Call it the Triton Phoenix

When GMC went under (reported on here around 1 Dec 08) one of the silent victims was the much anticipated baby Triton router (revealed here in June 08). However, 2 1/2 years later and finally I had much pleasure in pulling the shrink wrap off a brand new, familiar looking Triton box.  Inside was a power tool that I never expected to see the light of day – the 1010W Triton router (specifically designed as a hand-held router, although still with some features that make it suitable (although comparatively low in power) for table-mounted routing.

1010W Triton Router Debut

Some details to start; it is 1010W (1.3HP), with a 1/2″ and 1/4″ collet, soft start, variable speed (8000 – 22000RPM), auto spindle lock for bit changing and a basic microadjuster.  They are normally $199, but will be on special at $149 through Carbatec until the end of February.  (To compare, the 2400W router is 3.25HP, costs $349 ($279 currently on special) and weights 3.1kg more than the baby router). Not sure about the availability of the 1400W router – it is still on the Carbatec website here, but the pricing etc has been removed.

Triton Router Family

From left to right, the 2400W, 1400W and 1010W routers.  The 2400W is designed specifically for table mounting, the 1010W for handheld.  The 1400W was intended to be a bit of a jack-of-all-trades.

Height Difference

One of the disadvantages with both the 1400W and 2400W router design for handheld use, is the high centre of gravity.  The 1010W router’s handles (when plunged) are 30mm lower than the 1400W router, and 45mm lower than the 2400W.  Combining this with the significantly decreased weight makes it much more suitable for handheld.  The plunge lock is still the same as the other routers – would have preferred this more like the 1400W Festool concept where the plunge lock is integrated into the handle itself.

Some other features have vanished off the 1010W router – the hand winding macro height adjustment has gone which is a bit of a surprise, and that really limits the benefit of the microadjuster.  Like other (non-Triton) routers, this one has adopted the “plunge, lock, then wind the microadjuster to the current operating height” solution.  To then get the router back to full height, you have to wind it all the way back off again.  Not the smoothest winding either.

As part of the whole “loosing the macro-adjustment”, the decision was obviously to also loose the ability to remove the plunge spring.  In my opinion, the plunge spring is already way too strong, so I would have instead welcomed the ability to adjust plunge spring strength for customising the router to personal preferences. (In this case, I may even have to revert to the very agricultural method of taking the router apart enough to get to the plunge spring, and cut it shorter.  The router comes with a height winder handle for through-table adjustments, but again, without the ability to remove the strong spring, it would then mean you are working against both the plunge spring and gravity when adjusting the height.

Bases

As you can see the bases of the 1010W (on the left), and 1400W on the right are very similar (just happens that when I took the photo there was a 1/2″ collet in one, and a 1/4″ in the other – all routers now come (finally) with the superior collet that was originally only sold with Triton routers outside Australia.  This means (and has for quite a while now) that you don’t need reducers to use 1/4″ router bits with these routers – the router itself is either a 1/2″ or 1/4″ depending on what collet is chosen (both supplied with the router).

To change router bits, you still have to plunge the router to full depth (out through the base), which although is brilliant for table-mounted routers with a macro height adjustment, does not seem anywhere near as much of an advantage with one you have to get there by pushing against the spring, then engaging the plunge lock to change router bit.

Bottom line: I am confused with this router.  At first glance, it is another Triton, and in the past this has been a gold-plated recommendation, but I wonder if trying to keep to a design that fits in with the rest of the family while dropping features apparently not needed that made the bigger siblings so superior has resulted in a strange beast indeed. A router that cannot do the job of the larger ones because of the features dropped, but one that hasn’t adopted new features to make it an optimum design for handheld routing.

At least the current $149 price tag means it should still sell pretty well.

8 Responses

  1. Hi Stu,
    I thought you would know that making a coil spring shorter by cutting a few coils off makes it stronger.
    Hugh

    • Granted, but as a cheap fix, taking some length off the spring does work.

      The Triton router plunge spring is pre-compressed significantly, so it isn’t so much increasing the spring force, but decreasing the amount of preload. The last router I did this to resulted in a router that felt a lot softer to plunge, and became much better for signwriting.

      However, as I like experimenting, I will give it a try and report back!

  2. Hi Stu,

    Would you still recommend the 2400W for a router table or would the 1400W suit that as well?

    I have a crappy Ryobi in my table and changing bits is an absolute pain especially since the collet barely comes up through the table. How does the Triton deal with this?

    Cheers,
    Carl

    • Definitely go with the 2400W for a table-mounted router (especially while on special). Not even sure if the 1400W is still available anyway. The current 2400W comes with the decent collet, and has the ability to do through-table height adjustment (a recent modification).

      The collet comes up a good way above the table, and because it self-locks, you only need it to protrude high enough to get the spanner on the end anyway.

      Definitely ditch the Ryobi!

  3. FYI Carbatec aren’t stocking the MOF001 (the 1400W version) any more. I was having a chat to a Store manager about it and in the quantities that they bring into the country, the MOF worked out only $30ish cheaper than the TRA. Hence the decision to drop the MOF from ranging and focus on the JOF to hit a price point.

  4. Hi Stu,

    I know I’m pretty late to the party on this post, but I was wondering if you had any idea why Triton routers seem to have skyrocketed in price over the last few years? I was going to buy the TRA001 in 2014 and at that time there were plenty of places selling it for around $350. Now I can’t find one for less than $530!! Is it just the AUD/USD exchange rate messing with things? Or has something changed about the routers themselves?

    • Hi Daniel,

      Nothing has changed with the actual tool, but a lot has gone on in the background with the company.

      I’ve lost touch with the particulars, but the company is now owned by the one that was originally the European distributor afaik.

      Other than that, and the reduction in Australian distribution/retail to a single(?) company again (with the failure of Masters) may also play a factor. Of course, the Australian dollar will not have helped prices in the slightest, and that alone will have added a good 20% to the price.

      Best bet (and I don’t know if Masters ever did stock the Triton router), is to see if they have any left, and get it at the liquidated price.

      Otherwise, if you are going to spend that sort of money, even the Festool 1400W becomes a consideration!

      • Hi Stu,

        Thanks for the info! I’ll see if I can get in touch with the nearest masters (their phone was giving a weird busy signal on the weekend).

        Yeah, I’d love the 1400w Festool router for hand-held work … ultimately right now I’m after something to live in a table and all the extra features (and $600 or so) of the Festool seem like they’d be a waste in a table. I guess compared with a makita/bosch/hitachi/dewalt of a similar price the Triton is *still* the best bet in a table since it doesn’t need a separate router lift.

        One day, down the road I may well get the festool 1400w (it’s on the wish list): I’m invested in Festool’s whole system anyway (I’ve got one of their track saws and a couple of rails for it, which would be nice to use with the router).

        On the whole Triton issue, do you know if the TRA001 is reasonably reliable? I think Triton had some issues with the MOF001 router didn’t they?

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