Triumph has gone back to the drawing board and built a Japanese beater. Niall Mackenzie travelled to Spain to test the Triumph Daytona 600, and came back impressed
Click to read: Triumph Daytona 600 owners reviews, Triumph Daytona 600 specs and to see the Triumph Daytona 600 image gallery.
Mystic Mac is the name and looking into the future is the game, so I knew five days before I travelled to Cartagena for the Daytona 600 launch that Triumph had built a new supersports bike that could take on the latest offerings from Japan and Italy. Okay, this time it wasn't my crystal balls that had enlightened me but the first round of the British Supersports Championship at Silverstone.
On its race debut, and with very little testing, Craig Jones and Jim Moodie finished 9th and 13th respectively on the Daytona after mixing it with some serious competition on new generations 600s. With handling and performance still to improve I'd put my money on rostrum positions very soon.
So, on to the standard road bike, is it really as good as the new CBR, R6, ZX-6R and 749? On track and road the Honda has been unanimously voted the overall winner, but that was before the Triumph. How does the Daytona shape up against the opposition? Well I can't honestly answer that until we back to back 'em, which shows how good the Triumph is, but here's what I found after my first skid round in Spain.
I slipped into the world of journalism just after Triumph had sorted out its fuel injection gremlins on the original TT600 and I can honestly say I have never ridden a bad TT, either on the road or track. The engine revved hard, sounded sweet and 140mph+ was easily seen on the speedo. But it seems as though I was in the minority and was frequently told by fellow hacks that I had had too many bumps on the head while racing. They may well be right, but I think it was that all important first impression when the TT had the bottom end flat spot problem that prevented any future praise for the Hinckley 600.
So when Triumph announced that the Daytona engine is based around a heavily modified TT600 motor there were a few under-breath comments about fuelling glitches and flat spots. Well I didn't find any. The powerband is very linear, pulling nicely from 9000rpm then a final smooth surge from 12,000 to 14,000 and shifting just after 14,200 with the rev limiter cutting in at 15,000rpm. This has been made possible by the new Keihin twin butterfly injection system. Throttle feeling mid-corner is faultless and playing with the new shorter travel throttle at any rpm isn't a problem.
I'd say the Honda pulled stronger, but only slightly from what I can remember with a tad more top end, while the Yamaha is weaker in the middle but stronger on top - especially at speed with the effective ram air induction. The engine sound isn't as peaky as the R6 but there is a definite familiar throaty Triumph growl. Claimed maximum power is 112bhp at the crank although I'd imagine this figure would be higher at speed and with the ram air effect. It's definitely a more realistic figure than the frankly ridiculous claims of the Japanese manufacturers.
Click to read the final page of Triumph Daytona 600 review.
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