I purchased a 2002 Triumph TT600 on July 3rd, 2002 and have sincerely loved every minute of ride time I've had so far. Since then, I've logged over 3,500 miles on the bike and have a few observations about its: character, build quality and styling, and performance. Its Character: As the title of my revi...
I purchased a 2002 Triumph TT600 on July 3rd, 2002 and have sincerely loved every minute of ride time I've had so far. Since then, I've logged over 3,500 miles on the bike and have a few observations about its: character, build quality and styling, and performance. Its Character: As the title of my review suggests, the Triumph TT600 seems to have a bit of an identity crisis when compared to other bikes in its class (in fact, solidly placing the TT600 in any class is difficult). The TT600 is constantly put up against Honda's CBR600F4i, Kawasaki's Ninja ZX6-R, Yamaha's YZF R-6, and Suzuki's GSX-R600, but this in itself is troubling. The Triumph's riding position and seat configuration are more upright than ANY of those bikes, and will remind riders of Kawasaki's ZZR-600 rather than the sharper-edged ZX6-R. It's seat height is lower (by almost a full inch) than any of those bikes, and its clip-on positioning (forward crouching-factor if you will)is less dramatic. The bike is much less front-end biased, but that doesn't mean that the front tire isn't confidence-inspiring. A rider buddy of mine (who owns a Suzuki GSX-R1000)described it this way: "You can't help but sit on your butt on the Triumph, but the thing handles better than my bike. It is amazing how far you can lean the thing over and still have tons of grip." The stock suspension settings are less stiff than its competition, but a little fine tuning on my part remedied that. The brakes are SUPERB; I opine they're a bit better than any other 600 available in 2002. But even then, as a devoted owner, I feel the TT doesn't quite know what it's there for. It's not a super-sharp canyon-carver, but I seem to be able to ride it as quickly (or even quicker) than other 600s when the road gets curvy. It's not a squishy-soft sport-tourer, but it's comfortable enough for 350 mile days in the saddle. Its Build Quality and Styling: The TT600 is not an artistically beautiful motorcycle. Having said that, the longer I own it, the more its odd styling cues seem to soften my judgement. The bodywork is solid (read "friggin' heavy") and seems to be made well. My complaints are as follows: 1)The finish on the paint is too soft. Even with normal riding, I had small scuffs on the sides of my tank within about 1000 miles. Another "high scuff area" is found where the side panels meet at the bottom of the bike directly behind the front wheel. Serious scuffs appeared within 500 miles of riding. 2)The positing of the bodywork requires that you drill large holes (about 2 3/4 inches) in the side panels in order to install bodywork-saving framesliders. What's the point of drilling holes through the bodywork you're trying to protect? 3) Why does the bike NOT COME FITTED WITH A REAR WHEEL HUGGER? Because it lacks one, I get all sorts of road grime up into the underseat storage area. Several IMPORTANT items live there and can seriously be damaged by water, grit, mud, etc.: Owners Manual, Tool Kit, Battery, Computer female plug for tuning the EFI, and main circuits. Triumph basically forces owners to purchase rear wheel huggers in order to simply preserve those delicate items! (I guess I shouldn't complain too loudly: my friend's 2002 Ninja ZX-6R didn't come with one either). Its Performance: The longer I ride motorcycles, the more I'm convinced that less than 1% of regular street riders ever utilize ANY 600cc motorcycle to its full potential. Before you brashly dismiss this idea as the musings of a chicken, consider this: have you ever pushed your current bike to its performance threshold? Are you TRULY that skilled? If so, then you shouldn't buy the TT600. Having said that, overall the Triumph is a solid middle-of-the-road performer that can (with the right rider) keep pace with bikes much lighter & more powerful. Believe me, 95 BHP at the rear wheel is PLENTY! I bought the Triumph because I PREFER bikes that are a little different (I own a 1987 Yamaha TZR250 two-stroke street bike. There are only 3 in the USA.)and I wanted a bike with character. What the TT600 does, it does rather well. Hmmmm, this "superb all-around middleweight" thing might have some validity after all.