Triumph Daytona 675: Breaking The Middleweight Mold

Here, Kurt tells how the Triumph Daytona 675 took on the Japanese Supersports and became an international success story for the British marque.

Table of Contents

Intro

The year was 2006 and middleweight race replicas were all the rage. 

The big four were selling inline four screamers as quickly as they could get them into showrooms, Ducati’s polarizing 749 Testastretta superbike was turning heads for better or worse, and our friends from Hinckley, Triumph Motorcycles, were desperate to get in on the action. 

Customer expectations for Triumph supersports were low. Although Triumph was finding great success with the iconically redesigned Speed Triple 1050, they’d been struggling for half a decade to produce a middleweight racer that grabbed the hearts and minds of the motorcycling public. 

Their first effort under the “Daytona” moniker, the Daytona 600, hit showroom floors in 2002. It was a decent bike, but no one really loved it. It certainly wasn’t outperforming any of the competition. 

Triumph’s 600 had similar power, similar handling, and even similar styling to the Japanese bikes of the era (sharp angles everywhere), but the supersport market was just too competitive. Triumph even updated its inline-four engine in 2005, punching out displacement to a full 650cc to try to gain an edge, but the public wasn’t buying it. 

Triumph needed a radical change, and that’s just what they did in 2006. 

triumph daytona 675 scorched yellow
Triumph Daytona 675 in scorched yellow

At a time when any sane company would have thrown their hands up and bowed out of the supersport race, Triumph decided to go back to the drawing board and start over fresh. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m awfully glad they did.

History: The Dawn Of The Three Cylinder Supersport

Although a few spy photos had leaked prior to the new Daytona’s launch in 2006, no one really knew what to expect from Triumph. 

The bike was completely redesigned, and was utterly indistinguishable (thank god) from the previous Daytona 650. 

A brand new 675cc inline triple power plant replaced the outgoing inline four, and contributed to the new machine’s compact frame, which was over four inches narrower than the old 650.

The press and public alike loved the new Daytona 675 right out of the gate. The sportbike world was overdue for something different, and the Triumph delivered plenty of that. 

Its brand new three cylinder motor was narrow between the legs like a twin, delivered excellent torque throughout the revs like a twin, but made similar top end power to an inline four. 

In a word, the engine had character. Something all of the nearly identical Japanese middleweights lacked entirely. 

The styling was new and unique. Gone were the insect-like headlights and overly-angular body work. 

The new Daytona looked the part of a fully-modern sportbike, but couldn’t be mistaken for any of the competition. 

It combined smooth lines with angles, and boasted the impressive fit and finish we now associate with all Triumph bikes. Unique as it was, the Daytona borrowed a few classic sport bike themes from the era as well like the CRB’s undertail exhaust, and a large air intake centered on the nose fairing like the Kawasaki 636 Ninja.  

In its first year out the new Daytona won International Bike Of The Year (IBOTY) by a landslide. It also won the prestigious 2006 Masterbike competition, the largest sportbike shootout in the world at the time. 

The Daytona 675 rode its wave of success almost completely unchanged until 2011, although it got a few tweaks in 2009. 2009-2011 models were a little lighter, got an updated ECU (that added a few horsepower), and had improved suspension damping over previous years. 

Come 2011 however, that all changed.

Triumph Drops The Daytona 675R

Aside from updated colors and “special editions,” the Daytona was basically the exact same bike in 2010 that it had been in 2006. 

In an effort to renew interest in the beloved-but-aging triple, Triumph released the Daytona 675R to showroom floors in 2011. 

The new “R” model sported the now infamous white on black livery with striking red accents, and came with a full suite of premium track-ready upgrades.

Suspension received the gold standard, sporting Ohlins NIX 30 forks and a TTX36 rear shock. 

Brembo radial mono-block calipers and a matching 18mm radial master cylinder replaced the factory Nissin front brakes. 

A factory quickshifter came standard, as did carbon fiber bodywork at the front fender, exhaust shield, and rear hugger. 

All of this came at only a $1500 increase over the standard Daytona, retailing for $11,999 at the time. 

And just when you thought finding a good reason to spend $10,000 on an R6 couldn’t get any harder, 2013 rolled around.

The 2nd Generation Daytona 675

The Daytona finally received the complete overhaul it deserved in 2013. 

Nearly everything was new. Frame, engine, electronics, suspension… You name it. 

Horsepower was up. Weight was down. Beefier (and lighter) suspension components were fitted. The motor got a complete redesign, but thankfully kept that same Goldilocks three-cylinder feel. 

The press and the public fell in love with the tweaked Daytona formula all over again. 

The R model carried over into 2013 as well, and kept all the Ohlins and Brembo bling of the previous version.

It didn’t post any leading lap times or performance specs in initial testing, but the new Daytona was plenty competitive and sported the same premium build quality that customers loved. 

The updated version enjoyed continued enthusiasm with minimal updates until it’s final production year in 2018.  

Legacy: Moto2 And The Daytona 765

Triumph Daytona 765 limited edition
The limited edition Triumph Daytona 765 – Image from Triumph USA

Triumph “temporarily discontinued” the Daytona model for 2018, but fans of the Daytona platform had reason to rejoice: Triumph had been announced as the official supplier for Moto2 engines in early 2017. 

