When playing casino slot machines hitting 777 will make you a winner. Honda's new motorcycles are like hitting sevens.
The NC700X and NC700DX are "adventure style bikes," though some riders may view them as sport bikes, urban assault commuters, country road tourers, two-up tourers -- or all of the above.
The under-square parallel 670cc, SOHC, four-valves-per-cylinder, liquid-cooled parallel-twin features PGM-FI (fuel injection) with a 36mm throttle body and digital transistorized ignition with electronic advance. It cranks out a healthy dose of low end torque, topping out with a 6,400 rpm redline.
Though the motors are the same for both the NC700X and NC700DX, the transmissions are entirely different. The NC700X comes with a conventional 6-speed sequential manual gearbox while the NC700DX features a new, dual clutch automatic transmission (DCT) that operates in a fully automatic mode or may be manually shifted utilizing four handlebar-mounted switches that allow the rider to select either a Drive or Sport mode.
While the optional DCT transmission represents a substantial investment by Honda in the hopes of attracting new riders, the basic premise of the NC700X is simplicity in a very pure form.
My test bike was the NC700X with the conventional 6-speed sequential manual gearbox. The primary finish was executed in Silver metallic with Black wheels and accents. The base sticker of $6,999 will increase with dealer prep and handling costs, but plan for a total price of around $7,249.
The NC700X's chassis is conventionally constructed of steel with a low weight at 474 pounds wet. The seat height is a moderate 32.7 inches, with wide handlebars set at a comfortable height and foot controls well-placed to accommodate a variety of rider physiques. The bike's overall mass is low, resulting in easy control and maneuverability.
The suspension componentry consists of 41mm front forks with 5.4 of inches travel and a rear Pro-Link unit with 5.9 inches of travel. The NC700X rolls on Bridgestone Battlax BTO Sport Touring rubber mounted on black-finished "Y" 5-spoke alloy wheels. Braking comes from a single 320mm disc with two-piston caliper forward while the rear features a single 240mm disc with single-piston caliper.
The bike measures 86.5 inches in overall length with a wheelbase of 60.6 inches. Fuel capacity is 3.7 gallons, which should be good for a range in the neighborhood of at least 250 miles.
The Honda NC700X is not only appealing to the eye in terms of its styling, but also to one's riding sensibilities, including ride comfort and handling characteristics. It's also practical and functional.
The bike is compact with a low center of gravity, which contributes to its agility, as well as to its balance. Acceleration is easily and smoothly controlled, thanks to the linear torque and easy clutch operation. Getting rapidly up to 75 mph poses no problem, while cruising at low speed without any surge is also enjoyable. Gear changes are also smooth and positive in either direction. Suspension travel soaks up ruts and potholes with ease, cutting down on any potential discomfort on a long ride.
The seat height, though moderate by general standards might prove to be a stretch for shorter riders. At 6'4" I was able to touch down without issue, but didn't have a lot a lot of extra flex in the knees.
The NC700X's riding position is upright and very comfortable, with bars and controls within easy reach. What appears to be the fuel tank is actually a large locking storage bin, capable of holding a 2X full-face helmet. The fuel filler access is locked beneath the passenger pillion. Both are accessed by a single key: turn to the right and the forward bin unlocks, turn left and the fuel filler is accessible.
In the shortcomings column, the NC700X's mini fly-screen is of little benefit to tall riders. A gear indicator would be an added plus, as would self-cancel directional signals -- minor issues indeed for such a highly desirable motorcycle.
Honda has hit a home run with this good looking adventure-style bike that rides as good as it looks. And I would be happy owning one, due to its ease of operation, fun-to-ride factor and stellar fuel economy. It's an ideal ride for the beginning rider or for more experienced types as well.
Copyright © 2013 Motor Matters
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