By John Burns
Some suggested Triumph’s shot at a four-cylinder 600 sportbike should’ve been included in last week’s “Ten Worst Motorcycles of the Modern Era.” I think that’s way too harsh an assessment, but in any case, Triumph’s 2001 TT600 and the various inline Fours that followed it never quite got traction in the marketplace, and left the building after the 2006 Speed Four. Which wasn’t really a bad thing, as its demise led to the rise of the Daytona 675 and Street Triples shortly thereafter.
First Ride: 2001 Triumph TT600
Hinckley Shoots for the Heavens
Torrance, California, March 21, 2001 — When Triumph debuted its T595 (now called the 955i Daytona) in 1997, people all over the world wanted to see the British marque do well. It was their first modern foray into the sportbike wars and Triumph did things right by doing things their way. Instead of going head-to-head with the Japanese by building an in-line four-cylinder-powered machine, they built a three-cylinder, fuel-injected motor and wrapped it in a unique frame.Next, Triumph covered their package with nicely sculpted bodywork devoid of splashy race-replica graphics – all of which helped the Triumph stand out from the pack while still leaving it a viable choice for riders who wanted open-class performance.
Enter Triumph’s new TT600, though, and Triumph is spitting into the wind. The boys in Hinckley would be hard-pressed to enter a segment of the motorcycle market that is more competitive than the 600 class. Think about it: this is the class that contains Yamaha’s R6, Suzuki’s GSX-R600, Kawasaki’s ZX-6R and Honda’s CBR600F4i. Surely, if they wanted to make a splash, they could have picked an easier target than this lot of bikes. And the fact that they deviated from their three-cylinder powerplant to go with a four puts them at …read more