Daytona fans gossiped about the possibility of a new, larger Daytona with a Moto2 pedigree. But only silence was heard out of Hinckley…

There was a vacuum in the sportbike world for nearly two years before Triumph announced in 2019 that yes indeed, the Daytona would be returning to showroom floors as the Daytona 765. 

Unfortunately, as we later found out, the new bike was both an extremely limited edition (a total of 1530 were manufactured, 765 for North America and 765 for Europe and Asia), and was also the “final edition” of the lovable Daytona for the foreseeable future. 

Of course Triumph hasn’t announced they’ve axed the supersport outright. They clearly have a lot to focus on with a massive catalogue of new models for 2021 including a redesign of the flagship Speed Triple. 

I’m sure we’ll see a regular production Daytona again in the future but… I’m not too optimistic we’ll see it anytime soon.

Triumph Daytona 675: Specs & Performance

Years: 2006-2012 / 2013-2017

Engine: Inline 3-cylinder/DOHC

Capacity: 675cc

Power: 126 hp @ 12600rpm / 128 hp @ 12,500rpm

Torque: 53.3 lbs-ft @ 11,700rpm / 55 lbs-ft @ 11,900rpm

Performance 0 – 60: 3.2 sec / 3.3 sec

Quarter mile: 10.72 sec @ 130.0 mph / 10.32 sec @ 135.96

Top speed: 156 mph

While the 675’s specs look great on paper, they don’t come close to telling the Daytona’s full story. 

I had a first generation Daytona in my garage during the summer of 2010, and I’d love to have another some day. 

I had just come off a 2008 CBR600RR, and I remember being struck by some glaring differences. 

Most obviously was the Daytona’s three cylinder engine, which was the first triple I’d ever ridden. The big, smooth torque-laden delivery is as good as everyone says it is. No hype there, it’s an addicting sensation that makes it difficult to grab anything less than a handful of throttle. 

The howl of the air intake has a similar effect on a rider. You just want to keep hearing that noise again and again. The Daytona is actually the only motorcycle I’ve ever received a traffic ticket on to date. Self control just wasn’t an option. 

The second most notable difference is the character of the bike in the twisties. It feels impossibly taller than the 600cc competition. Tall and narrow, to be exact, which gives a sensation of never-ending cornering clearance you’ll be tempted to test. 

While the up-spec R models clearly boast the superior suspension components, the base 675’s fully-adjustable KYB front and rear components are excellent and more than capable of handling even the most spirited street riding.

The same goes for the Nissin four-piston radial brakes. They don’t quite deliver like the Brembo units, but that’s about the only complaint I can think to register. 

It’s got torque damn near everywhere in every gear, which means it pulls like a freight train out of every corner exit without having to hang out by the rev limiter all the time. 

Of course it’s no slouch on the top end either, and the smooth power delivery turns rabid from 10,000-rpm or so all the way up to the 14,000-rpm redline. 

Living With A Triumph Daytona 675: Reliability & Known Issues

All things considered, long term complaints with the Daytona are few and far between. 

There have been no major reliability issues or achilles heels with the bike to date, but there are a few quirks you may want to be aware of. 

First is the electric system. It’s not uncommon for owners to report some minor weaknesses here, largely in the regulator/rectifier system. It doesn’t affect every bike, but some owners report issues with the OEM R/R systems failing and ultimately burning up the stator. 

Many owners opt to swap their OEM R/R out with a mosfet unit before it has a chance to fail. You may or may not need to. 

Aside from that the other reported issues are mainly experienced on the race track. 

Daytonas (especially first generation models) are prone to valve float when over-revved, which can lead to contact with pistons and expensive engine work. So… don’t bang on your rev limiter.

There have also been reports of first gen bikes having oil cooling/oil pump failures during high RPM track use as well. Shouldn’t be an issue for 99% of bikes out there. If a Daytona runs well and has no oil in the coolant, you’re golden. 

If you do intend to take your Daytona to the track, it’s generally recommended you take advantage of the programmable shift light and dial your shift indicator down a few hundred RPM to be safe. You’ll probably want to have the suspension tuned up as well, as it can feel a little nervous at the bike’s limits.

Oh, and it’s British so… You know… keep an eye on the dipstick. 

Buying A Daytona 675 Today

Lucky for us, the Daytona was a great bike throughout its lifetime, and both the first and second generation models sold like hotcakes. 

You’ll have no problem sourcing a nice used bike on any budget, and there are some absolute steals out there on first generation bikes even in the current economy. 

You can expect to find clean earlier models between $5,000 and $8,000 with private parties hanging out on the lower end of the spectrum. 

Take this 2012 black and gold Daytona that recently sold in the states for $6,500 with just 5,150 miles. For a Daytona with the 2009+ updates and mileage that low, that’s a killer deal. 

Second generation bikes tend to go for a bit more, as do the R models, but Ohlins suspension has always been worth the asking price. 

Of course there will always be some blood-sucking dealerships out there asking $12,000 for used Daytona Rs, but I had no trouble finding several well equipped low-mileage examples for under the $10,000 mark like this 6,700 mile 2015 model in the classic white/black livery.

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