T765RS: the bike Triumph should make
It might not be an official model, but this is a Triumph 765 sportsbike you can buy. PB rode it to see if the reality matches the dream...
‘TO AVOID A HEFTY BOLLOCKSTAMPING, THERE ARE NO DAYTONA OR STREET TRIPLE BADGES ANYWHERE’
EIGHTEEN MONTHS ago, at the end of the technical briefing at the Triumph Street Triple 765RS launch, the presenter asked the assembled journalists if anyone had any questions. Virtually every hand in the room went up, at which point he added: “Questions not about whether we are going to fit this engine into the Daytona...” whereupon 95% of the hands went back down. The idea that the then all-new, enviro-friendly, 765cc, 120bhp triple engine is an obvious way to revive the now discontinued Daytona, was obvious to everyone in the room, including the Triumph top brass.
Then, eight months later, Triumph announced they are going to be supplying the same motor to the Moto2 world championship in 2019, and still the mention of ‘Daytona’ and ‘765’ in one sentence gets you nothing more than a withering look. Why would you showcase yourself on such a huge global stage, and then not make it count in your showrooms?
Then there is the blindingly obvious point: a Triumph Daytona with the meatier 765cc motor from the new Street Triple, plus all its rider aids, is a mouth-watering prospect. You don’t need the benefit of having ridden hundreds of different sportsbikes to know that such a bike would be special, not least because there isn’t/ wasn’t much wrong with the Daytona 675 – it just needed some hair on its chest, which is exactly what Paul Hinchliffe thought.
Paul is the dealer principal at Pure Triumph in Woburn, and a huge fan of the old Daytona 675. Unlike many dealer principals, he is also very experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to spinning the spanners. His path to the top spot in the dealership has not been via middle-management courses and meetings about meetings. No, Paul got there via a much less trodden path, starting in the workshop. He is a qualified technician, has owned companies that specialise in fabricating performance accessories, and builds trackday bikes. He may have a posh job title, but he has oil and grease under his fingernails. So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that as soon as the Street Triple 765 was announced, the gears in Paul’s head started turning...
“Before we even got any bikes delivered to the dealership, I got a massive piece of paper and printed a side-on picture of a Street Triple 765, so I could try to work out its rake and trail,” says Paul. “The project was always to try and make the Street Triple behave like a sportsbike, but without the need for a steering damper. I wanted it to be ‘neutral’, not too extreme like most superbikes and supersport bikes, but unmistakably a sportsbike.” He set about his project in a methodical, logical and judicious way, starting by getting the Street Triple RS’s engine as good as it can be without tuning it. With no race kit available, he set about tidying up the all-new ride-by-wire throttle connection, and really smoothing out the fuelling with a Power Commander and exhaust. The gorgeous SC Project exhaust system came direct from one of his contacts at the company in Italy looking to get involved in the project. Another unpopular decision in certain quarters, as Arrow make the only aftermarket pipes sanctioned by the big T...
If anyone other than a man who works at a Triumph dealership undertook such a project, it wouldn’t even register with the folk at Hinckley. However, in Paul’s case, because he is offering the bike for sale through franchised dealer Pure Triumph, he’s treading carefully to keep Triumph’s legal eagles happy. There are no Daytona or Street Triple badges anywhere on the bike, not even a reference to 765 or RS. And this is not because Paul hasn’t finished it, nor because he doesn’t like stickers...
So, officially, Paul is selling the conversions as a ‘T765RS’ to avoid a hefty bollock-stamping from the factory. Is that simple protection of trademarks, or because he’s beaten an official version to market? We could speculate all day. And probably get an angry solictor’s letter. In any case, a Street Triple is historically a Daytona without a fairing. So, to my mind, that makes a Street Triple with a fairing fitted a Dayt... (stop! – CN)
The second part of the project came at the end of
2017, when Paul made some yokes that reduced the Street Triple’s rake by 0.5 degrees, which puts the T765RS’s rake about halfway between the Street Triple 765’s, and the Daytona 675’s. The gearing was also changed to reduce the wheelbase to somewhere between the two bikes’ measurement. He also fitted some clip-on handlebars to add some weight to the front end, then went to try it out at Mallory Park. The result of the test was that the only thing the bike needed was the suspension firming up and a fairing fitting to finish it off.
