Triumph Daytona 955i (2001-2006) [ Review & Buying Guide ]

Kev Raymond
By Kev Raymond

Kev's been riding since acquiring half shares in a CZ175 field bike back in the seventies, passed his test in a blizzard on Christmas Eve 1985, and got his first job on a bike mag in 1990. Likes: long distance touring and short-distance twisties. Currently owns a 1987 GSX-R1100, a 1992 Ducati 400SS, a 1973 Honda SS50, a 1978 Honda CX500, a 1988 Honda Bros special, a 1957 Mobylette and a 110cc pit bike. None of them work.

Triumph

 

The original 1997 Triumph Daytona T595 (later renamed the 955i) was a convincing attempt by the Hinckley firm to try and break into the then-crucial sportsbike sector of the market. It was a market ruled at the time by the excellent Fireblade, and the Daytona was its match on the road (although outclassed in standard form on a track). But then the 1998 R1 came along and re-wrote all the rules for what a sportsbike was and what it could do. Suddenly the Daytona seemed to be yesterday's news, but back in the real world it was a still a fine road bike, so although sales took a huge hit and never recovered it was worth Triumph's while to keep it in production, and for mid-2001 it got a major revision. In fact technically it was the 2002 model, but let's not split hairs – Triumph have a habit of changing model years six months early.

Two big bits of news for the new version – a heavily revised engine giving a claimed 147bhp at the crank (and nothing like that at the rear wheel), and a twin-sided swing arm in place  of the earlier bike's single sided version. It also got a sharper suit of clothes and revised suspension, but the frame was unchanged. That configuration only lasted a year, and for the 2003 model year the single sided swing arm made its return. A mild revision in 2005 (slight bodywork changes, black frame instead of silver, updated fuel injection) was the only further change before the Daytona was dropped from the range in late 2006. In fact production had stopped in 2005 but dealers were still shifting old stock.

Along the way there were a couple of limited-edition specials. In 2002 Triumph built 200 Centennial Edition (CE) models, with British Racing Green paint (with special logos), carbon fibre infill panels and a single sided swinger. In the same year, they also built a limited run of 46 SE models, basically the same as the CE but with Tornado Red paint.

 

Triumph Daytona 955i (2001-2006) Price

The 2001 list price for the Daytona 955i was £8599 – by the time the last models slunk from the showrooms in 2006 that was down to £7499. To put those prices into context, in 2001 a Blade was £8699 and an R1 was £9199. By 2006 a Fireblade was £8899 and an R1 was £8799. These days good, clean 955is start at about £2250 for something with average mileage of around 30-40k, although you'll find projects and unloved examples cheaperw. For a while the 2001/2 bikes with twin-sided swing arm were a bit cheaper as people wanted the bling of the single sider, but these days general condition and mileage seem to be more important to potential buyers. Sales of Daytonas from 2004 onwards ere very slow, so most bikes you see for sale will be earlier ones. Top money for a really nice 01-03 is probably around three grand, with low mileage late-reg bikes being offered at anything up to about £4000, although we wouldn't go over 3.5k for anything that wasn't absolutely mint and very low miles.

 

Power and torque

When Triumph announced the revised engine and its impressive claimed advantage over the original Daytona (they claimed 19bhp extra) we worried that they might have gained that extra top end at the expense of the growly, accessible midrange torque that was the hallmark of the original bike, and which made it such an effective road bike. Happily they'd managed the difficult trick of keeping the midrange intact, and adding the top end via an extended rev range. Inside the motor were stronger conrods, bigger inlet valves and smaller exhaust valves, along with bigger throttle bodies (up to 46mm from 41mm) and higher compression (12:1 instead of the original 11.2:1). The result in the real world was that you could ride it the way you'd always ridden a Daytona – use the grunt to get you out of corners fuss-free and with a choice of gears – or you could use the new, wailing top end to scream your way through the gearbox in a way that would spell death to your licence in double quick time. So as a road bike it wasn't necessarily any better, but if you wanted to do the occasional track day too, it was a big step on. And although it didn't get anywhere near that headline-grabbing 147bhp, a real 130bhp wasn't too shabby – no match for a GSX-R1000 or R1 but just ahead of the 2001 Fireblade and ZX-9R.

