Triumph Daytona 675 Project Bike - Goldenrod

Part 1: We Build Our Triumph Daytona 675 Test Bike Into A Mini Superbike

Triumph calls the paint color of our '07 Daytona 675 test bike "scorched yellow," but the metalflake finish reminds us of the famous mid-'60s land-speed-record-holder Goldenrod. Powered by four Chrysler V-8 engines, Goldenrod posted a 409.27-mph record run at Bonneville in 1965, and while we weren't setting goals that high for our project Triumph, we were hoping for some big numbers and a top-10 finish in an AMA Formula Xtreme race. Our bike does have one thing in common with the record-holding car aside from the color: Just as Goldenrod was built in the Summers Brothers' backyard Southern California garage, our FX Triumph came together in a tiny garage in the San Fernando valley and has never seen the inside of a brilliantly lit or fabulously equipped factory workshop.

The impetus for this project came from our Triumph contact, who offered up the full set of Daytona 675 racing-kit parts for use in a project bike. As usual our plans grew bigger by the day, and before long we had outlined the story: We'd build our '07 test bike into a racebike using the kit parts and enter it in an AMA Formula Xtreme race with a rider capable of a top-10 or even a top-five finish. By all accounts, the 675 is an almost perfect platform for the AMA's Formula Xtreme class. As one of the lightest middleweights in stock form, meeting the class weight limit would seem an easy task. And with the bike's displacement advantage it would be easier to get competitive horsepower from the engine without building a time bomb. The kit parts all fall within the FX rules, and the AMA recently opened up the class to allow 675cc triples along with the 600cc fours. The kit parts include all the usual go-fast goodies to form a solid base: cams, valves, a slipper clutch, an ECU and matching wiring harness, a lightweight AC generator and so on. Around the engine we'd build a killer chassis with 16.5-inch wheels and grippy slicks along with aftermarket suspension and brakes.

Triumph's list of parts for the Daytona 675 is extensive and includes almost everything required to build a competitive motor. While most of the parts are manufactured in-house, some are outsourced, popular aftermarket bits.

Arrow exhaust system $1699
Intake and exhaust camshafts and sprockets $823
Valves, valve springs, cam
chain and manual tensioner $987
Intake trumpets $340
Tall first-gear pair and HSG kit $731
Rotor kit $899
ECU and harness $649
Cylinder-head gasket (0.65mm or 0.60mm) $76
Carbon-fiber engine covers $178
BMC air filter $79
Manual idle kit $20
STM slipper clutch ${{{900}}}

A 30-page manual details engine assembly, and we shipped everything off to Hypercycle and Carry Andrew (see sidebar on page 84) with instructions to install the parts exactly according to the instructions. Interestingly, the manual calls for a minimum squish height (the gap in the combustion chamber between the piston and cylinder head) of 0.6mm, and our stock engine with a stock head gasket was already tighter-we wouldn't be using any of the thinner kit gaskets. Other than this minor snag, the engine went together with little drama.

While the engine was at Hypercycle, the rest of the chassis was dropped off at friend-of-SR Eric Nugent's garage, and our Geek made the phone calls and sent the e-mails to round up the necessary bits. Nugent built our last project racebike, an '04 Suzuki GSX-R600 that Corey Neuer raced in 2005 ("The FX Project," Jul. '05, and "Scared Straight," Aug. '05), and was a huge help in bringing this project to fruition. As expected, the availability of aftermarket parts for the 675 is not as extensive as it is for a typical Japanese middleweight, and in many cases the options for parts are severely limited. Still, we gathered up an impressive stash of speed parts for the bike, and all the companies we dealt with expressed enthusiasm for the project and the bike itself.

With the engine complete and the chassis parts obtained, the bike came together in Nugent's garage, and we ventured to Auto Club Speedway (formerly California Speedway) in Fontana for a track day. Local club racer John Reeves volunteered to be the guinea pig and reported stable handling, good steering manners and power on par with a well-prepped supersport machine. We had just a couple of stumbling blocks during the day: The kit charging system only works at high rpm, and with the stock battery we needed to keep a charger hooked up when the bike wasn't being ridden. And fitting the switch for the quickshifter proved very difficult with the Woodcraft rearsets-there is barely enough room between the shift shaft and the frame. We eventually squeezed everything in, but our Power Commander was shipped with the wrong software to activate the quickshifter, requiring a call to Dynojet to obtain the right code.

Right after the track day our Triumph rep sent replacement valve springs to be installed before we rode the bike again, notifying us that the dealer teams had trouble in that area at Daytona. This gave us an opportunity to have the engine massaged for some more steam, though, and after talking with other builders more familiar with the Daytona we decided to have the head skimmed while it was off. Andrew had asked to perform this modification during the original build, citing plenty of clearance and more power, but-wanting to keep to the kit instructions as much as possible and looking for the most reliability-we declined. We realized after the track day that more steam would be required to run with the big boys, so 0.020 inch came off the head, boosting compression but keeping clearances well safe according to the manual.

With the engine returned and installed in the frame, local WERA and occasional AMA racer Chad Lewin was conned-er, enlisted to ride the bike at a Buttonwillow club race and then the Infineon Raceway round of the AMA series. Tune in next issue for the full details of our exploits.

Carry Andrew's Hypercycle
Longtime SR readers will be well familiar with Carry Andrew and his Hypercycle high-performance shop based in Van Nuys, California. As a crew chief and team owner, Andrew has worked with a long list of notable riders and claimed multiple AMA Supersport championships since Hypercycle was established in 1978. Along with the company's race-team efforts, Andrew has found time along the way to build a variety of wicked-fast sportbikes that have been featured in these pages, ranging from a 188-mph GSX-R600 to a totally streetable Bandit 1200S. More recently, the Kawasakis our editors have ridden in their "Riding With Legends" exploits have all been built in the Hypercycle shop.

Based on his extensive history working with a variety of different manufacturers, we entrusted Andrew with building our Triumph's engine even though he had never seen inside a motor from the Hinckley factory. And when the engine-built to the specs outlined in the kit manual-came back with a bit less power than we were hoping for, he knew exactly how to uncork more steam from the little three-cylinder mill, returning it in a decidedly peppier state of tune than the first iteration.

As busy as we keep him, the former AMA Superbike racer still finds time to ride and can often be found circulating either Willow Springs or Buttonwillow at one of Hypercycle's own track days.

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