Last winter, MCT Suspension revalved the forks and replaced the springs with 9kg coils, and changed the Öhlins rear shock spring from an 8kg item to a 9.5kg one. Paul then modified the Daytona subframes, and made a set of brackets to take a complete set of unmodified 2016 Daytona bodywork. The larger dimensions of the motor, and header tank, proved to be the trickiest things to negotiate, but in the end, after many attempts, Paul achieved his goal of getting the bodywork to fit without a single modification or creating any kind of mounting stress points. None of the mounting points are under any load whatsoever. The wiring loom had to be modified, and Paul finished it all off with a set of home made carbon infills, which for all the world might as well have been supplied from the Triumph accessories range. They and the bodywork are a perfect fit without any uneven gaps. It is quite obvious that Paul has spent a lot of time in getting the fit and position of the body work just right. As well as the quality of fit, the overall lines of the bike are just right. It simply doesn’t look like a Street Triple with a set of bodywork. It looks like a factory-built Daytona 765.
Pure Triumph have already sold three of the T765RSs, and build them to order. The one I’m riding is fitted with the trick SC Project exhaust, which makes it the most expensive one that they’ve built. Paul reckons having a Yoshimura or Akrapovic exhaust would save around £300 from the price tag of £14,250 for this bike. That said, since they are built to order, you can spec your T765RS how you want, so a slip-on or stock exhaust would save even more.
Everything you’d hope for
ON THE ROAD, it is impossible to think of a single reason why Triumph won’t build this bike for 2019. It would be easy to dismiss it as irrelevant now that the supersport market is all but dead, and those supersport/superbike-bridging models such as the Panigale 959 and Suzuki GSX-R750 are relative small fry. However, if Suzuki stopped making the GSX-R750, they still have the 1000 to offer sportsbike fans. Likewise, Ducati and Yamaha. Right now, Triumph have nothing to offer the sportsbike rider, and yet they’re about to start flexing their muscles in the MotoGP paddock. Putting aside whatever Triumph’s commerical and marketing reasons were for getting involved at the cutting edge of the sport, I can’t believe Triumph won’t produce a Daytona 765 of some sort next year, simply because this thoroughly well thought out and executed interpretation of what could be is simply so damn good.
It’s the bike the 675 could – and should – evolve into. It feels ‘grown-up’ in pretty much every way. The riding position is that bit taller, that bit wider, and a lot less torturous that the 675’s for anyone larger than the average Supersport racer. It is probably the only giveaway that the bike started life as something other than a pure sportsbike, and it’s all the better for it. This sets the tone for the rest of the ride. The T765RS has all the agility and rate of turn of the 675, but without the slight edginess and need for a very light touch. It is right at home on the back-roads around Woburn, which are undulating, open, and mostly dealt with in second,
third or fourth gear. The T765RS has an extra bit of stability and surefootedness over the 675, yet is unmistakably a Daytona: narrow, responsive and fun. It might be the breathed-on suspension, or it might be the geometry and wheelbase. It feels like the geometry to me: lazier than a 675 or R6, but way quicker than any litre bike you’ll ride in 2018.
The peaky Street Triple 765RS engine also feels more at home in the sportsbike context. As well as having the fuelling well set-up by Paul, and a very theatrical exhaust note, it runs fairly low gearing, due to this one primarily being a track bike, and also to reduce the wheelbase. Thus the power delivery is slightly masked, but there is no doubt that this bike is a peach. At the risk of stating the obvious, everything that the 675 motor was missing as a road tool is now present.
There is plenty of power everywhere you need it, delivered with that signature flat torque curve and monotone sound. No steps, no surprises, just like the 675, only more of it, all being kept in hand by the Street Triple’s excellent suite of rider aids, without nannying it and ruining the fun. It’s incredibly satisfying to have enough power to get a big shot of adrenalin, and be seriously anti-social if the mood takes you, but not so much that unless you’re riding like your hair is on fire, the ride underwhelms and makes you feel inadequate.
In a perfect world, a modified swingarm would give the shorter wheelbase Paul wanted with longer gearing to reduce gear changes and better utilise the extra grunt over a 675. Given that this is just a set-up observation rather than a criticism of the overall package, I wouldn’t usually mention it, but it does shine a light on the limitations that innovators like Paul can bump into. To get the wheelbase he wants, he has had to slightly compromise the gearing of the bike for the road, which conveniently is ideally suited to the track riding he does. There is no doubt that this small compromise he has had to make has been worth it. Paul has got his sums right on the money for the chassis set-up.
I’d be amazed if Triumph haven’t unofficially already been over the bike with a measuring tape. If they haven’t, they should soon. It might just be the right bike at the right time, for them and for us.
‘THIS BIKE HAS EXTRA STABILITY AND SUREFOOTEDNESS OVER THE 675, BUT IS UNMISTAKABLY A DAYTONA’
It might be de-badged but the Daytona bodywork is unmistakable
STEALTH APPROACH Paul’s choice of bodywork colour helps the T765RS keep a low profile on the road
Power is abundant, while acceptable behaviour is assured by Street Triple’s rider aids