Bred to win
What makes the Triumph Daytona 675R shine so bright on a rainy day?
It takes a certain kind of rider to appreciate the finer points of a track-bred supersports motorcycle. I reckon the most genuine superbike or supersports fanatic is a concoction of aggression, meticulousness, anxiety and obsession. Whoever built the Triumph Daytona 675R certainly was the last part, because there are few supersports that are as thorough, exacting and precise as this bike.
The new Daytona 675 has an incredible reputation preceding it. The one that arrived in India was the 2013 model which removed the underseat exhaust and placed it under the engine to centralize the mass and make the bike more stable. The new Daytona also had a wider bore and a shorter stroke which allowed it to rev a lot higher than most supersports, with the redline territory lying beyond the 14,400 rpm mark. The bike you see here is the 675R – a more extreme version of an already extreme bike, with bits of carbon fibre adding to its levity and stonkingly good Ohlins units which increase the front feedback tremendously.
Swing a leg over it and the Daytona 675 is reassuringly compact. There’s plenty of room for your knees and wrapping them around the frame makes for some confident cornering. The Daytona gets a high-revving, big bore, 675cc triple which makes 116.4 bhp and 7 kgm of peak torque which is deployed early on, thanks to the extra 75 cubic centimeters. A belligerent triple note breaks free of the exhaust after the 8000 rpm mark, opening the floodgates of relentless torque and pacing ahead maniacally.
The Daytona 675R’s extreme nature must only be tested within the confines of a race track (it’s even named after one), and yet I found myself on one on a rainy day, with wide, curvy highways ahead of me. What’s most appealing about the 675R is that in a lot of ways it’s more extreme than some litre bikes. As a supersport it can’t afford to do anything else but shed every ounce of extra weight and this makes it adhere to every line you take with fanatical dedication. Even on a downhill run, the soft and sticky Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsas felt remarkably planted, aided by ABS, never once prompting the need for traction control. With the roads drying up, I upped the pace, shamelessly exploiting the quick shifter which allows for clutchless shifts, hitting the brakes early before corners, holding the gear and letting the huge mid-range assist me with a hasty exit, with the throttle wide open.
I quickly made a note of how little prompting the 675R needed before leaning into a corner, and the unnerving ease with which it can change direction. Triumph has a masterpiece on their hands, but the bike constantly reminds you that it’s capable of a lot more, and deserves a rider of a much greater caliber, in an environment that allows it to prowl with absolute abandon. And the streets just aren’t that. Not for you, and not for the bike. Long hours on the saddle will have your shoulder blades and your palms hurting, and if you’re fully aware of its abilities, you’ll always lament keeping it from being on the limit. If you’re the sort who has the dedication to frequent the handful of racetracks available to us, buy the Daytona 675R in a heartbeat. You won’t find a more track-focussed sportsbike in the country (It is in fact, the only supersport available in India). But buying it for the novelty of having a fully faired, hardcore supersports at your disposal is a bit like keeping a leopard in the backyard – great for parties, but impractical and unfair in every other way.
At Rs 12.7 lakh, the 675R is more expensive than the standard 675 ABS by Rs 1.5 lakh, but what you get is well worth the extra money. You might say that some litre bikes might be available to you for that sort of money and you will be right. But if you want an absolutely undiluted track experience, if you chase lap times with the same fervour as a GP rider, then none of it will matter.