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I Think I Hate My Favourite Brand

It is as we feared. Triumph has just announced their ‘brand new motorcycle’. It is called the Daytona 660, and there is bit of a problem with that.

The Love

Now I should start by stating very clearly that I like Triumph a lot. If Triumph and I would have been classmates when we were young, we would have been besties for ever and ever for sure. We’d like the same girls, fight bullies together, read the same comics and build a treehouse. I like their bikes, their engines, their weird British way of doing things.

Not surprisingly then, I own a Speed Triple. The ’08 to ’10 1050 had been my dream bike for many years before I finally got it. The fabulously intricate frame, the big ol’ three cylinder torquey boy, the single sided swing arm and of course, the daft round twin headlights. Crazy Stupid Love.

My Love

Another great love of mine is their Daytona, the 675 models obviously being the best ones. Pretty is not necessarily a word I would throw in there, but there was always something special about them. They looked a bit cooler and sounded a hell of a lot better than their rivals. I have said many times that the 675 is the best sounding production engine in the world and I will happily die on that hill. (The only possible exception I would make is Triumph’s own 765. Anything else and you’re just wrong. Fight me in the comments.)

The Problem

So, what exactly is the problem then? Well, take a deep breath and grab my hand as we enter angry-nerd-country. It’s a bit complicated, but the Daytona name is at the heart of it.

Over the last 20 years Triumph’s Speed Triple had been lagging further and further behind the competition. If that does not mean anything to you, please remember that the Triumph Speed Triple was arguably the very first supernaked. The Z1000, the MT10, the Ducati Streetfighter and the Tuono, all owe their life to Triumph’s superbike turned naked bike. And, crucially, in later years all were making the class’s founding member look like a retarded labrador in terms of poise and power. Charming in it’s own right, but it was not exactly going to frighten off any trespassers.

The term supernaked requires the naked bike to be heavily based on a superbike. But like the Panigale to the Streetfighter or the R1 to the MT10, there had for a long time not been a Daytona to the Speed Triple. No superbike, no real supernaked. Easy.

So where did that Superbike disappear to? The 955 Daytona died in 2006 and that particular chassis lived on in the Speed Triple until 2010. Making my ’09 Triple the last of Triumph’s real supernakeds. Even though that too is debatable, as the Daytona’s 955cc engine had already been replaced with a 1050cc unit for the Speed Triple in 2005.

The Daytona 955i
The 955i based Speed Triple

The Daytona has since only been a 675 triple supersport bike that shared its underpinnings with the Street Triple. This is completely fine, because both the Daytona and Street Triple 675 were competitive, amazing bikes in their classes. They too were finally killed off in 2018.

Suddenly we find ourselves without a superbike, supersport bike or real supernaked. Only the Street Triple lives on, goes to 765cc and is an absolute peach. But we don’t have anything to really throw at the big boys anymore. Until the Speed Triple 1200RS is revealed in 2021, that is.

The Perfect & The Ridiculous

The 1200RS rekindled my passion for the model. It was finally back on top. A state of the art, competitive barn stormer that could roundhouse kick it’s rivals square in the face. The stats looked great, the design told you it meant business. It was a glorious and desperately needed return to form.

The Speed Triple 1200 meant business

Following the release of the 1200, Triumph started teasing us. We were shown glimpses of the letters RR, the 1200 engine and dark visuals of fairings and screens. Something inside me that I did not know was there, had been stirred. Every motorcycle enthusiast will tell you that RR means race bike. 300, 400, supersport, superbike, it does not matter. RR means it was made to tear shit up. Because of this teasing, all anybody wanted to see was a 1200 Daytona. We wanted Triumph to go to war with the RSV4s and Panigales. The Speed Triple 1200RS looked all set for some clip-ons and fairings. Bob could so easily have been your uncle.

The RR is the exact opposite of what should have been done.

What we got instead was this wet turd. The Speed Triple 1200RR. A half faired, retro looking, hipster baiting, MV Agusta wannabe sack of farts. This goddamn thing with its chubby cheeks and its exposed ‘rivets’ around the screen while the rest of the bike is all sleek and contemporary. I hate it. I hate this thing with a fiery passion for all that it should have been, but isn’t. This is my Justice League Snyder Cut. I want it to be erased from history.

Yes But No

So, no Daytona 1200. At least there was still the possibility of a proper supersport bike. Triumph has a non-stop tease in place for that with the Moto2 project. The Street Triple naked bike’s 765cc triple is the official Moto2 engine. It has some of the most serious racing pedigree. Today’s Street Triples are seriously capable bikes too. They just could. And in 2020 they even sort of did.

The Daytona 765 Moto2 Limited Edition would set you back almost 22k euros, and they only ever made 765 of the things. When all was said and done, this ‘Daytona’ was more of a Street Triple parts bin special than a production motorcycle. An impressive machine, but as limited run of not really new bikes, it just does not really count. Therefore we have to conclude that, once again, Triumph has not delivered a Daytona. Once again, all the parts were in place, all the fanboys were chomping at the bit. But the boys from Hinckley just went for lunch and forgot about it or something.

The Final Offence

And that, dear readers, leads us to where we are today. On this day, my favourite brand in the whole world has revealed that a new motorcycle will wear the name Daytona.

Deep breath… hold… breathe out. The Daytona 660 is a fully faired bike, heavily based on the 660 Trident. And I am sorry Triumph, but what the actual f*ck. You are doing this on purpose, aren’t you?

Both the 660 Trident and even the Tiger are fine motorcycles. But there is nothing remotely sporty going on there. The engine is fine, but it too will not set your trousers on fire any day soon. Even if the engine is upgraded, there is just no chance that this is going to be a race bike for the road. What it will be, is a road bike for the road. This is Jeremy Renner’s Jason Bourne. This is the BMW Supra. This is pineapple pizza. This is vegan bacon.

Sure, it does not affect anything or anybody. All of this is trivial. But, if you are not going to acknowledge that words mean stuff, you might as well paint the Daytona name on a potato…

A High Note

The worst thing about all this is that, while I’m sitting here foaming at the mouth, I know that they’re probably right. Triumph is out there coming up with new motocross bikes, A2 bikes and even electric bikes. As I’d start ranting about how nobody was asking for this, I’d instantly realise that nobody really was asking for a Daytona either. An all new 765 supersport would be incredible, but supersport market in Europe is a dead horse that Triumph is not willing to beat. Meanwhile, the racers that do crave the Triumph triples have been successfully converting new Street Triples into track bikes for years. The gap has already been filled.

On the big boy side, the 1200cc engine that would suit a Daytona superbike wouldn’t even be admissible in any serious racing series. A bad-ass bike it would certainly be, but a true rebel without a cause. A racer without even the slightest chance of glory. What exactly would be the point?

That being said, all of the above is true for this new DaYtOnA as well. It is not fit for the Supersport 300 class and would get absolutely murdered in any other class. So again, what exactly is the point?

To end on a high note, besides just being a fine bike that has been wrongly named, I can see one other good thing happening here. Bikes like this one and the Yamaha R7, the Aprilia RS660, the CBR650r and the Kawasaki parallel twins may lure a portion of next generation of bikers away from naked bikes. This relatively young class of bikes may, in time, reinvigorate Supersports and Superbike interest. As things stand, this might be the only route to one day getting the Daytona that we deserve.

The 2024 Triumph Daytona 660