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