My 1990 FZR600 really was on its last legs. With oil pouring from the fork seals after only half an hour on the road and bodywork showing signs of a couple of spills I decided to place an ad in the Barcelona free ads paper. A price of " € very little " was agreed with a guy in his early 20’s and he rode it away – with fork legs recently wiped down.
So, what to buy? It was time to splash out on something modern. After firting with the idea of a ZX6R I walked into a parallel importer’s who had a yellow and black 2000 TT600 in the showroom. Even with a black frame and swing arm the guy still had the cheek to tell me it was a 2001 model and therefore didn’t have the fuel injection problems. Still, it got me thinking: My father has a Sprint ST which is really good. What if Triumph had solved the fuel injection problems and painted the bike a nice colour for 2001? A quick call to the Barcelona dealer confirmed and a blue TT600 was soon in my garage. That was a bit more than a year and 10,000 km ago.
Now, I’m going to be honest with you – not like a lot of the bike press that gave the TT 600 such a slating for its fuel injection problems, especially in relation to the 2000 model. Its true that at 1500 revs in 6th gear in the worst Barcelona heat and traffic jam the injection system forces the bike to jerk and you have to use the clutch a bit. But this really is a miniscule problem. Anyway, I didn’t buy a sports 600 to ride at 1500 revs in 6th did I? Infact, the only use the bike gets is purely pleasure: Weekend blasts through the Catalunian mountains and countryside. Monthly half hour track sessions at Barcelona’s Montmelo circuit. Weekends away with the Triumph club. Nearly always accompanied by a mate of mine - another English " immigrant " - on his Daytona.
The rear BT010 lasted 8,000 km. Finally seen off by 300 km at the Albacete track weekend organised by Triumph Madrid. Now I’ve fitted a BT012 SS which is marginally stickier. Both are excellent and complement the bike’s outstanding handling and braking. I must admit that with this bike I have really learnt to ride. Gone are the days of riding bolt up right like some sort of aftermarket accessory. I’ve learnt to hang right off the bike with both bum cheeks off the seat in an effort to get my weight into the corner while still keeping the bike as upright as possible in order to maintain traction – especially when putting the power down while exiting corners. But despite this, and dropping the tyre pressures slightly to compensate the extra heat, a half hour track session always ends up with the rear blistered almost to the tyre wall.
I’ve kept the bike completely standard – including the suspension settings. I figure if it ain’t broke why fix it? Triumph’s factory guys have far more experience than me and for my weight (85 kgs) the standard settings allow me to push really hard on baby bottom smooth tracks and ride quickly over slightly less smooth mountain passes. I can experience a bit of head shaking, front fork vibration or rear chatter when I’m pushing too hard. And I appreciate the fact that the bike lets me know rather than just throwing me off.
The power development and delivery is smooth and above 9,000 it all goes laa dee daa as they say. The R6 may have marginally more power and a more aggressive delivery but the only place I use the engine to the limit is a track straight. To go quick through the twisties the handling is what counts.
I think I’ll colour code the air inlets to match the 2002 bike. Its a small improvement on some very stylish looks – especially the single colour scheme models. I understand the Daytona 600 is expected later this year. So my bike’ll be 18 months old. Add another year to sort out any teething problems with the Daytona 6 and that’ll be my next bike. I wouldn’t change the TT600 for any another (within reason).
The bike’s in the dealer at the time of writing - 10,000 km service including 2002 fuel injection mapping. I wonder if the mapping will make any difference? It doesn’t have to as I’m perfectly happy as it is. I’ve got a two day trip to the south of France next week. So if the mapping does make a difference – I’m going to find it!!!