I've been locked in a small room, dragging myself around the house nursing a broken ankle and wrist for the last three months. Through it all I sat whistfuilly looking outside at the darkening gloom of winter with dark clouds hanging like steel wool in the sky, rain heavy enough to break a ten year drought, and gusting icy winds with a chill factor low enough to freeze a small unprotected infant solid in minutes. It was almost enough to make me feel like it wasn't so bad that I was unable to easily venture into nature's wintry embrace, but the call of the outdoors is not so easily ignored. Whether the inability or unwillingness to venture outside is forced upon you, voluntarily endured, or involuntarily suffered, it still feels like a prison sentence. The rare moments when the golden sun weakly breaks through the gloom just makes it all the more stifling. I'd been working hard on healing, and working hard on my job, burning many a midnight candle, staring through the small window on the outside world that is my computer monitor. Lucky for me, I guess, that my job involves telecommuting so I don't have to leave the house to work, but that is a mixed blessing. One's world also becomes a lot smaller, more confined. A few weeks ago the shackles were loosened slightly as I regained mobility with the ability to walk again, albeit slowly and painfully. Strength and mobility rapidly returned with use though, and it wasn't long before I was eyeing off new motorbikes with more than a wishful sigh. Riding once again was becoming a rapidly approaching reality, and it was time to go bike hunting for a new steed. I desired a bike that was light, that handled well, steered with impeccably nimble precision like a well setup 250cc race-rep, but with gobs of mid-range grunt and a linear power delivery that makes for effortless cornering and the ability to wind on the throttle early mid-corner with confidence and without surprises. I wanted a bike that stirred something deep inside me whenever I looked at its curves and shape. Did such a bike exist? Small, light, powerful, agile, grunty, and good looking. It seemed to me that the class of bikes that best had the hope of meeting my requirements would be something in the super-sport range, or perhaps a larger minimalistic vee-two. I had concerns about how most 600cc-class bike manufacturers are robbing real-world usable mid-range to feed the power-hungry top-end monster that is the highly competitive super-sport racing scene. In recent times the real-world friendly and eminently streetable mid-range power of the perenially popular super-sport class has been all-too willingly sacrificed at the altar of the winner's dais by most major bike manufacturers. Now, more than ever, a super-sport machine is really just a lightly modified peaky race-bike with token, easily discarded, lights and mirrors necessary for road registration by law. I had no desire for such a bike. I also desired a bike that stirred the soul at a level which the Japanese manufacturers always seem to exorcise out of their motorcycles with their ruthlessly efficient engineering. I already had a short-list of desired bikes that I thought might best suit my desires, and the Triumph Daytona 675 headed that list, with my only real concerns being about rider comfort in relation to my still healing wrist injury as sports bikes are not known to be particularly kind on the wrists, and my fears about the aforementioned super-sport midrange heists being perpertrated by manufacturers. The only way to be sure would be to take one for a test-ride, so it was off to the nearest Triumph dealer to arrange a meeting with destiny. A few days later I was called in on a sunny day to be presented with a shiny red Triumph Daytona 675 test-bike, and after some initial calming of the nerves, fired the bike up and was off. The bike had completely shagged tyres, but I could straight away tell how nimble and light it was. Comfort was good for the wirst, a definite plus. The mid-range? Wow! This thing pulled hard like a litre bike, and the rorting roar emanating from the air-box every time the throttle was opened sent chills of aural excitement down my spine. This look, sound and character of the bike stirred the soul in a way which I haven't felt in years of riding Japanese made bikes. The test ride was all too short, consisting mostly of a few city streets and a short highway stretch, and as I reluctantly handed the keys back, I thanked the dealer for their time, playing it as cool as I could muster. Researching online from the confines of my prison once again, I discovered that the 675 was available in black, and after becoming entranced by the beauty of its form in this paint scheme from viewing various pctures, I knew that I'd been hooked. This wasn't just a motorbike. It was an incarnate physical manifestation of my motorcycling desire. A few phone calls later, and I had a black Triumph Daytona 675 waiting for me to take delivery of. A careful ride home with those wintry steel woollen clouds threatening saw