A Dialog Between Gearheads.
Since they wouldn't give us three Triumph Daytona 675Rs to test, we've been forced to share one (read: fight over it). Sean and I split time on the bike on city streets, and then in the Santa Monica mountains last week, and kindly let Grant play when we were through. From its smooth-as-butter quickshifter to its exotic superbike feel, we were impressed and it left us with a lot to talk about. Here's the discussion straight from Sean and my chat windows. Our conversation has been edited for clarity (I waffled on about bad Internet), but that's about it. Hit the jump to see just how small our vocabularies really are. — Ed.
Photos: Ashlee Goodwin and Sean Smith
ss The biggest thing with that bike is its smoothness.
ws How is it smoother than your GSX-R?
ss The power is smooth, the quick-shifter is smooth, the braking is very linear (though I'm not a big fan of those pads). Damping is incredibly smooth.
ws Yeah the pads feel funny. I mean the brakes are enormously strong. I can't put my finger on what it is about them. I've ridden a few other bikes that have that problem
ss It's just the pad compound. It's grabby in a really weird way
ws Yeah, like not initially grabby
ss Nothing a set of EBC HH sintered pads cant fix
ws You can still stroke them
ws But it's like under harder braking there's a point where heat builds up after a little bit of time and they get unexpectedly stronger with the same lever pressure
ss They do work differently with some heat in them. My beef was that at low speeds and low lever pressures, they want to grab and hold the rotor. Making a bunch of u-turns for the photo passes, I could actually hear them grabbing and releasing the edges of the holes on the rotor. But, once they were hot and I got on the brakes hard at 60ish mph, it was predictable, and again, smooth. Not as good as a set of after-market pads, but great for OEM.
ws Like most of the parts, they're just designed for track riding, then pressed into some rough approximation of road duty.
ws Well, keeping in mind OEM part compromises, ie, they're cheap, where an honest set of normal brembo calipers, stainless lines and HH pads would probably do better.
ss Bingo. Anyway, the brakes work better than most and a pad swap takes 15 minutes.
ws And it's got stainless lines stock, which none of the Jap bikes do, so there's one less thing you have to change as soon as you buy the bike that's one of the reasons I like riding it so much. With press bikes all the time, they're so fucking crappy with stock lines, stock suspension, stock fueling and stock tires, like that godawful R1 we had where neither of us got the tires within an inch of the edge.
ss The triumph is good enough for a track day right out of the box. Just toss some suspension tools in a backpack, along with a roll of tape and go.
ws Yeah and we were too afraid to take the R1 to that Willow trackday Adey invited us to.
ws So why am I more confident riding the 675R in traffic around town than I am in Malibu canyons?
ss Because it's not a bike for someone who doesn't know exactly what they're doing, which is harsh, but it's true.
ws Ha, yeah and I'm not confident right now (Ed: Wes's left arm is healing well, but will have a permanent 'banana' curve to it) and I'm waiting till I can see the whole corner before pushing.
ss I can come screaming into a corer hard on the brakes and know just how fast I want to go, how far I'm going to lean, where my apex is and when I'm going to get on the gas. It's not an easy bike to ride, but if you know what you're doing, it's a powerful tool that will do exactly what you ask of it. You just need to know what to ask. That applies to sportsbikes as a whole, but especially to the 675R.
ws For me, the suspension is vague at the pace I'm riding it, like I go into a corner at like 4/10ths and it feels like the tires have no grip. I don't know if you feel this since you're riding it a little faster but while the steering is really quick it seems to take a lot of effort but maybe that's just because I haven't been riding with clip-ons for a while
ss The springs are so stiff that things aren't moving enough for you to get an idea of what is going on. You have to go in a 7/10s before you get real feedback. The steering feel is because of the riding position; high seat, long reach to the bars. I like it because it's nice and open, and I can easily move my weight around.
ws Yeah, I could move side to side super easy and you can get plenty far back in the seat without jamming up against the pillion pad and the pegs are high but my long ass legs weren't cramped just wish my hands didn't go numb on the highway.
ss Speaking of that pillion pad,that oddly shaped butt pad is kinda neat. If you're wearing leathers, you can slide all the way back and it'll help hold you in place at 150+ while the wind is trying to throw you around. It's nice to have a nice secure feeling.
ws yeah and the rider seat is shaped well for easy moving. I could find the edge of it with my butt really easy. It sounds weird, but on some bikes I have to do some trial and error to find the right spot. I was super comfy on the 675 except for my hands going numb.
ss I kind of had trouble with the 675R. It's more round than flat, and there are a lot of options for where you can sit, kind of like an R6. On my GSX-R, there's a definite ridge toward the back and that's where you put your butt. One place. You change your BP by altering your upper body and your options are somewhat limited. That means things are easy and simple, and you've got less to think about. But the 675R is neat because it forces you to think about what you're doing a little more. I found myself getting closer to the tank on corner exits because of this and that makes me think this would be a great track bike for fast guys.
ws Was this your first time with the 675 triple motor?
