Niall's Spin - Triumph TT600 (2002-03)

Originally released as a challenger to the supersport crown held by the CBR600 and R6, the Triumph TT600 never really lived up to it's potential

Click to read: Triumph TT600 owners reviews, Triumph TT600 specs and to see the Triumph TT600 image gallery.

One of the biggest problems with being a bike journalist these days, apart from finding storage space for your endless free jackets and leathers, is finding anything really wrong with a modern bike.

Of course there are glitches like mirrors that don't and sidestands that won't, as well as bikes you may not personally like (I've always had a thing against Laverdas and Moto Guzzis myself), but a really, truly, badly designed motorcycle? No. Sorry.

Which is why when Triumph's TT600 came along we all had a field day - because it was a howler. Designed to take on the CBR600s and R6s of the day it came up so short it might as well have been delivered from the past by time machine. The lack of power wouldn't have been so bad were it not for the fact that what there was chimed in woefully badly, with actions at the twistgrip often bearing little or no relation to subsequent forward motion.

The key to most of the motor's ills was a woefully un-sorted fuel injection and frankly appalling fuel mapping.

To be fair to Triumph they had bitten off far more than they could chew, but as one Triumph employee at the time said: "Well, we had to start somewhere with a 600".

Looking at the bike now we can see it for what it is rather than what it's not. So instead of the TT600 not being a supersports 600, it is in fact a brilliant handling sports bike with modest amounts of power. The chassis is, and always was, the bike's trump card and allied to the still excellent brakes means you can really give the little Trumpet some stick on backroads or at the track.

Triumph owners are usually a careful breed, so expect second-hand examples to be well looked after. Best of all, not only does the TT's press pillorying mean used prices are in bargain basement territory, but by going for the '02/'03 models you'll also get the ones that came with the most sorted fuelling and most of the hideous stutters of the '00/'01 models ironed out.

Key ID: colour coded 'machine gun' air intakes and powder coated frame distinguish the '02/'03 bikes from earlier TTs
Walk away: if it leaks oil - get it hot and look for tell-tale drips