Tri­umph Moto2 Project

Bruce got the chance to have a go with Tri­umph’s new 765 Moto2 en­gine.

Fast Bikes - - CONTENTS -

I’m sweat­ing my nuts off, my adrenaline’s bounc­ing off the lim­iter and my head’s pon­der­ing whether the stiffy-in­duc­ing bike I’ve just been spank­ing is, in fact, a new Day­tona 765. Of course, the bike isn’t called that, and it wasn’t sold to me that way. The in­vite was to test Tri­umph’s Moto2 ‘mule’ around Sil­ver­stone’s tight and tech­ni­cal Stowe cir­cuit, but there’s not much Moto2 in this par­tic­u­lar steed, aside from a few stick­ers and an ear-oblit­er­at­ing Ar­row race sys­tem.

The frame’s from a Day­tona, so too are the swingarm, the forks, the brakes, elec­tron­ics and even the dash. Sure, it’s got some race fair­ings on it, and the larger than life rear wheel looks broader than a chop­per’s, but we’re oth­er­wise talk­ing about a Day­tona with a Street Triple en­gine in it; just what we’ve all been call­ing for, right? Horse­power’s a guess­ing game, but 135-plus ponies is what’s be­ing bandied around by Tri­umph, backed up by a knock­out 80Nm of torque. Those kind of dig­its would work nicely with the gues­ti­mated 160kg kerb weight of this weapon that feels so light it prob­a­bly needs teth­er­ing down in any­thing stronger than a light breeze.

Tri­umph’s dropped plenty of hints about this bike. Two years on from the Hinck­ley brand’s sign­ing to be­come the of­fi­cial en­gine sup­plier to the Moto2 world cham­pi­onship, we’ve had more flashes of leg than you’ll get down Am­s­ter­dam’s Red Light District. But like any well-honed se­duc­tress, Tri­umph knew the time for teas­ing was over. We were in need of a bit more sub­stance, and what bet­ter way than to cock-a-leg. Hav­ing waited like a saint as F1’s Da­mon Hill and TV’s Charley Boor­man edged suc­ces­sively fur­ther into the bike’s rather large chicken strips, my time fi­nally came to strad­dle this beast and feel rapidly at home on its firm but fa­mil­iar fur­ni­ture. It felt ev­ery bit a 675, al­beit glitzed up with tall-mounted rearsets and a wide Moto2 fair­ing. The stock tank was in place, and the Street Triple’s stan­dard

switchgear made the start­ing process all the more sim­plis­tic; a sim­ple thumb­ing on a but­ton got the three-cylin­der boom­ing like a bear, send­ing an electrifying res­o­nance through­out the bike with ev­ery self-in­dul­gent blip of the throt­tle. Oh yes! There were no modes, no lim­iters or any such tat to de­lay the bike from ac­tion, which got un­der way af­ter hook­ing first from the re­vised gear­box.

Un­like the stock Triple, the first and sec­ond ra­tios had been made taller at the be­quest of Moto2, but they didn’t take much get­ting through as I joined the track and pulled the throt­tle to its stop, and took ad­van­tage of the in­te­grated shifter. The torque was im­pres­sive, loft­ing the front on the power in first, be­fore hav­ing an­other stab af­ter hook­ing sec­ond. I’ve rid­den a lot of tuned su­pers­port bikes and never have I known one so po­tent low down; they’re all about the top end buzz. But the Trum­pet had other ideas, ex­celling at both ends of the field as I reached the back straight and gave it the berries.

Know­ing the stock Triple’s ECU had been remapped to al­low 14,000rpm (just un­der 2k up over stan­dard), and made all the bet­ter by a re­vised fuel map, the 765 was given no mercy as I bounced the back­doors off its up­rated ti­ta­nium valves, squeez­ing ev­ery last ounce of naugh­ti­ness up to its rau­cous-sound­ing lim­iter. The mo­tor didn’t dis­ap­point but, be­ing hon­est, the taller sec­ond gear did drag out the ac­cel­er­a­tion process a lit­tle, un­like third and fourth which seemed to fly by with the same pace Boothy se­lects and drops his women. The Trum­pet felt bet­ter than good; it was racy, raw and ac­com­pa­nied by a sound­track so or­gas­mi­cally bril­liant you could’ve bagged it up and sold it down the lo­cal sex shop. Im­pres­sive for other rea­sons was the stan­dard mo­tor’s slip­per clutch. Hav­ing warmed up on the cir­cuit by abus­ing the liv­ing hell out of a Street Triple, the con­cur­rent way the bike backed-in, grab­bing slightly awk­wardly and in­con­sis­tently when chang­ing down from fourth to sec­ond, told me this had no trick plate spin­ners on-board. But who cares? If any­thing it added to the ex­pe­ri­ence, and re­it­er­ated this was more a Day­tona than a re­fined Moto2 mae­stro.

See that’s the funny thing in all this. The en­gine is what all the hype’s been about, but if Tri­umph re­ally wanted to align its mo­tor with the full Moto2 ex­pe­ri­ence, surely they’d have gone bang­ing on the door of Kalex and asked for a spare frame? Add in a few brack­ets and away you’d go, grasp­ing cat­e­gor­i­cally how the en­gine paired with a proper GP chas­sis and proper GP sus­pen­sion. Un­less, of course, that was only par­tially their in­ten­tion. I’ve yet to find a critic of the de­ceased Day­tona’s han­dling, which was once again ham­mer­ing home its ut­ter bril­liance around Stowe’s bumpy and tight curves. To sharpen up the pack­age, the head­stock an­gle’s been made one de­gree sharper, aided fur­ther by K-tech car­tridges up front and a race-spec mono at the rear. Tak­ing into ac­count its ba­sic race loom, lack of lights, no switches and a

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