; the R's taller suspension offsets the height reduction. For 2013, both bikes get a lighter rear wheel and larger front brake rotors. The base model gets Nissin's new monoblock calipers. The accessory Arrow race exhaust is said to cut over 8 pounds and add 3-4 horsepower.
The base model Daytona will carry an $11,599 price tag and comes with fully adjustable KYB suspension and Nissin "monoblock" brakes. Triumph expects the R-bike to outsell the base model, but still feels it's important to offer a less costly option. A lower, narrower seat and 5mm higher clip-ons should make the Daytona more comfortable as an everyday streetbike.
The reworked Ohlins NIX30 has 10mm more travel for increased control under extreme conditions. A longer fork upper provides more ride-height adjustability, as evidenced by the additional line visible above the new forged upper triple clamp.
The 675R will carry a $13,499 MSRP and features the familiar Ohlins/Brembo/quickshifter/carbon fiber/red accents performance and aesthetic package. The 43mm NIX30 fork has updated valving and 10mm more travel, while the shock has a softer spring and matching valving to suit the reduction in weight over the bike's rear end.
We're digging those curves. Triumph presented us with this dyno chart comparing the 2012 motor to the 2013 model. Peak power is up an alleged 2 horsepower and 2 lb.-ft. of torque. There's a new dip around 4500 rpm, but the old trench at 7000 has been filled in and the new motor makes more power from 9000 onward. From the saddle it feels stronger everywhere, a benefit of a more powerful motor, reduced weight, and shorter final gearing.
The 2013 motor has lighter valves (the intake valves are titanium), revised cams, refined transmission parts, secondary upper fuel injectors, and many other new or updated components. Bore and stroke went from 74mm by 52.3mm to 76mm by 49.6mm, while compression jumped from 12.65:1 to 13.1:1.
Race teams found that the previous intake duct was restrictive, so the new bike has a larger tunnel with smoother transitions for improved airflow. The intake duct and front subframe are made from fewer pieces than before, which Triumph says cuts over a pound from the nose of the bike.
The housing is the same, but the new Daytona's dash has a fuel gauge plus various symbols that correspond to the new ABS system, as well as an optional tire pressure monitoring system. The needle on the analog tachometer now swings through 14,400 rpm, up 500 rpm compared to the 2012 bike.