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Honda CTX700: Lightweight Tourer

By Arv Voss, April 16th, 2016

The Honda CTX700 DCT touring bike is yet another member of the CTX family, and represents the evolution of Honda's Comfort Technology eXperience.

The power source for the CTX700 DCT is a smaller 670cc SOHC, nine-valve, liquid-cooled parallel-twin with PGM-FI with 36mm throttle body and digital transistorized ignition with electronic advance. The CTX700's DCT or dual clutch transmission is a six-speed automatic with two automatic modes and a manual mode, which gears the motor's motive force to the rear wheel via a chain final drive.

The dual clutch transmission uses two hydraulically controlled clutches for quick and smooth gear changes in the rider's choice of three modes: Manual (MT) with button shifting (there's no clutch lever); the switch for selecting AT/MT modes is located on the leading edge of the right grip -- S for more aggressive sport riding, D for everyday cruising, and Neutral.

The left grip houses two toggles for shifting gears -- the minus (-) button appears on the trailing side of the grip and is for downshifts, while the plus (+) button is positioned on the leading edge of the grip housing, and is for upshifts. The AT or automatic mode may be over-ridden by the + and - switches temporarily when needed, but default to automatic. The D auto mode and manual mode allows for a sixth gear, while the S sport mode only allows for five gears.

Braking for the CTX700 DCT is accomplished through a single 320mm disc with two-piston caliper up front and a single 240mm disc with single-piston caliper in the rear. The parking brake is located just inside the left grip.

The suspension setup consists of 41mm forks with 4.2 inches of travel up front, and a Pro-Link single shock with 4.3 inches of travel in the rear. Rolling stock features a Battlax BT028 Sport Touring 120/70-17 tire forward and a 160/60-17 rear tire. Both are mounted on six-"Y"-spoke black-painted alloy wheels.

The seat height is a low 28.3 inches, and the bike features a very low center of gravity thanks to the new Honda parallel-twin engine design, giving the CTX heightened agility, for a fun-to-ride quality. The fuel tank holds 3.17 gallons and the impressive fuel efficiency gives the CTX700 DCT a comfortable range for longer cruises.

The rigid steel frame is compact, and is executed in a diamond-shape, which contributes to the low center of gravity and allows for a plush suspension setup, making the bike responsive and enjoyable to ride.

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, sculpted seat. A full "bat-wing" fairing with a shorty windscreen affixed adds to rider comfort (depending upon the rider's height).

Gauges include a speedometer, odometer, bar fuel level graph, clock, gear indicator, and transmission mode indicator, all in a single digital panel, with the usual warning lights.

My Honda CTX700 DCT with ABS (anti-lock brakes) test bike sported a Blue Gray metallic finish and a base price of $7,599. While the estimated final total amounted to $7,849 after adding for dealer prep and handling, which can vary from dealer to dealer.

Riding the Honda CTX700 DCT ABS seems a little strange at first, due to the lack of a clutch lever, which eliminates accessing a friction zone, and requires a modest adjustment to one's riding style. A little practice brings the whole experience into a comfortable perspective.

The transmission shifts smoothly enough and acceleration is readily available on demand, and is more than adequate, while the bike's light 516-pound weight and its geometry allows for a balanced ride, making The CTX700 DCT ABS extremely agile and easily controllable regardless of speed.

Owners can add equipment to suit their individual preferences for expanding their adventurous nature through a combination of optional accessories, which include a one-year warranty that begins on the day accessories are purchased by the customer.

Once acclimated to the bike's uniqueness, it's really an enjoyable ride, that's also more affordable than many scooters, while presenting itself as a sportbike. A self-canceling turn signal would be a nice addition, 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 a cool, easily managed bike that's both fun and economical to ride.

The Honda CTX700 DCT ABS bike does not come with cargo bags. Its styling is sleekly futuristic and emotionally appealing. The handlebars are swept back and wide, providing easy leverage. Steering response and maneuverability are spot on, making directional stability a breeze.

The 670cc parallel-twin motor is smooth, with a broad torque range, and the dual-clutch transmission shifts as smoothly.

An adjustable windscreen would serve as an improvement for taller riders, but the short existing screen is acceptable, with minimal buffeting. Another feature that would be appreciated would be a gear indicator for forgetful riders. The deep-dish seat is quite comfortable, though perhaps a tad short for longer-legged riders. Passengers are provided with foot pegs, a seat strap handle, and grips molded into the bodywork.

The Honda CTX700 DCT ABS is a totally enjoyable multi-functional bike that's ideal for a less-experienced rider, while being enjoyable for a veteran rider as well. If you prefer a clutch, there's still a model available with a conventional transmission.

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