Every time I push the starter button on my 2006 graphite grey Triumph 675 my affection for this gem of a bike is rekindled.
My first taste of Triumph's latest three-cylinder supersports treasure was the Malaysian press launch in January, where I rode one for a few days both on the road and around the Sepang track. I realised then that Triumph had something pretty special on their hands, but I totally underestimated the feel-good factor of having one at my disposal on a semi-permanent basis.
Compared to the latest GSX-R600 - another bike I ride regularly - the Trumpet is much more of an all-rounder. The Suzuki has to be revved hard to get any sort of riding satisfaction, while the Triumph's flexible motor allows you to cruise happily in sixth while still having decent acceleration. It also has a sensible first gear ratio, giving a swift pick-up when pulling away from the lights, and one of the biggest surprises is its comfort over long distances. Take the Triumph and Suzuki to a race track however and the GSX-R will win hands down, but I guarantee you will still have a ball on the Triumph.
I rode 150 miles non-stop to the Thruxton BSB round at Easter but felt fresher at the end of the journey than I did over a similar distance I did recently on a Sprint ST. The small 675 seems to fit my 11-stone, 5ft 8in frame perfectly, while being comfier than a bike built for touring round Europe. Strange that.
That ride was also the first test of my iPod Ultimate ear plugs, which have added a new dimension to road riding for me. Listening to the Bay City Rollers while scything through bank holiday traffic is definitely the future of motorcycling.
Other than that, not much else to report so far. As yet nothing has fallen off or broken yet, but I really must change the ugly side stand bolts and get hold of a pillion seat for my Donington Park track day pillion rides that will be underway any day now. Fancy a ride?
I'll rattle on about the qualities of my new found friend in future issues but don't worry, should she decide to cross me you'll be first to know.
After clocking up over 2000 miles on my 675 I felt an urge for some exhaust bling. With Scorpion exhausts just up the road from me in Derby, I popped along for a quick factory tour while my shiny new pipe was bolted on. Their street legal titanium pipe has a claimed 5bhp power increase with some nice weight saving to boot. Although not dyno-tested the midrange now feels cleaner and I have a crisper exhaust note especially at high revs.
As I witnessed during my rummage round the factory I learned that Scorpion's exhausts are all hand built, never need repacking and come with a lifetime guarantee, making the Daytona item at £329 seem very reasonable.
Recently I've become sick of my own voice preaching to the masses on how good my Trumpet is so I decided it was time to conduct an experiment. I picked three mates who had recently bought new bikes (a Fireblade, GSX-R600 and R6) and took them to my Donington track day where I asked them to compare their bikes to my Daytona. They were all immediately converted and have started to spread the Triumph gospel, so I rest my case.
Any bad things to report? With a few miles now under its belt I can see behind the fairing and the cylinders are gradually becoming pitted. I've started spraying WD40 in there but if anyone has a better idea how to stop it getting worse let me know.
A parcel arrived on my desk the other day. Inside the Jiffy bag were two polished steel hex head bolts, compliments of Windy Corner Triumph. Apparently after reading of my dismay at the nasty (standard) side stand bolts they decided to send me a present. So my bike is now complete.
I've clocked up over 1000 miles during the last month and once again I have nothing untoward to report on the reliability front. However, I've had a few wet trips, which is challenging some areas of the finish on my 675. Despite my efforts to dry her off the front and rear brake caliper mounting bolts have become pitted, plus the area around the disc carrier mountings are showing signs of rust.
Elbow grease and WD 40 (please keep that well away from the discs) is probably the answer, unless Windy Corner has any ideas...
As I've done 3000 miles now I've swapped the standard fit Pirelli Dragon Supercorsas for some of the latest Michelin Pilot Power 2 CTs. The Pirellis have been pretty faultless both on road and track so I'll be using the onboard lap timer on my next Donington track day to see if the Michelins might give me a few tenths here and there.
For the last six years I've helped with the Day of Champions on the Thursday before the British GP at Donington. Normally I use my beloved 350 LC Yamaha for the 10-mile ride-in, which concludes with two laps of the GP circuit. This year I got a guilty lump in my throat when I walked past the un-MoT'd LC (she gets jealous) and chose to jump on the Triumph instead. That left me thinking: with the 675 already being touted as the main contender for bike of 2006, could it possibly one day have the iconic status of the LC? I'll let you know in 2030.
You may have heard me grumbling about some slight pitting around the cylinder block and brake caliper bolts in previous reports. Well tickle my sporran, once again another mysterious package (last month it was side-stand bolts) has arrived to stop this Jock from moaning. This time it was Scottoiler FS365 protector spray, which I have dutifully applied and, I have to say, it has done the trick. It's not only stopping deterioration but also bringing all the surfaces in question back to pristine condition. So it's a big thanks to the kind people up there in Milngavie. By the way, I will always be grateful for free product, so you know where I am Mr Rolex and Mr Porsche.
I've had some first-class entertainment giving the new Michelin Pilot Power 2CTs serious hammer at Knockhill and Brands Hatch, a nice change from steady motorway riding. Knockhill was good but the Brands day was quite unique as the predominant sound all day long was wailing triples - sweet music to Mr Bloor's ears, I'm sure. Comparing tyres these days is a very tricky job as they are all so damn good but here is my honest opinion. On the road, in wet and dry conditions,
I could tell very little difference from the OE Super Corsas. However, the Michelins seemed to give a slightly softer ride compared to the Pirellis. At Knockhill I had no real moments but when I started to push hard at Brands the rear was losing a bit of traction at maximum lean round Druids. The track was in good condition but maybe 52-second laps on standard pressures was asking too much from what is a great all-round road tyre. After 1500 miles they are still in good shape but I've heard some good things about the Pirelli Diablo Corsa 111s, so I fancy giving them a try next.
During a trip to Cadwell Park for August's BSB test, eagle-eyed Rizla Suzuki mechanic Mark Hannah informed me that my brake fluid was low, and then embarrassed me further by pointing out my front pads were nearly down to the metal. Okay, so I'm a rubbish mechanic but I bet he couldn't catch me through Craner Curves on an RD350LC.
Anyway, I have taken delivery of some Carbone Lorraine SBK 5 pads which I'll get Mark to fit (only
kidding) before giving them a good roasting. Incidentally, the 675 has weight-saving thin front discs so it will be interesting to see how they stand up to regular track day abuse.
There's been a nip in the air recently but that's only given me another reason to praise my graphite beauty. It has the best hand warming fairing vents ever! If you slide your left hand down the side of the bike, hey presto, warm as toast. Being the irresponsible type, I also do my right while counter steering with my left but please don't try without practising first on an airfield, it could seriously damage your health - especially if you get your hand stuck.