Honda NC700X test ride - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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Honda NC700X test ride

Most probably aimed at new riders and commuters, the new Honda NC700X is the first modern motorcycle with an engine designed primarily for fuel economy rather than outright power. But it still has an element of fun and enjoyment of riding a motorcycle. The NC700X is the first of three bikes from Honda using the same engine platform and will probably be the 'sporty' model in the range.



I picked the bike up from my local Honda dealer (Belfast Honda) and headed out of the city to get the feel of the NC. Immediate impressions, despite the claimed weight of 481 lbs, is how light it felt. The weight must be carried very low, no doubt aided by the position that the engine takes within the frame. Combined with the narrow profile, this machine feels like a much smaller bike and more akin to something half the size.



And speaking of the engine, as most know by now, this new parallel twin lump is basically half of the engine fitted into the Honda Jazz. It has been modified, but it also explains why the rev limit is so much lower to what we have become used to these days. There is little vibration, certainly none that would bother you and once you get used to the low revving nature, which I quickly did as I tend to short shift anyway, the Honda zings along with gusto down country roads and it doesn't really feel like it is lacking in power. And in the real world, *being honest, we ride mostly between 40 and 85mph for most of the time on the road which is where this bike excels. I had no problem cruising along at a steady 75mph and the small screen worked amazingly well deflecting the worst of the wind away from my torso. I was also wearing my Arai TourX lid and even up to an indicated 85, there was no real turbulence to complain about. Certainly, the optional taller screen may be a worthwhile addition, but I was more than happy with the stock offering in front of me. Overtaking traffic was easy with the torque available and only when sitting at 60mph and going for an overtake did I feel the need to drop a gear for safety reasons. Apart from the usual clunk into first, I found the gearbox to be very nice with smooth shifts through to sixth gear. I never hit a false neutral and I'd love to try out the dual clutch transmission version when it becomes available.



The riding position is very nice with a comfortable stretch to the wide handlebars. There's good enough leg room and I didn't feel my 5' 11" frame was at all cramped. The only complaint initially was that the seat felt rather slippy and I felt I was moving about too much. I've read of others complaining about the same thing, so it isn't just me. After a while I did wish that the bike came equipped with span adjustable levers as my short fingers didn't feel quite comfortable enough, but it's not a major problem and you have to remember that this bike is built to a budget. And bear in mind, it is built in Japan and not some subsidiary factory elsewhere which I believe shows how important this bike is to Honda. And even saying it is built to a budget is slightly ungenerous as the quality is very very good. The dash layout is simple and easy to understand and is fully digital with the rev counter situated horizontally along the top of the read out.



The roads I rode on were pretty smooth mostly and the NC gave a comfortable ride. I then headed towards a roller coaster road I know well to give the suspension a real work out. On this very bumpy road, the ride got a bit bouncy and I could feel that in these conditions, the suspension was a bit underdamped and choppy. The single front disc was powerful enough and I did try to get the ABS to kick in which took an almighty pull on the lever to achieve and I'd sum up the braking system as being very safe. Overall, the bike handles exceptionally well and I really have nothing but praise for how the NC does its stuff.



Around town, I kept thinking why would anyone spend over £2k more on the likes of the Yamaha T-Max super scooter ? With the capacity of storing a helmet (not a TourX tho') in the bikes 'tank', I'd prefer the feeling of riding a 'proper' motorcycle over a scooter any day. But maybe this is the target where Honda hope to get plenty of sales from ? As a cheap to run working motorcycle, the NC700X has a lot going for it and with service intervals 8000 miles apart and being very thrifty on fuel, maybe we're starting to see a whole new trend in motorcycles. OK, it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I believe Honda have struck the nail on the head and in many European countries where bikes such as this are part and parcel of their transport infrastructure, they'll sell the NC buy the bucket load. It's also a good looking motorcycle and with the many accessories that Honda will supply (and other companies will no doubt design), I think they'll do well enough to reap the benefits of their investment.



All in all, a very surprising motorcycle and as I've said, it may be the fore father of a more fuel efficient breed of low revving bikes than we've been used to of late. With ever rising petrol prices, who's going to bet against it ? Will it become a good choice as an everyday bike, one that you use to get around on while keeping your sportsbike/sports tourer etc for sunny days or foreign tours ? If so, I'll take one in white please.

Good luck exploring the infinite abyss

Last edited by Davy F; 03-16-2012 at 11:09 AM.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 08:36 AM
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Your thorough review is much appreciated. I have no plans on parting with my Versys in the near future. But when the day comes, the NC may be a replacement contender.


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 09:00 AM
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I really love the tank storage idea. How I would love to just dump my helmet into the tank and just walk around. Whoa you sit on the fuel tank... not sure I like the idea of flammable liquids that close to my boys.

I am envious of your test ride though. I mention test ride to dealers around here and they look at me like I just took a crap in their helmet.

"Why do I ride?"


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Last edited by MikeV; 03-16-2012 at 09:04 AM.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeV View Post
I really love the tank storage idea. How I would love to just dump my helmet into the tank and just walk around.
I also like that idea. Too bad the fuel filler is under the rear seat, however, as I often strap a big with camping gear on the rear seat for trips. What a pain it would be at every fill up.

