Triumph Daytona T595

The throttle goes both ways - but only one of them is fun!
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So there I am today, cranked over in a fast sweeper at an indicated 110...

...(which is 20mph faster than I've ever done that corner before, and 30 more than has ever felt comfortable) with the sound of the screaming of three of hell's loudest demons bouncing around inside my skull, and a white-faced tachometer filling my eyeline, through a smear of dead flies, as the needle surges relentlessly around the clock, when I hear a strange and disturbing noise above the others. For a moment I'm mildly disconcerted, and then I realise what it is. It's me, cackling at the top of my lungs like a man utterly demented...

I know I should never have taken a test-ride on a T595...

I only went out to buy a tax-disc for my little rat-bike, and as I left Stokenchurch Post Office, instead of turning right to go home, I inexplicably turned left and went for a thrash up the A40 in the sunshine. And then, when I got as far as Hughenden M40, I was only going to turn round in their car park. And then I was only going to have a fag and look at the black T595. And then I heard the noise their gorgeous looking yellow demonstrator made, with it's race chip and can, and suddenly I was asking for a test-ride on it, and the bloke who had just brought it back walked in with the biggest grin I have ever seen plastered all over his face [no wonder - he turned up on a K75 with the wife on the back; the contrast must have been mind-blowing] whilst I was asking, and then I was sitting on it, blipping the throttle and listening to the incomparable music, and thinking how tiny and light it felt, and then I was pulling out of their car park and trying to get to grips with the riding position, as I headed for the twisties that I use every day on my commute to work...

That riding position was actually excellent, with the exception of the clip-ons - which are still the older pattern on the demonstrator and as such I found it a tad hard on my left wrist when operating the clutch, though otherwise I just sat the grip across my palm and it was fine (so I've booked another go when they finally get a set of current-pattern bars to retrofit to it - what a shame). However, Triumph obviously know who their market is - my vast gut fits the tank perfectly, and within two minutes I felt like part of the bike, rather than a rider sat on it. First straight bit, coming up behind a couple of cars bimbling along at 60-odd, I dropped it a cog, cracked the throttle and pulled out to pass. Dear sweet JESUS H FUCKING CHRIST! The gorgeous roar became a huge, visceral yet pure and melodic howl, the front lifted off over a cats eye as I poured it on, and I was hurled forwards at a rate I could never have dreamed of on the VFR. And I didn't have to pull out as such, I just thought about it and I was out there, the aforementioned three Demons partying hard beneath the seat, and then I was back in again, once more by the power of thought alone, and the cars were little dwindling dots behind me as I went joyously up through the box, approaching a blind crossroads at [glances down] fuck-me, that's quick. I squeeze the front brake lever in VFResque fashion to reduce velocity lest some as-yet unseen Volvoist pulls out on me. Hmm... suddenly I'm not going very quickly at all, and the crossroads is still a good long way away, but there is no drama at all, no significant fork dive, nothing untoward at all... so I release the brake sheepishly... and the back wheel touches the ground again... <Gulp>!

I soon discover that the only reason you need to change down for an overtake is so you can hear that gorgeous exhaust note; blipping the throttle on this thing is a quasi-religious experience. Bimbling along at 4,000 rpm in fourth, whack that throttle wide open, and off the beast rockets without a stutter, and keeps accelerating like a guided missile all the way to the redline, making the sort of noises that... well, if they don't stir your soul in ways that it has never been stirred before, then it's a pretty good indicator that you are brain dead. Roll off the throttle, and the burbling and popping on overrun is almost as good...

And then I came to a few proper corners, and my joy turned to utter ecstasy. I've never, ever ridden anything even remotely like it. I did three laps of the shellgripped roundabout that marked the self-imposed limit of my test-ride, then fired it out back the way I had just come on a wave of sheer steam-hammer torque and howling exhaust, thrashing my way back up the twisty section I had just ridden, dispatching traffic with utter and unaccustomed disdain as I really hit the groove on the Daytona. When I got back to the A40 turnoff, I just couldn't bring myself to head down there, and I carried on into more glorious but unknown twisties. When I eventually turned round and rocketed back, I did turn off - but once again I couldn't bring myself to stop just yet, and shot off down the A40. The short section of nasty ripples that has the VFR actually entirely off the deck at a ton didn't do more than pop my arse an inch out of the seat, at similar velocity, and then it was into the waggling, wide sweepers, with loads of visibility and a good surface, and I have to say I went utterly mental, and things just got better and better. When I got to the first village (the one where Henrik, Jezza and I stopped for an impromptu brew the other week), I turned round and came back the same way - and it was there that I caught myself cackling out loud in delight as I nailed a sweeper at 110 per, at which speed it was starting to look a bit like a proper corner, and realised that there was actually plenty more to come. When I pulled back into the M40 car park, I discovered the only thing I would like to criticise on the whole bike - a car lit it's reversing lights as I bimbled past his rear and I hit the horn as a precaution; the weedy parp was a surprise - to be in keeping with the rest of the bike, I was expecting a Supertankeresque foghorn; I should have just blipped the throttle...

I pulled up in front of the showroom, shut down and just sat there, utterly dazed. What a weapon. Holy shit, what a weapon. Gibber.

When I handed the keys to the next punter eager for a crack, I was almost shaking at the intensity of the experience, and yes, I had an enormous grin glued to my face. Oh dear oh dear...

But I have a problem. Riding it has told me two things:

I must have one.

I couldn't live with it as an only bike. It pisses all over the Viffer at the sort of stuff I was doing today (and my current contract gives me that twice each working day), but I need a bike I can do big motorway mileage on when I've got a contract in Cardiff, carrying serious amounts of luggage, and which can do town work without a struggle. And that's the VFR - very good at all those things. But I'm afraid, for me, not good enough any more at the sort of thing I was doing today. This means that it isn't a case of chopping in 4.5K worth of Viffer against the T595, it's a case of finding the whole 10K plus whatever for the race can (which is utterly essential). So it'll be a while. But I will have one.

As I rode away from M40 on the Viffer, back up the A40, I realised for the first time how much effort it took to throw the VFR though a corner, how heavy it feels, how soft the suspension is, etc etc... :-(.

 

Ken Haylock [VFR750FL + CD200 Rat]

 

Copyright 2003 Ken Haylock. All rights reserved.
Last Revised: July 05, 2003 .