I went out for a test-ride on Triumph’s middleweight star, the Daytona 675R, recently. I had ridden the standard version a couple of years ago as there wasn’t an R available, so when I had the chance to ride the R, I jumped at it.
It ended up being quite eventful – I got back 40 minutes late and to a welcome committee of the entire team of staff at the dealership as they’d received a call from the police who had pulled me for (allegedly) speeding and pulling a wheelie… ooops.
Triumph’s 675R is a beautiful little bike. It’s small, very slim, light, and looks almost dainty. Headline figures are 165kg dry, 185kg wet weight and a power output of 128bhp. The bike comes with firm Ohlins suspension which barely compresses when you sit on it, and Brembo monobloc brakes, which are fantastic – the feel and stopping power they offer are spot on. Tyres are Pirelli Supercorsas and a quickshifter also comes as standard on the R version.
When I sat on it, the first thing I noticed was how narrow it was. It’s like sitting on a very fast knife with a seat and footpegs. It’s not at all uncomfortable, despite its size; I’m 5’10 and it didn’t feel like I was cramped up on a little bike. On the move, being so slim, it just feels like it could lean over forever and ever and not run out of lean.
Riding the 675R is a pleasure – the combination of light weight, revvy engine, and a very nimble chassis make for great fun. The three cylinder engine offers characteristically great midrange for a supersport machine, and because it revs higher than previous models, it’s very quick and thrash-happy.
The chassis is wonderful. It was already a very agile, nimble bike before they rerouted the exhaust from under the seat to a low-slung stubby one and this change lowers the centre of gravity, making the turning even more razor-sharp than it was before. You barely have to put the slightest input through the bars to get it turning and it drops onto its side quickly, accurately, and holds the line perfectly.
Coming off a larger cc bike, you do have to work this a lot harder and keep the revs in the upper half of the rev range, rather than being lazy and winding on from 4k like you can on a thousand. That’s obvious though, it’s a 600 (well, 675). However, going up through the gears with the slick quickshifter and changing down to keep the engine on the boil is part of the allure of riding a smaller capacity bike – you’re more involved and you have to focus more on your riding to keep the momentum up by always being in the right gear and at the right revs.
This wasn’t actually as dramatic as it must have seemed to the dealership. I’d overtaken a queue of cars at traffic lights and waited at the front for them to change. When they did, I pulled away fairly enthusiastically and the front may or may not have come up a little bit. I backed off a little bit I wasn’t out on a country road and then, a minute or two later, noticed blue flashing lights.
I pulled into a side road and stopped and had a nice chat with the policeman. I explained I was out on a test-ride and he wanted to make sure I had permission to be on the bike and had insurance. Basically, he thought I’d stolen the bike because of how I was riding it. So he called the shop, told them he’d pulled me for riding too fast and (possibly) doing a wheelie, and asked if they were aware I was out on their bike. They explained that, yes, I was test-riding it with permission and insurance, so I then got a bit of a bollocking and was told to carry on with more care.
I rode back to the dealership and they were all waiting for me when I came in. I even got a few claps, which was nice, as it was the first time someone testing one of their bikes had been pulled. The guy I’d been dealing with told me that the manager had taken the call and almost had a cow; I think they imagined me doing 140mph on the rear wheel through a residential area or something.
Would I have one?
Without a shadow of a doubt, yes, but I’d have it as a trackbike. It’s so firmly set up and the handling is so sharp that it would be an absolute delight on track, and I’d love to take one round Cadwell. I don’t think I could have ome as my only bike though as I ride on the road a lot and couldn’t go back from a 1000 to a smaller bike.
If you’re interested in a 675R, or any other Triumph, give the guys at Jack Lilley a call for a chat.