Triumph Daytona 600: the one that didn’t look awful and actually fuelled quite nicely
Triumph had a shot at redemption with the 2003 Daytona 600, and this time, following the poor and poorly received TT600, the marque hit the mark.
Taking the base engine from the TT600 with a new head, pistons and crank and replacing crotchety Sagem fuel injection with a Keihin system got Triumph into the ultra-competitive 600 game from a mechanical perspective. Triumph had been first to inject a 600 with the TT but it’s an historical claim to fame that’s probably best forgotten.
The Keihin kit was a huge improvement if still a little fluffy at the bottom-end, and Triumph claimed 110bhp for the Daytona. Although the rear-wheel reality was a little way down on the competition with the Daytona in low 90s on the dyno.
The Daytona 600 got more contemporary bodywork than its predecessor. From an erogonomic pointof-view the Daytona offered a little more accommodating space for the larger, Western rider than Japanese supersports bikes of the day did.the riding position offered a sensible mix of aggressive stance with day-long comfort. Fully adjustable suspension in the form of right-way up forks and rear monoshock helped carry over the TT600’S reputation for decent handling. However it was heavier than its Japanese rivals: the Yamaha YZF-R6, Honda CBR600RR, Suzuki GSX-R600 and Kawasaki ZX-6R.
Less power and more weight aren’t always the disadvantages they might appear to be on paper when it comes to the road.as a package the Daytona 600 works as well as any other turn-of-thecentury supersports bike for most riders most of the time. If you feel you need a little more power, particularly in the ever-welcome midrange, there’s always the 646cc Daytona 650 released for the 2005 model year.
Neither does the Daytona seem to have been too disadvantaged on the track either. Kiwi Isle of Man TT legend Bruce Anstey won the 2003 Junior TT, essentially a supersport 600 event, in record time on one. His winning margin on the factory-supported Valmoto Daytona was a massive – especially by IOM standards – 10.96s. This was the first time a Triumph had won a TT since 1975. Team mates Jim Moodie and John Mcguinness were 10th and 11th respectively to clinch the Team Award in the event.
Grown, patriotic British men were again reduced to tears when the late Craig Jones took Triumph’s maiden British Supersport win in the last race of the season in 2004, Triumph being ineligible for the following season as the road bike was getting a capacity hike.
So do you want one? Given how cheap they are at the moment and their significance in the Triumph line, it could be time to look beyond the default position of just buying something from the Japanese Big Four.
Angular, roomy and cheap. Try one
A proper alternative (at long last) to a Japanese 600