Mickey Cohen Motorsports Triumph Daytona 675R
As the press fleet manager for Triumph Motorcycles North America, Mickey Cohen brings an enthusiasm for the brand that can leave you breathless.
Boasting a solid racing background with Triumph – his work with the T595 Triple earned him the AMA Tuner of the Year award – Cohen has combined the resources of Mickey Cohen Motorsports (based in Placentia, Calif.), Triumph Genuine Accessories, and Triumph Genuine Race Parts to create a Daytona 675R that will leave you gasping for air.
Perfectly capable of constructing a fire-breathing racebike with unobtanium sprinkled throughout, Cohen instead built a track-and-street bike that is well within the reach of any 675R owner. “I sat down with Triumph,” Cohen explains, “and told them we needed to put something together so the consumer could know what accessories are available. He should also know that the Triumph accessories are covered under his bike’s two-year warranty.”
Really, there is nothing of significance wrong with the standard Daytona 675R, save the curious lack of a slipper clutch. It’s a bit of a cheater, being a 675cc wolf in a 600-class hen house, and the triple configuration is a satisfying convergence of twin-cylinder torque and inline four screaming. Light and agile off the showroom floor, the chassis just begs for hard riding on everything from an unrestrained racetrack to cliff-hanging canyon roads.
As with any supersport-class bike, though, more power is always welcome. With Cohen’s prestigious tuning background, he went to work on the motor to punch it up a bit. Some of the goodies in Triumph’s Race Kit provided a start.
The most obvious choice came first – the Arrow Stage 3 Race Exhaust system. A motor has to breathe, and the ability to expel air is crucial. As a bonus, the Arrow muffler, which sits high and to the rear of the bike, is lighter than stock, moving the center of gravity closer to the motor.
With the ability to flow more air out, the 675R needed to take bigger gulps of air. To make this happen, Triumph’s Air Funnel Kit replaced the stock intake, and a Triumph Race Air Filter flows the oxygen with additional efficiency. These are all easy bolt-on items, though they require assistance to do their job properly, and this is where things do get a bit more complicated.
Cohen pulled the head and slipped in a 0.50mm head gasket from the race kits – it is 0.20mm thinner than stock. This tightens up the top end, which requires closer attention to detail, along with the opportunity for higher performance.
While inside, Cohen worked a bit of his own magic on the cams. With the goal of more high-rpm push, he customized the timing to his liking, which he will certainly do for any 675R owner. The valves were also cleaned up, as the top end was already off.
These mods alone are above the pay grade of the stock ECU, so Cohen turned to a non-Triumph source. Dynojet’s Power Commander V and the matching Ignition Module were brought in to coordinate the air and fuel. The two units combine as a full-service ECU with a staggering level of customization for the knowledgeable tuner.
The Power Commander V system allows a fuel change range from minus 100 percent to 250 percent over. Amazingly, each cylinder can be mapped individually for each gear, so the 675R can have 18 unique fuel tables. The ignition module gives you control over the timing (+/- 20 degrees), and that can be optimized per cylinder and per gear.
No question, this is not for beginners. An unskilled hand at the keyboard can quickly negate all the work done on the motor and, in a worse case scenario, hasten its destruction. Cohen takes care of this. “I custom map everything,” he says authoritatively. According to Cohen, the short-stroke 675cc engine now puts out 117 horsepower at the rear wheel. “These are cost-effective changes and they work good,” Cohen asserts.
While Cohen notes that he didn’t do anything to the bottom end of the engine, the transmission received a bit of attention. Made by STM Trading, the Triumph Slipper Clutch Kit replaces the stock non-slipper clutch. This is a must-do mod for anyone who downshifts aggressively when braking. Cohen is not shy about the importance of the slipper clutch, calling it the “biggest change. The rest was just to make more horsepower, more fun to ride, and give it more bling.”
