Whether used Suzuki or brand-new Ducati, sportbikes are the motorcycles of choice for dedicated track-day racers and handling aficionados. And like any other kind of bike, sportbike performance ranges from mild to extreme. However, there’s a distinct gap between a street-legal bike and a true racing machine. The 2020 Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2 Limited Edition, though, bridges that gap.
The 2020 Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2 Limited Edition resurrects a beloved name
Although Triumph is arguably best-known for its retro-style bikes, the British company offers other bikes, too. It’s also working on an electric motorcycle. And up until a few years ago, there was also a Triumph sportbike, the Daytona.
Although the name dates back to 1966, the modern Triumph Daytona launched in 1992, MCN reports. But it didn’t really hit its stride until the 2006 Daytona 675, Revzilla reports. It “was the most fun and easiest sporty middleweight to ride,” Cycle World reports. And it premiered the 675cc fuel-injected inline-three engine that gave the later Speed and Street Triple their names and reputations.
Over the years Triumph refined the Daytona, adding power and features while decreasing weight, Bennetts reports. A major update in 2013 gave the sportbike a new frame, more power, and more features, Cycle World reports. The 2013 675R got Brembo brakes, Ohlins suspension, and a standard quickshifter and switchable ABS on top of that, Cycle World reports. And the 2013-and-later Triumph Daytona 675R is easy enough to ride that additional riding aides are unnecessary, MCN reports.
However, glowing accolades weren’t enough to keep the Triumph Daytona around. Dropping sales and tightening emissions and noise regulations meant the sportbike’s days were numbered. As a result, Triumph dropped the Daytona from its lineup after 2016, Bennetts reports. But that wasn’t the end of the Daytona’s story.
Triumph started supplying engines for the Moto2 class of MotoGP in 2019, Cycle World reports. Specifically, 765cc inline-three engines like the one in the contemporary Street Triple. Naturally, the racing-spec versions needed development and testing. To do so, Triumph built a test mule by putting the 765cc engine in an older Daytona chassis, MCN explains. And as development went on, “‘everyone fell in love with [the mule],'” Triumph Chief Engineer Stuart Wood told MCN.
That test mule eventually morphed into a street-legal machine: the 2020 Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2 Limited Edition.
It’s not quite a Moto2 replica, but it is the next best thing
To be clear, the 2020 Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2 Limited Edition isn’t a carbon-copy of an actual Moto2 bike. However, it features technology and engineering derived from lessons learned in racing, Cycle World reports. In that way, it’s sort of like Triumph’s version of the Ducati Desmosedici RR. And it’s the first production bike Dorna, MotoGP’s owner, has ever officially licensed.
At the heart of the Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2 is its namesake engine. It’s a 765cc liquid-cooled inline-three engine that’s been heavily modified from its origins in the Street Triple 765, Cycle World explains. Here, it makes 128 hp and 59 lb-ft, sent to the rear wheel via a quickshifter-equipped six-speed transmission. And while the actual Moto2 bike is lighter and more powerful, the street-going Daytona 765 is fairly light at 414 pounds, RevZilla reports.
That curb weight is partially due to the Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2’s carbon-fiber body panels. The sportbike also has a titanium Arrow exhaust and cast-aluminum wheels. And the frame is even anodized rather than powder-coated to save weight, RideApart reports.
The Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2 Limited Edition also sports plenty of racing-related tech. It has a color TFT screen, fully-adjustable Ohlins suspension, and ABS-equipped Brembo brakes. Speaking of brakes, you can adjust the brake lever’s feel and bite via the master cylinder, Motorcyclist reports. And regarding adjustability, the Daytona 765 comes with multiple riding modes that adjust the ABS, traction control, and throttle.
The 2020 Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2 Limited Edition “is…an instant classic,” Robb Report says
Compared to something like a Ducati Panigale or BMW M 1000 RR, the 2020 Triumph Daytona 765 Limited Edition is a bit dated, MCN reports. It lacks LED lighting and some of the latest electronic riding aids; it doesn’t even have cornering ABS. And, rather understandably, with its somewhat-firm ride and stretched-out riding position, it’s not a touring bike, CarThrottle reports.
But show it the right road or racetrack, and the Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2 absolutely shines. It “glides around like it’s plugged directly into your brain,” GQ reports. While the suspension is a bit firm, it absorbs bumps well. And together with the chassis and grippy Pirelli tires, it turns the sportbike into “a precision tool at your command,” Robb Report says. “The Daytona is just so beautifully precise,” RevZilla says.
When it comes time to slow for a corner, the Brembo brakes deliver with “exceptional bite and a stunning lever feel,” VisorDown reports. The quickshifter stumbles occasionally, RevZilla reports, but overall, the transmission is swift and slick. And while the exhaust is a bit quiet, it doesn’t dampen the Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2’s smooth, charismatic howl, Motorcyclist reports.
Plus, while the inline-three has enough power for wheelies, it’s not so powerful that you can’t exploit it. And it redlines at 13,500 RPM, RR reports.
It’s the British motorcycle brand’s last road-going sportbike
If you want a $17,500 Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2 Limited Edition, you’ll have to act fast. The British marque only made 1530 examples, 765 of which are earmarked for North America. And while Moto2 helped bring the Daytona back, it’s not sticking around.
After these bikes are sold, Triumph isn’t making another sportbike, GQ reports. There simply isn’t enough of a market for these bikes anymore. As RevZilla points out, the Street Triple 765 RS offers similar features and handling prowess. True, it’s less powerful and doesn’t have Ohlins forks or that trick master cylinder. But the naked bike is more comfortable on a daily basis and $4650 cheaper.
Still, there’s a reason why Robb Report calls the Daytona 765 Moto2 “a modern classic.” It’s a fun sportbike with honest racing connections. As a swan song, Triumph did it right.
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