Like the bike overall. Thanks Davy F for the review.


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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 09:35 AM
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Great review, Davy.
You should charge for this.


So after the cars, Honda is now making motorcycles for pensioners.
Everything about this bike is so reasonable.
I hate that.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 10:13 AM
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Thanks for posting this Davy, great review and photos. What a concept, designing a motorcycle engine for high gas mileage! I agree with Bones, the under seat gas tank would be a pain, that said, if this moto can really achieve 70 mpg I could live with it.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 11:59 AM
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A thorough and well written review Davy. Better than many (or most?) I've seen in published journals!

I must admit that I wasn't initially impressed by this bike (from the specs). However, after this review I may have to rethink things. While I plan on having my beloved Versys for several more years, she will need to be replaced eventually. Since this bike is made in Japan (and not Thailand or some other low wage country) it may end up high on my list. Thanks!
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 01:37 PM
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I sat on the NC at the Chicago Motorcycle show last month - I liked it.

I also own a Honda FIT-Sport (auto), with the 1.4 liter engine, that the NC engine supposed to have been derived from or cut in half from. I love the motor in my FIT - very torquey, great gas mileage, feels way more powerful than what you would think a 1.4 liter could provide.

I also use my passenger seat on my V to strap my camping bag to. Hmmm....
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 04:02 PM
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At 65MPG (roughly) stock, I'm certainly interested. I'll have to head to the local stealership and see how it feels. I'm able to eek out 45 on average with the Versys, but that's without ANY aggressive riding. I imagine part of the reason for the low digits is the climate lol.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 04:18 PM
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Davy,

A great and thoughtful review, thanks. Since you are a Versys owner, what did you think of it compared to our favorite ride? Things such as vibration at cruise speeds (the NC700 runs a low 3200rpm @ 100kph in 6th), was it better or worse than the Versys (both are parallel twins)? Also, how did you feel about the power reserve when passing? Our Versys has plenty, but what does that NC700 do with 47hp? Is it like passing someone with an old VW Bug? Oh also, can it run on regular 87 RON fuel or does it require premium gas (being a higher compression engine?)
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeV View Post
I am envious of your test ride though. I mention test ride to dealers around here and they look at me like I just took a crap in their helmet.
Must be a Northern Ireland thing, I have had a Triumph Street Triple out for a couple days..............................


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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-20-2012, 03:21 PM
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Thanks Davy for the report. It's a good looking bike (apart from the can and plate hanger, which doesn't look like it can be replaced with a tail tidy because it incorporates the rear light). Not enough 'go' for me tho'. Now, if it had the V motor or a bigger triple installed, it would possibly be the next bike. But it doesn't, and it won't....
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-11-2012, 09:53 PM
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-13-2012, 08:59 PM
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I don't care about mileage but I want ABS and an Auto trans. I have no problems shifting I just never really take advantage of a the benefits of a clutch. I never ride in heavy traffic as my hand gets tired from constantly operating a clutch. I sold my 6 speed quad for one with a CVT auto and I was able to double the amount of time I rode before fatigue set in. My riding performance was significantly improved. If I get a bike with an auto, I will easily double the miles I put on a bike. My snowmobile did 115 mph with an auto, on snow. Faster than I will ever ride on the road.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-14-2012, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mchieffallo View Post
Your thorough review is much appreciated. I have no plans on parting with my Versys in the near future. But when the day comes, the NC may be a replacement contender.


OMG I heard even this before i die....


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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-19-2012, 10:42 AM
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Looks like in the US you won't be able to get the ABS option separately. ABS is only available with the DCT trans which is $2K more than the non-DCT version.

I like the looks of this bike though and the clever storage space. However, I'd have to wait for someone to introduce a lowering kit for it before I could ride it confidently.


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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-19-2012, 01:13 PM
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I'd much rather have that Triumph Street Triple in post #11. Mmmm good.

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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-19-2012, 02:54 PM
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Anybody know how this bike would fit a 5'4" female? My girlfriend is looking for a motorbike similar to the Versys but made for a shorter person without having to do any aftermarket stuff.

Thanks

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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-19-2012, 05:30 PM
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Anybody know how this bike would fit a 5'4" female? My girlfriend is looking for a motorbike similar to the Versys but made for a shorter person without having to do any aftermarket stuff.
In its stock form, this Honda's seat height is about the same as Versys', so I would say there's no way she could comfortably ride it without a lowering kit. I am 5'7" and even for me it's too tall stock. So far, the lowest seat I found on a similar bike was on a Triumph 800, but even on that one, I could certainly use a lowering kit.

Also, the NT700 (if Honda is still selling it) has similar seat height as Triumph 800.


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Last edited by Pete_; 04-19-2012 at 05:33 PM.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-20-2012, 12:55 AM
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Thanks for the review!

I had heard mention that the US was getting the Crossrunner and that the "x" indicated that it was for the Crossrunner. However, I'm seeing two different bikes...it looks like the Crossrunner has much more "stuff" slapped on the body. I much prefer the NT700x. But not over my Versys.

I also saw something about there being a NT700s model as well. Wonder how it differs from the "v" and "x"?

Just saw on the Powersports website the NT700x is coming this summer.

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