me waiting impatiently for the next four days for work and weather to coincide to allow me the circumstance to safely partake in the pleasure of experiencing my new muse. Yesterday was that day! Fired up the satin black beauty in the garage, allowing it to warm up fully while completing the ritual of gearing up properly for the ride. Jump aboard and we're off for our first real ride. The destination is Arthur's Seat. As I peel into the first few corners near home, I'm immediately struck with how the bike just wants to follow my head. I just have to think that I want to go around the corner and it's like the bike is reading my mind, taking its cues off the subtlest of body movements, and the gentlest of pushes on the clip-ons, and it's leaning and driving through the corner. Almost uncanny. Head through a few roundabouts and it's like my hands are directly on the road guiding the direction of the bike, such is the responsiveness. This is such a stark contrast to my old Yamaha R1. The R1 was modified for track use, and had a steepened and aggressively quick steering angle and barring really high speed work, it was not a difficult bike to get turning by any stretch of the imagination, and yet the Daytona 675 makes the R1 feel like an imbalanced cudgel in comparison. As for the motor, it had huge dolloping gobs of midrange torque everywhere. It was also silky smooth in comparison to the old buzzing R1. The 675 just pulled cleanly from 3000rpm upwards, even in sixth gear! Heck, I wasn't missing the R1's strong mid-range at all! From 4000rpm onwards it got urgent - where any quick flick of the throttle in the lower four gears results in a good arm yanking. What was just so utterly deceptive about all of it though was that there are no real surges or steps to the power delivery. The motor is about the closest thing to an internal combustion engined electric motor. Once again, whenever the throttle was cracked, that delicious roar snorted out of the airbox, into my ears and down my spine. This bike makes the run-in phase easy: you always want to keep on varying the engine speed, slowing down, and opening up the throttle again just to hear that edgy chilling roar. It's not all good news though. I often found myself riding around wondering just why the heck was everyone else going so damn slow! I'd then look down and with a shock I'd realise that it wasn't they were who going particularly slow at all. The super smooth linear engine provides no real aural or tactile feedback as to just how fast you're travelling, or at least, I'm not yet accustomed to the feedback that it's giving me and relating that to an actual speed. The last time I was on a bike it was on the race-track, where speedometers don't matter, but I can see that I need to very quickly get back into the habit of studious speedometer watching if I want to keep that magical green and white card firmly ensconced in my wallet. Setting up and peeling into the sweepers up the back of Arthur's Seat had me cutting deliciously accurate arcs, dissecting the bitumen on a whim, and in a brief encounter with a local hoon, left him gaping and slackjawed as I sailed effortlessly by along a short straight between sweepers. Winding open the throttle, albeit being careful not to rev the engine too heavily or hard during the early stages of the run-in process, resulted in a relentless linear surge towards the scenery that was now rushing up at an alarmingly rapid rate. A glance down at the speedometer once again confirmed, with a moderate dose of shocked realisation, that one's perception of speed on the bike resides in an alternate reality somewhere other than the reality in which we typically reside. Squeezing the right lever brought another pleasant surprise. My old R1 was noted for having some of the best brakes ever fitted to a production bike in its day, but the 675's brakes out-shone the R1 in almost every way, hauling the bike up extremely quickly and with minimal effort. In fact, I'd say that they were a touch too good on the initial bite. My personal preference is for my brakes to quickly ease in a touch before grabbing hard to allow for a gentler weight transfer onto the front tyre, but the 675's brakes work so well they'd put you over the handlerbars in an instant with a strong index finger squeeze alone. The trip home was just as enjoyable, playing with the throttle, enjoying the sounds, getting yanked towards the horizon, and thought control steering. This is a bike built for those who like to carve up corners. The seat is very firm, as is the suspension, but coming from an aggressive road riding and track-day back-ground, that suits me just fine. The suspension feels better the faster you go. The rear end is a little stiff, and I've already ordered a replacement rear shock for it, which should arrive at about the time that I've completed the run-in period. At the end of the ride, I arrived home feeling more energated that I have in months, and in a distinctly better mood than when I left. Yes. This bike is my motorcycling muse.