ss It was indeed my first time with the 675 triple. Killer engine.
ws less peaky than your GSX-R?
ss Yeah. There was never really a hit; it felt like power just slowly built up and tapered off. I mean I don't think that the triple or a 600cc inline four are that much different in outright performance
ws GSX-R is like 126? and the 675 is 124
ss At least those are the claims; my GSX-R is probably around 109 at the wheel stock, and I'd guess that my pipe and filter add 2-5 on top of that.
ws But the 675 is maybe a little nicer to use; you don't always have to be at 13k rpms
ss Yep. But it does rev to 15 and there is good power up there. It's got a very similar powerband to a standard 600, but it's a smoother and a little easier to use
ws It's like people say they buy liter bikes for the road because they like not having to rev the tits off it everywhere, but they never really use the power. They're just posing. I feel like this is a better mix of useability for everyday riding but you still get to use all the performance when you want to go out and ride fast
ss Yep. Well, 99% of sportsbike owners are just posing. Ever been to a bike night?
ss Have I mentioned that I really love the quickshifter? I know it's an option, and likely an expensive one, but the effect it has on the overall package is awesome.
ws yeah, it's pretty awesome
ss hm, lets check that out
ws "a host of performance orientated accessories include a plug and play quickshifter, performance exhausts and even a full factory race kit." Guessing that means options, optional rather.
ss Yeah. That's what I guessed. Triumph should know better than to offer that as an option; just put them on all the 675Rs and use the money saved by buying in bulk to lower the cost slightly.
ws yeah. I mean the thing is already seriously cheap, $12,699, which is like a little more than a 600 and less than a japanese liter bike.
ss Retail would still be more expensive, but only slightly more and the people that wouldn't otherwise get to experience what it's like to have a real quick-shifter would be pleasantly surprised.
ws yeah. It'd add like $20 to the price for them to include it as standard. No one would mind that.
ss Even if it added $200, it'd be worth it.
ws And then you wouldn't have to rely on some janky dealer install. Yeah, $20 or $200 or whatever, it doesn't really matter. It's funny because we were talking about the 848 Evo/Streetfighter price the other day, which is $13k, and I'd rather have the Triumph brand, the 675 motor and Ohlins NIX30/TTX36 suspension for 12,700, than a downsized Ducati with shitty OEM suspension for $300 more. Triumph is killing it right now. I mean part of it is exchange rates and the yen being so pricy right now but the 675 feels more exotic than the 848
ss I've never really understood the 848. There's nothing wrong with it, but it'd be a lot cooler if it weren't a superbike with it's balls cut off. I think that's kind of a lazy approach to building a midd-weight bike.
ws Which do you think has the better power to weight?
ss I don't think it matters either way, but I'd guess that the Ducati has the edge there. Regardless, the Triumph is definitely faster.
ws 848 has 140bhp and weighs 168kg dry, the 675R makes 124. ugg and lists wet weight.
ss Ducati is trying to make their heavy bike seem light-weight.
ws 176kg dry according to wikipedia though, so the 848 has an edge until you get to a corner
ss Yep. Then you deal with Ducati ergonomics and shitty suspension. The Daytona has a fucking TTX36 shock. That's better than what you get on a Desmosedici, 1198 or any Bimota.
ws It's got like $4k in suspension on a $12k bike. Same shock as on 1098 R which was $40k and the 675 feels as exotic as any bike you just listed, kinda like a swiss watch.
ss It more than feels that exotic, it IS that exotic.
ws My roomate called it "the batbike." I love that exposed red subframe, somehow it makes the bike look lighter. I'd take that over graphics.
ss It makes all the right sounds, has dual projector beam headlights, barely there frame, real racing suspension, and good design everywhere.
ws If I buy one can we swap lighter springs onto it?
ss Of course.
ws for like reasonable cost?
ss yeah, figure a few hundred bucks and 2 hours to go to a shop and have them do the work
ws Or ride with a pillion at all times, start eating more, pack on some pounds, have icon let out my suit a little in the middle...
ss ha. If I owned it, I'd probably swap in lighter springs too
ws I'd do that, tear off those little red decals on the fairing and call it a day. Well that, and frame/bar/swingarm/fork sliders
ss It feels like it's sprung more a smooth track and in SoCal, well, there's no such thing. I would do my usual list of mods: clean up the signals, mirrors and plate, add a single bar-end mirror, Zero Gravity Corsa screen (figure 2" taller and a much better profile), slip-on, tuner, air filter, grippy stuff for the tank, sliders. Probably around $1000, with most of that going toward the motor stuff.
ws The person is not currently online.