For faster shifting, Arrow Standard Pattern Rearsets from Triumph were installed, along with the Quickshifter system. Forget the clutch – just click your toe and you are in the next gear without damaging the transmission or letting off the throttle.
The finishing performance touch was the installation of Dunlop Sportmax GP-A tires. Designed for AMA Daytona SportBike and SuperSport classes, the rubber is intended for club racing and track-day use. Although they are DOT-approved for street us, Dunlop insists that they are not recommended for it. Riding on the street will rarely get enough heat into them and they are very slippery when cold.
With the Daytona 675R pumping out more power and, therefore, going faster, the Triumph Genuine Aero Screen was installed. A bit taller, it gives the rider more protection from wind than the stock unit, which you will need if you’re flogging the bike on the track.
You may have noticed that we didn’t mention the suspension. If you remember, the 675R comes stock with Ohlins inverted 43mm NIX30 forks and an Ohlins TTX36 twin tube shock with a piggyback reservoir. These are premium parts, and only the fussiest rider will demand an upgrade. Cohen revalved the front and dialed in the rear, putting a bit more weight forward.
Okay, all the performance parts are in place on the MCM Daytona 675R and it’s time to hit Southern California’s legendary mountain road system. As we got ready to hop on, we noticed a couple more Triumph Genuine Accessories – a carbon fiber tank pad and a solo seat cowling.
The back end sits high, which can be felt when swinging a leg over the bike. Putting your boots on the pegs, you’ll notice that Triumph’s rearsets make the Daytona slightly less compact, and that is good for average-or-larger riders. Under the fender, the license plate hides, telegraphing our intentions.
Cohen warned us, “You’ll find yourself getting into trouble.” Fortunately, our fun went unnoticed by the local constabulary, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t give it the old college try.
Anyone within earshot will get a tingle up the spine when the Arrow exhaust is on full song as the revs hit five digits. The motor feels open on top, just begging for more revs and more speed – just what we expected from a massaged 675R motor.
Like the stocker, the MCM Daytona 675R has two distinctive powerbands. Under 7000 rpm, you can ride casually, which is convenient in traffic on the way to your favorite riding spot. However, as you hit 7000, it’s as if you poured some nitro in the tank. The power comes on hard and doesn’t let up until you hit the redline.
A flat torque curve allows you to shift as early or late as you please, and the Quickshifter does its job of making gear changes fully transparent. Twisting the throttle hard and working that lever quickly results in scenery blurring acceleration. Cohen describes his creation as a “built Superstock bike for AMA racing with lights on it,” and he’s not kidding.
The suspension was a bit stiff for the street, though we did our best to work it hard. The more familiar and confident you are, the more you will like it. Of course, the Ohlins are widely adjustable for those who want a comfort-over-performance ride, but why do that if you’re going to turn the 675R into a ripsnorter.
Corner entry speeds went way up with the slipper clutch, as Cohen told us it would. Downshifting can be done as aggressively as you like, and you can squeeze the radially mounted Brembo brakes with conviction. Turn-in with the taller rear end is instantaneous and intuitive.
We can’t claim to be dissatisfied with the stock Triumph Daytona 675R. It is a stupendous canyon carver, and the 600-class motor means you aren’t hitting hypersonic speeds. For many people, that will be enough.
For us, more power and less weight is always welcome. Mickey Cohen Motorsports‘ set-up is superb, and the Dunlop tires are icing on a very sweet cake. You can add the slipper clutch, Arrow exhaust, and the other visual odds and ends (carbon fiber chain guard, red chain adjuster, and others seen in the photos), and get a taste of this bike. For the full course, dig in and prepare to be fully sated. Delicious!
Photography by Don Williams
This story is featured in the May/June 2013 issue of Ultimate MotorCycling magazine — available on newsstands and good bookstores everywhere. The issue is also available free to readers on Apple Newsstand (for iOS devices) and Google Play (Android). To subscribe to the print edition, please visit our Subscriber Services page.