 

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

Although the engine was an update of the older design, in practice you can almost treat it as a different motor, according to Marque specialist Clive Wood. "The mid 2001-on engine is really much more like the later 1050 motor than it is the older one. It's got underbucket shims for the valves, which is more of a pain for adjustment, but it's more reliable as well. It's got a titchy alternator on the end of the crank instead of the older bike's big Denso alternator. The old ones can do 250,000 miles no problem, but the later ones give trouble, wiring loooms melt, fuse boxes melt... you have to sort them out properly." But he's still a fan of these engines: "I love them. I've got a tune for these that will give a genuine 145bhp at the tyre, at 11,200rpm, and that's with no internal work. It's just mapping, modifying the airbox and tank for better breathing, maybe nudge the cam timing a little and that's it – and still reliable. I don't see a lot of problems with them engine-wise, except the starter sprag clutches, which can break. It's an easy job to replace them – once the engine's out and upside down... Shame about the gearbox though – it's pretty agricultural, and although they revised it over the years it's still a slow change. You can't use a quickshifter, for example, it just won't tolerate it."

Lots of owners fit noisier cans to their Daytonas, with a marked preference for Triumph's own 'not for road use' carbon versions. Don't expect any extra power though.

 

Plastic fuel tank

Like most plastic tanks, the Daytona's doesn't like the ethanol content of modern fuel. Clive: "They're just not compatible with modern fuel, especially cheap supermarket fuel, which has the most ethanol content. You really need to use the best branded super-unleaded fuel you can find as it's usually got the least ethanol – some of it's ethanol-free but it does depend on which refinery it comes from. If you're not using the bike much I'd say drain the tank out when you get home and store the fuel separately, although that's obviously not an option if you're using it daily. Once the tanks start to swell, they can really swell – to the point where it interferes with your amount of steering lock. I empty them, take them off and leave them in the cold – that can help."

 

Triumph

 

Triumph Daytona 955i (2001-2006) Economy

Along with the increase in power, Triumph managed to engineer themselves a slight improvement in fuel economy. On the original T595 you'd struggle to get much over 35mpg no matter what you did. On the new bike you could still get down in the low 30s with a bit of hooning, but if you were sensible on motorways and A-roads you could get up to 40mpg, maybe more on a long run. An average of about 37mpg in mixed riding added to an extra three litres in the tank compared with the T595 means you'll be looking for fuel after around 160 miles.

 

Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

Subtle changes to the late 2001 model's geometry gave it quicker, more precise steering than the original bike's, helped by moving to a twin sided swinging arm (which saved over 3kg) and to a smaller 180-section rear tyre on a 5.5in rim. For some reason for the following model year the single sided arm reappeared, along with the wider rim and tyre – and the extra weight. The geometry retained some of the twin-sided bike's advantages over the earlier Daytona's but it was still a retrograde step in performance and handling terms. Clive Wood: "It was fashion, pure and simple – people didn't like the look of the twin sided arm. But I love them – they make great post-classic race bikes, they're lighter and handle better." But truth be told most road riders couldn't really tell the handling difference between the two versions so fashion won the day. If the suspension's in good nick it's still a nice ride today, but if it's not been done already then a rebuild and refresh by a specialist is well worth the outlay.. Although the problem with early T595 frames cracking had long been solved by mid-2001, that doesn't mean you shouldn't check, since there is still a potential maintenance-related problem, as Clive explains: "Part of the cracking problem wasn't design or production, it was because nipping up the engine bolts to take up any play put stress into the frame. The factory answer was to shim the gaps as closely as possible to take up the play. It needs doing carefully, and if someone doesn't know what they're doing you can still get cracked frames."

The other things to watch out for on the chassis side are seized and/or worn suspension pivots, and a seized and/or damaged rear hub adjuster mechanism on the single sider. Clive: "Have a look at the hub behind the sprocket, where the C-spanner should fit to adjust the chain tension. If it's damaged, just walk away because that tells me it's seized because of lack of maintenance (they need stripping and greasing every 12k miles or two years) and if they've not done that, what else haven't they done...?  Same with the linkages, they seize if you don't grease them, but people don't do it because the exhaust is in the way so you can't easily get the through bolt out without removing the exhaust. But if you do it once, and put the bolt in from the other side, next time it's easy." 