Wes Siler is now online.
sorry, internet crapped out
where were we?
ss Talking mods
ws ah right
ss I was saying that I'd probably spend a grand changing stuff
ws Did it slap on you at all?
ss Oh man, forgot about that
ws so add a damper to the list
it's like one of only two bikes I've ever wanted a damper on
that and the old ZX-10R"
those were my last messages
ss The one thing this bike REALLY REALLY needs is a steering damper. It's sprung more a smooth track and in SoCal, well, there's no such thing. I would do my usual list of mods: clean up the signals, mirrors and plate, add a single bar-end mirror, Zero Gravity Corsa screen (figure 2" taller and a better profile), slip-on, tuner, air filter, grippy stuff for the tank, sliders. Probably $1000, with most of that going toward the power stuff.
ws cool. I just can't be bothered with motor stuff but I know you're more into that since you used to build them. But yeah, that's the one thing I would say Triumph messed up on.
ss Eh, I just don't want power going to waste.
ws Why do you think it's so slappy?
ws Same geometry as standard daytona, right?
ss I think it's a little taller overall and possibly steeper. Another thing you have to take into consideration is that chassis numbers are a constantly changing dynamic thing
ws 675 rake/trail is: 23.9º/89.1mm
675R is 23.9º/89.1mm
so it's the same
ss Those stiff springs and Öhlins dampers have a big effect
ws oh i know
ss It's the same when you're stopped, but at 90mph and wide-open throttle, it's a completely different bike. I blame the fact that it's a tall middleweight sportsbike and I'll also blame the stiff springs.
ws I just can't imagine them test riding it in england of all places–the b-roads around Hinckley are bumpy as all hell–and signing off on it like this.
ss I think every other middle-weight has a damper fitted as standard, no matter how crappy (I'm looking at you Suzuki)
ws ha, but those are all just spec sheet padding
they don't do shit except fuck up steering
ss eh, It does something
ws and i've never had a full-on slapper on a stock 600, even riding really fast. But I got one on the 675 going pretty slow
ss because they all have dampers silly
ss I've had mild ones, but the damper smoothes things out
ws oh, I mean the bars wiggle, but not like SLAP
ss yeah, but not BAM!-BAM!-BAM!, lock-to-lock at 90 on the 105, I almost shit my pants
ss Annoying problem, but the fix is easy, if expensive
ws Yeah again, with bulk buying they could have included one for very little additonal price. I mean they're already buying thousands of NIX30 forks and thousands of TTX36 shocks.
ss the $10k ZX-6R has an Öhlins damper
ws i bet the nice salesperson at ohlins could have knocked out a nice deal on a damper
ss Oh well, shit like that has never kept me from buying a bike
ss Oh, the lights
ws oh right. They're not very good
ws not at all, but i didn't take the time to try and adjust the angles
ss And dual projectors are probably the heaviest way to do things
ws So many streets in LA are lit that you only rarely actually need headlights, but the difference between the 675R and the Norge that I've got now is pretty astounding. Even just simple stuff like blinding car drivers during the day is useful and you can't really do it on the Triumph
ss But that's good for street riders. You can run two HIDs and aim them properly and at night, you won't out-ride your lights Again, the fix is easy and this time it's cheap. Adding an HID in the projector is the best thing I ever did to my GSX-R. People fucking see you.
ws yeah, i wouldn't want to ride this thing at night on mountain roads. We're talking about it because the basic bike is so good that both of us could see ourselves owning it and it's nice of triumph to put dual projectors on there to make twin HIDs out of
ss This bike is awesome. It's the kind of thing I'd own.
ws Yeah, it's totally unique
ss Eh, I wouldn't agree completely with that
ws stupid cheap given the spec, the badge, the looks and the performance. Show me another 675 triple? (not the MV) but it's also unique in a way that's not weird. It's the perfect middleweight bike and it's got a neat engine and a neat frame and $4k of suspension and it's plain white, which is awesome, with no ugly graphics so i'm not embarrassed to be seen on it.
ss It's the best execution of the middleweight formula–not perfect, but the best yet. Aint no such thing as perfect ;)
ss It's got plastics that look good without graphics too
ws yeah, I mean everyone thinks it looks nice
ss It's also skinny. I love that about the triple. Four-cylinder bikes are all quite a bit wider.
ws like even Brittney's (Ed: Wes's girlfriend) roomate, who drives a lexus, thought it was super nice and assumed it was crazy expensive
ws It really does look crazy expensive
ss I love that the designers took the same red paint=classy idea that ricers have been using for years on brake drums and made it work for the subframe.
ws It's fast, it's light, it feels tiny, it's razor sharp and it looks amazing. Sold.
ss Yeah, in 25 years, this is a bike that will still be awesome to ride and it won't even look cheesy.
ws and people will remember it. You say GSX-R and they all sort of get lumped into one amorphous memory of the '90s and 00's
ws but this is distinct and the R is the ultimate expression of a really special bike
ss I also like that triumph went out and built a 675 as their flagship sportsbike. It's a much different attitude than the "oh yeah? Well our literbike has 197hp!" dick-swinging game that everyone else is playing.
ws god, yeah. 124bhp is more than what my first liter bike had
ss The horsepower war is fun, but what we end up with are these monster bikes that aren't really fun or rideable. You can buy a ZX10R or an S1000RR and spend thousands of dollars fixing everything and making it into a true sportsbike or you can buy this and and have fun right from the start.
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