2011 Supersport Comparison
This test is based on doing six laps on each of the two bikes, first the 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 followed by the 2011 Triumph Daytona 675R, both on Metzeler supersport tyres with plenty of grip.First I head out on the L1 Suzuki GSX-R600 which immediately feels comfortable and familiar. I feel that I’m pretty fast straight away and the engine responds nicely as soon as I rev it up to where it needs to be above 10k rpm.There’s a little more oomph in the new 599cc in-line four engine and exiting second gear corners it’s sufficient to stay all the way down towards 8K rpm and still achieve decent acceleration.First gear is fairly high so for proper racing you’d kick it down to first many places where I used second. The GSX-R600’s seat height is a low-ish 810mm which also feels a lot lower than the D675R’s 830mm.Cartagena is a perfect 600 supersport circuit with its mixture between flowing second gear corners and technical left/right corner combinations. The straight isn’t too long either and it ends downhill so I can really make good use of everything a 600 has to offer.Flicking the small Suzuki from left to right is the easiest thing in the world and it never disobeys any of my inputs. I particularly like how heavy and late I can get on the brakes courtesy of the new Big Piston fork and Brembo radial calliper brakes.The small Suzuki is also very precise in corner entries and I hit exactly where I want to each time. I even manage to muster enough power for some nice powerslides once in a while.These are the hard facts: 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600, 123hp, 187kg, in-line four 599cc engine Made in Japan. 2011 Triumph Daytona 675R, 125hp, 185kg, in-line triple 675cc engine Made in England.The 2011 Triumph Daytona 675R is a different animal, much rawer, less comfortable and more race bike than the GSX-R600. The 675cc triple does have more oomph lower in the rpm range and feels even lighter than the GSX-R600.I seem to be able to carry more corner speed and the ground clearance is better. The Daytona tips into the corners in a less neutral manner and I also under steered in a couple of corners. The 2011 Triumph Daytona 675R features Ohlins suspension and Brembo Monoblocks and allow you to brake later and harder even than the Suzuki GSX-R600.The feel is again rougher and I started thinking that I was lapping slower than on the Gixxer six. In fact as my onboard camera later revealed I was always more than a second faster; it just didn’t feel that way due to the unrefined feel of the Triumph (which in fact is highly refined).In this comparison I must mention that the Daytona 675R also have a quick shifter that guaranteed will shave some time off the laps and it cost £1000 more than the Suzuki. Ohlins and Brembo monoblocks are all good and expensive stuff but I’m inclined to believe it’s that 675cc triple engine and the quick shifter that mostly takes care of the faster lap times as the Suzuki’s suspension and brakes are also very good.At the same time I still think that the bog standard £8.399 Daytona 675 could beat the $11,599 Suzuki GSX-R600 but not by as much as the $11,999 D675R.Basically the Triumph D675R gains ground on the Suzuki GSX-R600 all over the circuit so it’s definitely the faster motorcycle of the two, no doubt. The Suzuki wins on share comfort and ease of riding it.The Triumph is more demanding of its rider and more hardcore. The Gixxer’s gearbox is as smooth as they come and I never felt any hesitation neither shifting up nor down and it settles better than the Daytona on hard downshifts.The D675R’s quick shifter however enables faster upshifts than the clutchless one’s I made on the GSX-R600. Again it’s down to a feel that even reflects itself in the quick shifter and despite being the faster one it isn’t the smoother one.This is a track test but if these two met each other on the road I’d be seriously tempted to put the GSX-R600 as the winner due to its relatively comfortable riding position and neutral handling capabilities.I have a problem with the GSX-R600 though and that’s that even I can’t clearly distinguish a recent older model from a new one and there’s a big lack in character. The GSX-R600 is just smooth, comfortable, safe and perfect; Boring in other words. The Daytona 675R is anything but boring, it barks, your arse hurts and you’re much faster than you think. I made a mistake on the D675R which I would never have done on the GSX-R but even with a mistake that lap was faster than what I could do on the GSX-R600.Conclusion
It’s not difficult to pick a winner on the emotional stage: it’s the Triumph Daytona 675R. The Triumph D675R to me is a more desirable motorcycle and one I’d rather want in my garage but not because it’s faster on the circuit. If I were to be sensible I’d pick the Suzuki GSX-R600 because it’s a whole grand cheaper and easy to live with at the same time as it’s fast with great neutral handling.Take away the Quick shifter, the Ohlins suspension and the exotic brakes and you have a standard Daytona 675 which suddenly is $400 cheaper than the Suzuki and even the sensible in me would go Triumph’s own way albeit with some hemorrhoids more perhaps. My overall winner is hence the 2011 Triumph Daytona 675R because it’s got more character with the added benefit of being the faster of the two.