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Living with a 2003 Triumph Daytona 600

We like Jon Urry, despite the fact he owns a 2CV. He is a very nice man and he reviews his Daytona 600 here using words and images

August 2003

YOU HAVE TO feel a bit sorry for the poor Daytona. Despite it currently showing 3500 miles on it's clock, it hasn't actually been ridden on the road yet! You see my lovely new Daytona 600 is one of the bikes that was used during the world launch of the Triumph at circuit Cartagena in Spain.

For a week assembled ranks of journalists from all over the world took turns to abuse the hell out of my bike for eight hours a day showing it all the respect of a £5 King's Cross whore. And then as if this wasn't enough abuse for the poor beastie the day it arrived back in the UK we picked it up from Triumph and shoved it in the back of a van heading back to Spain again to compete in the TWO Bike of the Year test - another three days on track with 15 sympathy-devoid journos. Well at least I know it's well run in.

Luckily enough I was in the ranks of the riders during the test so after a very long wait I eventually got my chance to ride the Daytona. What a cracking bike, it's hard to believe that a British company can make something this good compared to the Japanese who've been doing the 600 thing for years. On an unfamiliar track the Daytona's beautiful chassis means that when you mess up a corner, as you inevitably do until you remember if it was left or right over that blind crest, the bike has so much in reserve that you can correct your mistake without sacrificing too much speed. After chatting to Niall about suspension I added two clicks more than standard on the pre-load and rebound both front and back which made it feel that bit tighter in corners and more composed on the brakes, but really that's all that was needed.

But it wouldn't be a British bike if it didn't have a few "character quirks" now would it? The Daytona is a strange bike to actually start. From what I can work out so far if you touch the throttle at all while the starter motor is turning the bike simply won't start. Unless it's hot, in which case sometime it needs a slight bit of throttle, and sometime not. I'm sure in time I will work out exactly what the technique is and I'll let you know when I do.

So what next on the cards for the Trumpet? A double-bubble screen because even on track the standard one is tiny, and a race pipe to see if I can get a bit more mid-range.

October 2003

A few weeks ago I had what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity. It was a trackday at Donington Park and I was following Aitch around for a few laps to see if I could give her a few pointers on where she could pick up some speed around the track. Not that I am a riding guru or anything, it's just that as we were both on 600s the bikes would be closely matched. Or so I thought.

Every time we came out of Coppice 'Aitch and her R6 simply left the Daytona for dead. By the braking marker for the Esses her 2001 R6 had easily pulled out six or seven bike lengths on my 2003 Daytona. Surely this isn't right? My Triumph has fuel injection and a brand new motor, surely a two-year old carbed R6 shouldn't leave it that far behind? Okay, Aitch is a feminine petite lightweight shape whereas I am a big, fat male lump but still my Triumph is cutting edge, isn't it?

On the dyno my totally stock Daytona made 98.9bhp. Considering most of the modern 600s are putting out around the 105bhp mark, and 'Aitch's tweaked R6 makes 107.6bhp, that means the Triumph is at least 5bhp down on the competition to start with. Hmm, must find a way of getting more power out of it..

Coincidentally the next week I received a call from Triumph asking me to drop the bike into their factory so they could put a new fuel-injection map on it. New map? Did someone say TT600? Apparently this new map is available free to Daytona owners and is basically part of a continuing development on the Daytona. If Triumph find a better map they pass it onto dealers who update the bikes at services accordingly. While the bike was with them I also managed to con an official Triumph carbon race can (£299.99) and double-bubble race screen (£89.99) out of them to try and wrestle a few extra ponies out of the motor and give me a bit more screen to hide my bulk behind as the standard is very low and was a nuisance on the motorway.

Well, if noise equals power then Aitch's R6 is toast! The official can is bloody loud. Triumph has a funny habit of making bikes that sound great with their cans and the Daytona is no exception. Riding through town it can be a bit excessive and does tend to draw attention to you, which isn't always a good thing, but at full chat it sounds amazing.

With the new map and race can the Daytona felt a lot crisper. The slight fluffiness at the very bottom of the rev range is gone and the bike definitely seems to rev faster. But the proof is in the dyno so I took it to First Bike (0208 9469466) to see what power it was making.

At first I was a bit disappointed. Peak power is now up to 102bhp but the only gain is right at the very top of the power curve, other than that, the graphs are virtually identical, although the new map has smoothed out the slight hiccup between 3000 and 5000rpm which was causing a slight fluffy feeling at low revs.

Then out of interest dyno man Andy compared the standard graph and the new map and race can graph on power against time. Now it makes sense. Look at the chart. With the new map and race can the Daytona makes its power about a second faster everywhere. Now that is impressive and explains why it felt crisper. The guys at Triumph said the new map also makes a difference to the bike without a race can but as yet I haven't had a chance to test this as I forgot to load the road legal can into the back of the van when I picked up the bike.

What's next for the Trumpet? Having boiled the brakes at Donington making up the distance on Aitch I have a new set of pads on order and I will probably change the brake fluid as well because it feels like there may be an air bubble in there. I have also booked a week's holiday around Spain with SpanTrax taking in three of the top Spanish circuits. Give them a bell on (07801) 896350 if you fancy joining me, I may even buy you a beer...