Living with a 2005 Triumph Daytona 650

James Burton was a very high up very well paid advertising guru. Here he is reviewing a Daytona 650. Can we put it on expenses?

November 2005

I fell in love with Urry's long term Daytona 600 a couple of years ago after using it with some regularity. So I was more than crestfallen when I heard that Shitehawk, who subsequently bought the yellow beauty, had gone on to crash it. But there's a happy ending to this tale as now, some 20 months later, I have the opportunity of running the new Daytona 650 as a longtermer.

With over 5300 miles added in the last two months you could say the old mistress has been forgotten and a younger, vibrant model has slenderly taken her place. And one of the first things you notice are the amazing looks of the new 650. Quite splendid.

So, having been carefully run in, it was time to get on and enjoy my new Daytona. After using a naked SV650 all last year I would now be able to experience some much more comfortable, long-haul motorway journeys. This was put to the test with a brief trip to Italy over a few days.

Heading through France it felt a breeze as mile after mile passed by before the wonderful twisty trip along the N5 into Switzerland led us over the mountainous Simplonpass down to Milan and then into northeast Italy.

The journey was breathtaking, but you need to respect the corners doubling back on each other. With the Daytona you get to worship the machinery as it turns in with poise and grace, inspiring much confidence.

Moving on to the Italian motorway was no great pain and the fuel consumption and tank range kept us in good stead, but we then met the local tailgaters who all seem to have mastered the art of late braking as they howl up behind you.

Which leads me nicely onto my main disappointment, the Daytona's front brake. Before the trip it felt spongy but the pads were fine, so our Diddyman bled them, which led to a far sharper feel. But heading back from Italy they lost their firmness again, and since then the front brake has been bled once more to restore feel. A replacement Brembo master cylinder is an option, but we're also waiting for a factory fix for a similiar problem with Steve's Speed Triple, so we'll see.

Aerodynamically the bike is great but with a tiny screen you begin to get neck pain after 300 or so miles. So we've attached an Ermax screen, which works wonders, cutting down buffeting and noise.
With the minor faults out of the way, the Daytona continually inspires me to just get out there and have fun. Track time has been booked with Niall MacKenzie and a Devon weekend with the RAT (Riders Association of Triumph) club beckons to get a true feel of being a part of the Triumph fraternity. Maybe I'll see you there.

January 2006

YOU'VE PROBABLY HEARD it before, but doing a track day is a great way to improve your riding technique. Not long after I got back from my epic ride to Italy and back on the Daytona

I was back in the saddle for a day at Donington Park with Jim Bowen and Niall Mackenzie.

I continue to be impressed with practically everything (but not all - see below) about the Daytona. It's an easy bike to get on with because of its size and your posture on it - it's comfortable over long distances but also beautifully balanced and manoeuvreable on track.

I followed Jim around and gradually got faster and faster, working on carrying corner speed (my technique used to consist of hurtling up to corners and then slamming the brakes on - not now). The smoothness of the triple's power delivery helps with that. I recently had it on the dyno, and as you can see from the graph it's uncannily straight from 3000rpm to the redline.

The other thing that's great about the Daytona is that it makes me feel like I'm in control of it, and not the other way round. I feel like I'm still learning (I passed my test three years ago) but the bike doesn't intimidate me, even though it's obviously got a lot more to give. And I still love the looks and the feel of it.

The only demerit is that the Daytona's front brake has developed the same affliction as Steve's Speed Triple. We think that air is getting into the system somehow, making the lever feel spongy. So it's gone back to Triumph for some attention.