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review Triumph Daytona 955i

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by ibast, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. So I’ve been asked to do a review of the “new†bike.

    When I first rode it home I thought it was a complete pig. It had been sitting around for 12 months, had a bald rear tyre, really, really stale petrol and as I found out later the tyre pressures were way down. It also had an 18 tooth front sprocket. The result was I had to really wrestle it into corners, it was nothing special power wise and I had to slip the clutch off the line.

    Those things were all fixed within the first few days of ownership.

    So what it like after a few weeks of ownership? Well I find it a dichotomy of a bike:

    - It’s a great hyper tourer, but some pommy bolted the clip-ons to the front axle making it impossible to ride it for more than 90km at a time.
    - It’s engine sounds like a tractor below 3000 rpm, but at that engine speed the Triumph elf arrives and steals the tractor engine and replaces it with 3 cylinders it stole from an F1 car.
    - From many angles the body is the sexiest ever made. From others it looks like a 916 that has been putting too many sugars in its latte. The only other purpose the body seems to serve is to keep engine heat within the bike only to release it to your upper thighs (is that what they mean by sex on two wheels?). It certainly does nothing to keep the wind off you.

    So what’s it like to ride? Well the thing I notice, compared to the old girl, is the ability to change line mid-corner. Due to the wet weather in Sydney and a nothing special rider, I’ve had it nowhere near its handling limit yet. Not only that the fork oil is too light for me, as I’m at max damping both ways at the front, so once I put some heavier weight oil I expect it to get even better.

    So overall I’m very happy with the bike. A 17 tooth front sprocket has already found its way into it. With the 18 tooth I would never have used 5th, let alone 6th. I will do the fork oil and I’m thinking about some Tingate clip-ons. I also plan on doing some rider training to get more out of the bike.

    The design of the bike really floats my engineering boat. 3 cylinders is the right amount of cylinders for a bike AFAIC.

    Oh and I’ve already had my first electrical failure. I can’t blame the bike however. The previous owner had lost the batter terminal nut and had just wired the lead on. The wire came loose and the result was a no start.

    I’ll try and write a bit more of a review once I’ve done the fork oil and taken through some decent twisties.



  2. A fair and honest appraisal, ibast. You'll notice that the main things you picked as faults do not apply to its brother the 955 Speed Triple. (Which is why I went that way :wink: )
    Agree about the front sprocket - should have come from the factory that way.
    If it's anything like the S3, it will respond quite dramatically to changes in preload, too.
    Good luck with it, and hope you have even half the fun I had with my trumpy :)
  3. It seems sensitive to any adjustment.

    What did you end up with, with the pre-load?
  4. My S3 only had preload adjustment on the forks. I think later models got it on the rear?

    The owners manual has settings for soft, medium and firm. I ended up setting it on the firm damping settings (compression and rebound), plus an extra full turn of preload over the quoted for 'firm'. This made it quite lively at the bars, but it still never gave more than the slightest shimmy under any circumstances. If anything, these things are almost too stable, if that's possible.

    Occasionally, I backed of the damping to 'medium' (long transport sections etc.), but left the preload where it was. Suited me fine.
  5. Bwahah, my Tiger 1050 does that too, especially with the OEM racetrack exhaust and tune.

    1000-2500rpm the noise is an unflattering chugga-chugga-chugga when the motor's under heavy load (wrong gear). 3000-7000 is sweet. Then at 7000 the engine instantly transforms a second time to become nothing less than the sonic recreation of the end of the world, as the bike races towards the soft 10,000rpm redline. Sweet jesus. :)
  6. sounds significantly different to the Daytona. Basically the Daytona is fully adjustable both ends.

    Some people say they are twitchy, but there was an article early on that wound on pre-load at the front, which a lot of people copy. I reckon this is why they are twitchy. The front needs to be plantED to get them stable. I've backed my front pre-load off and it seems fine.

    I think the back may have extra pre-load on it too, but I'm not sure. I'll muck with this more once I get better fork oil in it.
  7. I’ve had the bike about twelve months now so I thought I’d do a bit of a long term review. It's a bit long winded

    Firstly I need to rabbit on a bit about myself. I’m a bit weird. If I buy a product I tend to be more critical of it than before I owned it. This is contrary to most people who seem to be largely blind to something’s faults once they have forked out hard earned on it. So keep that in mind.

    Working Life.

    I’ve had the bike about a year and for about 10 months of that it’s been doing 45km to and from work, 5 days a week. The trip is diagonally across Sydney’s western suburbs to the northern suburbs. It didn’t do much work during the first few months as I still had the old bike and didn’t want to rack up too many ks. The bike has only done a few day trips on the weekend. It’s now got all but 40 Mm on the clock and started out with 22 from memory. So it’s had solid use during a pretty critical period in a bikes life.

    Reliability and quality
    When anybody thinks of non-Japanese bikes this issue always comes to the fore. Particularly with Triumph, given the reputation they had. I can say it’s a non-issue with my bike. I had a fault where the bike would stop for no reason or wouldn’t start. For a while I was cursing British Engineering and French electronics, but in the end it was the same loose battery terminal I had early on. This can in no way be attributed to Triumph as it’s traced back to someone loosing the battery terminal nut.

