Triumph Daytona 955Fi (2001 - 2006) review

The Daytona just got better handling and faster to boot. She’s not as distinctive-looking as she was before, but the ride quality’s better and she’s as British as ever

Ben Cope's picture
By Visordown on Mon, 1 Jan 2001 - 12:01

Details
Manufacturer:
Triumph
Category:
Sportsbikes
Price:
£ 7499
Overall
3
Wicked triple bark when it's on-song with fat midrange
Workmanlike construction and it just isn't a match for the latest Japanese fare

Now having only seen the new 955i in photos, I’ve not been entirely struck with it, but lined up in the Estoril pitlane, early-morning sun glinting off their panels, I have to say they looked alright, especially in the blue. And as the day went on, they grew on me. I reckon the aftermarket seat hump helped, as did the redesigned tank which, to be honest, was giving me a bit of a twitch by the end of the test. Ahem. Anyway.

Kit off, the 955i’s looks become slightly more workmanlike, especially compared to tidy modern Japanese kit. Touches like the over-long engine mounting bolts poking out here and there and the wiring loom wrapped in black tape don’t win the Triumph any style points in my book.

A few laps out on the circuit and the first thing I noticed was the noise – whatever points Triumph have changed from the outgoing Daytona, that wicked triple bark isn’t one of them. It’s a throaty kind of rasp that booms lowdown and then wails off into the top end and it sounds bloody good. For this bike, Triumph even redesigned the airbox to channel its howl towards your head when you’re tucked in, flat-out on the tank.

The real star of the new 955i show however is the motor, which now packs more grunt, more midrange and more poke pretty much everywhere (a claimed 19bhp more all told, say the bods at Triumph) in a sweet, usable manner that punts out clean drive from pretty much nowhere to the new (1,500rpm higher) 11,500rpm redline.

The linear delivery does mean there’s no banzai top-end to the engine, but those extra 1,500rpm really make all the difference to the new bike and mean you can run higher gears for longer hauling out of corners at the track for faster, easier progress. On the old bike you’d often need to change up while driving out of a turn, not so with the new fella.

The midrange is fatter than before too, and a little longer so from six grand onwards you can really start to motor. On the track this is perfect for driving through and out of corners and on the road it’s excellent everywhere.

As for the throttle response, I couldn’t fault it. It’s nice and smooth all the way off the bottom – unlike on the TT600 I rode earlier this month – and despite my best attempts to catch it out, there was no nasty snatch as the power came in getting back on the gas from a closed throttle, even through the Estoril circuit’s tricky first gear chicane.
The highest speed I saw all day was an indicated 166mph down the start/finish straight and there was still another 1,500rpm left, so a genuine 170mph doesn't look out of the question.

The handling, which has received a real overhaul, is a nice combination of the sharper steering, and bags of feedback, and although that final top end madness of a GSX-R or R1 or whatever isn’t quite there, the Triumph’s midrange meant I had an excellent time at the circuit, opening the throttle mid-corner until the bike started to slide. It felt ever so safe, and as the power was linear it was dead easy to hold it there all the way to the rev limiter, back wheel sliding and spinning and then grab another gear and let it gently snick back into line. Wicked fun that was.

Granted you may not exactly do this on the road, but it’s the fact the bike could do it comfortably and safely (er, perhaps in your hands Niall, not so sure about the rest of us... Wozza) that shows the handling up as pretty good indeed. There was always enough feedback and control from the back end and the tyres (Bridgestone 010s) complemented the whole set up.

It’s not all roses however because although you could brake really hard in a straight line and the bike would stay rock-steady, braking and turning at the same time started tying the thing in knots as it tried to stand up and run wide. Same thing happened if you had to touch the brakes mid-corner. You really wanted all your braking done before turning in at all on the track or the road. Done like this, fast riding was never a problem.

The revised, steeper head angle that means the new Daytona steers more quickly and accurately than last year’s model, seems to be showing a trade off in this little glitch. The steeper angle puts more weight over the front of the bike, but when you hit the brakes, the bike pitches even more weight that way, which then upsets things.
From mid-corner to exit, when you're really back on the gas though, it feels really sorted again at both ends.

