Motoring: Breaching limits of power for glory: Triumph's Daytona 1200 may be naughty, says Roland Brown, but it is also very nice

TWO YEARS after Triumph reappeared on the motorcycling scene, the Leicestershire-based firm has produced its fastest and most powerful bike yet - and plunged straight into controversy.

At the Motor Cycle Show in Birmingham last November, the launch of the four-cylinder Daytona 1200 sportster prompted roads minister Kenneth Carlisle to criticise the 'short-sighted and unnecessary' policy of building bikes with 'excessive' engine power. Rival Japanese importers were hostile too, claiming the 146bhp Daytona breached the voluntary 125bhp power limit they adopted years ago in an attempt to forestall restrictive legislation.

Triumph countered with the unconvincing riposte that it had not been party to that agreement and that the Daytona's horsepower figure, unlike those of some rivals, was measured at the crankshaft, before power-sapping transmission losses were deducted. (Perhaps unwisely, the British firm feels the need to maximise its power claims to attract enthusiasts.)

All this might soon become immaterial if the EEC's long-proposed mandatory 100bhp limit is imposed, although the likelihood of that happening this year has receded. The irony is that the Daytona's high power output, although hardly necessary, is not excessive. Recent surveys have found no correlation between motorcycles' power and accident rates. Most accidents happen at relatively slow speeds, and Triumph's flagship is as docile as the humblest commuter machine.

Although named after the Daytona speedway in Florida, a circuit where the old Triumph marque scored famous victories in the Sixties, the 1200 is not a race-replica. It has low handlebars, an aerodynamic fairing and a bold yellow colour scheme - a notable improvement on that of the 1,000cc model it replaces. But it is a big machine, fairly heavy at 502lbs, intended to combine high performance and aggressive styling with reasonable practicality.

The Daytona was created by tuning the water-cooled, 16-valve motor from the Trophy 1200 sports-tourer, then bolting it into a chassis that uses the top-specification components available within Triumph's unique modular format. Thus the newcomer wears sophisticated suspension and brakes, but shares much - including its steel spine frame, wheels and numerous engine parts - with most of the others in the expanded eight-model range.

The motor is hugely impressive, despite having lost a little of the Trophy's outstanding delivery at low engine speeds. The Daytona works best above 5,000rpm, and encourages use of the six-speed gearbox. But it is smooth and reasonably responsive at all speeds. Provided the revs are kept up, it gives scorching acceleration to a top speed of around 160mph.

All the new Triumphs are rather tall, with conservative chassis dimensions that make them less nimble than many alloy-framed Japanese race-replicas. But the Daytona's rigid frame and excellent, multi-adjustable suspension (made by Japanese firm, Kayaba) provide very good handling, combining flawless stability with reasonably light steering. The brakes, also Japanese-made, are powerful: the tyres, unfashionably narrow by superbike standards, grip well.

The Daytona is indeed reasonably practical. Its sporty, leant-forward riding position is uncomfortable in town, but works well on the open road. The fairing, complete with powerful twin headlamps, gives good wind-protection, although turbulence can be noisy. Instruments and switches are well designed; mirrors much improved. The comfortable seat and big 5.5-gallon fuel tank allow a generous range of around 170 miles.

The Daytona, which costs pounds 7,899, also benefits from improvements introduced throughout the range this year. Triumph's two-year warranty is matched only by Ducati and Honda in the bike world. There is an owners' insurance scheme, and all models now have additional wiring to aid fitment of an alarm. The quality of finish is superb, much improved since the construction of a paint facility at the Hinckley factory in which Triumph's owner, builder John Bloor, has invested an estimated pounds 70m.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Extras
indybest
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Project Coordinator

    Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

    Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

    £350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

    Embedded Linux Engineer

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

    Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

    £50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on