This weekend I bought a Daytona Centennial so I'm bound to say get the Triumph, aren't I? Why did I overlook all the Japanese equivalents? In the end it has to come down to taste and what you want the bike for. My Daytona Super III, which I part exchanged for the Centennial, had to take me into the City of London every day, be used for weekend blasts and take me visiting friends in France and Germany in the summer. It did it all and I know the Centennial will do the same. However what I really need is one bike for commuting, another for Sunday blasts and track days and a third for touring. (Probably need a fourth for off roading too!) Unless you're really up there with the best at track days, on the road the 955i will outperform the Jap 1 litre bikes because it's easier to ride fast and is at least as comfortable. If you're looking for character (which probably equates to noise, vibration, styling, power delivery, what movies the mark has figured in, what your relatives rode in the sixties etc) it has all that and more too. There are worse reasons to buy a bike for than it's noise!
My old Triumph was completely reliable and I think the "over-engineered" tag still applies to the present models, which is a good thing as far as I am concerned. I tried all the others and the only one that came close was an Aprilia Mille. Horror stories about parts delivery waiting times and jerky running at slow speeds told against it. But to me it definitely has character.
The 2003 955i has reverted to the single side swinging arm, which adds 3 kg but improves the styling no end, or should I say gives it more character? The Triumph staff at the Birmingham show last month reckoned the double sided models handled better when at the limit but the public preferred the single sided model hence the change around. The Centennial is a 2002 model with identical spec to the 2003 model but a few extra carbon bits. If you like 'Aston' green (which reminds me of British Racing green) then I think it's a better buy than the 2003 models.
In the UK, Triumps are cheaper to service than Ducatis and factory support is up there with Honda. The Jap one litres make better track bikes in very skilled hands and a better basis for World Superbike attempts. In the real world, that 99% of bikers probably inhabit, the 955i is the better bike. The exhaust and induction noise all the way from 4,000 to 11,000 rpm puts a smile on the face of any rider and those behind!