In the longer, faster corners, the Daytona did need a fair bit of muscle through the inside bar to keep it on line and wouldn’t tighten its line easily either, but this was only flat-out on the bike, when you were pushing hard.

Triumph say they’ve cleaned up the gearbox, which was really pretty awful on the old bike, and they have. It’s not yet in the Suzuki league of slickness and you still feel like you’re moving some serious metalwork with each change, but it is lighter and more positive than before. On the road, it’s never a worry, but on the track I did hit a few false neutrals.

The brakes are unchanged, which is fine and dandy because they were sound on the old bike – plenty of power, nice feel and it’s a job well done. They were fading by the end of every track session, but then they were getting a bloody hard time.

Comfort-wise, the bike’s a real good fit at the track and not bad on the road either. My knees were cramping up a bit, but then this is a sports bike, although my wrists were pleasantly ache-free, where they were shagged after half-an-hour on the old bike.

I have to say, this bike pleasantly surprised me because after all Triumph’s talk about it being more of a ‘fast road bike’ than a full-on GSX-R-beater, I was expecting less of a track bike than it turned out to be. Once you’ve learned to ride around the understeering on the brakes, the Daytona really is a lot of fun at the track. On the road, you can't fault the motor. There’s good power, some proper top speed when you need it and because it's not peaky in its delivery, fast and unflustered progress is the order of the day. The riding position gave me a bit of cramp, but then it is still a sportsbike and so there's a compromise to be considered. And if you did get a bit fed up and then stopped to stretch your legs, I reckon a quick reflective glance at the bike would see you right – it looks the part, and hasn’t lost the pub car park cred of the old model.

Now having only seen the new 955i in photos, I’ve not been entirely struck with it, but lined up in the Estoril pitlane, early-morning sun glinting off their panels, I have to say they looked alright, especially in the blue. And as the day went on, they grew on me. I reckon the aftermarket seat hump helped, as did the redesigned tank which, to be honest, was giving me a bit of a twitch by the end of the test. Ahem. Anyway.

Kit off, the 955i’s looks become slightly more workmanlike, especially compared to tidy modern Japanese kit. Touches like the over-long engine mounting bolts poking out here and there and the wiring loom wrapped in black tape don’t win the Triumph any style points in my book.

A few laps out on the circuit and the first thing I noticed was the noise – whatever points Triumph have changed from the outgoing Daytona, that wicked triple bark isn’t one of them. It’s a throaty kind of rasp that booms lowdown and then wails off into the top end and it sounds bloody good. For this bike, Triumph even redesigned the airbox to channel its howl towards your head when you’re tucked in, flat-out on the tank.

The real star of the new 955i show however is the motor, which now packs more grunt, more midrange and more poke pretty much everywhere (a claimed 19bhp more all told, say the bods at Triumph) in a sweet, usable manner that punts out clean drive from pretty much nowhere to the new (1,500rpm higher) 11,500rpm redline.

The linear delivery does mean there’s no banzai top-end to the engine, but those extra 1,500rpm really make all the difference to the new bike and mean you can run higher gears for longer hauling out of corners at the track for faster, easier progress. On the old bike you’d often need to change up while driving out of a turn, not so with the new fella.

The midrange is fatter than before too, and a little longer so from six grand onwards you can really start to motor. On the track this is perfect for driving through and out of corners and on the road it’s excellent everywhere.

As for the throttle response, I couldn’t fault it. It’s nice and smooth all the way off the bottom – unlike on the TT600 I rode earlier this month – and despite my best attempts to catch it out, there was no nasty snatch as the power came in getting back on the gas from a closed throttle, even through the Estoril circuit’s tricky first gear chicane.
The highest speed I saw all day was an indicated 166mph down the start/finish straight and there was still another 1,500rpm left, so a genuine 170mph doesn't look out of the question.

The handling, which has received a real overhaul, is a nice combination of the sharper steering, and bags of feedback, and although that final top end madness of a GSX-R or R1 or whatever isn’t quite there, the Triumph’s midrange meant I had an excellent time at the circuit, opening the throttle mid-corner until the bike started to slide. It felt ever so safe, and as the power was linear it was dead easy to hold it there all the way to the rev limiter, back wheel sliding and spinning and then grab another gear and let it gently snick back into line. Wicked fun that was.

