Good to see a positive news article from MCN that features Triumphs.
I passed my direct access approx 10 years ago, and to begin with owned the usual Jap 600cc fodder, but was persuaded by a friend to try an immaculate 2nd hand Triumph Daytona T595 and was so glad I did. Apart from a brief spell of ownership of a VN800 classic (healing broken ankle so couldn't ride a 'sports' bike for a bit) I have owned nothing but Triumphs including Tiger 955i, T595, Daytona 1200 and speed triple 900 for the past 6 years. They offer a mix of character, real world performance and a cool individuality that a majority of Jap bikes are not in my view able to match, and the dealers seem decent too.
I think the underlying reason that Triumph are so successful, is that the owner Mr Bloor (based upon interviews and articles I have read about the man) has always treated the company purely as a brand and a business proposition and not as a romantic dream of owning a bike company. A product was never launched that wasn't able to contribute to the company and return a viable profit. Some have criticised (including MCN) Triumph for manufacturing parts abroad or opening factories in other countries to manufacture bikes for other world markets, but that's modern business for you. With this successful approach, the company was not only able to survive a serious factory fire at the turn of the century but remain in profit, with those profits increasing year on year whilst retaining a niche market feel to their line up of machines. Sadly (if you want a direct Daytona 955i replacement) I believe the Daytona 1099 or 1100 replacement is already here and it is the Sprint ST. Triumph have already been caught out trying to compete in R1 and Blade class with the 955i Daytona and the current pace of change in the 1 litre class is so fast that to compete financially on the street and on the track in this category isn't viable for Triumph. I hope I am wrong about this, but whenever I speak to a Triumph rep there is not even a hint of a maybe in the reply. As for the guy who bought a Fazer thou, how about the Sprint 1050?
Triumph has no need to make a cheap 600cc commuter. There already plenty of options already out there for that including some from China, so why should they try to compete with that and dilute the brand? I say that Triumph should stick at what they do best, and remain on track with their niche but affordable (and very reliable) range of bikes. We should all be proud that bikes as good as Triumph's that are recognised around the world as a quality motorcycle, are manufactured in one of the most modern plants in the world and are based in our own back yard in Leicestershire.