Com­ing clas­sic

Motorcycle Sport & Leisure - - Contents -

Spend your money here. Bet­ter than a bank. And more fun (prob­a­bly).

Can you be­lieve that more than 20 years have passed since Tri­umph de­cided to take on the Ja­panese with the overtly sport­ing T595 Day­tona?

This was the Hinck­ley firm’s move away from the cost­ef­fec­tive ‘mod­u­lar’ ap­proach to mo­tor­cy­cle chas­sis and mo­tor shar­ing and also the com­pany’s first (and yet to be re­peated) march into the big su­per­bike class. The looks are of the time (1996/1997); you’re not quite sure if the T595 (called the

955i from 1999) is try­ing to look like a fat­ter Du­cati 916. There’s that lupine tilt to the head­lights and a sin­gle-sided swingarm, but in its de­fence I think this strange mix has given it a style all its own.

Mo­tor and chas­sis were unique for the time. The frame rails are swoopy alu­minium and were the sub­ject of a frame re­call early on just af­ter launch, when some al­legedly snapped near the head­stock. The fac­tory ac­tu­ally did a very good job of keep­ing new own­ers in­formed and changed the frames un­der war­ranty, giv­ing them an ac­com­pa­ny­ing let­ter to prove that the work had been done. The swingarm held an at­trac­tive, ex­posed three-spoke wheel while the mo­tor was a three­cylin­der 955cc lump with

Sagem fuel-in­jec­tion.

Hit that elec­tric starter and you may find a wor­ry­ing lag be­fore you’re re­warded with a slightly agri­cul­tural triple ca­coph­ony. Chuck a leg over it and hit the open road and you’ll soon be­come ad­dicted to the sound and grunt that only a triple can pro­vide. De­spite early road tests of the time, the T595 wasn’t a Fire­Blade beater and it was soon shuf­fled down the or­der as newer Jap four-cylin­der litre sport­sters came in, but it did things in its own, unique way. That’s not to say it didn’t have its own makeovers. It en­joyed a num­ber of re­fine­ments and aes­thetic evo­lu­tions, go­ing up in power from 120-130bhp un­til the last mod­els trun­dled out of the Hinck­ley fac­tory in 2006.

Early model T595s weren’t with­out their is­sues. The fuel-in­jec­tion/en­gine man­age­ment light would of­ten have a mind of its own, Tri­umph’s own hi-level end cans can be leaky, and the hub chain ad­juster can seize if not looked af­ter, but oil leaks are rare. Clutches are heavy, gear­boxes are no­to­ri­ously notchy as stan­dard and some de­stroyed fourth gears and were changed un­der war­ranty – but the 1998-on di­rect to the gear­box lever con­nec­tion im­proved its feel mas­sively.

Changes to the model in­cluded up­rated camshafts for 1998 and a name-change a year later to the 955i, to dif­fer­en­ti­ate from the com­ing TT600 mid­dleweight, along with some sus­pen­sion changes. Then came a ma­jor aes­thetic re­vamp in 2001 with a re­vised cylin­der head and 130bhp. The bike also re­ceived fur­ther body­work changes in 2005 be­fore it was dropped from the Tri­umph range in 2006.

Any model can be a good find. Okay, if you want to col­lect and make some money, you’ll want the very first model: re­mem­ber to check for his­tory and that frame swap. If you just want a good road bike, the fi­nal mod­els are the most sorted, even if they may not be sure-fire clas­sics. Me? I’d go for a 955i from late 1998/99 on, be­fore the vis­ual re­vamp of 2001. It looked the best and had the later re­fine­ments and look out for the var­i­ous spe­cial editions too.

Price-wise even the first mod­els are still of­ten seen around £1500 and mov­ing to­wards the newer ver­sions you can pick them up for as lit­tle as £3000-£3500. Be wary… some peo­ple are cot­ton­ing on to these be­ing fu­ture clas­sics and low-mile orig­i­nal T595s are now head­ing up into the £4k bracket.

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