Granted you may not exactly do this on the road, but it’s the fact the bike could do it comfortably and safely (er, perhaps in your hands Niall, not so sure about the rest of us... Wozza) that shows the handling up as pretty good indeed. There was always enough feedback and control from the back end and the tyres (Bridgestone 010s) complemented the whole set up.

It’s not all roses however because although you could brake really hard in a straight line and the bike would stay rock-steady, braking and turning at the same time started tying the thing in knots as it tried to stand up and run wide. Same thing happened if you had to touch the brakes mid-corner. You really wanted all your braking done before turning in at all on the track or the road. Done like this, fast riding was never a problem.

The revised, steeper head angle that means the new Daytona steers more quickly and accurately than last year’s model, seems to be showing a trade off in this little glitch. The steeper angle puts more weight over the front of the bike, but when you hit the brakes, the bike pitches even more weight that way, which then upsets things.
From mid-corner to exit, when you're really back on the gas though, it feels really sorted again at both ends.

In the longer, faster corners, the Daytona did need a fair bit of muscle through the inside bar to keep it on line and wouldn’t tighten its line easily either, but this was only flat-out on the bike, when you were pushing hard.

Triumph say they’ve cleaned up the gearbox, which was really pretty awful on the old bike, and they have. It’s not yet in the Suzuki league of slickness and you still feel like you’re moving some serious metalwork with each change, but it is lighter and more positive than before. On the road, it’s never a worry, but on the track I did hit a few false neutrals.

The brakes are unchanged, which is fine and dandy because they were sound on the old bike – plenty of power, nice feel and it’s a job well done. They were fading by the end of every track session, but then they were getting a bloody hard time.

Comfort-wise, the bike’s a real good fit at the track and not bad on the road either. My knees were cramping up a bit, but then this is a sports bike, although my wrists were pleasantly ache-free, where they were shagged after half-an-hour on the old bike.

I have to say, this bike pleasantly surprised me because after all Triumph’s talk about it being more of a ‘fast road bike’ than a full-on GSX-R-beater, I was expecting less of a track bike than it turned out to be. Once you’ve learned to ride around the understeering on the brakes, the Daytona really is a lot of fun at the track. On the road, you can't fault the motor. There’s good power, some proper top speed when you need it and because it's not peaky in its delivery, fast and unflustered progress is the order of the day. The riding position gave me a bit of cramp, but then it is still a sportsbike and so there's a compromise to be considered. And if you did get a bit fed up and then stopped to stretch your legs, I reckon a quick reflective glance at the bike would see you right – it looks the part, and hasn’t lost the pub car park cred of the old model.

Length (mm)2072Width (mm)725Height (mm)1165Dryweight (kg)191Seats0Seat Height (mm)815Suspension Front45mm cartridge forks with dual rate springsadjustable preload, compression and rebound dampingSuspension RearMonoshock Adjustability FrontAdjustable preload, compression and rebound dampingAdjustability RearAdjustable preload, compression and rebound dampingWheels Front17 x 3.5inWheels Rear17 x 6.0inTyres Front120/70 ZR!7Tyres Rear190/50 ZR17Brakes FrontTwin 320mm discs, 4 piston calipersBrakes RearSingle 220mm disc, 2 piston caliperTank Capacity (litres)20Wheelbase (mm)1426Rake (degrees)22.5Trail (mm)79ChassisTubular, fabricated aluminium alloy perimeter

Cubic Capacity (cc)955Max Power (bhp)147Max Power Peak (rpm)10700Torque (ft/lb)74Torque Peak (rpm)8200Bore (mm)79 Stroke (mm)65 Valve GearDOHC Compression Ratio12 IgnitionDigital - inductive typeCoolingLiquid cooledFuel DeliveryMultipoint sequential electronic injectionStroke TypeFour StrokeDriveChain

Top Speed163.2

Score Breakdown
Overall
3

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