Monday’s Motorcycle: Honda NC700X

Honda, and every Cycle Rag that I’ve looked at lately are all spouting off that this new commuter standard is a “Game Changer”.
Okay, I took this at face value the first couple times I heard it. Its an interesting looking bike.  Clean lines.  Some nice MPG numbers. A trunk where the fuel tank should be.  I wanted to like this bike.
And then I took a close look at one in person.
I don’t like it.
If this is a game changer, I don’t want to play this sport anymore.  But I don’t know why that is.  But there is something about it that is off-putting.
The engine is just fine for the intended purpose… but it doesn’t offer anything more.  “Spirited” is something it will never be accused of being.  The engine is pretty much the engine of a Honda Fit cut in half.  You’ve probably seen the Honda Fit rolling around, when I was out in SLC last week, you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting one.  Being based on an automobile engine does have some advantages perhaps.  Commonality of parts, cheaper parts.  Really, Honda was quite clever in this.  The engine is lower revving than most bikes, getting much of it’s torque well below 3,000 RPM’s.  And that’s a great thing, as I like to keep the revs down anyways.

And the 680cc engine allows for a very narrow bike.  As there are only two cylinders side by side instead of the normal 4 that’s popular in many street bikes.  My beloved Magnas for example had 2 side by side… of course there were also 2 more in a V going in a different angle, but still.  I loved my last Honda Twin… My Superhawk.  I loved how narrow that bike was.  It was a 996 that felt as skinny as most 600’s, if not more so.

I like the trunk, but I don’t want to sacrifice performance for something that a tank bag can do.  I don’t see myself storing my bucket in the trunk anyways.  I’m in the habit of taking it with me anyways.  I guess this is from having a few helmets stolen.  BTW, who the hell would steal someone else’s helmet?  That’s a very low level of scum.  If you catch someone stealing a helmet – that should be justifiable homicide right there.   Anyways, but having a nice storage compartment would be handy.  A couple DVD’s a can of Xing Tea or two, some snacks.  That’s something that would indeed be handy.

Of course Honda also has number of other add-ons.  Such as hard luggage.  Turning this little commuter into a nice little Touring machine.  Notice that Center Stand.  Handy that.  I had a bike once that had one.  I liked it.  Of course I wrapped that bike around a tree so hard the engine popped out and they had to cut the tree down to get the bike off it.  But that’s another post for another time.  Anyways, yeah, that luggage… That top truck unit… that’s 600 bucks for that one trunk think alone.  And you can’t buy just any aftermarket trunk for it, because then you couldn’t refill your bike because of the fuel cap location under the passenger seat.  (Talked to the dealer about it.  Evidently that was a problem for a guy.)  So you have to buy it from Honda.  I’ve never seen a plastic box worth 600 bucks, but there it is.  Still, even dressed out, you still have a nice bike that rides about as relaxed as you can get, turns in great fuel economy…

But I just don’t like it.  In fact, I kinda hate them.  It’s too… “Nice”.  It’s almost a Scooter in it’s Civility, and I hate that.  It is about as Sporty as a Guy that wears Cardigan Sweaters.   It’s a bike for a guy that has had his balls cut off.  In fact, they should call this bike the Honda Eunuch.

16 thoughts on “Monday’s Motorcycle: Honda NC700X”

  1. Did you ride it? I would like to see one and ride one. What I’m picking up from the articles, it has a very low center of gravity combined with an engine that mimics the characteristics of a Ducati twin by tweeking the crank to give the firing geometry of a 90 degree V. The fuel consumption is quite remarkable. Apparently they are becoming popular in parts of the world where motorcycles tend to be used more as vehicles than toys. Could it be a “game change” similar to that from “1911” to “Glock”? I have been riding a KLR650 for the last nine years, so I’m not expecting a ball of fire anyhow.

  2. By the numbers, I would buy one as a commuter. What was it,…60+ MPG, as gas prices go up it looks more appealing than my all time best 52. To get that I had to gear my bike so high that it liked to either burn up the clutch at lights or stall.
    Sure it may not be as sporty as we like, but what new bikes in that price range are anyway?

  3. It would make a decent starter bike, for someone like me. Oh, I’ve ridden a number of friends’ bikes, including some of the faster stuff, but neverowned one. The drop in my fuel bill from $300 a month to $68 would damn near pay for it.

    1. But then you add insurance, tires, chains, helmets, gloves, boots, rain gear (you are going to ride it everyday right?)

      Motorcycles are fun, but they are only cheaper if you sell your car.

      1. This is why I buy the bike outright and suffer no monthly payment.
        I’ve saved easily 300 a month is gas over what I was getting in my truck. But that amount has been dipped due to my gear purchases. But once you buy the gear, that’s it.
        My insurance is 100 bucks a year. For both my bikes.

        1. I am an avid rider and I don’t make payments either, but in this calculation you still need to amortize the cost of the bike.

          I buy a bike outright because a wise man once said… “Never race anything you can’t afford to light on fire and roll down a hill.” I think that applies to anything as adversely affected by gravity as a motorcycle as well.

          1. That’s exactly how I feel too. I get hives just thinking about financing a Car. A Bike? NO WAY. It’s far too easy for a boot to slip on a tiny bit of Gravel and there it is… your bike on the ground. Not to mention any of the other threats to a motorcycle.
            One advantage this Honda could have… thanks to it’s Auto based engine… is much greater longevity. Meaning if you see one for sale on KSL.Com or Cycle Trader in decent shape, it just might have a good long life ahead of it still. I know guys that buy new bikes after only 25K Miles because they think their bike is about worn out. On some bikes, that just might be true. On this one… I bet it might go a lot farther.
            Of course, I buy and sell bikes far too often… always have. Because I’m a Bike Whore, just like I’m a Gun Whore. The State of Utah once told me that I needed to get a Dealer License if I’m going to continue to buy and sell cars. Of course, I’ve not done that since College when it comes to cars.

  4. Respectfully,the bike is not intended flogging. It appears the seating position is more of a throwback to traditional 70s Japanese bikes. With the storage cases ,it would be an ideal comuter bike in an urban enviroment and still not be overtaxed on a weekend road trip. Enough power to stay with traffic,light enough to be easy to park, large enough so a 6 ft 3 in person would be comfortable without breaking their back. Add to that a price that is much lower than a cruiser or lowrider and it seems worth looking into

  5. It’s the ’10’s version of a CX500 – it’s for old guys in gold, nylon windbreakers and a 1970’s era visorless helmet with a grocery-crate bungied to the tail-section.

  6. I own it and absolutely love it! Yeah, it’s not going to win any races, I get that. But I just took a 2 day trip on it logging 823 miles while only sipping 13 gallons of fuel. I even rode the famous US129 “tail of the dragon” route and had no issues dragging the silencer and pegs with much comfort. I would buy it all over again in a heart beat. Honda got it right with this New Concept bike.

  7. I became very interested in the NC700x only by chance of reading how well it did against the BMW that’s at twice the price of the Honda and weight. The weight of the BMW during this race called the DACARR or something like that caused the BMW to get stuck in the sand! more times than the article wished to publish. The guy riding the Honda used the extra 7G they save on the Honda to by a Gold weaved jacket so it would be bright enough for the BMW to signal him back to pull him out with his ball-less testosterone raging torque. the best part the Honda was the film crew or some thing.

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