    Most of the parts are of high quality. In fact I’d go so far to say that most are superior to Japanese equivalents of the same era. That’s a big call, but think of it like comparing say an Audi A6 and a Honda Accord. The Accord parts are going to be a bit above average in a narrow quality range. The A6 is going to have a wider spread of quality, but on average the quality of a part is going to be better.

    I’m amazed at the quality of nuts and bolts for example. I’ve never owner a bike like it. I can’t remember ever seeing a spring washer and can only think of one place where there is a nylock. It’s not just that they don’t need it, it’s they are design so well.

    Servicing and maintenance etc
    This is similar to quality. Some things are good. Other things are terrible. I recently did the major service early and it involved stripping half the bike to do the tappets. A few hours design drafting during the design phase could have reduced this to the removal of a few items.

    The single sided swing arm makes tyre changes and chain adjustment easy. Overall I’d say it was below par in the area of maintenance access for the era but many Japanese will have been as bad or worse.

    The chain is needing quite regular adjustment at the moment, so I think it is on the way out. Chain maintenance is one area I am a bit slack.

    It has the triumph carbon high rise can on it and I personally think it’s too noisy. I tried refitting the original can at the major service. Surprisingly the bike wasn’t that much more quiet. More noise comes from the engine than you realise. It also obviously needed a new tune in that configuration, so I ended up putting the carbon can back on. Tunes at Triumph dealers are not that dear, but it’s more the hassle that prevented me from going that route.

    I also run the Tingate high rise clip-on. My opinion of these is mixed. They do rise about the right amount, but the offset comes back to the centreline of the forks. This means you hit the tank if you try to get the pan that feels right. 10mm forward offset would have been good. Also the tilt on these bars feels negative (inwards). I’m betting it’s not, but it is completely flat and thus feels odd. They need about 15 deg tilt.

    So I’m not sure I’d advise buying these. If you are doing a lot of highway work then I’d say no, as above 80 the weight comes off your wrists with the standard bars.

    I’m thinking of putting the standard bars back on for a while as I have an elbow injury I can’t seem to shake. I’m hoping the change in position may help.

    I also run 15 wt oil in the forks, with a bit more preload on the rear (2 turns). The Tingates mean I can back the front preload all the way off. With the standard clip-ons I could only run one mark less preload before I started running out of travel.

    I also run about 3mm of forks up through the clamp and have learnt it needs 40psi in the rear tyre and only 36 at the front

    The reason being for all this is I’ve found the front of this bike needs to be planted. I theorise it’s because the steering head is so far forward.

    Anyway it works and in this configuration it’s hard to imagine how anybody could need a sharper handling bike on the road.

    The other mod is the 17 tooth front sprocket. I highly recommend this. The standard 18 tooth had me slipping the clutch at bit in the traffic. I am considering going one more tooth on the rear if I change the rear sprocket.

    Riding and on the road
    I’ve hinted at this a bit above. Even with the Tingates it’s not very comfortable on the wrists. The bars are further away than modern Jap bikes. Leg room is great thanks mainly to a highish seat, but that has its downsides too. The extra rear preload you need doesn’t help in that regards too.

    Handling is excellent. It’s a better bike then I am rider. You need to ride it right however. If you ride it like a tourer, i.e. keeping in line with the bike and using counter-steering to get it into a bend, then it handles like a pig. Bend the inside elbow and get your head inside the line and you wonder where the limit is. Weight a peg and move your arse and you wonder if you could do a u-turn on a suburban street doing 100.

    I’ve read about read about people going to all sorts of expense to get these things to handle, but the reality is come to the table with an open mind and be patient and the standard suspension in more than adequate for the road.

    When you first sit on the seat you would think it is going to be too hard, but it’s good for a couple of hours. The tank has a pretty good range. I can get just under 300 out of it in traffic and just over on the open road.

    So would I buy another one if a pranged this one?
    This is the test question. I normally wouldn’t buy the same bike twice. It’s not in my nature. I’d rather try something else.

    But I had look on some of the sales sites recently and I have to say they are just too good value. They really are in a different league to bikes of similar price. Now go back and look at my second paragraph.

    Given the trouble free running I have I am reasonably confident I will get well toward 100Mm before striking high maintenance. Probably further, but it’s hard to see that far ahead.

    The pick technically is the post 2001, double sided swing arm models. Visually the earlier model is superior, but with that comes the older engine and 14 kg (from memory).
  8. Great review.

    And bonus points for the Mm.
  9. From memory the 17-tooth front sprocket was thrown in by dealers and fitted at the first service.

    I'm glad you've had a reliable run. My T595 was a machine I absolutely loved...when it was running. Unfortunately, that was roughly 50% of the time due to a huge assortment of electrical problems.
  10. Yeah i've heard of some people chasing electrical problems for the life of their bikes. Some theorise it's because of the low amperages used by the french computer.

    Bloke at work fixed his by pulling all the connections apart and putting them back together. theory is it clean the oxidation of the terminals
  11. Nice review.

    I just bought a 02 Speed Triple 955. Once it gets its new stator I am sure I will fall in love with it.

    I think it would make a good bike for you actually. A lot easier on the wrist.