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Open Road Invitation: Honda CTX700

By Arv Voss, December 21st, 2013

Back in 2009 Honda showed us an innovative motorcycle called the DN-01. It was a crossover sport cruiser, but was considered to be more of a scooter -- at least it sounded like one -- despite its sport bike appearance. It was also very pricey, costing just a tad under $15,000. It didn't sell well.

Not a company to give up on technological development however, Honda now introduces the 2014 Honda CTX700 and CTX700D.

My 2014 Honda CTX700D tester sported a finish of Cool Candy Red metallic. A two-tone finish is also available in Cool Candy Red and Pearl White. The base price of the test bike was set at $8,799.

The Honda CTX700 comes conventionally equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox, while the CTX700D is fitted with Honda's second generation six-speed Dual Clutch Transmission. It uses two hydraulically controlled clutches for quick and smooth gear changes in the rider's choice of three modes. The CTX700D also comes with an optional Antilock Braking System thrown in for good measure.

Power for this advanced technological developmental bike comes from a 670cc SOHC, 8-valve, liquid-cooled parallel twin with PGM-Fuel injection and 36mm throttle body.

Riding the 2014 Honda CTX700D seems a little strange at first, due to the lack of a clutch lever that eliminates accessing a friction zone, and requires a modest adjustment to one's riding style. With the CTX700D there's either power or no power, with no in between. A little practice brings the whole experience into a comfortable perspective.

The transmission shifts smoothly enough, although not quietly. Acceleration is readily available on demand and is more than adequate, while the bike's light 516-pound weight and its geometry allows for excellent balance, making The CTX700D extremely agile and easily controllable at virtually any speed.

Bringing the CTX700D to a halt is done through a single 320mm disc with 2-piston caliper up front and a single 240mm disc with single-piston caliper in the rear. There's also a park brake located just inside the left grip.

Suspension componentry consists of 41mm forks with 4.2 inches of travel in the front and a Pro-Link single shock with 4.3 inches of travel aft. Rolling stock features a Metzler RoadTec Z8 120/70-17 tire forward and donut in the rear. Both are mounted on 5-Y-spoke alloy wheels.

Both versions serve up a low-seat height (28.3 inches and a very low center of gravity, thanks to the new Honda parallel-twin engine design, which gives the CTX heightened agility for a fun-to-ride quality. Fuel capacity is 3.27 gallons and the impressive fuel efficiency gives the CTX700 a long cruising range.

The rigid and compact steel frame is executed in a diamond-shape -- this contributes to the low center of gravity and allows for a plush suspension setup, making the CTX responsive and enjoyable over the long haul.

The riding position is comfortable, with open, roomy ergonomics placing the rider in a well-balanced posture for all-day comfort. Handlebars are set for optimum reach and control, and the rider foot pegs are mounted mid-bike with passenger pegs provided, along with grab rails or handles flanking the passenger pillion portion of the one-piece seat. A partial fairing with a short windscreen affixed, add to rider comfort (depending upon the rider's height).

Gauges include speedometer, odometer, bar fuel level graph, clock and gear indicator, as well as an indication of the mode that the transmission is in, all in a single digital panel.

A large array of available accessories allows owners to add the desired combination of goodies to suit individual preferences for expanding their adventurous nature. Included are a tall windscreen (cowl version only), heated grips, a heated grip attachment, saddlebags, a saddlebag stay, a saddlebag panel (color-matched), a rear carrier, a backrest and backrest bracket, a sub Harness, an accessory socket, a chrome master cylinder cover and a chrome license plate, frame. Accessories include a one year warranty that begins on the day accessories are purchased by the customer.

Once acclimated to the CTX700D it's really an enjoyable ride, with less to do, and it's also more affordable than some scooters, while presenting itself as a sportbike. It would be nice if the turn signal was self canceling and a left grip brake lever where the clutch lever would normally be, would be more scooter-like, since the bike is essentially an automatic with manual shift capability. In any case, it's an ideal bike for those who are like shifty or shiftless.

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