Got the bug… now get the bike

I ride a Triumph Street Triple daily and because I rely on it for my commute, I didn’t fancy damaging it on a track day. Also, having ridden the CBR600RR I realised that there is quite a big difference between a street bike and an out and out sports bike.

I know people use street bikes on track but I figured that I wanted to ride on a sports bike. To this end I had to decide what size and make of bike to buy. I’ve ridden litre plus sports bikes in the past and decided that I would prefer something smaller like a 600cc bike; even if it meant a slightly more cramped riding position for my 6’2” (187cm) body.

Although I really enjoyed riding the CBR600RR, I decided that I wanted something that had a bit more character but not so exotic that it was going to break the bank. Secondhand was my best option as I couldn’t really justify paying new bike prices for something that wouldn’t get ridden that often or which might get totalled on track.

The obvious choice for me was the Triumph Daytona 675. The reviews for this bike have been consistently good for several years, and having ridden a Street Triple for a while, I could vouch for the fact that the engine is amazing – it just makes power virtually from tickover and pulls like a train all the way to the redline.

Having decided on the bike, I started to scour the small ads to see what I could find. I researched for about three weeks weighing up age, mileage, condition and extras. I had already discounted the pre-09 Daytona models as the 09 and later models had a taller first gear, lighter wheels, better suspension and a more powerful engine. I also didn’t want something that was too old or which had high mileage.

Prices from main dealers for the ’09 and later model Daytonas varied between £5,500 and £6,500 (approx US$8,800 – 10,400 in October 2012). Some private ones were cheaper but I was looking for something clean with no damage history.

One evening I was researching Daytona parts online when I spotted a black 2010 Daytona with 3,000 miles on the clock. I rang the seller the next day and we did a deal over the phone. The following day I jumped on a train with my leathers and helmet in a bag and set off for the North of England to collect the bike.

The bike looked better in the flesh than in the photos, and although I didn’t really want a black bike, I had to admit that it looked great. I fired it up and the exhaust barked into life – the menacing growl at tickover was aided by the fact that the baffle had been removed from the Arrow slipon can. The sound of the exhaust was pure intoxication!

After riding a street bike (Street Triple) for nearly three years, getting on the Daytona and reaching forward to the handlebars was a bit of a shock. I pulled away with trepidation as I didn’t really feel 100% in control, but within a few miles, I slowly began to start getting used to the riding position despite the fact that both my back and wrists were beginning to complain. As the discomfort grew, I seriously began to question my sanity about buying a sports bike after all.

Riding through town and 30mph roads was pure hell; offset only by the fact that the exhaust note was attracting much (admiring?) attention from roadside bystanders, which was quite amusing.

If I thought the exhaust sounded good at tickover, it was nothing compared to the symphonic howl that develops from 4,500 RPM upwards. I think that this is due to a combination of the airbox flapper and the exhaust EXUP valves opening fully which allows the engine to breathe better. The Daytona makes power from low down in the rev range, but from 6,000 RPM onwards, the bike literally propels itself forwards with an urgency that you just need to experience yourself to understand.

Once I got out of town onto the A roads, I was able to increase my speeds significantly enough that the wind started to take some of the pressure off my wrists. This bike was made for fast sweeping A roads – it feels so taut and planted that you just want to keep increasing your speed as you drive through corners.

After a few miles of A roads, I still had over 160 miles of motorway to negotiate to get home. Although at the time, I hadn’t really clocked the double bubble screen on the bike but I seriously began to appreciate it as the speedo veered past 70 mph. Even so, with my body complaining about the cold and cramps from the riding position, I elected to stop every half hour or so, to break up the monotony of the journey.

Apart from comfort, another area where the Daytona differs significantly from the Street Triple is the quickness of its steering. Initially it feels like it wants to fall into corners – this makes for really quick steering which can be a little disconcerting in the wet and in slow speed corners. The fact that the front tyre was slightly squared off on the bike didn’t help much but at least that could be fixed with a set of tyres quickly enough. The other main differences between the Street Triple and the Daytona were in the suspension and brakes; on the Daytona the brakes are phenomenally powerful. The suspension too is much tauter than the Street Triple’s while still being quite compliant and forgiving.

After nearly 200 miles of riding, I arrived home. I was elated from riding such an amazing machine although that was slightly tempered by concern that I might have driven through one or two speed cameras on the wrong side of the speed limit!

In summary, not only has riding a Daytona confirmed everything that I read about it in reviews but the one I bought seems to be a really tidy and clean example and I am really happy with its purchase.


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