 

Triumph Daytona 955i (2001-2006) Brakes

The Triumph-branded Nissin brake calipers were carried straight over from the older Daytona and few people complained about them when new, the exceptions being the odd track day fiend who might find repeated hard use led to a bit of fade and the lever coming back to the bar. Clive found the answer to that when he was racing a Daytona back in the day: "We found an R1 or ZX-10 Nissin master cylinder looked the same, but had a slightly larger bore – it worked well and kept the lever away from the bar." For most road riders, the original master cylinder is well-matched to the calipers, giving enough power, but crucially plenty of feel. You do need to make sure the calipers are regularly cleaned and serviced though or they WILL seize.

 

Triumph

 

Comfort over distance and touring

By modern sportsbike standards the Daytona's pretty comfy for solo long-distance trips. Less accommodating for a pillion though, but that doesn't stop some people putting the miles in two-up.

 

Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

Rider aids? Nothing to see here, move on please. This is an old-school analogue experience, and all the better for it. Triumph offered plenty of branded accessories for the Daytona, from loud pipes, to soft luggage to the usual carbon bling. Few owners went mad with the catalogue though – later bikes sometimes got loaded up with extras by dealers trying to shift stock, but don't be suckered into paying extra for any of it.

 

Triumph Daytona 955i (2001-2006) verdict

Back in 2001 the updates to the Daytona were a big step on, but not enough to put it in the mix against the far more focussed GSX-R1000 (also new that year) and R1 (completely revised the previous year). Perhaps unfairly that meant it got overlooked, both in the press and in the showroom as magazines and buyers fixated on speed and power to the exclusion of all else. The Daytona was just too sensible. 20 years on, and with a revolution in biking tastes behind us (who'd have predicted the adventure bike boom back then?) sensible's no longer a dirty word and the Daytona makes a great modern classic choice. Well built, reliable, still a genuinely quick road bike, and distinctive enough and uncommon enough to stand out in a crowd of identikit modern plastics. We love them, and owners do too, which means they tend to get well looked after, and values are firming up. So find a good one (and especially one that shows signs of proper, sympathetic maintenence) and keep it that way and whilst you're unlikely to make a profit on it when you sell, you won't loose much either.

For advice on all things Hinckley Triumph, plus servicing, tuning and hand-on coaching in how to maintain them, contact Clive Wood either via the Speed Triple Owners' Club (www.mk1speedtriple.co.uk), on email at clivejlracing@aol.com or search him out on Facebook. For parts and general info, Jack Lilley Triumph (or LIND Triumph as they're known these days) are hard to beat – they've been Triumph dealers on and off since the late 1950s and they know their stuff.

 

Three things we love abour the Daytona…

  • The combination of grunty midrange and top end power
  • The looks
  • The handling (especially on the twin sided swinger versions

 

Three things we don’t…

  • The gearbox
  • The reappearance of the single sided swinger - why?
  • Potential charging woes

 

Triumph

 

Triumph Daytona 955i (2001-2006) spec (note: spec is for single sided swing arm version)

Original price

£8,599 (mid 2001)

Current price range

£2250 – £4000

Capacity

995cc

Bore x Stroke

79x65mm

Engine layout

Inline triple

Engine details

DOHC, liquid cooled, fuel injected

Power (tested)

130hp (97kW) @ 10,700rpm

Torque (tested)

66.5 lb-ft (90Nm) @ 8600rpm

Top speed

164mph

Transmission

6 speed, chain drive

Average fuel consumption

37mpg tested

Tank size

21 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

171miles

Reserve capacity

n/a (fuel light)

Rider aids

None

Frame

Aluminium tube type, single sided swing arm

Front suspension

Showa 45mm conventional forks

Front suspension adjustment

Fully adjustable

Rear suspension

Showa rising rate monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Fully adjustable

Front brake

320mm discs, four piston Nissin calipers

Rear brake

220mm disc, two-piston Nissin caliper

Front tyre

120/70 ZR17

Rear tyre

190/50 ZRX17

Rake/Trail

XX°/XXmm

Dimensions

2072mm x 725mm 1165mm (LxWxH)

Wheelbase

1426mm

Ground clearance

n/a

Seat height

815mm

Kerb weight

215kg (approx)

 

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