Expensive new but affordable now, Jon Urry has a second look at Triumph's sporting middleweight
What a difference a few years could have made. If Triumph had launched the Daytona 600 just two years earlier things could have been very different. It was so nearly ahead of its time in many ways, but unfortunately in 2003 when it was launched Kawasaki unveiled the first of the radically styled ZX-6Rs and Honda unleashed the CBR600RR. Balls.
Having learnt its lesson the hard way with the dreadful TT600, Triumph put a lot more effort into the Daytona 600. The styling was radical, the chassis sorted and the engine and fuel injection worked together in near perfect unison. Niall first rode the bike on track in Spain and declared it was a British supersports bike that could take on the Japanese. So why did Triumph kill it after just three years?
It all came down to money. In the early noughties Triumph were fixated with beating the Japanese, which a small company in Hinckley simply couldn't do. It was in 2003 that that Japanese started throwing everything at the 600 class. Slipper clutches, radial brakes, lap timers, titanium wotsits, you name it. Triumph just couldn't keep up, they weren't big enough to absorb the astronomical costs of constant development that was required to be competitive. Which is why in 2006 it took a different route and create its own niche market with the Daytona 675 triple.
Unfortunately it was the Daytona's less-than-perfect history that kept the bike from appealing to the mainstream biker masses. Which was their loss.
Okay, on track the CBR, ZX-6R and GSX-R600 of that era are better machines, but on the road the Daytona is King. Triumph always gets it right when it comes to road ability and the Daytona 600 is no exception. It's physically a lot larger and roomier than the competition and is a great practical bike. You can easily take one touring (I did the whole length of Spain on a Daytona in one day) and the riding position is far more relaxed than any other 600.
Although on-track the soft suspension limits its ability, on the road it's a blessing. A series of bumps won't upset a Daytona like they will a ZX-6R and your wrists won't be crying out for mercy as they will be on a CBR600RR. And you don't have to rev it to get to where you want to be going.
While Kawasaki cheated with a big-bore engine to give the ZX-6R grunt the Honda and Yamaha of 2003 were pure rev-monsters, lacking in real midrange. Not so with the Daytona. Although it wasn't as strong as the Kawasaki the Daytona's engine makes a decent amount of mid-range and has a genuine 100 horsepower, which is more than enough for road use in a bike that only weighs 165kg.
It does have its bad points, however. The brakes aren't as sharp as the Japanese competition's and can fade during hard track use (not a huge drama for road-riders, mind), the gearbox is pretty horrible and crunches and gnashes its teeth, plus the finish is a little suspect. But for a different looking inline four that is a great day-to-day road bike the Daytona will certainly win over most riders. The best model to go for is the 650 but the 600 is virtually identical, just a bit less grunty.
Uh, doesn't the Daytona have 3 cylinders?
"But for a different looking inline four that is a great day-to-day road bike the Daytona will certainly win over most riders."
Posted: 20/03/2008 at 03:07
Posted: 20/03/2008 at 06:53
Posted: 20/03/2008 at 11:58
Ah, thank you. Four-banger it is, then.
I always liked the look of the Daytona 600 when it came out. Although, it's true, the build was suspect. Up close it didn't have the finish of its Japanese counterparts. But definitely something different that looks nice and is from British lineage. I'd love to give one a poke.
I was an operations manager at a place here in Toronto, Canada that rents motorcycles (and exotic cars), and we had all the Jap 600s and a Ducati 748, but no Daytona. I love the Jap 600s, but would love to ride the Daytona to see the difference. I like the sounds of the softer, more road-friendly suspension setup.
Posted: 21/03/2008 at 01:21
Posted: 28/10/2008 at 12:41
Posted: 30/10/2008 at 23:54
Posted: 31/10/2008 at 12:35
Posted: 31/10/2008 at 15:40
Posted: 08/08/2009 at 10:43
Posted: 09/08/2009 at 01:17
Check out this web site www.daytona600.org . Can’t promise an unbiased view though. I’ve had the 650 for nearly 3 years and done over 20000 miles. Never missed a beat, top bike.
Here it is going around Brands Hatch Indy
Posted: 21/08/2009 at 14:10
As big fans of Triumph's Daytona we have now produced a Daytona 600, 650 and 675 Buyers Guide.
Also, in Visordown's reviews section we invite owners to review their own bike through our online reviewing function. Each month we randomly select reviewers to win Moto GP DVDs and Autoglym prizes!
Posted: 04/08/2010 at 17:39
bcitral wrote (see)
My manager had one but it sounded like a bag of spanners next to my purring CBR600.
Posted: 05/08/2010 at 10:09
Posted: 12/08/2010 at 22:33
Deer Stalker wrote (see)
I had a 2004 model -it was a nice bike but was crap too! Over heated in traffic, rev counter failed day 1 and the clutch failed after 9 months - I px'd it at 10 months...
1. did the fan not kick in?, my CBR600 used to heat up in the traffic quite badly.
2. Was it brand new?, I had a CB900F Hornet where the button failed on it, I had to take the clocks apart and re solder the wiring that had perished because Honda couldn't be arsed to seal the clocks properly.
3. I had two clutchs fail on an FZR600 within 6 months, I didn't wheelie of cane it more than the bike was supposedly made for.
Not trying to say the Daytona is perfect, but neither are Jap bikes.
Posted: 13/08/2010 at 07:40
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